It’s my party.

And I’ll let my baby cry if she wants to.

I get that the whole thing in parenting is that everyone just does what’s “right for their family.”
“That’s cool. Do whatcha gotta do.”

As some of you might have noticed, we’re the super purposeful type of folk over here. We tend to over think things, over analyze, and sometimes be too intentional about things. {That can keep you from being able to relax, sometimes, ya know.}
So, I wanted to share some of the reasoning behind why we’ve chosen to do some of the things that we do for our family – the things we think are right for our family. Maybe they’re right for yours, too?

I thought I’d start with crying.
Because, as most people know, babies do that.
Some babies do that a WHOLE lot.
Other babies don’t as much.

The one thing that’s consistent is this: they’re communicating.

In fact, it’s their only way to communicate until we can catch up to understanding what they’re saying when they start talking.
So from the time they exit the womb to the time you first realize they’ve been saying Daddy for 2 weeks but you just thought it was a coincidence that they were making those “duh-duh” sounds, to the moment they might be yelling at you in teenage angst… they’re communicating. Sometimes, it’s loud & clear. Other times, it’s just loud.

That’s basic belief #1 behind our approach to crying around here: it’s communication.

Beyond that, we address what kind of communication we respond to: all of it.
At this stage, they can’t differentiate between emotional needs & physical needs, so they communicate about all of them, and to us, it sounds pretty much the same.

She screams when she wants me to hold her – because maybe she just needs to be connected to me for a moment. A moment that she has my undivided attention.
John asks for the same thing if I coexist with him without connecting to him in all of the hustle & bustle of our daily busyness. Amelie asks, too, in her own way.

Hmmm.

Of course, then, babies communicate about their physical needs. And maybe they don’t completely understand the difference between “I’m hungry, but it can wait a little bit” and “I’m starving & if you don’t feed me right now, the world is going to end.”
So the tone is similar for both, but no matter what baby is communicating, my response – our response – is to respond.
We react. We answer. We hold. We feed. We listen. We communicate back.

Daddy take the Heel

Some things don’t become apparent
until you become a parent.

Growing up I was always curious when my dad would eat the end or ‘heel’ of the bread loaf. I asked him about this and he just replied, “That’s just part of being your dad”. He would often take whatever was left over from everyone else’s meal to make his own plate.

Now, without any spoken words I find myself doing many of the things he did, almost like I caught his virus of unspoken deeds. Some of these have been/are being painfully removed (like reliance on debt to make your career what you want) but others I am starting to embrace. He modeled for me a heart to serve in the little things.

Lee Anne and I have a passion for many things that Jesus is slowly revealing as important. Even though these passions are good, they will never be caught by our kids unless the passions work their way deep… Into the places where we keep our true selves.

A great example of this is food.
We LOVE food, even if we aren’t goodies or great cooks, we LOVE to eat delicious things.
We LOVE healthy food, the kind that puts a spark in your step and makes you friendlier.

Of course this presents a problem: when we don’t spend the time a lot of healthy food doesn’t taste as good as the easy to make unhealthy kind.

So our kids will see us making one of two choices:
a. Spend extra money and time on healthy foods… Sometimes just eat junk
OR
b. Make the healthy options a default by totally changing our habits and lifestyle

Option B is:
Simple… Yes
Easy… No

Lately I have found myself eating the heel of the bread loaf. Somehow my dad convinced me without a word that leaving the most delicious part of the meal for my family makes everything better. He showed me that doing the better thing can actually be more enjoyable than the selfish thing. And over time our true Dad will convince us down to the little things that His ways are truly more enjoyable.

My hope is that one day Amelie looks up at me and asks me why I eat the ‘gross’ part of the bread.

What are somethings you saw your parents do that you didn’t understand until recently?