Monday, June 29, 2009

Drop, Drop, Drop it like its hot

Kidless in California - August 2004

I never really liked kids. It's true. I was one of those people who thought I could get through life and just love on other peoples kids. Buy them expensive presents for their birthdays, take them to get ice cream and tell them it's our secret. You know, the normal stuff.

I'm not very patient. Shocking, I know. But, I learned early on, as I babysit my siblings, that I did not have the patience to raise a child. Hell, I couldn't even babysit my own little sister without playing the "Let's see who can stay the stillest and quietest the longest" game. It is otherwise known as "Sneaking a nap."

I always won.

So, when I signed up to serve in our church preschool in L.A., I didn't know what to do, how to survive. I quickly found myself completely addicted to Goldfish Crackers and decided I had stumbled upon the most perfect people ever--3, 4 and 5 year olds. They were funny, thoughtful, energetic, curious and potty trained. I had to have one.

I also wanted to buy the big Goldfish Cracker jug from Sam's Club without as much judgment.

I loved how the kids asked about the baby growing in my belly and wanted to feel it move. They suggested names and gave me extra hugs. They told me about their own brothers and sisters who once grew in their mommy's bellies. The girls wanted to be princesses who grew up to be mommies and be married. The boys, well, they were going to save those princesses most days. The others, they would just tease them and let a dragon eat them. It was more comical than I ever dreamed of. They were perfect. So I had one.Let me brag on Owen for a minute. The kid basically starved the first week of his life because of my own breast milk issues, and he still loved me just the same. He slept through the night from a month on, took naps, ate perfectly and normally. He always loved me the most of all . He is the reason I had more babies.

Ok. Truth time. The reason I had more babies is because of my own negligence in preventing more babies. Hence, the 16 month age difference. Hence, craziness.

He may have been a terrible 2, but I honestly don't remember. I was so stressed out and tired with Ella that he could have ran away and I may not have known for 7-10 minutes. Well, anyway, I'll just choose to remember him as wonderful then too.

And then she came, 7 lbs 7 oz of sheer will and sass. One of my proudest moments was her kicking a NICU nurse square in the jaw, after another failed attempt at an IV in the foot. That's my girl.But, my girl has turned in to a monster. Tantrums, throwing food, slapping, shouting NO, sneaking sticks of butter out of the fridge, demanding popsicles for breakfast. She is 24 pounds of ass-kicking, hip shaking determination. Determined to do what, you may ask? Drive me crazy.

Yesterday was a jam packed afternoon of therapists - 3 to be exact. They were working on ways to get the most amount of calories in her in the most enjoyable and quickest way possible. We are going for the consistency of yogurt, ice cream, applesauce, creamed soup. And as they worked hard together, I couldn't help get the reoccurring gloom of having a kids with issues. We are now blending meat. I have a problem with that. I think it's weird. I don't want to do it.

But, I put on my big girl pants anyway and went out and bought a Magic Bullet Express (as per the recommendation of Kristin Gingrich--a smoothie pro!), determined to make the best chicken milkshake in town. We then went to Target to pick up enough food to feed a small village and a couple hundred dollars later, were looking through the fridge for something to eat. (Can I get a shout out on that? Do you feel me?)

Ella ended up eating a small bowl of Nutella. In my previous life I would have reported myself to CPS, but not today. Today, I celebrated 100 calories and 50 smiles from the world's most famous chocolate hazelnut spread.
Many moons ago, I wrote a post about how I wouldn't change anything about the Ella situation if I had the chance. If God said, "All this could be gone, but you still got to keep her..." I said that I wouldn't change a thing. I lied.

Now, I'm not trying to get all "April Rose" on you or anything, this is not that kind of lie. I remember when I wrote that post almost 2 years ago, I fought with myself, back and forth, over would I change it or not. I felt to guilty and ungrateful to say I'd take a do-over.

I guess I wasn't worn out enough then, because if G-O-D came to me today, I'd say HELL YES, YOU CAN TAKE IT ALL AWAY. And yes, I'd yell it. Understand me here: I love her a lot, and I want to keep her, but I'd give away the pain in a heartbeat.

But, maybe that is what we do anyway when we pray for healing. It's asking for a do-over, but without the time machine, which is better anyway. If we went back in time, I'd have to watch my Grandma die again and have 2 babies in diapers. No thanks.
Did I tell you we met yet another person, sent from God, with a message about healing Ella? This one from a little farther away, in South Africa. His name is Blessings. Honest. I couldn't even make that up.

And just FYI, I don't seek these people out. I just pray for guidance, for signs and messages and they come.

He wanted to pray for us, and mainly it was for our business. But as we told him about our family, he wanted to pray over our children. He gave us some renewed vision for our business, a passage in scripture which to build it upon. It was one of those moments where it all came together and Nick and I were making those "Can you believe this is happening???" looks. The things we had been talking about/ praying about in private, our new friend confirmed. And then he prayed for the kids. For Owen, to bring strength to the world and to become the strong man he was made to be. For Ella, for healing. And to then go share her story of healing.

He said that for our business to succeed, for our family and marriage to be strong, for Ella to heal, it was going to cost us FULL PRICE. Full price is something that Nick and I talked about in great detail, but we didn't know it was scriptural. King David was going to be given something for free and he refused, saying that he wanted to pay full price, for he didn't want to "take something that cost him nothing." He wanted it to be a sacrifice. Everything good has a cost. Everything.

And for Ella, full price means stepping up my game and giving it my all. God will heal her, but He wants me to do my part. It sucks because I want everything now and easy and for free. Full price. Thus, the Magic Bullet. And lots of organic butter and standing in front of the mirror sticking out our tongues for hours and being patient as she throws her food at my face and those dreaded flash cards. If I want her healing, I have to pay full price.

Blessings said that we would see something small happen right away and then the bigger stuff would come later.

In my former kidless-much-thinner-more-flexible life, I used to love to dance. Ella also does, except she doesn't have the flexibility for it. Her PT, Miriam, says that her spine moves in one piece, instead of lots of little pieces that can move together. Well, as she was dancing the other day and I was painfully watching her little white girl body try to dance, I thought it was the perfect moment to partake some of my knowledge. It was time.

As we danced to Boom Boom Pow, I taught one of the most important things I could ever teach my child: How to drop it like it's hot. After a few minutes, she was practically "Doin' the butt." It was a proud moment. And then yesterday, she did a move where her whole spine slithered like a snake - not in 1 piece, but in many individual pieces all working together to perform one killer dance move.

And I thought to myself that maybe God has more of a sense of humor than I thought. Maybe this was the little thing he wanted to give us to let us know not to give up just yet.


BabyonBored said...

I feel your pain, mama. I just got back from an 80 dollar (extra) trip to Trader Joe's for Sadie food. Most of which she will throw on the floor. Sometimes I feel like giving up and just tube feeding her and calling it a day you know? Obviously I can't do that but it's tempting. The kid just hates to eat. But 24 pounds! That's my dream weight for Sadie! Although she's getting weighed tomorrow. fingers crossed that she's moved from 18 to 19 lbs.

BabyonBored said...

sadie is NOT getting taller which is a big problem. She's getting wider which is awesome and gaining like a centimeter at a time in length. At this rate she'll be on a diet by the time she's 2.

Libby Springer said...

LOVED this post Angie - you have to videotape Ella when she drops it like it's hot. haha

Sonya said...

You commented on a post of mine awhile back about my daughter's plagiocephaly, how is your daughter doing with the torticollis?

Mi ch ele said...

you have been through so much with Ella. i can not even imagine having a little one AND having to go through it all. You are a strong glorious mom, and i admire that about you. it often would be nice if God came down and took away things we did not like about our life, but left all of the good stuff alone. The odd, and unfair part, is that the "bad" is what makes the "good" so much more alive and well... GREAT! It take the pain and the sadness sometimes for us to realize who we are in our life.

Before reading your blogs about Ella and all that you go through, i honestly thought of you as some random person that i didn't (in all honesty) care to get to know. You were nice enough when we met, but i got a vibe that we would never be anything past "hi how are you, nice to meet you." in our lives. The craziness that is your life, for me, opened up who you are as a person and i realized that you were someone really special. And i wish we had lived closer so that i could have brought you coffee on those crazy mornings... or i could have just came by to give you a hug and share the pain just a little bit to make your life easier.

Because although you didn't plan for Ella to happen, and you didn't plan for Ella to be born with the issues she was born with... Ella being born created a glorious person that more people should know! All of that created you, the person you are today. perhaps the same as long ago but you did not show it, but now someone that i wish to know better because you are open with who you are in life. A person honest, and full of life (the good, the bad, and the messy!).

I wish you nothing but the best life has to offer! one day you'll look back and understand the "why" in what God gave you... but for now i can only offer you *hugs* via cyber land and tell you that you are super woman in the eyes of this mom way over here in California! :o)