Monday, March 31, 2014

Sunshine On The Grass: Bittersweet Motherhood

 “When you become parents, then you can relate more to God’s ways.”

That’s what a friend, who happened to be a new mother of a nine-month-old baby, told me and my husband. At that time I was pregnant, and I had no idea what she was talking about, so me and my husband, we just nodded our heads. As if we understood, but we didn’t.
Now, let me tell you a story that happened sometime last December.

Baby Michael was going to turn one year old in a week. He has a very good appetite, and he loves to eat, which is very delightful for us parents, because we have heard horror stories and how big of a headache it is for parents whose children just won’t eat. How they would spend two hours every meal time to feed the child, how agonizing it is that they have very little time to play, because almost every waking hour the child has, the parents spend it on feeding him or her. Baby Michael doesn’t like milk, so it’s a bit of a struggle, and he has a tendency to throwing up, but overall, he is OK, more than OK in terms of eating solids. His throwing up habit, I learned, is genetic. His father was just the same. Nothing alarming.

Then suddenly, out of the blue, without any warning whatsoever, he refused to eat. He would not open his mouth. He would not eat his fruit. He would not eat his breakfast nor his afternoon snack of oatmeal which he usually likes. When I tried to feed him with a spoon, he smacked the spoon with his little hand so that the food splashed all over his high chair, and on the floor. Everywhere. I tried to talk to him. I cajoled him. I added cheese to his food to give it some taste. I changed the texture of his food. I offered some instant food, which I usually avoided at all cost, as a desperate effort to entice him to eat. He didn’t eat anything that day, just drank a bit of milk that I tricked him into drinking when he was half asleep and way too sleepy to do any acts of rebel.

The next morning came. Same thing, He drank milk, I guess because he was hungry. I tried to make him doing activities that would make him sweaty and hungry. He was laughing and we had fun playing on the floor. Then meal time came. He refused to eat breakfast. Again. He refused to eat fruit. Again. Same thing with lunch.

Dinner time came. He ate almost nothing solid for 48 hours straight now, and just a little bit of milk. I was worried he might get ill. I began to understood that it was not the food. It was him trying to state his “independence”. He just refused to eat for the sake of refusing to eat. He could see that Mommy and Daddy are miserable, and he laughed. He was expressing himself in the only way that he knew how. The wrong way, that might hurt himself, as well as stressing out his parents. He didn’t know what he was doing. He didn’t know that the consequences of his refusing to eat will be threat of sickness. If he keeps going, it will even hinder his brain and physical development, which is going very very fast in his age. Must not waste the golden years, the first three years of life. But he didn’t know it. He do not know it. WE do.

So I decided to do something drastic. 

His father held his hands, and I basically forced him to eat. After almost 48 eight hours of “fasting”, we finally decided to force feed him, for his own good. He screamed and rebelled, he kicked and cried. He was angry, upset and perhaps scared, too. His little face was all red, tears of anger were streaming down his cheeks. It cut my heart to see and hear him like that, but we knew it would be wrong to let him not eating. It was really heartbreaking. We managed to get about one third of his food got eaten.

On the second day, he kicked less and screamed less, and we managed to feed him half his portion. On his third day, he whined and made exasperated noises, but he learned his lesson. He ate most of his food. On the fourth day, he ate all of his food, as he used to do before this tantrum.

It’s been said that you must not forcefeed a child, because it will traumatize him. Well, I don’t know how the experts conclude that, but in our experience, it was THE PARENTS who got traumatized. I feared feeding time. It scared the hell out of me. I didn’t want to repeat the experience ever again. What about the child? Well, I guess he hated us in the first five minutes after feeding time, then he started made cute noises and crawled around my feet to be picked up. He would kiss me and hug me because he knew I was upset with him, and he cajoled me to smile at him because he knew Mommy was angry. No trauma on him, I guess. Just on the exhausted mother and father. Not to mention the guilty feeling. And that "I'm the worst mother in the world" voice in my head.

Then it hit me. Don’t we human, grown up men and women react the same way when God “forcefeed” us? How many times have we disobeyed Him, knowing full well that we are not supposed to? How many times have we tried His patience? How many times have we were being like stubborn, disobedient child? How many times have we cried and whined and was angry toward God when He “forcefeed” us, because He knew we would get sick if He didn’t? How many times after He taught us a painful lesson, we sulked and were angry with him? How many times did we think we knew better than God.

More times than I want to admit.

I forced Baby Michael to eat after 48 hours because I knew there is a danger he might be taken ill if he continued to do so. I also wanted him to learn that disobedience will not take him anywhere, and that experimenting is a good thing, but if it might endanger him, Mommy will step in and take charge. I guess God forced me to “eat”, or do something I don’t want to do, or experience something I don’t like, or take charge of my life when I want ME to take charge, also has the same reason. Bottom line is, He knows better than me, He wants the best for me, and He wants to keep me out of bigger trouble. It’s just, more often than not, I don’t want to admit it. I feel like I know better, I know what’s best for me, and I’m a big girl who knows how to stay out of trouble. Sounds familiar?

So, next time I have that urge to rebel and yell at God, “Why are YOU doing this to me?!”, I’ll try to remember parenthood, I’ll try to remember that no matter how old, grown up or capable I am, I am still a child of God, and I’ll try to remember this verse that He gave as His love letter:

“For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the LORD,
plans for your welfare, not for woe! plans to give you a future full of hope.”

(Jeremiah 29:11)

By the way, if you are a mother, have you ever felt like the baddest, the worst mother in world? Please share in the comments! I would love to hear from other mothers!
 Son, I love you and I'd rather you hate me now and thank me later for doing what's best for you - no matter how not nice that'll make me look -, than spolling you now and not building the strong character that will serve you well for the rest of your life.

If you love me back, it will make me happy, and I love you.
If you don't, it will break my heart, but I still love you.

working mom

I love the detailing and accessories on this outfit. I especially love the necklace and the bracelet. Just take a look of this snapshot here, of the green tree, the little woman on a scooter. So cute!

The bracelet with multicolor stones is a darling thing Mom brought me from her latest trip to China. While the mint star bracelet, a coworker brought me from Hong Kong. I love them both.

 I'm linking up to these wonderful Ladies:




Beauty Fashion Skin Care Blog - Girlie Blog Seattle said...

What a fantastic story! I really enjoyed reading it - as well as the genius way you relate to how we react to God and his ways. Oh, I don't think I've told you this, but CONGRATS! Baby Michael is adorable. Also, you look great. Still got that new mommy glow.
Beauty Fashion Skin Care Blog -Girlie Blog Seattle | Casual Chic Style

Carylee said...

Love the motivation in your post -thank you so much for sharing, and sorry you had to go through that. Your outfit is so fun and springy - thank you for linking it up with Manic Monday! Carylee |

Ann K said...

Hi, LeeAnne. I agree with you that until we become parents, it is more difficult to understand the kind of love that God has for us! I think of how much patience He must have to put up with all of our tantrums! Thanks for sharing your story. Your outfit is very pretty, too! I love the colorful and creative jewelry! (Your son is adorable, too!)
Blessings to you,
Ann @ Christ in the Clouds

Mystery Case said...

Gorgeous outfit and gorgeous story.
Thanks for sharing.

Redcliffe Style said...

That necklace is so cute! I discovered you via the gorgeous Kimba Likes link up. Rachel x

Kim-Marie from Kimba Likes said...

Thank you for joining me for Wardrobe Wednesday. Bit of a fan of green and pink together.


Hazel Moon said...

You did the right thing. If your child is sick, he might not want to eat and only drink water, but if he appears fine - he must at least eat a portion of his food. You did good.
Our dreams sometimes fly out the window but God gives us new dreams! Thank you for your entry at “Tell Me a Story.” I have been off line due to computer failure and virus problems, but my husband gave me a different computer so I am back on line – just lost a bunch of stuff including my e-mail addresses..
Please return Monday around 5:00PM PST when the new week will be open for your story at:

Pam @ over50feeling40 said...

Sounds like you are a great mom...he is a cutie! Also, I like your accessories!

kileen valenzuela said...

being a parent definitely presents its share of obstacles! best of luck with your son. I love all the fun colors of your outfit!

cute & little

Mummy's Got Style said...

Thanks for linking up to #fashionfriday, you have to follow your gut as a parent as you did. Love all your accessories.

Penniless Socialite said...

That necklace is so cute! hanks for linking up for Look What I Got last week.  Hope to see you back tomorrow!
Penniless Socialite
$30 J. Crew Giveaway!

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