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Raising Turner in church

This is why Turner growing up in church is important to me… I know this topic may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but its mine, and this is my blog 🙂

When I was growing up, my parents went through stages with religion. There were years we never darkened the door of any church, then there were years we never missed a Sunday morning service, Sunday night worship, Wednesday night bible study or Thursday night choir practice. There were even years when my parents were the youth leaders in our church. I am sure reasons can be attributed to varying trends in their lives, or their overwhelming abilities to get bored with just about everything from parenting techniques to career choices.

Regardless, I would say that I grew up in a religious home. Even if we weren’t physically in a church, we were raised with the ideals and backings of the Bible. I think that upbringing has had a huge impact on who I am today. I would consider the denomination I was raised in would be Southern Baptist, and today would consider my church, Grace Community Church, a contemporary baptist.

Andrew also grew up in a baptist church. As I would assume most boys do, college made him too cool to go to church with his momma and even as an adult, he would elect to watch football then go to church. But his momma raised him right, and even though his Sundays for the last couple of years mostly consisted of football and not church services, I would consider Andrew a religious person (what does that even mean).

A couple years back, after “losing my way” in college, I got back into church. I started going to Grace Community where the rest of my family goes. I love my church so much. My church is the type of church that is specifically designed for people who think they do not fit in other churches. From blue jeans, to electric guitars to a buffet of morning snacks on the side, my church couldn’t be less eccentric. We are very much a “come as you are” kind of place, which is my kind of place. Even if I were to roll out of bed in my pjs without taking a brush to my hair, I know I could walk through the doors of my church and instead of judgmental stares and whispers, my church family would come right up to me, give me a hug and go on about as if its normal. Because it is at Grace. Grace welcomes the masses and believes it doesn’t matter how you get there, just as long as you come. I love it. Its home.

Turner is the youngest little guy in our church at four-months, and without offending anyone, the oldest is…. well really old. We have all ages and walks of life. It is important for Turner to grow up in such a place. To have that sense of community. Not just that, but to have an entire congregation of role models to look up to.

I love my church so much, and respect it as much as I do, that my pastor, Rich Peoples and his wife Renee, are Turner’s Godparents. Andrew and I discussed it in depth before making the decision to ask Rich and Renee to take on the responsibility. By definition, a godparent is responsible for the religious education of the child, and honestly, I couldn’t think of too better people than Rich and Renee.

Rich, although a bit dry at times and his background in the Navy shines through and you see his serious side, is without a doubt the smartest man I have ever met. Not just when it comes to conversations pertaining to religion, although he has never not been able to answer any of me religious questions, but just in everything. Rich typically always knows the answer. An Engineer by trade, Rich is wired to be smart. He is not the type of pastor that spends his entire life in a pulpit, but I really think the life experiences that Rich as seen through his world travels and his continuing education has allowed him to bridge the gap between religion on the rest of the world. He practices what he preaches and doesn’t have a false sense of reality when it comes to his role in God’s plan and his role in the lives of the church members. Rich will be the first to admit he has insane road rage and just as each of us, admits he is by no means perfect. I don’t know about anyone else, but Rich is the first pastor, and I have had MANY, that doesn’t try to put on the “holier-than-thou” attitude. He is a real person. An incredibly intelligent and genuine person and an amazing leader in our church.

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Renee and Turner after I had him in the hospital.

Renee only complements Rich. She is a school teacher and on top of being an amazing role model in Turner’s religious education, I am confident that she will be an important part in Turner’s overall education. She is always the first person to step up and help anyone. I cannot even begin to consider the ways she has helped people I know. If it wasn’t for Rich and Renee, there is no way getting through the death of my dad would have gone the way it did. While it wasn’t easy, the helped my entire family tremendously. They were at the hospital day in and day out and were ready and willing to help any of us in any way. They are far more than my church family, they are family, they are friends. Renee loves Turner as if he is her own. Every Sunday or Wednesday at church she swoops him up and showers him with love. I am pretty protective and cautious when it comes to who can watch Turner, but never for a second have I hesitated about her keeping him. In a perfect world, I wish she would retire all ready and be his Nanny (that will never happen, she is probably one of the greatest teachers I have ever met).

I know that these two people, and my entire church will be positive influences on not just Turner, but on me. It is so important to me for Turner to grow up in church and to have that sense of belonging and comfort.

Don’t get me wrong, its not that I think church people are better than those who do not attend church or attend church somewhere else. My church is made up of people who are married and divorced, who have children and who don’t, who support gay marriage who don’t, who may fight with an addiction and who don’t, who work and who don’t, it doesn’t matter because at Grace, regardless of circumstance or opinions, you are welcomed and accepted because that is what the Bible says to do. Andrew and I are not married, and yes we have a child. And instead of shunning us, my pastor is my son’s Godparent. Because while he does not support that lifestyle and while he and I both can agree the Bible does not condone it, it is a part of life and I am still God’s child and he loves me regardless of my sins and shortcomings. It is not our place to judge anyone, the Bible is very specific on that matter. We are to love everyone, judge no one, and regardless of the person, work to lead the to God. That is why I love my church. That is what I want Turner to see and experience.

I love my church and I love my church family. This Sunday is our Church’s anniversary and we are going to have a catered meal. Free food is always an excellent day to decide to try out a new church. So if you want, come join us, I sure would love to have you there!

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Turner’s self-inflicted wounds

I fully understand that as a little boy, there are things that are going to happen to Turner is entire life. He is going to have scraped knees, bruises and cuts, many of which I will not be able to explain and will have no idea when or how they happened. If I had it my way, I would put him in a plastic bubble. He would never be able to play sports, or go outside for that matter. I would keep him with me at all times, safe and sound.

If you were to look at Turner yesterday, it would look like he got attached by a baby cat, and I would have no one to blame but myself. Turner’s fingernails grow at lightening speed. They are no longer the soft little nails that he has as a newborn, they are hard cause some serious damage, which is evident on his face this morning.

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I have had family members tell me that fingernails need to be cut, and I will not let them do it, because as his mother, I want to do that. The idea bothers me even when I am doing it because he lacks the ability to sit still, so it makes me feel better if I am the one to take care of his grooming. 

Well, yesterday had made about four days I had gone without clipping them. When I took him to the doctor, I didn’t get him out of his carseat quick enough for his liking and he started to pitch a fit. On his right hand, his middle finger was chipped and the corner was too sharp and he scratched himself a couple of times on the face. I of course felt like the worst mother in the universe because he had little scratches, so I immediately bit off the problem nail.

 As soon as I got him, I clipped all of his nails and have now decided to make it a daily routine to avoid future problems. I mean I want to avoid strangers seeing my babe in public and thinking that someone was not caring for him properly and let something horrible and tragic happen to him.

 I know things like this are unavoidable, but as a mother, I feel terrible not being able to shield him from it. I know I cannot go screaming and crying and having a panic attack every time he gets some sort of boo-boo. I also have accepted that fact that a lot of times, a family member or friend will be the one responsible for Turner, and on their watch something may happen, and it is no more their fault that it would be mine. Accidents and boo-boos happen.

Probably shouldn’t admit it, but my younger sister’s daughter has taken more than one tumble down the stairs when I or someone else was looking at her and no more than a couple feet a way. But kids will be kids.

 Luckily, the scratchers were hardly noticeable this morning, so the marks of my failed mothering abilities are no longer visible to the masses.  

 

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To daycare or not to daycare?

Had to rush Turner to the doctor today. My younger sister was watching him at work and she called saying he had been throwing up, not spitting up, but throwing up and been really fussy. So I of course, rushed to get my work down and drove and immediately took him to the doctor. Between my OCD and my clinically diagnosed anxiety, things like this really throw me for a loop. I have a very strict Tuesday schedule for the newspaper. Little things like extra phone calls send me a straight panic, so the fact that my typically controlled, organized and strategically planned day was every but, made for a bad time.  Maybe I didn’t need to, maybe I am being a little bit crazy, but I blame it on being a new mom.

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Last night Turner decided he wanted to get up at 3 a.m. to start his day, so we did. So needless to say, I came into today already exhausted. My other writer at work in on vacay for his honeymoon, so I am extra slammed, as Tuesdays are already my busy day at the paper. Just a recipe for disaster. So on top of that, Turner is a little sick. He had a slight fever and some grumbles in his stomach so the doctor gave him prilosec and told us to come back in a week for a check up.

Days like today make me reconsider the no daycare/nanny option Andrew and I decided on. I mean, I wouldn’t trade giving up my two days a week with him for anything. It is by far the highlight of my week. If I could have it my way, I would stay at home and keep him full-time. But that is just not an option.

But with my little sister freaking out and rushing to get him, then having to go back to work, but still having Turner, it was a rush to find someone to keep him so Andrew and I could finish out our work days. Luckily, Andrew’s mom came to the rescue, but I know she will not always be able to do that.

So what do you all think of childcare? I would like private in-home option for now. A retired teacher type. I do not like the idea of a mass daycare with tons of kids running around, not ever if I can help it, but certainly not with Turner only being almost 4 months old. How do you find a balance? How do you find good options?

Where we live, statistically, there is only childcare options for 50 percent of the children here. There is already a shortage, and on top of that, I would ideally like to find something part time so I can still have my days with Turner. Any suggestions? Pros and cons?

I am at a loss here really. Its frustrating, and sad. I wish I could go back to the 50s when it was acceptable and even expected for women to stay at home and be the housewife. I would make an amazing housewife… but then I would have to give up the third love of my life… my job. Such grownup, stressful decisions.

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Turner has officially picked sides….and I lost!

Turner will be four months old on the 30th and he has already picked out his favorite parent…. and it aint me! Now, I may sound a little bitter about this, but I am not. I am actually really happy. This weekend it was very obvious that Turner had picked his favorite parent. The absolute admiration and obsession he has with his dad is heartwarming.

Andrew travels a lot for work. He just got back from a two week trip up north and out in California, so Andrew and I both were worried that Turner would be impacted by Andrew being gone so much. And boy let me tell you, he was impacted… he proved that absence makes the heart grow fonder! All weekend long, anywhere Andrew went in the house or anywhere, Turner about broke his neck to find him. And if Andrew would just look in Turner’s general direction Turner would smile and just not stop. It was pure infatuation. If I was holding Turner and talking to him, he would about break his neck to turn and find his dad. It was like I was invisible! When Andrew was holding Turner, Turner would glance at me and shoot me a smile, then immediately look back at his dad with the sweetest adoring glare.

Throughout the night, I am very careful to more and disturb Turner as little as possible, so when he does wake up for a feeding, he is still half asleep because it makes it so much easier to get him back to sleep. About every night Turner wakes up every hour or hour and a half. I feed him and do whatever else it takes to get him back to sleep. He wakes up around 6 in the morning and typically I can get him to go back to sleep at least until the sun comes up a little after 7 am. Well not this morning. Andrew happened to wake up with us this morning and the second Turner laid eyes on his dad…. it was instant romper room in our house. Turner was half asleep as I was giving him his bottle, then Andrew came into Turner’s vision, his eyes got bright eyed and he began to smile, and it was time to wake up for the day. He wanted play time with his dad. Andrew got up with him, played with him for a bit then rocked him back to sleep for about another hour. But just to see the pure joy and happiness that comes across Turner’s face when he sees his dad, is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.

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I don’t blame Turner one bit either. Andrew is such an incredible father. Don’t get me wrong, I never had any doubts, but just too see Andrew every day with Turner, I fall in love with both of them over and over again. When Andrew is home, I do not change a single diaper. Not because I refuse, but as soon as it needs to be done, Andrew grabs him up and does it, I don’t even have to ask him. He always volunteers for bath time or to rock Turner when he is being fussy. And when he isn’t doing that, he takes care of the dogs when I forget and will wash the dishes or Turner’s laundry before I even realize it needs to be done. He is a Godsend. I couldn’t have hoped for anything better. I have hit the jackpot with Andrew. He is the most incredible father, friend, partner, and every other roll he takes on. No wonder Turner picked him as his favorite, he is my favorite too!

This weekend was a weekend of firsts for us. Turner went to his first wedding, and completely stole the show in his baby tie and vest. I have always said that girl clothing is more fun and so much cuter than boys, but this weekend Turner was styling! Between a wedding shower we went to on Friday for a friend and then the wedding for other friends on Saturday, Turner was basically a baby model. I know I am biased, because obviously I think my son is the bees knees, but I don’t think many others would deny how perfect he is either.

We got to see Turner roll over for the first time this weekend. By roll over I mean all the way from flat on his back to flat on his belly. He has rolled from his belly to his back for a while now, and has been able to roll from his back to all the way over other than an arm too, but this weekend, he was on his play mat and one second he was on his back and the next was full on tummy time. It took him a few times to really get the hang of it, but now he goes back and forth and loves it!

Another first this weekend is my favorite to date. Turner laughed! I mean full on chuckled and didn’t stop for a solid 15 minutes. In the past, when he has smiled he lets out a little puff of air that kind of sounds like a laugh, but yesterday, out of no where, I was playing peek-a-boo with him and he just started laughing like it was the funniest thing he had ever done. I was in tears. There is nothing sweeter than the sound of a baby’s laugh. I just could hardly handle the cuteness and perfection of that sound and the look on his face. It was the most beautiful, perfect sound I have ever heard. Even better than his first cry right after delivery. He laughed for a good 15 minutes, then I couldn’t get him to do it anymore, but for that short time, I have never been happier!

Another first for Turner, the Atlanta Braves clinched the NL East Division, the first time since 2005. Andrew and I are pretty significant Braves fans… I mean our son’s name is Turner… so we of course had to celebrate Turner’s first Braves Championship!

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Exhaustion and Ruby’s first babysitting job

I hate I didn’t get to post yesterday, on top of writing the whole newspaper, I am helping a friend write some stuff while she has been sick and I had a meeting, so I was kind of swamped.

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I am beyond exhausted. Andrew has been out of town traveling for work for the last week and a half. On top of working full time and being Turner’s personal assistant, making sure he is where he needs to be with whoever is babysitting him for the day, I am doing it on no sleep.

 Turner will be four months on September 30, and he has yet to discover the glorious wonder that is sleep. He sleeps maybe seven hours a day. Starting around 10 p.m. each night, he goes to sleep but wakes up at hour to hour and half intervals all night long. Last night between 12:30 and 3:30 we were up three times. When he gets up it is a dance to get him back to sleep too. I feed him, then sit him up, burp him, rock him and then pray when I lay him back down, he goes back to sleep. So each time he wakes up, it is at least a 30 min process before he goes back to sleep. For Turner’s entire life I have been holding him to go to sleep. I know co-sleeping is a no-no, but its the only thing that will work. So for the last three and a half months Turner and I have been sleeping on the couch co-sleeping. Well, lately I have been trying to still sleep with Turner, but work on sleeping beside him instead of actually holding him. This is the first step in getting him to sleep alone in my opinion.

Well Turner is just not having it. He will kick and turn and whimper until I hold him. Turner and I have stayed with my sister Ruby the last two nights while Andrew has been out of town. Well last night a little before 11 p.m., Ruby looks at me and asks, “Why is he still awake?” Well, that is an excellent question. Warm bottles, rocking, noise machines, him not sleeping all day long, none of it amounts to much at night. He sleeps when he wants, and well, he doesn’t want to often.

 I can get him to sleep sometimes after a car ride. That is when he sleeps the longest. And what has been even more awful as of late, he refuses to take a pacifier. Ever since he had the bit of Thrush, he has refused to take one, so when he is fussy or tired, there is just no solution. Last night, he took his paci for the longest he had in about a month, and it was incredible. Helped him sleep through dinner, thank goodness!

He will take cat naps during the day, and maybe he sleeps when other people watch him Monday through Wednesday while I work, but when I am around him, he wants to smile and play and never ever sleep. Due to the sleep deprivation, I think I may be going a bit crazy.

So Ruby, you know, my older sister who says she reads my blog now, kept Turner for the first time yesterday. My mom, who typically watches Turner on Tuesday’s is at the beach this week. So Ruby volunteered, and I am grateful that she did. With that being said, babies are not exactly her cup of tea. Ruby works a lot. As a photographer, even if she doesn’t have a session to photograph, she spends her days editing her fingers off. So watching a baby, who wants nothing more than to be held and talked to constantly, and certainly doesn’t want to sleep for more than 20 minutes at a time, is not ideal for her.

When I called to check up on her yesterday, she informed me that Turner was just always crying. She would put him in his various toys and he would be ok for a minute, but then would cry. Well, that is true, because I have spoiled him and instead of letting him be more independent, I hold him and play with him and never let him cry about anything for more than 30 seconds.

Needless to say, after Ruby’s first real alone time with Turner, I don’t think we will be volunteering to watch him anymore.  

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Lets talk about it

Since last Wednesday, plenty has happened. So this blog is going to be pretty scattered and cover several topics, so just bear with me.

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First off, let me say that I write this blog because the two things I love most in life are Turner, and writing, so if I can combine the two, I am going to. The topics I decide to cover are ones that matter to me as a mother and ones that are either therapeutic for me to write about, or topics I think would be helpful to other mothers. No one has to read this blog, and no one certainly has to subscribe to it. If you do not like what I write, how I write, or why I write, then don’t read it. But please, have enough respect for me to not read my blog with the intent of bad mouthing it later on.

Second, I have never apologized for who I am. I will be the very first person to admit that I am NOT everyone’s cup of tea. I have an extremely strong personality which has most often times resulted in people loving me or hating me, either way that is your choice. Even in grade school my teachers referred to me as things such as sassafras because of my… colorful personality. Regardless of what your opinion may be of me, I am not going to apologize. I am exactly as God has intended. I am who I am today because of years of blood, sweat and hard-working tears, and I see absolutely no reason to apologize or change that for anyone.

I am proud of who I am. I am proud that I have such strong conviction and solid morals and opinions. Never once in my life have I changed who I am to please someone else. If I did that, I would be a coward, I would have no dignity or self-respect. I expect to rub people the wrong way at times, and regardless of someone’s opinion of me for whatever reason, I still respect them, because it is their right to form that opinion. All I ask for is a little respect in return. Be honest with me. Be upfront with me, I think that is the least people can offer, the least amount of human decency. Just take a second and look in a mirror. Consider your own actions.

So there is that. Deep Breath. Now on to Turner…. this weekend we took Turner to his first football game. I for one detest football. Well, I love to play it, and I love the atmosphere of attending a game, I just cannot take watching it on TV (which we did all day Sunday). Turner is just so well-behaved and can sit content for the longest time. I am so happy that he can be entertained fully and allow Andrew and I to do things like we did Saturday. We took him to the first home game of the college Andrew and I both went to, Western Carolina University. WCU is not much for athletics, but the game and being there as a family made for a nice little Saturday. I was even able to do some “baby wearing.”

I also took Turner to the fair with my family last week. Turner got to ride a pony and the carousel. I can never get enough family time. Ever since my dad passed away in April, time with my family is invaluable. My family has always been really close, the type that talks daily, but since dad passed away it just means more. We want to make sure we do things as a family, make sure we make memories. My dad was randomly diagnosed with cancer one day, given 4-6 months to live, then 2 weeks later passed away. Things like that can happen at any moment, so now more than ever my family understands the importance of being together. We do not always get along, in fact, we rarely do. It is normal to have at least one knock-out drag-down episodes per visit with each other, but at the end of the day, we are family. We love and respect each other. This week my mom had a break down over my dad. So everyone in the family dropped what they were doing and went to her. We all went and visited his grave together. That is all it took, and then things were ok again. It is the little things that add up.

This week I also fought with Turner over eating stage 1 or supported sitter foods. The doctor said we can start introducing Turner to these foods, but it is not easy. We do the rice in the bottle, and that has been fine, but as far as spoon feeding him ANYTHING, it just ain’t happening! I don’t know if he doesn’t like it, or if he doesn’t know how to swallow it, but either way, he spits every bit of it out. I can predict that we are going to have a picky eater on our hands. Even when I made the slit in the bottle nipple a little larger and but the food in a bottle, Turner still makes a face of disgust and gags himself. His face turns sour and he looks so dang upset about it. Maybe he just isn’t ready yet.

This weekend also marked the last time we will be able to wash Turner in the sink, he is officially too big. We only have a shower at our house, so bath time has been quite a challenge. We bought a baby bath for Turner that comes with its own bubble maker and spritzer handle, it is just a headache to fill up. But we officially have no other choice, because Turner has outgrown the kitchen sink!

Andrew left again this morning for another week on the road. I cannot say enough how tough it is when he is gone. Luckily, both my family and his family are so great with helping out and making it work. Luckily, this will be the second to last trip that he takes this travel season. I do not think I could handle many more weeks like the last one!