It has been a year! So much has happened. Our youngest daughter, who we affectionately call String Bean, entered the world one year ago today at 3:43 pm. We had not planned on having four kids. I had very mixed emotions about the whole thing - the delivery, getting four kids age five and under dressed, the hospital (it was different from the other three), going anywhere with all four, having time to do anything, the recovery, my age, my life plans. It was all very overwhelming and continued to be many months after her arrival. But that day was so much fun! By the time you get to the fourth, unless there are suprises, you know the drill. We did and it was easy, exciting and so much fun to meet the precious gift that God had given us. She was perfect. I can look back on that day and know that God had it all planned out from the very beginning despite our plans and thoughts. I am so glad He knows what He is doing because our lives are so much better with String Bean.
As many of you know, Nathan recently returned from a trip to Africa. While I normally like to travel with the kids while he is away to see my family and friends, this trip was different. We have a kindergartner in public school. He did not have nine days off of school while dad was in Zimbabwe. The five Linos stayed in our routine and continued on without him. Toads' school schedule worked out perfectly prior to the trip for us to have the afternoon together as a family. School released early the day before departure, so we ventured down to Discovery Green in downtown Houston. We had the green all to ourselves in the midst of the skyscrapers and then shared the water feature with a school field trip. It was a nice afternoon together as a family before the 9 nine days with only two emails as our only form of communication. I have many thoughts regarding a trip like this, so here is a short list:
---Nathan should go every chance he gets. The Lord always uses these times to work in and through Nathan for His glory. I don't ever want to stop that!
---Satan could easily use me and the kids to stop the Lord's work on these trips. He most often attacks in the health arena. (This time we narrowly avoided an asthma-related hospital stay and had two ear infections that made for really long nights.)
---I miss him while he is gone, but know the time apart is good for all of us. We certainly appreciate him and what he does more when he returns.
---I always feel safe while he is gone.
---I have a great respect for single moms and military wives - at least I know there is an end to going solo and we can count the short days until his return.
---We stick to our routine. Keeping everything as normal as possible makes for happy kids.
Reading is something I like to do, don't do enough of and wish I did faster. I try to read things that are going to be either helpful to my daily living or actually appeal to me. If I am going to read something with the purpose of it helping my daily living then I have some things I would like to see: 1) It cannot contradict the Bible in any way; 2)It uses the Bible for establishing principles; and 3)It is not stacked full of pop-psych, catchy trends.
Well, several months ago, I finished reading All You Need to Know About...Raising Girls. Since we have three of these little creatures in our care, I thought this would be great. There sure is a lot to know and I need it! "Raising Girls journeys into the heart of girls to help parents understand their daughter's different stages of development: what is normal, what is not, and how to relate effectively." - is what caught my eye when perusing amazon.com for a new book. Melissa Trevathan and Sissy Goff have broken the book up into three sections: What's Normal, What's Not - a look at typical behaviors in the discovery, adventurous, narcissistic and autonomous years; What's Going On With Her - in her heart and mind about relationships, family, boys and society's effects on her; and How Can I Help? - parenting through a clear lens.
The authors did what they did well. They have decades of combined experience in the counseling room with girls and they effectively communicated the scientific aspect of girls' developmental stages. They walked through each phase well enough for anyone with an un-scientific mind to recognize where their child is in the process. The book causes parents to at least question whether or not they are parenting through a blurry or clear lens......playing favorites, living vicariously through a child, anger, etc.
Raising Girls did fall short in a couple of areas for me. The Bible and its principles were not at the forefront. While in the introduction, the authors do incite a desire to 'equip you with a voice to call out who God has uniquely created her to be," it was not until well into the second chapter that the name of God was even mentioned. Scripture was certainly not drawn upon in great amounts. In fact, it was sparsely quoted. I found it difficult to reconcile calling out my uniquely created daughter without hardly a mention of the One who created her. Secondly, pop-psych was dominant. Many a quote from different psychologists and philosophers peppered the 243 pages. In many cases, the psychological statement or observation was used as a 'jumping-off point' rather than a supplement. Lastly, I was troubled by one particular example used by the authors to bring home a point. Now, I am realistic in understanding that dad is not always around (whatever the circumstance) to help mom home from the hospital, but in using the example of a mother bringing home her newborn baby from the hospital with her good female friend, the authors left room for interpretation on how they feel about the Biblical design for family. It seems to me that in a book deisgned to aid in the building of biblical families, a male-female scenario would have been desirable to establish the author's point.
I will take away from Raising Girls the fact that I don't know everything. I will not however, find all I need to know about raising my three precious girls from this book.