This past week has been one full of saying “yes.” I started Toastmasters which is a public speaking group about 5-6 weeks ago and this week was my first time speaking and giving what is called my “icebreaker.” I also started Tae Kwon Do and I started a leadership group through church.
To be honest, I feel under qualified to be involved in most of these things but I said yes anyways to grow and stretch. Right now as I write this, I made it through those 3 new things and I survived and I also feel a little stronger for saying yes and making it through the seemingly scary parts of the week.
For this post, I wanted to share my speech that I gave at Toastmasters.
3 Unexpected Lessons of Parenting
My parenting journey started a little over 7 years ago. My husband and I are blessed to have 2 sons now, Joey who is the 7 year old and Logan who is 4 and a half.
I will never forget the first time we took a walk around our neighborhood after having Joey and being a family of 3. We stopped to talk to a neighbor and he told us a story of when he got divorced and gained full custody of his daughter. He said that he never understood the proverb “It takes a village to raise a child” until after he was divorced and caring for his daughter on his own.
I’ll be honest, my husband and I kinda looked each other with a glance of “we got this parenting thing” and “our kid is so easy.” We felt like we had parenting in the bag.
Then we had our second child.
Logan was born high maintenance. He was born with a small health issue which thankfully turned out to be nothing, but as he grew in his first year, we noticed that there were some problems.
In the first year of life when you attend well checks for your child, the pediatrician is commonly looking for things like gross motor skills, fine motor skills and speech while they are assessing your child.
Just as an example, I will go over some of the gross motor skills that kids typically hit in the first year of life.
– rolls over from front to back and back to front
– sits up
– stands with support
-sits with support
-pulls to a stand
-gets up to a sitting position unassisted
-pulls to a stand
– stands alone
We knew there was a problem at all of these well checks, but at the one year visit, it became more apparent and we needed to take action.
Just prior to a year old, we gave Logan his first ever introduction to dairy. About 20 minutes after ingestion, he broke out in hives around his mouth, vomited and his lips swelled. I took him to the pediatrician immediately and he felt he likely had dairy allergy. He asked that we try yogurt a week later as sometimes kids will be able to tolerate the protein if it is denatured, or broken down. We did and the same thing happened, lip swelling, vomiting and irritability.
We saw his doctor again and he asked us to try eggs. Again, the same thing happened.
We ended up doing some testing and found out he had the egg and dairy allergy but he also had a tree nut allergy.
At this point, Logan was diagnosed with hypotonia, the inability for the muscles to hold normal tension, and failure to thrive because he wasn’t gaining weight.
We needed to assemble our village to help him.
We started seeing 2 physical therapists, one as an outpatient and one that would come to our home, an allergist, a nutritionist, and our pediatrician for monthly weight checks.
This is where the first lesson in parenting comes in.
I didn’t know what was going to happen at this point. I knew hypotonia could be a symptom of something bigger, but I knew in order for Logan to have the best chance to be normal and run and play with his friends, we had to just take action. We kept up with all of the appointments and I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. I had a dream that someday, he would be running with his peers and I wasn’t going to let anyone tell me differently.
Whatever struggle you are going through, just take one small action toward your desired outcome daily. Keep pushing through even when it is hard and you can’t see the other side anywhere in sight.
It was up to us to keep pushing through for Logan so we did. We took one shaky step forward every single day.
During this time, I learned to rely on my faith so much. I read so many books to help me keep a positive mindset. One quote that has stuck with me was from Mark Batterson and it is this “Work like it depends on you and pray like it depends on God” and that is exactly what I did.
I kept praying that I would see Logan run with his friends and be a normal kid.
On his 3rd birthday, he was released from physical therapy, he gained several pounds from his 2nd to 3rd birthday and he was running with his friends in preschool. My prayers had been answered.
When you face struggle, hold on to your faith. I have seen God show up in the hardest places in unexpected ways.
This same child showed me humility in just the last 3 weeks.
We were going about our normal morning routine when Logan asked to cut an index card with kid scissors. He was in the same room with me so I said ok.
About 5 minutes in to cutting the index card, he comes up to me with a V-shape of hair missing in the front of his head.
Panic set in followed by the thoughts “Thank God you didn’t cut yourself” and “what are other parents going to think of me!”
Here is the lesson I learned from that. We won’t always have control over what our kids do but we will have control over our reactions.
Logan cut his hair and we explained to him that a consequence was that we would have to cut his hair very short in order for it to grow out together. Greg took him to the Barber shop later that day and they pretty much had to shave his head.
Logan now walks around telling people what he did followed by “and I will never cut my own hair again!”
We showed him grace with this lesson followed by what the consequence would be for cutting his own hair and in this case, I think he got the lesson. To be honest, we haven’t always been the best with showing grace, but in this case we did and I think he got the lesson.
This lesson is good for anything in life though. We won’t always have control over every situation- every diagnosis, every bad day, every relationship, but we do have control over how we react in those circumstances.
We have control over educating ourselves and making the best decisions that we can. We have control over showing others grace. We have control over a bad day not controlling future days.
I have learned so many lessons from being a parent about life that I didn’t really think I would learn.
I circle back around now to the proverb, “it takes a village to raise a child” and this is a bonus lesson I learned…. Always listen to those who are older and wiser than you:)