My Thoughts on Being Team Green

It’s been a little more than a month since Olive was born and I’ve had some time to process my thoughts about being “team green” and not knowing her gender before she was born. Here’s my take on the experience:

1. Being TEAM GREEN was fun

Even though it was hard, both Drew and I enjoyed not knowing the gender of our baby. It was fun to hear people’s guesses, to look up old wives tales, and to dream and wonder for an extra 20+ weeks what our baby would be.

But, I think a big part of why being team green was fun for me in the end was because I had the gender that I thought I was going to. Let me explain. Many moms have a “mother’s intuition” and often times have a strong feeling about what gender their baby is. In fact, mother’s intuition is claimed to be right more than 70% of the time!

I had a pretty strong feeling that this baby was going to be a girl. My pregnancy was {so} different from when I was pregnant with Isaiah and also Olive was a totally different baby in the womb. My whole experience was different this time around. The night before I went in for my induction I asked Drew to cast his final vote on what the baby would be. He said boy. =) But I said girl and I was almost positive I would be right!!

Love this little face!

Although I tried hard not to, since I thought the baby would be a girl, I tended to think more often of our lives with a baby girl in our family instead of a baby boy. Thus, I wasn’t disappointed when we had a girl because I had already sort of been thinking it was going to be a girl. However, if someone thinks strongly that their baby is a certain gender (or is hoping strongly for a certain gender) and then the baby ends up being the opposite gender, being team green could be a disappointing experience on birth day.

I will also add, though, that even though I thought my baby would be a girl I still felt a little disappointment when I realized that she wasn’t a boy. I had washed all of Isaiah’s old baby clothes and put them in the nursery dresser drawers. And I was a little sad when we came home from the hospital and packed those up and I realized that I may never use them again. I was overjoyed that I had a daughter yet somehow missing the son I could have had. Does that make sense?

Olive loves bath time! (But hates getting lotioned up!)

2. Being TEAM GREEN is not for everyone

Like I mentioned in this post, I would not consider being team green for my first baby and unless I had atleast one of each gender already. For some people that’s not a big deal. But for me, I only felt comfortable being team green because I had both hand-me-down boy and girl stuff on hand, and because I was not hoping for a certain gender like I would have been had I not already had one of each.

But everyone is different and you have to consider your emotions and personality before you decide if team green is right for you. And remember, it could be hard to deal with any “disappointment” if your baby is not the gender you had hoped for or thought he/she would be… especially when you are flooded with all those after birth hormones that make your emotions go wacko!! It may be better to allow yourself a little time and work through your feelings at the 20 week mark rather than wait until baby is born.

My sweet matching girls!

3. Being TEAM GREEN was worth the wait

The moment Olive was born and I saw that she was a girl was {indescribable}!! (You can read her birth story here). She was born face up, so right when the doctor held her up she was facing me and I could see what she was. No one had to tell me! It was amazing to hold her on my chest and finally know what my baby was. I kept saying, “It’s a girl! It’s a girl! Oh my goodness, it’s a girl! You’re a girl! I knew you were a girl! I knew it!” 

It was definitely a high that was worth the 9 month wait! And it took me forever to get over the fact that she was a girl. Even though I had a strong suspicion that she was going to be a girl I still couldn’t believe it! Lol! It is a great memory that was worth the wait to make!

4. I would consider being TEAM GREEN again but not sure if we would be

If we have another baby I would consider being team green again. I liked the surprise and the anticipation. And I liked the amazing feeling of finding out her gender on the day she was born. But it was also hard! I would have liked to have known if Olive was a boy or a girl so I could be a little more prepared. And I also liked finding out Isaiah’s gender before he was born so we could start calling him a “he” and start thinking about our life with him in “gender specific” ways.

Kisses for baby sister!

The bottom line is that there are pros and cons to being team green. There are exciting things about it and disappointing things. (Just as there are no matter when you find out your baby’s gender!) Some people are team green for every single pregnancy and some people would never even consider it (and some people are forced into it by an uncooperative baby on ultrasound day!). {But} the reality is that whenever you find out your baby’s gender (whether at 20 weeks or 40 weeks) it will be a fun and wonderful surprise! One that is worth the wait!!!

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Worry Doesn’t Equal Love

“Worry weighs a person down…”
Proverbs 12:25

 

If worrying about your children means you love them more, then I guess I don’t love my children very much.

There’s a silent competition in the mothering circle today called, “Who Loves Their Child More?” and the way to win is by worrying. I try not to worry about my kids as much as possible so I guess I am not in the running for winning the competition.

The more you worry about your child, the more you protect them. And more protection is always better, right?

Don’t allow your child to attend a drop off birthday party because they may hurt themselves in the supervised bouncy house. And if you’re not there every time they get hurt you are not being a good mother. Letting your kids ride the rides at the carnival, play on the playground by themselves, play with toy swords, spend the night at a friends house, sleep on the top bunk, or suck on a pacifier that dropped on the floor {heaven forbid!}, are all really bad ideas, right? Because if you allow your kids to experience these things they may, at some point, find themselves in some danger and a mother should be constantly worrying and making sure her kids are out of harms way. At least that’s what society teaches us.

You’d be surprised at how many parents really seem to believe there’s a correlation between how much you worry about your children and how much you love them.

 

I agree that there are many terrible possibilities that can happen to a child. And of course, as mothers, we don’t want to see harm come to our children. We {should}, as parents, protect our children from some things. If I take my kids to the Grand Canyon, you’d better believe I’m going to hold them back from the edge. That is NOT a situation where I would let them learn about heights by experience! If I know that one of Isaiah’s friends has a contagious, serous illness, then I’m not going to allow him to go over and play. Since Eloise has a dairy intolerance I’m not going to let her have a bowl of regular ice cream no matter how much she whines. I know the consequences that will come from it and she’ll be more miserable than she feels now being denied it! We need to guide and direct and train our children. We are older and wiser and can understand things more clearly than their little minds can. But we can’t control every situation our kids find themselves in. So why waste your time worrying about the situations you can’t control and let your worry cause your kids to miss out on fun learning experiences that help them grow as individuals or just plain have {fun}?

Isaiah loves an adrenaline rush. Anything that is especially dangerous is especially appealing in his eyes! He loves to build up tall stacks of pillows and jump off of them onto any surface, hard  or soft. He loves to climb up on anything and everything and see how high he can get. He loves the rides at the carnival – the faster the better! As a result he’s a boy who, you guessed it, gets lots of boo boos. But he’s also a smart kid because he’s learned so much from what he attempts to do. We don’t allow activities that are extremely dangerous to his well being but we also try not to limit his freedom to explore the world in a healthy way that teaches him to respect safety as he learns about the consequences of his actions on his own.

I’m not going to forbid my kids from going to school or daycare, a birthday party, a sleep over, or the carnival for fear of what they may experience there. I’m not going to forbid them from exploring the world around them because they may get a skinned up knee or a cut on their forehead.

When both of my kids were little I allowed them to briefly touch hot objects. Why? So that they could learn to respect the word “hot”. When Isaiah was about a year he kept wanting to grab my curling iron while I was doing my hair. After a few weeks of telling him it was hot and not to touch it but him still trying to grab for it, I had an idea. One day I allowed him to briefly touch it while I repeated the word “hot.” He got a little blister on his finger. He cried. But you know what? He learned to respect hot things and he never grabbed for my curling iron again. I’d rather him have a little blister on his finger than one day grab the iron with his entire hand while I wasn’t looking. Both of my kids learned in this way that hot things hurt. It was better for them to learn by experience than for me to just tell them.

As parents, we care about our kids, we love them, and we want the best for them. And, if you’re like me, you want to teach and grow and mold them into godly young men and women who are confident in themselves and who contribute positively to society. This is hard to do if you’re a “helicopter parent” and never allow your kids to experience the world without your protective hand.

I refuse to torture myself with what-ifs. And I won’t fill my children with unecessary fear about life. Of course both Drew and I do our best to keep our children safe and healthy, but we also want them to lead normal lives and discover a few “hard lessons” on their own.

As a Christian, I have even less reason to worry. In fact, God tells me {not} to worry.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life … Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Matt 6:25-2

Parenting should never be a competition. Most of us love our children as much as is humanly possible. We may worry about them in differing degrees but that doesn’t make anyone a better or worse parent.There is a time to worry about our kids but lets not let our worry lead to control of every aspect of their lives. Do your best as a mother, take a deep breath, and trust God with the rest! He loves our kids even more than we do!

A Lesson Learned at Meijer

A few weeks ago, on the day of Isaiah’s birthday party, he and I went into Meijer to pick up his birthday cake and some balloons. We were on our way home from church and we hadn’t eaten lunch yet nor had Isaiah had his afternoon nap. The plan was to get the stuff and get out so we could get home quickly, get the kids fed, and get them to bed in time for a good nap before the party!

{Well}, it took forever to find someone to blow up balloons, the cake took a while to get, and when we finally went to check out there were only {three!} checkout lanes open! Each lane already had about 6-7 people in line so we had no choice but to take our place in line and wait it out.

As you can imagine, it was a long wait for a barely three year old boy who was hungry and {very} ready for a nap. He was also over stimulated and excited because it was his birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese that night and it’s all he could think about. Also, because I thought this was just going to be a quick trip, I failed to grab a cart. So, not only did I have my hands full with a cake, balloons, and candles, but I also didn’t have a cart for Isaiah to sit and wait in.

Needless to say he was a bit restless in line. He wasn’t naughty, he was just antsy, waving his balloons all around, trying to add every candy within reach to the conveyor belt, and, (completely unintentionally) occasionally running into the old lady standing in line in front of us.

The old lady wasn’t amused and kept giving Isaiah dirty looks. I tried to keep him away from her as much as possible but we were so cramped in line because there were so few lanes open. Everyone was getting annoyed at the wait. Eventually the lady turned around and said something to me that was so faint I couldn’t quite hear it so I smiled and said, “what?” Then she said loud enough for everyone in line to hear, “He’s VERY annoying” and gave me an evil look. I was speechless! I’m not very good about thinking up rude comebacks on the spot (probably a good quality??) so I said nothing. I just picked up Zai and backed up as far as I could in line. I did say, when Isaiah asked me, “what that lady say, Mama?” that she was just a very mean old lady and we needed to stay away from her.  I know, probably not the best thing to say to my son.

Thankfully, the lady was next in line and she was soon checking out and soon after that we were able to check out too and make it to the car where Isaiah passed out even before we even left the parking lot. But I kept replaying the incident in my mind and the more I thought about it the angrier I got. I kept thinking of comebacks that I should have said. My favorite one being, “Did you happen to go to church this morning? Because you are exactly the type of person who needs Jesus.” Haha. Oh my, am I glad that one did not come out of my mouth. Thank you, Lord, for sparing me! =)

On the way home, I thought about how that old lady had no idea what Isaiah was going through. She didn’t know that he was a tired and hungry boy who was overly excited about his birthday. She had no knowledge of the circumstances surrounding his behavior. She just saw his balloon waving and loud excited chatter about cake and parties and occasional bump into her as super annoying. And for a while I was angry that she had said something so rude when she didn’t even know the whole story.

But now that a few weeks have gone by and I’ve had time to think about the incident a little more, I have actually developed a compassion for that old woman. Not only did she not know the circumstances surrounding Isaiah’s behavior but I didn’t/don’t know the circumstances surrounding her behavior. I have no idea what she was going through that day, or that month, or that year that caused her to be low on patience and quick to say an unkind word. True, {maybe} she’s just a grumpy old woman who hates kids. But I’d rather give her the benefit of the doubt.

The whole experience reminded me how important it is to try and put yourself in someone else’s shoes before judging their actions. We don’t always know what is going on in their lives that is causing them to appear rude, mean, distant, aloof, sad or confrontational. Not that circumstances are an excuse to behave however we want, but sometimes the worst of circumstances can get to even the best of people and cause them to act in ways they usually never would.

Let’s aim to be people who have compassion and understanding as our first reaction when people say or do things that hurt or offend us. Let’s remember that we don’t always know the whole story and that if we did we may have a different view of the situation!

“Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you. God alone, who gave the law, is the judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor?”

James 4: 11-12