Sanity Saving Tips for Growth Spurts

Sanity Saving Tips for Growth Spurts

Our little boy turned 8½ months this week! He’s growing like a weed, in size and in ability. He’s crawling everywhere, pulling himself up on furniture, opening drawers, and playing with vents. I’m finding that I have to scramble to stay ahead of him!

At first, his growth spurt made everything seem suddenly off-kilter. My routines didn’t work anymore, and it suddenly seemed like I was playing catch-up. One day everything was normal, and the next felt like chaos.

Honestly, it took me a while to adjust. I liked the way things had been working, and having them change was hard. But our wonderful little boy was growing up, and now…. Mommy had to “grow” a bit too.

Below are just a few things I’ve learned in this growth spurt. I hope they’re helpful!

 

  1. Do a Heart Check.

This one hurt a bit. You know those moments when you feel frustrated and impatient and put out because things just aren’t going the way you wanted them to? That’s what I was dealing with. There were times when I’d have something I wanted to do, and our dear little boy just wouldn’t cooperate. Circumstances would get in the way of the things on my agenda, like doing the dishes, or reorganizing a cupboard or reading a magazine. Pretty soon our little boy is “into” something again, and I’m frustrated and impatient at having been interrupted again.

I had to take a step back and reassess. Why am I responding in frustration? Where is this impatience coming from? In the end, my heart was in the wrong place. I was valuing my agenda before my son and his needs. I was responding sinfully because my priorities were out of whack. That’s an idol.

Sorry for the personal questions, but what about you? Are there times when you are responding in frustration, impatience, or anger? What does that say about your heart?

  1. Hit the Refresh Button.

I love the time that I spend with God in the mornings. I’ve committed to waking up a little earlier than I really need to so that I can spend quality time with Him. I read the Bible, take notes, pray, and tell my husband about things that I’ve learned. If you’re a Christian, you’ll know what I mean when I say I’m able to start my day with a fresh attitude of joy because of something that God has taught me in the Bible that morning.

I’ve found that there are sometimes during the day that I just need a few minutes to sit down and refresh too. Mostly it happens during Baby’s nap. Just a couple minutes in God’s Word can help me reclaim my attitude of joy. Baby and I both have a better afternoon when I’ve taken a little time to “refresh.”

  1. Take Time to Play.

Now that my heart attitude has been set and reset, I’m ready to interact with Baby. 🙂 We share space all the time, but it’s really important to prioritize time when Baby has my absolute full attention too. I try to start the day off with at least fifteen minutes of “Baby time.” I sing songs with him, tell stories, build with blocks, and play farm. Baby might be getting more independent, but he does still need that Mommy playtime. It gives us a great start to the day, and he’s better able to play independently later.

  1. Build Play Safe Zones.

Baby is pretty good at playing independently, but I’ve had to brainstorm ways to help him play safely while I’m working around the house. Building those safe zones takes a little creativity, but it’s still really easy!

Walker – I like to walk around the house and tidy up in the mornings, and Baby’s walker works well for this routine. We’ll move from room to room together while I do some general cleaning. It works well because I can keep my eye on him, and he enjoys getting to stretch his legs and bounce around. (Our advantage in this one is we don’t have stairs that he can get to. You might need to do some more brainstorming if your stairs are Baby-accessible.)

High Chair – Baby is at a stage where he can feed himself Cheerios and bananas and things, so the high chair works well for kitchen work. I’ll give him some finger food to play with, and that usually keeps him entertained for the time I need to get things done.

Play Fort – This one is a lot of fun! We spend a lot of time playing in our living room, but there are some spaces there (like our fireplace) that are not Baby-safe. Solution: Barricade! I used blankets, a piano bench, and a quilt rack to create a safe space for Baby to play. Now I can walk out of the room for a few moments and know that Baby is playing safely.

  1. Go with the Flow.

I’ve also had to practice “going with the flow” with this growth spurt. With his abilities expanding and our routines changing, my flexibility has become really important. It’s a little harder to predict what his needs are, so there are some times when I might be in the middle of making supper and he’ll my full attention. Thankfully my husband is wonderfully understanding. He knows that I can’t do two things at once, and he’d rather I meet Baby’s needs first, even if it means his supper is fifteen minutes late. 🙂

  1. Be the Parent.

I’m finding that I need to say “no” more as Baby becomes more mobile. As parents, we do want our kids to be happy, but that doesn’t always mean we should give them what they want. We know what is good for them better than they do, and there are times when we need to exercise our authority. Baby loves ping pong balls, electrical cords, and our living room fireplace, but that doesn’t mean that I’m going to give them to him! He doesn’t know that ping pong balls are not for eating, or that electrical cords are dangerous. He needs me to keep him safe – that’s my job as his mommy. So don’t be afraid to tell him no!

What are your tricks for keeping your kiddos corralled? I’d love to hear about them!

~ Erin

How to Thrive in Chaos

How to Thrive in Chaos

“There is only one thing in my entire life that must be organized…if organization and order can still be found in my attitude, we are doing well. But if my attitude falters, even in the midst of external order, so does everything else.”

– Rachel Jankovic, Loving the Little Years

Yesterday morning was crazy. Our little boy was fussy and managed to spit up through his nose before his nap. (I know. Gross.) It took a while to calm him down, because I can’t kiss it better if it’s on the inside. After his nap, he toppled a small table stand, breaking a snow globe and a glass vase of artificial flowers. (Picture glass and water everywhere with Baby looking at you like, that was a big noise…) Later, he managed to close his fingers in a drawer to our coffee table. That wasn’t a very pleasant experience either.

None of these particular events were on my agenda for the day. Things like folding cloth diapers and cleaning house were on my list, not mopping up broken snow globes.

As crazy as the morning sounds though, I wasn’t feeling overwhelmed. I honestly didn’t even think about all the crazy things that were adding up until after the fact. Life happens, babies bounce back, spills mop up, and we move on.

Rachel Jankovic https://www.feminagirls.com/about/ is a mother of seven children (including one set of twins!), and she is the author of Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches, a book full of real life and practical wisdom when it comes to parenting.  (If you haven’t heard of this book, you can learn more about it here https://www.feminagirls.com/books/. I would recommend reading it!)

Rachel’s premise is that it is possible for us to stay joyful in the midst of chaos if only we can keep our perspective. If we can look at our broken snow globe and think, Well, I’ve always wanted to know what was on the inside of those, and if we can look past Baby’s fussiness and be thankful that he is strong and healthy.

I’ll be completely honest – I can’t keep my perspective on my own. I might really want to. I might even manage for a while. But I’m too selfish to not mind when life’s craziness interferes with my agenda. I need help maintaining the kind of attitude that Rachel talks about. If you are a Christian, you know that help comes from God.

For example: Yesterday morning, before Andrew was up, I was struck by King David’s dilemma. He grew up the son of a shepherd. His training took place in the fields and consisted of protecting and providing food for the flock. Now he finds himself making decisions for a nation – making laws, executing justice, and defending borders.

David realizes that this governing thing is too great for him. He doesn’t feel qualified for the task. So he delights in the fact that God will help him! In fact, he has joy in the face of his enemies because God is with him. Take a look!

“For you make him [the king] most blessed forever; you make him glad with the joy of your presence. For the king trusts in the LORD, and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved.”   – Psalm 21:6-7

Forgive me if I gush a little. Isn’t that amazing? It’s possible to have joy in the midst of the chaos! I know I don’t have the wisdom or the strength to raise Andrew. I am out of my league with this mommy-ing thing. But I know that as a Christian, God is with me! What strength can compare with God’s strength? What wisdom can compare with God’s wisdom? Whose presence is more precious than God’s presence?

Who would we rather be trusting in?

The steadfast love of the Most High God strengthens our hands for the chaos. He is with us in the “thick of it.” He will not let us be shaken as we trust in Him.

Okay, maybe I gushed a bit more than a little. But God is worth it, right? 🙂 The fresh perspective that He gave me yesterday morning filled me with joy and strengthened me for the chaos for the day. And I will praise God for that!

What do you think? How has God helped you keep perspective in the midst of the chaos? I would love to hear about it!

~ Erin