Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Contemplating the reasons

As I removed the turkey baster from my youngest son’s nose on “one of those days,” it reminded me of God’s sense of humor.
Not even five minutes later, when I was washing a dog treat from that same child’s mouth, a small, still voice reminded me that “everything happens for a reason.”
There’s a reason nothing is getting done today and everybody is at everybody else’s throat.
There’s a reason I have no energy to wash the mounds of laundry and dishes.
There’s a reason my youngest is not the typical easy-going last child.
This list could go on and on — for the positive and the negative moments in my life.
Boy, that’s easy to say sometimes, even easy to believe, especially when all is well. But when your life is feeling out of control — whether it be something temporary like wild kids or something serious like sickness — that reason is hard to swallow.
Still, He says there is one, whether we know it or not. Accept it or not.
Now I know some people find that pregnancy is controversial, but it’s not to me. I believe ALL children are gifts from God, and I know the reason He gave me four was to save my life. Literally.
You couldn’t convince me back then that anything good could/would come out of having our fourth child when our third was just 10-1/2 months old and our first had just turned 4.
How was I going to survive? I didn’t know.
So I worried and dealt with it on my own.
The fourth time around was not and has not been the easiest.
Now that the little ball of fun is just months away from his third birthday, I have a very different perspective on why God chose me to be a mom.
As my faith has grown. I can see how God has used each of them to bring (force) me closer to Him.
Taking into account my understanding of God’s humor (which I have experienced personally), I envisioned Him looking over my life and seeing me trying to control every aspect and facet. I know He wanted me to surrender my life to Him, but I just couldn’t (wouldn’t) give up the control.
“OK, Ginia, now try to control having another baby.” — God said to an unlistening Ginia.
Into our life came baby Bella, only 15 months after our second child.
Still I resisted His urging to draw near to Him. I struggled to remain in control. I was missing something, but I didn’t know what. Angry but I didn’t know why.
God knew when He gave me Masen that it would be the straw that literally broke my back, my pride, my will.
With so many young children with so many needs I couldn’t control, let alone meet, I finally submitted to God’s authority over my life.
Each child in my care right now will live out God’s plan for their lives, but I believe without these children I would not be here.
I would be asleep in my own little world, still frustrated by my lack of control without understanding the reason behind it.
Ten years ago, my destiny (according to me) would not have included children.
I thank God every day that I’m living His will rather than my own.
And His reasons are good enough for me.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Man vs. wild pits Mom vs. kids

The Oehlschlager men have been doing this “go-out-into-the-wild-and-survive” thing a few times now.
They cleverly call it “Man versus Wild.” (Like the popular TV show.)
We girls aren’t invited (not that we would want to go out in the middle of nowhere with no tent and sleeping bag and limited food and water).
So we are left to fend for ourselves and the young’uns at our respective homes.
And this time around was no piece of cake (for me and my brood). Literally, it was my worst parenting weekend since becoming a mom of four.
I can’t pinpoint the reason why, it was just the perfect storm of a significant mood-altering weather change, lack of sleep and the kids missing their Dad.
While my children go to bed earlier than most (tend to rise earlier, too) and are, for the most part, ingrained into a daily schedule, this weekend-palooza sent even our most obedient child into a tailspin.
There was an enormous amount of unbridled, never-ending energy and curiosity from the youngest, fight after fight after fight with the two middles and an emotional roller coaster with my oldest bookend.
And Saturday was the most beautiful day, too. Sorry to say I didn’t enjoy it.
I remember watching the clock tick away. To survive and make it easier to swallow, I mentally broke the days into little segments: breakfast, lunch, nap, bed. Done.
But done took so long to arrive.
And then Sunday finally came.
I woke early (mainly because everybody else did) and went to the kitchen to rustle up something to keep the children’s mouths occupied.
I could barely keep my eyes open. The fuse on my temper had long been burnt through. I was literally a worn out, useless shell of a body. But, Matt was supposed to return before lunch.
“I can make it just a little bit longer.” — Me to myself.
So, I bet you can guess what happened next.
The cattle got out. Of course.
It was like jumper-cables re-electrified the “I-can-do it”-attitude I had long lost amidst the terrible weekend.
“You can do this, you’re a real farmer now,” was the dialogue between my brain and my scrawny muscles as I high-tailed it down the driveway.
I looked ridiculous, but I ran anyway. Cows (money) before beauty (pride).
After fetching some grain, opening a gate to run them through and running back up to the cows, I realized I might be in over my head.
With the amount of attention my weak and pathetic “scow” and a bucket of grain brought, I KNEW I was in too deep.
They started running, so I did too!
While running (literally for my life) toward the open fence, I saw four short-people faces plastered to every open window on the west side of the house, and I realized, this IS probably how I would die.
In giant black Mucks over my neon pink pajama pants with greasy, barely pulled back hair and leftover mascara smudges under my puffy sleep-deprived eyes.
Yep, this would be how my last moments would be played out. A crazy mess till the end.
But at least this crazy mess got the cows back in AND is still alive.
I had a little skip in my step (mainly vibrations from my pounding heart) as I walked back up to the house.
The kids were waiting to congratulate me. (They were all amazed, too.)
I guess when you can successfully corral a few wandering cows, that does make you a real farmer (at least in a pinch).
— As seen in the Lawrence County Record

Another milestone

First off, I wanted to give a shout out to the Man upstairs: THANK YOU FOR THE RAIN!
Along with the much-needed moisture for our pastures, You have also given our home a much-needed boost in morale. Hallelujah!
Now we might just survive this long, dry, hot summer.
Although the liquid gold (rain) has been almost non-existent the last few months, our home has moved full speed ahead.
The Oehlschlager children have continued to grow (unlike our pastures) and have met some pretty major milestones.
Side note: I’ve noticed lately my columns tend to lean toward bathroom topics. I believe this is because the matters we moms deal with on a moment-to-moment basis are, unfortunately and typically, related to some form of bodily secretion. These incidents and milestones therefore do not qualify for dinner time conversation and may be considered improper topics in general.
So, I’m sorry to those who display more elegance and etiquette than I, but I can’t just be quiet about my life. And my life revolves around small people whose pastimes revolve around doing mostly disgusting and very clever activities.
One of those more mainstream activities that we participate in is potty training.
Our final diaper wearer, Masen Timothy, is now nearing the finish line of the potty training race.
We are more than excited about this very monumental milestone in our family.
Since December 2003, we have been purchasing diapers and more diapers and more diapers.
While I trained Nos. 2 and 3 (Rylan and Bella) early, I have been dragging my feet with the baby boy.
Frankly, relatively speaking, it’s easier to have only one in diapers than to have to go through the process of toilet training. I was (and still am) a little burned out.
But, I am a big believer in goals. So at the end of last school year, our family listed and posted our summer goals for each child.
I begrudgingly added “potty training” to our little Mae Mae’s list.
And so the quest began.
As all of mine have, Mae began with enthusiasm (which I lacked). The messy and time-consuming roller coaster of this training process also included the unfortunate spell of his refusing to go.
In my house, small people go to the restroom when I say. Period.
Mae learned quickly that I meant business, and he eventually submitted.
How we train in our house involves M&Ms and an oven timer.
(We don’t use pull-ups until the child is nearly potty trained because it’s confusing to them.)
First thing in the morning, the trainee puts on big boy or girl underwear and tries to use the facilities. If he or she goes, they get to eat one candy.
The timer is set for 15 minutes. Then they MUST try again. If they absolutely have nothing happen, then the timer is reset for 5 minutes. And the process repeats all day long. One candy per toilet success.
We don’t push naptime and nightime until daytime is fully established.
And now Mae is going through the stage (which I’m almost 100 percent certain he learned from his brother) of going wherever he is, toilet or not.
He has also discovered, and I’m sure most innocently participates in, urinating as a form of annoyance to other people.
While I was talking to my grandma about Mae’s toilet success, I caught him (pants down) standing behind an unsuspecting sibling who was relaxing on the floor.
I intercepted his plans before the victim was affected.
This is the messiest, most disgusting and frustating phase of the process, which hopefully is short-lived.
When the day comes that I have to give away all of our stock-piled diapers, I might be sad.
But only for a minute.
— As seen in the Lawrence County Record