A Chore for Everyday

A Chore for Everyday

Friday, November 30, 2012

Six Months with Hana

I thank GOD for the days and nights when I nursed and rocked you to sleep. There were nothing like your snuggly softness and perfect baby weight on my shoulder after some burping and drifting to sleep in my arms. Even when my bare chest grew cold of constant comfort-nursing. Even when my arms grew numb from tossing and swaying you back and forth.

I thank GOD for the days when I wore you. You spent a good time on me, and would only nap being close to me that way. Your brother Sethia, who is not much bigger than you, was content sharing me with you. I am extremely pleased and appreciate this heart of his - it's a grace. So I would feed him, play with him, attend to his needs with you sleeping tightly in a sling. He would once in a while peek into the sling and pass you a slight kiss on your forehead. When Sethia napped, I would continue about the house doing chores with you. By wearing you, I probably gave you the comfort and the security of a mother's closeness, but what you gave to me was more precious. There were nothing like your sweet baby smell and breath, the snuggly warmth of your little head on my chest. This will not be around for long, this being able to hold my baby close to my heart, I told myself. Even as home chores were performed painstakingly slower and with more difficulties. Even as I became aware of increasing strain on my back as you grew heavier.

However, one day after a two-week flu, you were about 4.5 months old then, no amount of babywearing, nursing, rocking, nor co-sleeping could pacify you. You were persistently inconsolable, you had fitful naps of 10-15 min intervals, you woke up almost hourly at night. This affected me a lot. I had 3-4 hours of broken sleep each night. I had no strength to care, not only for you, but for Papa and Koko Sethia too.

So for the love of everyone at home, with your father's resolve, we decided to let you cry when it's time to sleep. The first day you cried for 45 minutes. Towards the end of the first week you cried for 15 to 20 minutes. Through the second week you cried for 5-10 minutes.

A brother in Christ whose Godly advice we treasure, and whose mother in her 90s has aged beautifully with the Lord, wrote to us, that ...

... "there are some basics from the Scriptures that could be applied to children as well as adults. But what about babies? It needs wisdom to understand timing and measuring.

God lets his children cry sometimes, quite a long time even. “My tears have been my food day and night” (Psalm 42). For the training of our patience, He is not hurrying to our rescue always, as we expect. He delays sometimes, He leaves us in pain sometimes. Little by little He is building experience in us, to be comforted by understanding that He is still there, even if He does not intervene at the moment.

This “little by little” is important for all, not the least the children, so that they do not lose heart, or develop a kind of fear. It is important to understand the kind of crying. Ensure they are not hungry. Is it something wrong, illness or need, is it something with the conditions that can hurt? If so, they need attention, their crying needs intervention.

But, if it is just discomfort, like being sleepy, without being able to sleep, maybe some crying will help?

My mother thinks that some crying is normal, and she is a bit worried about parents who toss and carry and entertain as soon as the child is crying, even if the child is just tired. The parents are tiring themselves so much out by this, that they have not the necessary strength for what is more important.

If there is a kind of crying, even at the very early age, that is “just” discomfort, I wonder if we can look to the ways God is treating us, as we saw from Psalm 42, and as we can see from the ways God was treating David and Jeremiah and other persons in the Bible. If God always takes us out of discomfort, we will never learn to suffer, learn patience, learn to endure. We actually have to go through some experiences that make us cry, but we should still trust Him and give Him thanks.

We have the responsibility to not leave children alone or make them scared. May God help us discern and understand what is serious and what is not, and to measure out in proper portions. Some say that babies never cry without a reason, reason that should be dealt with by intervention. Maybe we could say: Be careful, attentive, but don’t forget all about the basics of divine training as the child or the baby is growing up. Little by little."

My child, do you know that listening to you cry is perhaps the most painful thing I ever had in my mothering days. It is not easy at all to hear your heartbreaking cry. I was always all cold sweat and shivers. I was hurting too.

One and a half months passed. Now every time before I put you to bed, I would hold you close, your cheek pressed against mine, your ear against my lips. I would hum you a lullaby with a low voice. I would say a prayer. And then I would put you down. Sometimes you'd be willing to be put down, sometimes you'd give a cry of protest as I leave the nursery.

And as I close the door behind me, I ask the LORD, "How long, O LORD?" and I am reminded of me ever so often asking the same question to God when He too sometimes lets me cry. And as I listen to you cry, I remind myself, that as much as this crying is a training for you,  it is also a training for me.

I have loved you, little one, when I nursed and rocked you to sleep. I have loved you too, when I constantly wore you. But I have also loved you when I let you cry, no less. Yes, I promise you, my sweet sweet child, I haved love you no less.


Blessed 6 months, Hana. The joys and pains with you are worth them all.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Suffer the Children: Why French Kids Don't Have ADHD

"From the time their children are born, French parents provide them with a firm cadre—the word means "frame" or "structure." Children are not allowed, for example, to snack whenever they want. Mealtimes are at four specific times of the day. French children learn to wait patiently for meals, rather than eating snack foods whenever they feel like it. French babies, too, are expected to conform to limits set by parents and not by their crying selves. French parents let their babies "cry it out" if they are not sleeping through the night at the age of four months.

French parents, Druckerman observes, love their children just as much as American parents. They give them piano lessons, take them to sports practice, and encourage them to make the most of their talents. But French parents have a different philosophy of disciplinine. Consistently enforced limits, in the French view, make children feel safe and secure. Clear limits, they believe, actually make a child feel happier and safer—something that is congruent with my own experience as both a therapist and a parent. Finally, French parents believe that hearing the word "no" rescues children from the "tyranny of their own desires." And spanking, when used judiciously, is not considered child abuse in France."

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