Sunday, December 11, 2011

It Takes All the Fruits

One of my favorite Bible verses is Galatians 5:22..."The fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control." (Raise your hand if you know the VBS song for this verse.)

I think about these a lot as a Christian and try to live my life with each one in mind, but as a new mother I have realized that it truly takes all the fruits.

Let me preface this post by saying, I am in love with Quinn. I can't imagine our life without her and I know I will grow to love her more and more each day. I love the moments when she makes her funny faces, looks me in the eye, stretches her neck and opens her mouth like a little hungry bird and kicks her legs and waves her arms. But, I also think it's only fair to talk a little about the frustrating mommy moments too. Quinn has had some reflux, so it's been especially difficult and I am finding that I have to rely on the fruits of the Spirit (and my faith) to get through a lot of the struggles.

This one is obvious. I am IN LOVE with Quinn and there is no doubt that I would do anything in the world for her. It's funny to tell a little person who has no concept of language how much you love her, but I think that's important and I won't stop. My love for Jeremy has also grown. It's so amazing to see him as a father, and work with him as a team to figure this whole parenting thing out.

I relish in every happy moment I have with Quinn. Like I said, she has had some reflux, so those happy moments don't come as often, but I love them. I love seeing her happy and it brings such joy to my heart. There is also a lot of joy in knowing I can comfort her and she knows I am her Mama. I can't wait for her to become more alert and interactive with smiles and coos...that will melt my heart!

In the first few days home from the hospital, I was an emotional/hormonal basket case. I cried a lot (sometimes I didn't even know why) and I had all these crazy irrational fears. I worried that someone (myself included) was going to drop Quinn down the stairs or over the banister. I was scared someone wanted to come kidnap Quinn. I even had a fear of stepping on her if she was on the ground. Like I said...crazy and irrational. I prayed for a lot of peace during that time and still do. I have no doubt that as Quinn gets older, there will be a lot of situations that I have no control over. I have a feeling I am going to need a lot of peace over the years and I need to rely on the Lord to give that to me because there isn't anything in this world that can bring it like He can.

Oh my I ever need patience. I think it's funny how it always works out that Jeremy and I are impatient at different times so we can help each other. If we were both impatient at the same time (which I am sure will happen eventually) it would be a lot harder. Lately, we have been letting Quinn "cry it out." Our pediatrician gave us instructions on how to do this so that she will start to self-soothe and sleep longer during the night. When she is 11lbs. she should be able to go the whole night w/out eating. This takes patience like I have never had. We are supposed to wait 15 minutes before we go soothe her and then if she wakes up and cries again, we have to wait 25 minutes. hard and I have to be so patient.

Breastfeeding required A LOT of patience as well. I had to keep reminding myself that Quinn and I were both learning and that it doesn't come naturally like a lot of people think. She lost a pound at the hospital so I was having to supplement her feedings so she could get back to her birth weight. I cried a lot. Quinn cried a lot. I think the most frustrating thing was the little contraption that we got from the lactation consultant. (Picture below.) Basically, that tiny tube is taped to my breast so she can get milk from that and my breast at the same time. Imagine having to teach an infant how to latch on while also trying to aim that dumb tube in her mouth. There were so many times I just wanted to say screw it and start her on formula (which is not a bad thing), but somehow we both made it to her birth weight and it has been so much better ever since then.

One more on patience: getting her to sleep. I have decided that Quinn is an insomniac. Well, I shouldn't say that because she sleeps well at night (once she gets to sleep she will go five or six hours). She just does not like going to sleep at any time of the day, and her daytime naps are not long. I get excited if I get to eat and shower while she takes a 30 minute nap. I read somewhere that it takes a baby 20 minutes to get to sleep and get through the cycles it takes to get there (the doze-off, dream smiles, startling, etc.). That's a long time sometimes when she has been breastfeeding, burping, playing a little bit and then tired and fussy. There are so many times when I have to pray for patience while we are trying to get her down because it can take an hour sometimes. It's also been harder since we are trying to put her in her bed drowsy instead of completely asleep. We put her down, and many times her eyes pop open like a little toy doll and we have to start the process all over again. Patience...the hardest fruit to have.

I think this one mostly relates to how I treat Jeremy and even the dogs. When I'm tired and Quinn is fussy and I haven't eaten it gets a little harder to be kind. For some reason I think humans have a need to vent or even blame someone when things aren't going their way. In a husband/wife relationship, that can happen a lot. I haven't done or said anything mean, I think there are just times when I don't feel particularly kind. This is a fruit I need to work on and make an effort to speak kind words or even just stop and give Jeremy a big hug. The dogs are getting the brunt of it too. They tend to always be in the way (I told Jeremy that Lexi is like a nosy old lady) and I am tripping over them or they are barking right when Quinn gets to sleep. Ella is also taking advantage of our lack of attention by digging in the trashcan while we aren't looking. I need to think about their perspective and how this little baby has moved in on their life. I need to pray for a little more kindness toward them since they were my babies before Q came along. Ella still needs her cuddle time.

Not really sure how this one relates to parenting except maybe in the way we teach Q. I hope that she will learn from our actions and words how to be a good person and care about others.

Jeremy has told me several times lately (when we have to let her cry it out) to have more faith in Quinn because she will get it soon. He's right, I do. I also need to have more faith in knowing God gave us what we need to be good parents. I need to have more faith in myself as a Mother and trust the natural instincts I have been given.

Being gentle with a baby seems obvious, right? I am very gentle with Quinn, but sometimes when she's super fussy and I am trying to change her diaper and get her swaddled quickly, gentleness goes out the window. I turn into a "get-it-done" kind of Mom and forget that she's a baby and she doesn't have a schedule and doesn't care what time it is. I want to always be gentle with her in my touch and my words, even as she gets older.

This fruit goes along with a lot of the other fruits. I think it takes self-control to continually be "fruitful" and not get tired of striving for these characteristics as a parent. I think it has a lot to do with integrity and knowing that you want the best for your child and the whole family. On a side note, I am sure this fruit will come in handy when I start seriously trying to lose baby weight. Burning 500 calories a day breastfeeding is nice, but I have to stop eating like when I was pregnant...I am just so hungry all the time! :) Self Control.

...and here's a photo of Quinn just because she's so dang cute. I am pretty sure she was pooping here.