Every fall I want to share this….and every fall I make my way through the poem again, look at pictures, cry, and put it all away until next fall. Then I repeat the cycle.
Until this fall. Seventeen years ago today we lost our last child, a little girl we named Carly Grace at twenty-one weeks gestation during an intrauterine blood transfusion. The details are in the free verse poem that I wrote seventeen years ago this winter.
I don’t have answers for mamas who are grieving such devastating losses. But I do know this…writing this poem, reading it over and over through the years, talking about Carly with family and friends (especially our children), and thinking about her really have helped me.
So if you are suffering a current loss or a loss from long ago, don’t be afraid to share it. Don’t be afraid to talk. Don’t be afraid to tell that it hurts like mad. Because it does.
In addition to talking to our babies and toddlers in the mornings, My husband also communicated with our toddlers and preschoolers at night through what we called “Malachi Time.”
“He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers; or else I will come and strike the land with a curse.” (NIV) Malachi 4:6
Based on the verse in Malachi about “turning the hearts of the fathers to the children and the children to the fathers,” Ray would tuck each child (age two or so and above) in their beds and talk to them.
We are the most balanced baby people I know! No extremes here of nursing a child on demand until age three —or of putting a baby on a four hour eating schedule while he’s still in the hospital at two days old! Somewhere between those extremes is an amazing way to parent babies and toddlers in which everybody (baby, parents, and siblings) enjoy each other and fall into a comfortable family rhythm that does not over-emphasize one child’s “wants” over another. And one in which wants and needs are differentiated and met as is appropriate. This is certainly not an article about baby and toddler training (check out our blog for more on that!); however, our parenting of our babies really did have something to do with the deep, communicative relationships that we developed with our children.
In this episode, Donna Reish, author of the “Raising Kids With Character” parenting seminar and fifty curriculum books for homeschools and Christian schools, answers parents’ questions about toddlers. This is a follow up to Donna’s “What to Do With a Wonderful One Year Old” episode. In this episode, Donna gives you two tests to consider in dealing with problems with fifteen to thirty-six month old toddlers-one test for you (the car seat test) and one test for your toddler (the high five test). Donna also tackles many toddler behaviors that you want to stop, including slapping, hitting his head on the floor or crib, saying no, throwing food, getting into things, throwing fits, not coming when called, and not eating/getting enough “real” food. (For information about Character Ink’s seminar terminology and phrases, listen to this podcast episode. For more about toddlers, listen to this podcast episode.)