Loving Discipline

I wrote a post a few weeks ago called 3 Words to Stop Arguing with your Toddler. I feel like I’ve gotten into a bad rut of yelling at Lily and Maggie when I’m “disciplining” them. That’s not real discipline, they get nothing out of it, I just end up feeling bad for yelling. It makes me feel even worse when they are playing house together and whoever is playing the Mom yells at whoever is playing the child. So what does loving discipline mean? Why loving discipline?

Picture of angry child with Caption "3 words to stop arguing with your toddler" a previous post I wrote that inspired Loving Discipline

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Disciplining my Girls in Love

Anyway, one of the techniques I’ve been using lately to diffuse the situation, both for myself and the girls, is taking a little breather and reminding myself and them that I love them. Just saying I love you makes a huge difference.

Here’s a little piece of what I wrote:

“Rather than yelling or getting upset, I stop and tell them I love them. It doesn’t mean they don’t get a time out or have to say sorry for their actions. There are still consequences. But it really just resets the whole situation. It reminds them that I am doing this because I love them, not out of spite, or being mean or just because I feel like it.

I love them and I want them to know right from wrong, and I want them to learn to be kind to each other and others. I love them and I want them to know whining is not going to get them what they want in life and that sometimes they’re going to have to work really hard to get what they want. Again, I love them and I want them to be able to share with others and make friends. I love them and I want them to learn to be responsible and work hard at whatever tasks they are given.”

God’s Loving Discipline

My Aunt, one of my most loyal followers, sent me an email the next day. In it she said, “I am currently in the prophets for my daily Bible reading, and reading your blog this morning so resonated as to the heart of God for us – His love is always at the core of necessary discipline and consequence.” I hadn’t even thought about that when I wrote the post. It’s absolutely true though.

“My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord
Or loathe His reproof,
For whom the Lord loves He reproves,
Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.” ~Proverbs 3:11-12

Image of the word Love in Loving Discipline

“Behold, how happy is the man whom God reproves, So do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.” ~Job 5:17
I’m not going to pretend that I understand God’s discipline. How can a loving God allow bad things to happen to us?
How can I discipline my children? I love them! If you are going through a rough patch in life, in no way would I ever suggest it’s God discipline on you. Have you ever read the book of Job? Yeah, his friends got quite the scolding from God for suggesting Job’s struggles were because he had sinned against the Lord, even though Job insisted on his innocence throughout. Besides, who am I to judge. I’ve made my fair share of mistakes in life.
We live in a fallen world. Bad things are going to happen. But, God uses those things for our good. Was Lily born prematurely as God’s discipline to us? I have a hard time believing that. But I do know that God used that extremely difficult time in our life for good. God taught me a lot about Himself and His character during our NICU stay. He showed Himself as love, peace, healer, provider, a miracle worker. He loves us and He wants the best for us. We were created in His image and He wants us to grow into that more and more each day.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28
Picture of hearts with Caption Loving Discipline
If you don’t already own a Bible, here is one I recommend: Life Application Bible (New American Standard Bible)
It’s easy to read language and easy to understand and apply to life.

How the Lame will Walk Again

I don’t often write about my Dad. I guess I’m still in some sort of denial. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease the week before Pete and I got married. In the 5 and a bit years since then, his health has drastically declined. He’s got dementia and they believe he has some other neurological diseases that have contributed to how fast he has gone downhill. My Dad was always the big 6’6″ gentle giant. He was my hero (he still is, it’s just different now).

He is now confined to a wheelchair as he is a severe fall risk. When he was standing up before, his blood pressure was dropping so low he would pass out. He went into the hospital after my mom called 9-1-1 when he passed out in March of this year. They transferred him to a care home as soon as a bed was open. So, yeah… seeing your Dad who was always larger than life to you now wheelchair bound and hardly able to communicate has been difficult.

How the Lame will Walk Again

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.  And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” ~Revelations 21:1-4

 

Picture of my Mom and Dad in How the Lame will Walk Again
My Mom and Dad

Wheelchair-Bound

Lily and Maggie really don’t know my Dad any other way. It makes me so sad that they didn’t get to spend time with him before this disease stole so much of his life. I know my older nieces and nephews have memories of my Dad when he was still relatively healthy (looking back now we see some signs that he’s probably been sick for a while). I wish so bad my girls had this!

A few weeks ago after we had visited my Dad, Lily was asking about Pake (this is what my kids call my Dad. It’s Frisian for grandpa) being in a wheelchair. I explained that it wasn’t safe for him to stand anymore. Honestly, it’s been so long I doubt he’d have the strength in his legs to get up anymore. She seemed OK with that answer and we just carried on. Later that day as I was putting her and Maggie to bed she asked if we could pray for Pake to walk again. Talk about breaking my heart!!! She’s so precious and thoughtful sometimes, it just blows my mind coming from a 4-year-old. I almost said no, we can’t pray for that, it won’t happen.

But, God is the God of miracles and I don’t want to doubt Him or her faith in what God can do! We talked a bit about it and I said that Pake likely wouldn’t walk again until Jesus came back and healed all the sick. We still prayed Pake would walk again, even if it was when Jesus returned.

Picture of person walking with caption How the Lame will Walk Again

“But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and you will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall.” ~Malachi 4:2

Faith like a Child

Earlier this year there was a major bus crash involving a hockey team here in Canada, the Humboldt Broncos (you can read about it here if you don’t know about it). We’re a big hockey family. I have nephews and nieces who play hockey and we grew up on Hockey Night in Canada. Hockey was one of the things that Pete and I instantly bonded over when we first met, although he, unfortunately, cheers for the wrong team (I’m a Vancouver Canucks fan, he’s a Calgary Flames Fan.) That’s a whole other story though.

Last week, the Broncos played their first game since the accident. I was glued to the TV, it was just so emotional, both sad and happy. Most of the surviving players were there in attendance. A few of them are now paralyzed and confined to wheelchairs. Lily was watching with me and looks at me (I was probably crying) and says “He’ll walk again when Jesus comes back, right Mom?” Talk about faith like a child. For her to put those conversations we had together, is incredible.

I personally cannot wait for the day I see my Dad and these young hockey players walk again!

 “Yet those who wait for the Lord Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.” ~Isaiah 40:31

Getting through the Scary parts of Life

.It’s been a bit of a rainy week here in BC. On rainy afternoons, especially when Momma needs to get some work don, I sometimes put on a movie for Lily and Maggie to watch. Right now they are obsessed with the Barbie- Dolphin Magic movie. It’s a cute little movie about mermaids and dolphins and I don’t mind hearing it in the background as I work, unlike some of the shows they choose! Watching my kids watch this movie has shown me how to talk to my girls about getting through the scary parts of life.

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Scary Parts

This Barbie movie is not a scary movie by any means! At the beginning, one of the dolphins is captured. Lily and Maggie both get a little scared during this part. I always have to remind them not to worry, they know the end of the movie (dolphin gets saved… blah, blah, blah), they know what happens, so there’s nothing to be scared of.

I got to thinking today as I reminded them of this yet again, isn’t this so true of our lives as Christians? We know how the story ends, we know Christ has victory over sin and death! No matter what happens in this life, scary or uncertain, we can walk through it with the knowledge of what happens in the end.

“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” ~1 Corinthians 15:55-57

Boxing champion with caption Victory is ours through Christ Jesus

Our Scary Parts of Life

We’ve got a lot of things coming up in the next few months, a lot of uncertainties and unknowns. Pete is scheduled to have surgery on his elbow in the next couple of months. He’s been in constant pain for months due to his arthritis and damage to the joint from him being a hemophiliac. So, he’ll be off on disability for a while recovering. We have no idea how long that could be. They’ve said anywhere from 3-6 months, and that’s provided everything goes as planned. Him not working will change things financially for us again. I’ll likely have to look for work again as we can’t afford to live without his full income.

We’ve been praying about and exploring different options for months now. It’s scary not knowing what lies ahead of us. I’m a planner, I like to have things organized and know what is happening. Spontaneity is not my strong suit.  I make checklists all the time, especially for big events! But I can’t for any of this. I can’t plan if I don’t know what’s going to happen.

The Ending of our Stories

But, I do know the ending of my story. Christ has given me victory over sin and death. Whatever else happens between now and the end of my story, no matter how unknown or scary parts of the movie might be, in the end, there is victory! He offers this to all of us. All we have to do is believe Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior. In His grace and mercy, He offers us this amazing gift of eternal life! Death will not have the victory over us, Christ has already taken the punishment for us. What amazing comfort! It’s easy to get caught up in the details of our lives (and I’m not saying those details aren’t important, they very much are) without looking at the big picture.

Turbulent sea with caption Getting Through the Scary Parts of Life

“We will sing for joy over your victory, And in the name of our God we will set up our banners. May the Lord fulfill all your petitions.” ~Psalm 20: 5
“O sing to the Lord a new song, For He has done wonderful things, His right hand and His holy arm have gained the victory for Him.” ~Psalm 98:1
Take comfort, my friends… we know the ending!

Reflections of a NICU Mom

September is NICU awareness month. Before I had Lily I had only heard of a few people who had spent time in the NICU with their babies. But you never fully understand it until you go through it yourself. Its hard to explain the roller coaster of emotions that you go through when you’re there. Its a real contradiction; you’re excited yet terrified, happy yet sad, heartbroken yet thankful. Looking back now almost 4 years later, I still don’t know if I’ve fully come to terms with what happened. But here are some of my reflections of being a NICU Mom.

My little angel in her incubator in Reflections of a NICU Mom

Reflections of a NICU Mom

The birth of your child is supposed to be an exciting time for everyone. When you are told your baby is going to be born prematurely, everything changes. We weren’t ready for her to come, emotionally or physically. We had literally just gotten her crib the day before she was born. It wasn’t even put together yet. Her nursery was no where near being done. I was supposed to have another 3 months to get ready. But she was coming whether we wanted to or not. We were both in danger, so she had to come out then (read my post about our Preemie Miracle ) 

My husband and I with our daughter in reflections of a NICU Mom

NICU Mourning Period

I missed out on a lot of things I thought I would experience when having a baby. Like missing out on labour and having a “normal” vaginal birth. I didn’t even get to be the first one to see Lily. Multiple doctors and nurses met her before I did. My husband saw her and spent time with her before I did. Even my parents and my sister could go and visit her before I was allowed out of the maternity ward. It was tough. Those are all things I would say I needed to grieve during our time in the NICU. It’s OK to mourn things not going the way you expected, as long as you don’t let the grief take over. I think it’s an important part of the healing process.

Starting the Healing Process

You see, it’s not just the baby who needs help, support and healing… it’s the parents too. Of course the baby is the primary focus, but our emotional health as new parents is important to. You can’t be a good parent if you can’t take care of yourself first. I had to learn this the hard way by leaving my daughter at the hospital overnight to go home and get a shower and a good nights sleep in my own bed. It was heart wrenching to leave her there. I had to learn this by taking the time to go for a walk or get a tea to drink even though my Mom guilt made me think I needed to be in Lily’s room 24/7.

The only way I was able to do this was that I knew she had the BEST care possible. She was exactly where she needed to be. We had the most well equipped baby sitters ever, our NICU nurses and doctors. I can’t even begin to express the appreciation I have for these women and men. They would leave their families for 12-24 hours at a time to come and take care of my baby, would talk me through all the medical jargon and explain to me in plain English what was going on and what the plan for her was; they explained all the beeps and lights on the machines Lily was hooked up to, they made me feel like a person… a normal person. Not just a zombie who was going through the motions (even though I felt like it at times!)

Finally Feeling like a NICU Mom

To be honest, I didn’t really feel like a real mother until Lily started breast feeding around 2 months old. I pumped religiously before that so she could still have my milk, but there was so little else I felt like I could do. The nurses let us change her diaper in the isolette and we bathed her, but that’s about all we could do other than cuddling her (I sure did enjoy the snuggles though! She does not like to cuddle anymore… maybe I used them all up while she was in the hospital). When I finally got to nurse her it was something only I could do for her. No one else, only me… her Mother. It is one of my most special memories, something I cherish as my reflections of a NICU Mom.

Me holding my preemie in Reflections of a NICU Mom

Peace that Passes Understanding

The whole time we were there, even the day she was born, I was scared but I had this deep sense of peace. I knew that no matter what happened, we would be OK. We would just deal with whatever our new normal was. Whether she needs glasses from being a preemie, or is diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, or needs heart surgery because of the hole in her heart… all I can say is I know God was with us walking every step of the way in our NICU journey. That’s the only explanation I can come up with!

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” ~Phillippians 4:7

xoxo

Caroline

My preemie baby with reflections of a NICU Mom

Read more related articles about our NICU journey:

A Day in the Life of a NICU Momma

Must Haves for Bringing Home a Preemie

Getting through a NICU stay

My Preemie Miracle

What is Preeclampsia

3 Words to Stop Arguing with your Toddler

It’s been a long, hot, smokey summer here in BC. Our province has literally been on fire and the smoke has basically taken over. I’ve lived in BC pretty much all of my 36 years and I have NEVER experienced smokey air like this. For those of you with toddlers, you know what staying inside for multiple days means… lots of whining, arguing and tantrums. But, through this experience, I have learned there are 3 words to use to stop arguing with your toddler.

Forced to Stay Indoors

The air quality has been so bad, we’ve been forced to stay inside on many occasions. I’m still a little cautious with Lily’s lungs because of her being so premature (read that story here ) She’s at a higher risk for asthma and other breathing problems because she was born with underdeveloped lungs.

3 words to stop arguing with your toddler. Image of smoky Vancouver An Image of Vancouver in the smoke from CTV News Vancouver (https://bc.ctvnews.ca/dramatic-difference-vancouver-skyline-transformed-by-smoke-1.2456182)

My girls need to burn (bad word choice, no pun intended) off energy and they LOVE being outside. There’s only so much energy they can burn off while playing inside. There’s less room, so they’re in each others space more, which leads to more arguing. It’s an endless cycle some days.

Bedtime is the worst here in our house. The girls still have pent up energy and try to get it all out before going to sleep. Getting them ready for bed is exhausting. I started to feel like I was just yelling at them all the time and they didn’t listen anyway. I’d end up with 2 streakers running down the hallway while I threatened “don’t make me get Daddy up here!!” Some nights Pete would just have it with the screaming and arguing and talking back he’d come up anyway. They usually smarten up a bit when Daddy’s around.

One night I was at my wits end! We’d been stuck inside for 2 or 3 days. Our only outings had been grocery shopping and to PetSmart to get them out and see the fish (they love the fish!) I was on the floor, close to tears, after fighting with them for what seemed like FOREVER over which pajamas to wear and then actually putting those pajamas on. They just would not listen.

3 words to stop arguing with your toddler, angry child

The 3 Words to Stop Arguing with your Toddler

I couldn’t help but think to myself “this is not working…” I took a moment just to take a breath and regain some composure. Then I looked at Lily and I said “Hey Lily, you know what? I LOVE YOU!” Then I looked at Maggie and said “Hey Maggie, you know what? I LOVE YOU!” I think they were a little shocked at first! I brought them both over for a little hug and snuggle and from them on, the whole getting ready for bed routine went a lot smoother.

I don’t know if it was me taking a moment to gather myself and remind myself that I love them, or if it was me reminding them that I love them. Maybe I’d been yelling too much for too long and they’d tuned me out. But those 3 simple words made such a difference to our night. I’ve tried it a couple other times when we’re having a tough time dealing with big emotions.

Rather than yelling or getting upset, I stop and tell them I love them. It doesn’t mean they don’t get a time out or have to say sorry for their actions. There are still consequences. But it really just resets the whole situation. It reminds them that I am doing this because I love them, not out of spite, or being mean or just because I feel like it.

I Love Them

I love them and I want them to know right from wrong, and I want them to learn to be kind to each other and others. I love them and I want them to know whining is not going to get them what they want in life and that sometimes they’re going to have to work really hard to get what they want. Again, I love them and I want them to be able to share with others and make friends. I love them and I want them to learn to be responsible and work hard at whatever tasks they are given.

What are some ways you deal with whinny, overtired toddlers? How do you and your family cope with big emotions and tantrums?

3 words to stop arguing with your toddler. I love you

Related article:Loving discipline