She’s Not A Baby Anymore

I am currently sitting in a make-shift tent with Ky, holding her red pumpkin, which in reality is a bouncing ball. Though I am not about to burst her bubble, or oppose her imagination. Nah, I am here for all of it.

All of it.

That is the thing about life, you can’t have the good and excuse yourself from the bad, like some children skip over their veggies. Life is not like a side dish. It is more like a meal cooked in one pot. In the community that I come from this is a common occurrence and it is considered a delicacy. Please note that I am not talking about lasagna or shepherds pie type of one pot dish, that’s a pretty fancy comparison for the rice mixed with protein and veggies dish. But it is nutritious. It may not always look the best, depending on how it is cooked, but you know that it is healthy.

Motherhood has been like a one pot dish for me. There are seasons that I have disliked how it looked and felt. I would envy people with older children. When Ky was little, she struggled with reflux, every regurgitation deflated my hope. It was frustrating, messy and tear jerking. Having to give Ky a bath, then take a shower and change the sheets at mid-night was not the experience I hoped for. The snide comments from nurses regarding her weight gain, or lack thereof, felt like bricks pelting a straw house.

Now I smile as I watch the girls play and sit in their tents. They are always on the move, playing, laughing, chattering and running. I cherish the cuddles and moments when I can draw them in and hug them. I enjoy watching them sleep, and love that they sleep through the night.

In retrospect the mountains and valleys have been worth it. They may not have felt like it as we labored in love, but I have seen God turn things around for our good.

I have learned that it doesn’t have to feel good for me to know that it is working out for my good.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. – Romans 8:28

“No-You-Didn’t”

As a mother, the first six months of a child’s life are the most stressful. It’s not necessarily the child, but the way that the hormonal imbalance makes me perceive things, post-partum blues are real. Colic and reflux seem like the Himalayas at the time, while in retrospect they are more like Ngong hills.

When the hormones balance out, I begin to see the Sun on the horizon, I hear the birds chirping, I feel the stone I kicked stub my toe, I feel the velvety softness of my baby’s touch, I laugh from the depths of my belly, and the extra weight begins to go.

I can see clearly.

Having two little ones with a small age gap, well, small is relative considering it is a two-year difference, can be hard. But, as they grow they become friends, they can play together, they desire to spend time with each other and it is so beautiful to watch.

Until they fight.

And when they fight I become Mama the ref, my titles increase, and I realize that being younger doesn’t necessarily equate to being innocent. The transition from innocence to knowing what is right and wrong, well a little of it, happens overnight. But the coos, giggles, and smiles remain constant, so it is easy to be led to believe that the little one doesn’t know what she is doing, but she does.

Sharing doesn’t come naturally, saying ‘please and thank-you’ is not part of the default settings of a human being, and there lies the work of a parent, repetition, trying to constantly draw them back to where they need to be.

Ky was not ready for the responsibility that comes with knowing right from wrong. So she pushes the boundaries, and when I say ‘No thank-you Ky, please don’t bite your sister,’ she wails, her soft smile turns into a ‘ no-you-didn’t ‘ kinda wail.

She takes offense.

Looking at how she deals with the correction made me reflect on my life as a child of God. Watching how overwhelmed and upset she becomes looks very familiar to me, the stories that I made up when God said ‘No’ suddenly come flooding into my mind. At the time, I didn’t care that He was right, all I wondered is why He would want to hurt me, to hurt my feelings. Yet all He was doing was for me.

As parents, we correct and discipline because we love our children and want the best for them. God is no different, if anything, it is He who set the example that we should follow. My challenge to myself is to be less offended and begin to see the correction from His perspective, after all, it is for me.

The beautiful thing is that in two minutes, Ky forgets that she was upset and even goes to play with her sister. She’ll flash me a two-toothed smile, nod her head and then charge towards Ksena laughing.

Perhaps this is why the Lord desires for us to remain like children, that we will know at the bottom of our hearts that we are loved and that He disciplines us because He loves us.

 

The Waterfall

I put my nose on her head and took a deep breath, my lips curled into a smile as I took in a scent. The memories of our first weeks together flooded my memory, I cradled her in my arms as I thought about how little she was when she was born. “Esther, you have a baby girl. 3.2kgs” Daktari said as the tears cleansed my cheeks, they washed away the anxiety that I had been carrying around. Being pregnant was one miracle, a safe delivery for both mummy and baby was the other miracle.

That tear jerking moment was the first of many in our journey of getting to know each other. Our first few weeks were filled with awe of the Most High and sheer frustration, getting Ky to burp felt like squeezing toothpaste out of an empty tube, I rubbed the top of her back and the tail of the spine, sometimes I got a tiny burp other times there was nothing.

God forbid she did a proper burp, a waterfall of her milk followed, it drenched her clothes, my PJs, the sheets but it gave her relief. She would smile, and it would sort of melt the frustration away, that was until she got frustrated by my not-so-full boob that was the source of her milk. Night feeds were long, feeding every three hours was hectic and the reflux was discouraging.

As I carried her and enjoyed carrying a still version of her I realized that blessings don’t exempt you from struggles. When they come it’s good to remember that they won’t last forever. Now all I have are memories, we’ve outgrown the reflux and we are onto other struggles.

John 16:33 Amplified Bible (AMP)

33 I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace. In the world, you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.]

Suffering, distress, and tribulation come in different shapes and sizes but God’s peace and courage remain readily available.