Posts Tagged ‘Nurture’

Developing a Taste for What is Good

I have a major sweet tooth.

Not only do I love all things sugary, but I love treats of any kind–special somethings at special times.  And they are usually food related.

I look forward to eating out at my favorite restaraunt.  I enjoy baking warm cookies for game night.  When we have an unexpected visitors, I search the shelves for something delicious I can pull out and feed them. And it seems like it is always unhealthy.

Lately, as I’ve been increasingly concerned about eating healthy, I’ve been really wishing I just naturally desired healthier foods. While I enjoy healthy things, I find that if an unhealthy alternative is in front of me, I will always choose the unhealthy.

I have always envied the people who view apples and natural peanut butter as a “snack.”  I look with awe at people who are satisfied with a fresh fruit and yogurt smoothie as “dessert.”  I have always just assumed this came naturally for them.  And I wish my tastes craved the natural, good things as my treat. I have waited all my life for that magic moment when I would suddenly have an appetite and a natural longing for healthy food, and a distaste for unhealthy food.

And then it occurred to me.

That point will never come.

Because of sin in the world, we are naturally bent toward wanting what is wrong. Please understand, I am not saying that eating unhealthy food is inherently sinful; I am simply drawing a parallel.  No one has to be taught to enjoy the taste of a cookie or some other sweet.  But how many kids love spinach, or beans, or plain oatmeal? Not very many.  I am finding that I have to discipline my taste buds to love what is good.

It occurs to me that the same is true in our spiritual lives.  We need to develop a taste for righteousness. It does not come naturally.  If we are Christians, we have the Holy Spirit within us, and he gives us the desire for holy, righteous things, but if we quench him out, we are left to our own sinful flesh. If we fill our minds up with unspiritual, worldly things, there is little appetite for the holy.

In the same way, if I am full on junk food, I will obviously have no appetite for what is healthy. When I continuously indulge in unhealthy foods, I will not crave the good stuff.

I have been thinking about this a lot in relation to Lent.  The point of Lent is to remove a desired item to practice self-denial and direct us towards Christ and His sacrifice on our behalf.  1 Corinthians 6:12 says, “‘All things are lawful for me,’ but not all things are helpful.  ‘All things are lawful for me,’ but I will not be enslaved by anything.”  If you feel that an object, item, person, etc. is required in order to be content, then you are enslaved.  What an awful thought!  And we are so deceived to think that we are not enslaved–that we simply have to have this thing to be happy, and to give it up would be unbearable!  But the very fact that the thought is unbearable reveals that our soul places to high a value on it, and that we are indeed enslaved.  And we should not be enslaved to anything but Christ.

That is why fasting is so beneficial. We remove the item of temptation and choose to go without it.  At the end of your fast, you realize that you don’t actually need that item as much as you thought you did. You realize you got along just fine without it, and in fact, you now have a liberty that you had not experienced before. And we now have real desires for the good things. They are not manufactured, but they are real! Denying our flesh enables us to develop affections for what is good and right.

But in our culture, we want everything the easy way. We want to simply naturally desire a life of studying and meditating on Scripture. We think that if we have to work at it, it must be hypocrisy or legalism.  We just assume the really “Spiritual” and godly people were just born that way–not that they may have cultivated that in their hearts through much prayer and sacrifice.  So we just go about our lives, unconsciously being filled up with all the things of the world, so that our appetite for righteousness is nearly nonexistent.

James 4:17 “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”  This verse always convicts my heart, because I know the good things to eat, yet, if given the choice, I will always choose the bad thing to eat. If you set a brownie and a salad in front of me and I have to choose one, I will choose the brownie every time.

But if you remove the brownie and simply give me the salad, I love the salad. If the junk food is removed, I begin to desire the good food.  I see that my heart longs for so many other ungodly things to satisfy it outside of simply food.  In this period of Lent and examining myself, I find that much more sacrifice will be required in order to know God in the way in which I so long to know him. I want him to be my all in all, to fill me up so that I don’t want anything else.

But in order to have room for Him to fill me, I must get rid of all the other junk cluttering things up. I am so thankful for Lent…I will continue to spend this time searching my soul and praying to rid myself of all that is displeasing to God.

Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”

 

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Making an Informed Decision Concerning Vaccines

CDC-AAP-Immunization-Schedule-2011

Since posting our story on Hope for Healing Autism, I have been asked a lot of questions regarding my opinion on vaccines and whether or not we would choose to vaccinate in the future.   When our son was born and the question of vaccines came up, all I knew was that it was a widely debated issue. I myself had been fully vaccinated and had no reason to question the validity of this practice.  But, with my awareness that this was a controversial topic and my “question everything” personality, I knew I needed to study this issue myself and come to my own conclusions on the matter.

At first I was overwhelmed by the mixed reviews and conflicting reports. I became so frustrated with the fact that everything I read seemed to come to a different conclusion on which vaccines were safe, if any. My doctors urged me to vaccinate for the wellbeing of my child and the world at large.  Parenting magazines stated that there is no validity to the claims that autism is linked with vaccines. Friends urged me that this was not true and that vaccinations were dangerous. Other friends argued the exact opposite.

In the end, it was largely my research into the autoimmune disorder epidemic that heightened my awareness that there is more to all of this than meets the eye. After much reading and studying, we have come to the conclusion that we feel it is safest not to vaccinate.  I know that statement will turn some people off instantly, but I have compiled a list of facts I wish I had known when I began researching this issue in the first place.  It is my desire that these facts will help you better understand the debate, become more accurately informed, and most of all, will help you to be comfortable with whatever choice you make in this area for your own family. Feel free to disagree with or disregard any or all of this information.  To the best of my knowledge, it is accurate, but as with anything, it may have its flaws.

I do not want to convince anyone of anything.  I do not want to cause arguments or debates. I simply want parents to be able to make more accurately informed decisions concerning vaccines.

Interesting Facts Regarding Vaccines and Disease[1]

  • A two month old baby can receive as many as 8 vaccines on a single day. At age 15 to 18 months, a child can receive as many as 12 vaccines on a single day. 
  • During the past quarter century, the number of children with learning disabilities, ADHD, asthma and diabetes has more than tripled.
  • An epidemic of chronic disease and disability is plaguing America. Our children are the most highly vaccinated children in the world and they are among the most chronically ill and disabled.
  • More than twice as many children have chronic brain and immune system dysfunction today than did in the 1970’s when half as many vaccines were given to children.

Factors that Weighed into our Decision on Vaccinations:

  • It is a common misnomer that when children aren’t vaccinated, they are at risk for life threatening diseases.  It is widely believed that vaccines have saved our world from all sorts of diseases.  However, health statistics show that there was a steady decline of infectious diseases in developing countries whether they had vaccines or not.   There was also a decline in infectious disease for which there were no vaccineIt is believed that this decline is due to improved sanitation, hygiene and better nutrition.[2]
  • By 1850-1940, instances of infectious diseases were down by 90%.  This was long before we began introducing most vaccines.  In a study done by John and Sonja McKinlay in St. Martin’s Press, New York, it was stated that “it is estimated that at most, 3.5% of the total decline in mortality since 1900 could be ascribed to medical measures introduced for the diseases considered.  Furthermore, medical measures were introduced several decades after marked decline had already set in and having no detectable influences in most instances.”[3] Only 10% of the world got the smallpox vaccine.  Yet we hear that this vaccine eradicated smallpox.  According to Dr. Sherri Tenpenny, “Smallpox would have died out anyway regardless of the vaccine.”[4]  This is also the case with Polio.  The disease was already dying out before the vaccine was introduced.[5]
  • But if you don’t vaccinate, your kids could get meningitis, etc.!”  Statistics actually show that the majority of people who report getting these infectious diseases are, by far, the ones who were vaccinated. 80% of people who get the flu have been vaccinated against it.[6] Multiple studies show that more children who have been fully vaccinated get measles than those who are unvaccinated.
  • The amount of required vaccinations has more than doubled in the last twenty years, bringing the grand total recommended vaccinations to 49 within the first 6 years of a child’s life.[7]
  • The FDA wants to add even more vaccines into these tiny baby’s bodies almost as soon as they are born, including a flu shot twice a year for the first two years followed by an annual flu shot for life.
  • Most of these vaccines are given before the age of five.  Yet the majority of the brain’s development is in the first five years of life.  The toxins in the vaccines inhibit the brain’s ability to develop properly.
  • It is a common misnomer that a student is required to be vaccinated in order to attend school. However, each state has exemptions.  Find out how you can be exempt in your state.
  • The things that fill vaccines are known neurotoxins (e.g. formaldehyde, thimerosol (mercury), aluminum, ammonium sulfate, aborted fetal tissue, antibiotics, MSG)[8], meaning they are literally poison to the brain. Our bodies cannot detoxify these substances, and therefore, they hide away in our brains and bodies creating new diseases.[9]
  • Each vaccine has been tested individually.  However, they have not been tested together.[10]  And now that so many vaccines are required, they developed “cocktails” so that our little ones only have to receive one or two pricks instead of five or six.  This sounds appealing to the mother concerned about the pain involved in getting shots, but can these little bodies handle this many toxins at once?  Once again, studies have not been done to show the safety of these vaccines given in numerous doses, nor have there been long term studies on the affects of all of these new vaccines being given to our little ones at a younger and younger age.
  • Vaccines artificially expose the body with these viruses in a way the body was not meant to defend against. God made our bodies with the amazing ability to heal and protect itself. Babies are exposed to germs in the air, and their bodies are constantly learning to detoxify them and strengthen them. But only when they are introduced in this natural way, by breathing them in etc. are their immune systems able to build up a defense against them.  When they are injected directly into the bloodstream, the body’s natural defense mechanisms are not triggered properly.[11] As one researcher said, our bodies never grow stronger by taking the easy way out. It is only through the difficult way, that is, being exposed to and fighting the germs the way God intended that our bodies can build up that lifelong immunity to the much scarier adult forms of the diseases (shingles from chicken pox for example). Vaccines do not trigger the lifelong immunity that actually catching the disease does. This is why you have to be re-vaccinated every 5-7 years.
  • Many of these vaccines, like the Hep B vaccine, were never tested on newborns for safety–only 5-6 years olds.[12] Yet new moms are told to give their babies this vaccine moments after it enters the world!
  • Most of the vaccines–like the one for pertussis–are not even given until after two months of age, and yet an infant’s greatest risk is before they are two months old.[13]
  • Statistically, infectious diseases such as influenza and pertussis are rarely fatal.   When these diseases prove fatal, it is in those who are autoimmune compromised, such as the very young, the autoimmune disordered, and the elderly.  However, because of the nature of vaccines introducing disease into the body, autoimmune disordered children are recommended not to receive any further vaccinations.  And yet they are the ones with the highest risk for fatality if they catch the disease.
  • We are not taking into account the cost at which we are attempting to “save” our children from illness. We will vaccinate in hopes of preventing them getting polio and tuberculosis, but at what point do we say, “Which is worse? The threat of an illness that has all but been eradicated? or the new childhood epidemics autism, asthma, ADHD and allergies that are paralyzing people and are called “living death” that are strongly linked with receiving vaccines?”
  • Much of what drives the vaccine issue is fear. We are so afraid we will harm our children we will do anything to help them! And most people think this IS helping them. Fear is the big motivator. We are running to get these vaccines because we are afraid.  But the more we inform ourselves, the less we realize we need to fear.

Understanding the Immune Response to Infectious Disease vs. the Immune Response to Immunization[14]

What is the difference between normal immune system response to illness and vaccination?  If we do not inform ourselves, we live in fear.  When our babies are born, everything in their body is underdeveloped except their brain stem.  This is a time when they need to be protected from toxins, not assaulted with them.  What is the process?  When the body is exposed to an infectious illness, the body identifies it and begins detoxifying to fight against it.  It initiates white blood cells and T cells which attack the invader directly.  When the THi cell gets involved, your  body develops lifelong immunity.  A fever (up to a certain point) plays a critical role in fighting off the infection in the body.  There is no system in the human body which is strenghtened by avoiding challenges, but only through overcoming them. The medical model does the opposite of what the body is doing.  If you challenge the immune system and it overcomes, it is healthier.  If children are not well, there are so many things you can do to proactively help their bodies respond better.

Let us look at the way our body responds to food poisoning for instance. When we eat bad food, we vomit.  Is this unpleasant? Yes.  But it is actually our body ridding itself of the poisons.  The body goes through a similar process when it is exposed to infectious illnesses.  However, there are some major differences in the body’s response to an encountered illness and an injected illness. First, when an unvaccinated child is walking around the world, they are being exposed to infectious diseases slowly.  A child is not going to be exposed to eight different diseases all at once.  When we are injected with a vaccine, we are not only changing the timing of exposure, but the method. When we vaccinate, we bypass the normal method and inject it straight into the muscle (also all the toxins).  If it goes into the blood, that disease can go into all the vital organs of the body and wreak havoc. TH2 cells are stimulated, and they do not have lifelong immunity, which is why you have to be continuously re-vacccinated for the rest of their lives to maintain “immunity.”

Hep B vaccine was designed for the prostitutes and drug users.   Hep B is passed by having multiple sexual partners or by dirty needles. Now they are giving it to babies within the first few hours of their birth.

Being informed on the facts of how rarely anyone actually dies from these illnesses, we realize we do not have to live in fear to do whatever it takes to prevent it—even exposing ourselves and our children to even more harmful toxins to avoid them getting the actual disease.

A bit about mercury content in vaccines[15]

The FDA has stated “lead, cadmium, and mercury are examples of toxic elements that are toxic even when present at relatively low levels…”  Mercury is the most poisonous neurotoxin on this earth.

When women become pregnant, one of the first things they are warned not to eat is any type of fish. Why is this? Because of the mercury contained in fish.  Even a nursing mother is told to avoid fish due to the mercury content.

Thimerosol is a form of inorganic mercury.  It has long been associated with serious neurological disorders.

While thimerosol has been largely removed from vaccines, there are many concerns about the legitimacy of this claim.  First, if it is not an active ingredient, manufacturers do not have to list it in the ingredients. So you may ask for thimerosol free and think you are getting it, but it may still be in there. Also, they have been gradually weeding out the thimerosol over the past few years, and when tested, trace amounts still exist within the vaccines. It is kind of like a food that has been manufactured on equipment that had previously been used to produce peanuts.  They list that fact on the side because even trace amounts of peanuts can be fatal to those with an allergy.  And remember what the FDA said about even trace amounts of mercury—it is toxic. And then there is the question of what they replaced the thimerosol with—are there studies on their safety?

In the 1950’s, the amount of thimerosol that five year old children were exposed to via vaccines was 50 micrograms.  By the year 2003, children were receiving 212.5 mcg of thimerosol by the age of 5.  According to the EPA Safety recommendation, infants should receive no more than .01mcg-4 mcg a day.  However, in one round of vaccines, an infant will receive 41-60 times the amount of recommended thimerosol (FDACenterfor Biologics Evaluation and Research).  These neurotoxins do not get eliminated.  They are absorbed into the brain like water in a sponge, causing long term damage.

Rhogam still contains full level of mercury-25 mcg.  It is possible, though very difficult, to find Rhogam shots that do not have thimerosol in them. If you are pregnant and have the Rh factor, ask for a specific list of ingredients and ensure you are receiving the vaccine without rhogam.

_________________________________________________________________

I have done my best to gather reliable information in my research on vaccines.  I would have liked to footnote more thoroughly, but it was rather overwhelming since a lot of the information was gleaned from multiple sources and can be found at numerous locations.  I have listed below many of my sources so you can seek out further information for yourself. Please do not fault my improper citation below. I did not list every publishing detail, etc. I mostly just linked to websites or articles. It is not my mom’s fault. She taught me better. Really.

Healing the New Childhood Epidemics, Dr. Kenneth Bock

Gut and Psychology Syndrome, Dr. Natasha Campbell

The Vaccine Book, Dr. Bob Sears

Thinktwice.com


Infant Potty Training: 20 month update

Reading "Pooh" while going poo:-)

I figure it’s about time for another update on how the infant potty training (aka Elimination Communication, aka EC) is going. Jeshuah is now twenty months old, and at 18 months, I was despairing that he would be out of diapers any sooner than your average kid.  However, I reminded myself that no matter how soon I could call him wholly and completely Officially Potty Trained, choosing to EC has been one of the most rewarding practices we have chosen as parents.  Even if it isn’t every single time, I am thankful to wash less diapers–and definitely thankful to rarely ever have to deal with a poopy diaper!

However, last month, we had a breakthrough.  When Jeshuah was 18 months, I realized I was being lazy with his training and ought to just put him in his undies on a regular basis, since I knew he was capable of staying dry and telling me when he needed to go.  But because I didn’t want to have to deal with accidents and being concientious all day long of whether or not he may need to go to the bathroom, I just kept him in diapers.  And I noticed a significant regression in his training from 12 months (when he was nearly completely potty trained) to 18 months (when I found his diapers nearly always wet, even if he did also use the toilet).  I knew this was due to my lack of consistency, and determined to do better.

For the first couple of weeks, Jeshuah had multiple accidents a day and rarely made it to the toilet. I definitely felt like a failure at EC! Thankfully, my SIL has been doing EC with her two year old and we encourage each other in the rough times.  We both switched our babies to underwear at the same time, and within days, her son was consistently dry–even at naps and nights! This gave me hope that we would reach that point soon, too, so I kept persevering.  Three or four weeks ago, I started putting Jeshuah in undies nearly all day every day, even on outings of 3 or 4 hours.  He not only stays dry, but he often lets me know when he needs to use the toilet while we are out.  While he is almost always dry when he wakes up from naps, I still have not made the jump to undies for naps.  That is my next goal.

I honestly was nervous about putting him in undies all the time, and even more nervous about going out in undies.  But after the first couple of days, I realized an occasional wet outfit is really not that big of a deal, and seeing the fruit of my labor is very rewarding.  I love seeing him without the bulk of his diaper. I love knowing he is cool and dry in this heat. And I still love our toilet time–when his favorite activities are either reading stories or driving his toy cars around on my legs as I sit across from him on the tub.

Of the things on my list that I look forward to most with this new baby, potty training is right up there with snuggling, holding, and smothering with kisses.  I am so excited to learn to communicate with a new baby, to watch for cues and clues, to pick up on him/her letting me know when they need to go.  EC has never been about pressure or guilt for me, it has just been fun and extremely rewarding.  If I get in an emotional place where it is too stressful, we let it slide for a bit until I get my feet on the ground again. And I am okay with that. Would my kids be potty trained faster if I were anal about it? Yes.  But my goal with Infant Potty Training is not to get them out of diapers as soon as humanly possible, or to beat the average kid out of diapers.  My desire with infant potty training is to establish a bond of communication with my babies, to clean less diapers :-), and to give them the relief of not sitting in soggy or messy diapers.  But mostly, I do it because I enjoy it, and I know Jeshuah enjoys it.  If I didn’t like doing EC, I wouldn’t do it. But I find it intriguing and rewarding and am eager to do it all over again!

Natural Cold Relief for Babies

When babies are sick, everyone in the house is miserable, especially them! They are so small and helpless and they just don’t understand why they feel so awful. And there isn’t any medication deemed safe for them until at least two years of age (and it isn’t even recommended to be used until at least six years old).

Jeshuah has had his fair share of colds in his 16 months of life, despite being breastfed for 12+ months! He has an exceedingly difficult time sleeping when he is sick, and when he doesn’t get his sleep, he cannot function.  This fueled my search for natural solutions for cold relief. While nothing is fool proof and some methods work better for some than others, here are some tips I have gleaned:

  • Before bed, apply some Vick’s Babyrub to the bottoms of feet and pull on socks.  Also apply to chest and back.  This loosens congestion and aids in breathing.
  • Elevate their mattress slightly on one end with a towel underneath.  It is difficult enough to breathe with a stuffy nose, but we all know the frustration of lying down and having gravity tug even harder at our sinuses! Elevating just a little can ease some of the congestion.
  • Fill a humidifier with water and place near bed.  The added moisture in the air will help ease congestion.
  • Give baby vitamins. Your local health food store should carry a variety.  Make sure they contain zinc, vitamin C.
  • Steam bathroom before warm bath, and add eucalyptus oil to water. Before his bath, I turn the shower on as hot as it will go and close the door to maintain the steam.  When it is steamy enough, I fill the bath with warm water, adding a couple drops of Dr. Bronner’s Eucalptus soap.  Eucalyptus opens the sinuses and relieves congestion.
  • Add epsom salts to the bath. They draw toxins out of the body.
  • A daily Teaspoon Elderberry Syrup. You can find this at your local health food store. Buy the kind without sugar added.  Elderberry syrup has long been used to support the immune system.
  • Daily probiotic. Also available at the healthfood stores. Probiotics help support the immune system.
  • Saline solution to loosen congestion.  Warm 1/2 cup filtered water with 1/8 tsp salt. Lay baby down with face and head tilted back and drop/spray in each nostril. Use aspirator to suction out nostrils.
Those are a few that have benefited usl. What remedies have you found helpful?

What is the deal with Autism, anyway??

April is Autism Awareness month.

1 in 110 children are diagnosed with autism today.  

It is an epidemic, and the search continues to find its causes and cures.

And yet the general populous remains largely unaware and sadly misinformed about what autism is exactly, and the unique and painful journey which faces the families who deal with it.  A complicating factor in this whole issue is the “gifted” nature of many autistic kids.  Many times you will find that, while socially awkward and emotionally unavailable, these children are brilliant in one or two areas if someone can figure out how to teach them the way they learn. Take Temple Grandin for example. She is a high functioning autistic who revolutionized cattle ranching and processing in this country with her genius for knowing how animals think and how to be more efficient and humane at the same time. So it can be easy to think, “Hey! Autism is a gift! Just tap into their genius and leave them alone.”

But if you have ever known an autistic child or seen Temple Grandin’s movie, I hope you have an understanding that these gifts come with a high price tag.  When we began to learn how to teach and get into the minds of these amazing kids, we began to learn just how terrifying and painful their world is.  What is a normal noise to us is deafening and horrifying for them. What is an average conversation for us sends them into a panic attack.  What seems a routine change of plans for us spins their entire world out of control and they do not have the resources to deal with it and function and think clearly in the ways that we do. We take that for granted.  These wonderful, misunderstood people are living in a world of physical and emotional pain, and most of them are still completely unreached.

For the last few months, we have been engaged in much research, consulting, questioning and, yes, at times, debating, which direction to take with caring for Jeshuah in light of the possible autistic spectrum disorder.  The heartbreaking thing about ASD is that the medical field is baffled by the outbreak.  They don’t know what to do with it, and they don’t know how to help the families and children dealing with it.  The most they can do is treat the symptoms, but they have no hope regarding the disease.

In my research, though, I have found a different perspective: there is much hope for ASD! New studies are shedding light on its possible causes and, yes, even cures! A major complication in getting to the bottom of ASD is the wide ranging symptoms.  It is literally different for every single case. How do you even begin to deal with the from a medical perspective? That is why there is the broad spectrum of autistic disorders, ranging from mild to severe.

But I take heart when I hear of people like Dr. Kenneth Bock, Dr. Kerry, and Dr. Newhouse making major strides toward getting to the bottom of this myserious and debilitiating epidemic.  Dr. Bock’s research is showing that the root cause of ASD (and you can also lump into that asthma, allergies, and ADHD! Same cause, different manifestations) is an autoimmune disorder. To make it really simple, the immune system, which is supposed to keep the body functioning and healthy, has gone into attack mode–on itself.  The body is so overwhelmed it cannot function properly, and the brain responds by sending out any number of hundreds of distress signals.

Because each of our bodies are unique, just as our fingerprints are, no two bodies react and respond in the same manner.  The result is such a varying degree of seemingly unrelated symptoms that it is baffling to parents and doctors alike.

Praise the Lord for Dr. Bock and others like him, who are determined to look past the symptoms and discover the cause of it all.  Now that he has pinpointed the auto-immune connection, as well as causal factors of toxins in the body and brain, he is isolating effective treatment for people suffering from ASD.

Unfortunately, this is all still so new, it is largely unknown. The general population and, sadly, much of the medical community is still greatly unaware of the strides being made toward healing in this area.  Most parents and children dealing with ASD are met with a sad head shake by their physician and a referral for therapy.  No hope for healing, only resources to cope with it.

While I am grateful for those resources, and we love our occupational and developmental therapists, I am more concerned with seeing my little buddy be set free from his struggles altogether. I do not to learn merely how to function with autism, I want to know if and how we can get rid of it altogether.

This isn’t fun. Watching my little boy turn bright red, face and ears flaming hot for no apparent reason.  Uncovering hives, rashes, and bruises on his little body from mere touches. Burying his head in my shoulder and crying uncontrollably in a room full of people that is overwhelming to him, but not the other kids. Crawling around the house, banging his head repeatedly on the floor and moaning pitifully. Playing with toys compulsively, putting it in and out, in and out, then bursting into frustrated tears because he can’t seem to stop. Stiffening, shaking, ceasing to breathe, then gasping for breath when he sees wheels or circles. Preferring being alone in a dark room to being in the light with people because it is sensory overload for his poor, weary body and mind. Yes, my sweet baby is such a joy in so many ways and seems so very normal in others, but in this list and many others, my heart clenches in fear and sadness for his silent struggles.  Something is not right in my little boy and it causes such suffering that we remain largely unaware of, but he faces every day.

This is why I want to help him. I don’t want to just learn how to cope with it, I want to help his body to heal from whatever is causing such mental and physical distress.  And if there are doctors out there pioneering how we can do that, I praise God for them and will seek them out.

But once again, we walk forward in this reminding ourselves that our hope is not in doctors, treatments, therapy, or ultimate health for Jeshuah.  It is in Christ and him alone. It is in his sovereignty and his goodness. Whether the Lord gives us the resources to see Jeshuah set free of this disorder or not, he is good. Our hope is in the gospel, and that never changes. Praise God for the salvation of our souls, and we pray every day for the salvation of Jeshuah’s. God is good.

Infant Potty Training: 16 Month Report

If you are unfamiliar with the theory of Infant Potty Training or Elimination Communication, read my post here.  In short, it is the philosophy that babies are born with awareness of and quickly develop the ability to hold their need to use the bathroom.  It stands in stark contrast to the modern western philosophy that these muscles do not develop until well after two years of age.  It also challenges the idea that babies cannot communicate their needs effectively or respond to cues.  This theory holds that babies do not like to soil themselves, but would much prefer to stay clean and dry by using a toilet (like we would!) and would love the opportunity to do so if we just gave them that opportunity.

We have been using EC since the day of Jeshuah’s birth and found this theory quickly proved accurate.  By eight months, Jeshuah always pooed only on the toilet, and by 12 months, his diapers were consistently dry.  I could now consider my one year old potty trained!

However, we have faced some minor and major obstacles along the way that have been a setback to our progress.  EC is a whole different ballgame in the western world than much of the eastern world that practices it.  With our carpeted, beautifully furnished homes, it’s rather a big deal if your little one is running around diaper-free and has an accident.  It is also, honestly, inconvenient to run him to the bathroom every 45-90 minutes, pull off all his clothes and get him on the potty–especially if he didn’t even have to go!  And many times we are running around or visiting friends, and there is either not a good place to take him to the restroom or he is not happy about pausing his play to go use it.

At the moment, we are on a major “potty pause”–or probably rather a “potty strike” in this case, and it’s all due to my own laziness.  When Jeshuah started signing to me that he needed to use the potty (at twelve months), he got so excited about it, he started signing it all the time, so then I never knew what was a real sign and what was just having fun.  I grew lenient, weary of the multiple trips to the bathroom for no reason.  But I noticed almost immediately he stopped signing that he needed to go anymore. I had to rely on facial expressions and timing instead.  Around that same time, I also grew lax with putting him in underwear and found it easier to simply put a diaper on him.

But when I do that, he loses his awareness of his bodily functions to where, I have let that go on so long, he has regressed in most of his training.  I am tempted to be frustrated with this and say, “I thought we were done with this! I thought we were potty trained here! If we keep this up, you’ll be the same age as all your other friends by the time you are completely potty trained, and who will be impressed with that?!”

Oops, what was that? Who will be impressed by that? Is that why I am doing this? To impress people with my son’s ability to use a toilet at eight months? I thought it was because I believed in the philosophy. I thought it was because it was short-term sacrifice for long-term gain. I thought, ultimately, it was about responding to my son’s needs and helping him to be comfortable and training him in the way he should go. It is so easy to lose sight of all that and be lost to my own parental pride.

So, while I have been convicted that my motives have not always been pure in this area, I remind myself of the ultimate goals. Yes, it is more trips to the bathroom now, but it is still less diapers in the long run.  It is less diaper rashes for a very, very sensitive bottom and hardly any disgusting, smelly, poopy diapers.  And it is an all-around happier baby who can communicate with mommy and daddy and feel secure in the knowledge that we hear him and want to help him.

Love this little face!

(Healthy) Eating for Two!

When I was pregnant with Jeshuah, I really didn’t have a clue what I was carrying inside me.  I mean, I knew there was a baby in there, but it was so abstract, I simply couldn’t wrap my mind around it.  It was, unfortunately, more about “being pregnant” and the excitement and attention that inevitably brings, than about caring for the little life growing inside me.

Especially if that impinged on my own desires.

For stuff like loads of sugar, caffeine, fast food, etc.  I was overwhelmed by all the things you’re not supposed to do when you are pregnant, and selfishly, I thought it was all a little over the top anyway.  So, I really didn’t pay much attention to what you should or shouldn’t do or eat.

This time around (oh, yeah, I’m pregnant!), it feels really, really different.  Although it is still early in the pregnancy, and there is such a surreal feeling surrounding it, I actually think I am even more excited this time than I was last time.  The first pregnancy, I really didn’t fully know what it was going to be like to have a child, to be a mom.  Now I understand a mother’s love, and I can hardly wait to wrap my arms around this new little one and watch her grow! (I have fondly decided she will be a she, not an it or a he:-)

I also have a whole new attitude regarding what I eat.  Combine all of my convictions, research, and concerns with Jeshuah, and I am very aware of the fact that what I eat, the baby eats.  So every time I reach for something, I ask myself, “Do I want the baby to eat that?” And if the answer is no, I find a healthier option. I want to give this little one the best start to life possible.  And I don’t mind sacrificing a few of life’s pleasures for a few months to do that. Now, that doesn’t mean that I will never enjoy a burger and coke, but let’s just say, that will be the exception, not the rule.

It has helped that we really just don’t have any junk food options in the house anymore.  It has also helped that I have found a bunch of new healthy snack food recipes and have begun building my stash so that when hunger calls, I can satisfy it in a positive way.

Ultimately, God is sovereign, and He is good. His will will be done with this little one, and it will be His good, perfect and pleasing will.  But I want to be responsible with this gift and this family and this body with which God has entrusted me.  So I will be posting more as I learn more about healthy, natural helps for expectant mamas!