The Stretched Out Mama’s Melody

We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play the one string that we have, and that is our attitude.

These words by Charles Swindoll struck a chord within me; attitude matters. I’ve been missing on these lanes, mainly because life happened, I’d love to know when life doesn’t happen. It is not stagnant and that is the beautiful thing about it, it is fluid, and the sooner we adjust the better. You can’t remain an ice-block in hot soup, sometimes life is a lot like broth, it has some chunks that we like and others we’d rather do without, but we soldier on and chew those chunks because you can’t exactly be picky with broth, you take it as it comes.

One of the chunks that I love is that my girls are both toddlers. Where did time fly to? Just the other day, I checked in to hospital to deliver sweet little Ky, and now she is all grown. I have two toddlers, and I am here adjusting to all the milestones, it is surreal, a beautiful blessing to be part of.

The skipping of naps though, is one of the chunks I would rather do without. Nap time is half time in my day, when I can recharge, think and write. It doesn’t help that they wake up before Mr Sun has worn his yellow coat, it is usually bright but still dark. One day of less-than-what-I’d-consider-adequate sleep is fine, but a week of that, has me pulling a my recovering hairline, bubbling with negative emotions and questioning myself. This is the roller-coaster of being a mama in this season.

Thankfully, by the grace of God, lest I take any credit, Ky is sleeping better at night. She is self soothing, waking up once a night is much better than the night time circus we had going on, with her jumping up like Jack-in-a-box every other hour. To God, I say “THANK YOU!”, I know I rambled about my lack of sleep here before.

On a lighter note, I hang out with a group of mums last week, bless them, and we concluded that God made women adaptable to sleep deprivation. Regardless of your gender, sleep is important, no-one was made to zombie around full time.

My attitude is under construction, it is an area that needs some divine help, but I am taking it a day at a time. I am certain that next week I won’t be where I was a few days ago. It is what I have within my control, the string in my hand, I’ll play it each day and create a beautiful melody note by note.

 

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Borrowed Eggs

Sunday naps are beautiful, refreshing, not too short that you wake with a headache and not long enough to turn you in to a night owl after dusk.

The one day that I hope and pray that my girlies will take a nap is on Sundays, nap time is usually my golden hour(s) of peace. The rays of the sun warm the room, the birds chirp melodiously outside and for a few prolonged minutes the thought of Monday doesn’t cross my mind. I can think. I can breathe. I’m at peace.

Before I had children I didn’t used to take my siesta time as seriously, I’d watch movies instead of sleep, now, I sleep to recharge and I wake up with a rekindled love for life. My siesta is therapy for my soul.

Yesterday, Ky refused to nap. Forty-five minutes of my siesta time was spent trying to convince her to sleep, but curiosity trumped sleep, so she hang out with daddy as Miss K and I slept. It was such sweet sleep.

When Ksena woke, I was on the phone, so she went to join the fun part of K squad ( daddy and Ky). Nobody told me about the 3 year growth spurt, where the appetite of a teenager lives within a toddler. I often hear the words “Mum, I’m still hungry,”, I am waiting to see her chunking up. After naps she wakes up hungry, ready to eat whatever she finds.

When she walked into the room, they exchanged pleasantries with Ky being happy that her sister and friend was now awake.

“Ksena, what would you like to eat?”

“I want,” she said as she paused to think, “The egg Shiku (Kyria) likes?”

“Which one?”

“Borrowed eggs.”

Peter looked at her, processing her strange request for borrowed eggs and then it hit him that it was boiled eggs. I guess she always hears something that sounds like borrowed (homophones and toddlers are chuckle-worthy series of posts for another day.) She likes boiled egg whites but won’t touch the yolk because it is, wait for it, dirty. Yet the dirt is not an issue in sunny side ups, omelets or scrambled eggs. Toddlers!

As I reflected later that night, I realized that there are so many times that I go to God asking for things but using the wrong name. I was comforted that because He is my father, He will know exactly what I mean and give them to me according His will and in His time.

What a beautiful feeling it is to know that we have an open invitation to the King of Kings, and we can share our heart’s desires with him, both the polished and the unrefined, and though we may stutter or say the wrong thing, He will understand.

He will not give us borrowed eggs that we will in turn have to repay, he will give us boiled eggs.

 

“No-You-Didn’t”

As a mother, the first six months of a child’s life are the most stressful. It’s not necessarily the child, but the way that the hormonal imbalance makes me perceive things, post-partum blues are real. Colic and reflux seem like the Himalayas at the time, while in retrospect they are more like Ngong hills.

When the hormones balance out, I begin to see the Sun on the horizon, I hear the birds chirping, I feel the stone I kicked stub my toe, I feel the velvety softness of my baby’s touch, I laugh from the depths of my belly, and the extra weight begins to go.

I can see clearly.

Having two little ones with a small age gap, well, small is relative considering it is a two-year difference, can be hard. But, as they grow they become friends, they can play together, they desire to spend time with each other and it is so beautiful to watch.

Until they fight.

And when they fight I become Mama the ref, my titles increase, and I realize that being younger doesn’t necessarily equate to being innocent. The transition from innocence to knowing what is right and wrong, well a little of it, happens overnight. But the coos, giggles, and smiles remain constant, so it is easy to be led to believe that the little one doesn’t know what she is doing, but she does.

Sharing doesn’t come naturally, saying ‘please and thank-you’ is not part of the default settings of a human being, and there lies the work of a parent, repetition, trying to constantly draw them back to where they need to be.

Ky was not ready for the responsibility that comes with knowing right from wrong. So she pushes the boundaries, and when I say ‘No thank-you Ky, please don’t bite your sister,’ she wails, her soft smile turns into a ‘ no-you-didn’t ‘ kinda wail.

She takes offense.

Looking at how she deals with the correction made me reflect on my life as a child of God. Watching how overwhelmed and upset she becomes looks very familiar to me, the stories that I made up when God said ‘No’ suddenly come flooding into my mind. At the time, I didn’t care that He was right, all I wondered is why He would want to hurt me, to hurt my feelings. Yet all He was doing was for me.

As parents, we correct and discipline because we love our children and want the best for them. God is no different, if anything, it is He who set the example that we should follow. My challenge to myself is to be less offended and begin to see the correction from His perspective, after all, it is for me.

The beautiful thing is that in two minutes, Ky forgets that she was upset and even goes to play with her sister. She’ll flash me a two-toothed smile, nod her head and then charge towards Ksena laughing.

Perhaps this is why the Lord desires for us to remain like children, that we will know at the bottom of our hearts that we are loved and that He disciplines us because He loves us.

 

The Waterfall

I put my nose on her head and took a deep breath, my lips curled into a smile as I took in a scent. The memories of our first weeks together flooded my memory, I cradled her in my arms as I thought about how little she was when she was born. “Esther, you have a baby girl. 3.2kgs” Daktari said as the tears cleansed my cheeks, they washed away the anxiety that I had been carrying around. Being pregnant was one miracle, a safe delivery for both mummy and baby was the other miracle.

That tear jerking moment was the first of many in our journey of getting to know each other. Our first few weeks were filled with awe of the Most High and sheer frustration, getting Ky to burp felt like squeezing toothpaste out of an empty tube, I rubbed the top of her back and the tail of the spine, sometimes I got a tiny burp other times there was nothing.

God forbid she did a proper burp, a waterfall of her milk followed, it drenched her clothes, my PJs, the sheets but it gave her relief. She would smile, and it would sort of melt the frustration away, that was until she got frustrated by my not-so-full boob that was the source of her milk. Night feeds were long, feeding every three hours was hectic and the reflux was discouraging.

As I carried her and enjoyed carrying a still version of her I realized that blessings don’t exempt you from struggles. When they come it’s good to remember that they won’t last forever. Now all I have are memories, we’ve outgrown the reflux and we are onto other struggles.

John 16:33 Amplified Bible (AMP)

33 I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace. In the world, you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.]

Suffering, distress, and tribulation come in different shapes and sizes but God’s peace and courage remain readily available.

 

Choked

The lump in my throat felt like it had been chained to my molars, it didn’t budge no matter how hard I swallowed, the waves of water I drunk washed it but didn’t push it. It was stuck, and for once I was forced to confront it, see it for what it really was.

Earlier that day, I woke up to pray and I whispered a series of simple prayers, they weren’t seemingly ‘powerful’ command-the-morning, devil-you-are-defeated kind of prayers, though yes the devil is defeated. They were simple heartfelt whispered pleas said from a guarded but expectant heart.

“Babe, what happened to you?” hubs asked as we had our breakfast. “What do you mean?” I asked as I took a sip of my Moringa Hibiscus tea, “You used to pray a lot…you know you will stand and give an account for yourself as an individual,” immediately I heard these words the piece of sweet potato in my throat became harder, I felt like I was eating a sweet fibrous boulder.

“I am trying to get back there. I’ve been praying shorter prayers, but I am still at it.” I responded but the question lingered with me. As I went about my day, I sought the answer within, and I stopped when I realized what had really happened. I had been choked, to the point that I found myself gasping for air, sometimes my faith was even turning blue. It wasn’t because God or His word had changed, but I had shifted my focus. The worries of this world (that is soon passing away) had choked my desire, drive and resolve to pray passionately.

Motherhood has taught me that it is not only bad things that can choke you, even water and breast milk can choke a child, these are liquids that are meant to refresh. In the same way, the things that choke my faith are not necessarily bad things, in fact, some of them are the roles that I play as a mum and a wife, but that shouldn’t be an excuse. If anything it should be a reminder to always be sensitive enough to know when the balance shifts, to know when the water goes down the wrong pipe, to recognize the coughing spasms in my faith, the difficulty praying, and to ask for help.

Here’s to eating life with a big spoon, praying and not choking.

Blue Elephant

From the eyes of a child, the world is an exhilarating and sometimes scary place. Fear is sometimes triggered by the little things. During the last one week. Ky has been facing her fears and reservations towards the unknown. There is a little-stuffed cow that she’d not get close to, but one day she realized that it wasn’t so scary after all. The first day she went around it quickly and stopped one meter past it to see its reaction, it lay there helplessly. The second day she picked it up, tossed it to the side and zoomed past it, she knew that there was nothing that it could do, fear became a thing of the past.

This morning as we played on the floor she met a mummy and baby Elephant. Mama is pink and called Ellie while her litu one is blue and called Blue (I am taking suggestions for names for stuffed animals, some with a little flare.) Ky likes Ellie but she is terrified of little Blue, when I say terrified I mean, she will not let it get close to her and will shake if it tries. What I consider as a cute little blue Elephant seems scary to her.

That is the thing about fear, it’s deeply personal, it takes a different face as the seasons change. They may be little in the eyes of society but to you, they are huge and blue and they make your world come to a standstill. When you face them you shudder, you close your eyes so as to wish them away, and in that moment your grandeur means nothing because fear is raging within.

We often shy away from the pink Elephant in the room, but I think that we need to talk about the blue Ellie that’s in our minds, the one that makes us second guess ourselves and makes us shrink and retreat like a tortoise into its shell.

My prayer for Ky and myself is that our fears will not hold us, hostage, that we will be all that God created us to be. That we will take all the Blue Elephants into our hands, push them aside like she did to the cow, and zoom towards our destiny.

Here’s to fighting and winning the battles within because we know that greater is He who is in us than he who is against us.

Oh dear heart, take courage. Do not fear.

 

 

Play Dough

I made play dough on Saturday. I used strawberry-red food color and it turned out a shade closer to pink, but I am glad I made it anyway. As long as it is malleable, Ksena will be happy.

Ksena enjoys making tasty Chapatis when it is Chapo day, her rolling skills are improving with the practice she does on play dough. Maybe she will be the one who makes us tortillas when she is older; a mum can dream.

I’ve gotten really good at procrastinating. Overthinking has become a past time. Granted that it is good to think through what you are about to do, but what I’ve been doing is wearing my running shoes and then tying my laces together, little wonder that I fall down before I start to run. Then I quit.

Most of the play dough recipes require you to use Cream of Tartar (I know, it sounds like Tartar sauce). For the past year, I looked for Cream of Tartar in every supermarket in Mombasa, I even checked in Nairobi but it was nowhere to be found. So I opted not to try.

On Saturday, I decided to give it a try without the Cream of Tartar, it was evident that if I wait to find it I will never make it, also Ksena’s desire to mold isn’t going anywhere so I might as well get on with it. As I kneaded the play dough, the Holy Spirit prompted me to think of all the things that I have failed to do because I didn’t have perfect conditions, because I didn’t have the “Cream of Tartar”. I was humbled and embarrassed. The truth is I like having everything that I need and watching my ducks stand line quacking on key like a choir. But life doesn’t always work like that. Most times, I don’t have all my ducks in a row, in fact sometimes it looks like there is a chicken masquerading in the skein, clucking as the rest are quacking.

The truth is I like having everything that I need and watching my ducks stand line quacking on key like a choir. But life doesn’t always work like that. Most times, I don’t have all my ducks in a row, in fact sometimes it looks like there is a chicken masquerading in the skein, clucking as the rest are quacking.

Some of my obstacles seem silly, but I let them hold me back. I am reminded today to just do it, to chase the dream, to record those Vlogs, to write those books, to make the play dough without the Cream of Tartar and to always be malleable. Through it, God will be glorified.

You can follow my Vlog here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnmYUAAe-cc