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Monday, August 26, 2013

Big Changes for Little Charles

Well, Charles turned seven months old a week ago today.  I can honestly say that I can tell a difference--he seems like a different baby.

This week, Charles:
- learned to crawl,
- started pulling up to standing in his crib,
- dropped from three naps a day to two,
- began to babble ba ba ba...
- and has discovered he has a will of his own.

Crawling began in earnest on Monday, and each day he's progressed more and more from commando to all-fours.  He's not all that adept or quick quite yet, but he's mobile.  It's definitely upped my game (and made me so much more aware of how dirty my floors are--eww).  He can also switch from sitting to crawling and crawling back to sitting, which has made my life a bit easier since I don't have to stop and rearrange him every few minutes.

Pulling up in his crib is adorable, but has caused a problem in the whole napping department.  Before, if he woke up after I laid him down, he would fuss for a bit and go back to sleep.  Now, he pulls himself up, so obviously that makes falling back to sleep a bit more complicated....

Dayime sleep in general has been rather elusive for the poor kid, and I finally realized he was dropping that third nap.  He's sleeping a bit longer at night and typically only wakes up once or twice between 8:00 PM and 6:00 AM.  Some days he fights taking any naps--he either won't fall asleep in the first place or will quickly awaken when put down and not fall asleep again like he used to. His room is pretty bright during the day, but that hasn't seemed to be a problem until, possibly, now.

He's also really starting to add consonants to his babbling, though no definite "mama" or "papa" yet.  It mostly sounds like he's trying to say "ball," which I suppose is possible (a favorite game is rolling the ball back and forth).  He's at about the point where babies start realizing sounds have some real-word counterpart (i.e., symbol and reference, to get all academic).  I'm kind of geeking out about it.

Most challenging and also exciting is the fact that Charles is discovering he is himself.  We've seen a few temper fits this week (he's not a fan of being taken out of his bath-time splashing).  I'm beginning to tell him no and set some boundaries (no yanking on momma's nose, for example).  The easy part of parenting is over, and the training--for parent and child--is just beginning.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Just because we can...

I had a conversation the other day with a fellow believer who pointed out that the Lord has given us the ability to grow more crops per acre, grow bigger animals for more meat, etc., so therefore we should use that ability to provide more food for a growing population, seemingly no matter what the long-term cost.  The end justifies the means, as it were.

(We were discussing how conservative believers aren't very "green," and those of you who know me are probably pretty aware that Trevvor and I are something of Christian Hippies.  I had been saying that our bodies are temples and the earth is the Lord's creation, and it is possibly sinful to knowingly fill either with toxins.)

I've heard this argument before--God gave us brains, so let's use them!  Well, yes.  I agree.  But we can use those brains for destroying just as easily as for building up.  We have the mental capacity to come up with all sorts of creative ways to kill people en masse (atomic bomb? gas chambers? chemical warfare?--modern man is not immune to creative atrocities any more than our barbarian ancestors).  We have the mental capacity to both kill an unborn child and find a way to make it seem reasonable, even moral, to do so.  We can use stem cells from aborted babies to make medical breakthroughs that would help thousands, tens of thousands!  God gave us brains--let's use them!  Right?

Perhaps not.

Such farming practices such as the ones that allow us to feed more people now are simply unsustainable and will make the earth unable to feed a greater population later.  Do we not have a responsibility towards our children's children as much as we do to ourselves?  Especially since it is false that the current population cannot be fed using sustainable means?  If we focused more on nutrition rather than calories, on growing vegetables and fruits rather than excessive meat and sugarcane, we would have more than enough truly healthful food for everyone today without poisoning the land for everyone in the future.

(As a side note, I'll take the opportunity to throw in here that Westerners are selfish to demand that completely unnecessary food-stuffs such as sugar--which has NO nutritional value and is drug-like in addictive powers--be grown on such a scale.  Not to mention meat, coffee, and chocolate--and don't get me started on corn and soy!--which are not completely devoid of value but are over-consumed to such an extent to have ruined traditional farming practices all over the world in undeveloped countries, which grow luxuries [and nutritionally empty calories] for us at the expense of not being able to grow necessities for themselves. Moderation, people!)

And while I'm already ranting a bit, let me address another argument against caring for creation.  I've heard it said that man will not destroy the earth because God will one day do so, therefore it doesn't matter what man does, the world won't be destroyed until God wills it so.
That's like saying, "I'm not going to die until it's God's time for me to die, so it doesn't matter what risky behavior I engage in, what I eat, how active I am, or how I care for my body at all.  God's in control, so I don't have to take care of myself--I'll just die when He's ready for me."
In both cases, the speaker is correct.  God will destroy the earth of His own accord, and He will bring us home when He wants us home.  It doesn't matter what we do.  But that doesn't remove from us the burden of caring for that which He has created, be it our fleshly temples or the entire world.

Back to the original point.

No, I do not believe that God gave us brains so that we could poison ourselves, so that we could be so short-sighted as to think that what we do now to maintain our current comfortable lifestyles--Western diet included--won't be devastating for the future.  We have the brain power to have our (lightly sweetened) cake and eat it too!  We can use the brains God gave us to keep His earth pure and our bodies along with it, while still feeding all the precious souls which fill His creation.  It does not have to be one or the other.  Don't use God as an excuse not to dig deeper, to keep searching for more sustainable solutions, to admit that maybe those liberal pagan tree-huggers could have a point.

Yes, we can do all these toxic things in the name of God and science.  But just because we can, doesn't mean we should.

'“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.' - 1 Corinthians 10:23

Friday, August 2, 2013

My Six Month Old Guy

Like my last post dwelt upon, my Charles is changing every day.  He's over six months old now, and it seems like every day is different.

He cut his first two teeth in the last week (on the bottom).  It's adorable seeing those tiny pearly whites peeking out when he smiles.

My grandmother (right) with her two sisters

He's sitting completely unassisted now.  When he starts to tumble backwards (which is rare nowadays), he either balances himself or he uses those tiny core muscles to slow his descent so he doesn't hit too hard.  He can scoot and twist and and lean and wriggle his way to fetch a toy he'd "accidentally" tossed just out of reach... Crawling will be discovered any day now (I'm not ready).

          My cousin, Truitt, who shares Charles' birthday

Yesterday he played a mimicking game with Nana (my mom) for several minutes, which is the first time he'd really done anything like that since he was about two months old and would stick his tongue out at me when I'd stick mine out at him.  Mom would make a little sound in her throat and he would giggle and do it back to her, and back and forth they went.  Thank goodness the video-camera was nearby!

He rolled himself off the bed a few weeks ago--it was heartbreaking and totally my fault.  I think it scared him more than anything; he was calm again in a few minutes and I never discovered any bumps or bruises.

Sleeping through the night is still somewhat elusive.  The best we've had so far is sleeping 10:00 to 6:00 (which has only happened once), and a few times he's made it that long only waking up once for a feed.  Most of nights he wakes up twice, and not infrequently (like last night) he woke up three times.  He's not in our room anymore, which is sad, but I think we're all getting more sleep.  For the first five or so months he was mostly in our bed, then he was in the cradle beside our bed, but after weeks of poor sleep (whether in our bed or in his cradle), we finally moved him to his crib and learned to let him fuss for a few minutes to see if he'd drift off before going to get him.  So, it's better.  Definitely better than waking up every hour to half hour throughout the whole night like he did for almost two months before the new arrangement.

For playtime, his favorite thing is just sitting on the floor with a few toys.  He loves things that make noise when he bangs them on something, like his stacker.  We've been rolling the ball back and forth together too, though it's mostly me rolling it to Charles, him trying to eat it, then dropping it and it rolling (sometimes) in my general direction.  But hey, it's a start!  Sometimes he's in the mood to gum on one of his softer fabric toys or teething rings, but these aren't nearly as popular as they were a month or two ago.

My dad (aka Grandpa)

My mom (aka Nana)

I haven't officially started him on solid foods yet; I just love nursing him and I don't want my milk supply to go down.  We've given him some banana chunks, which were a mess--er, success.  ;)  He's also enjoyed gumming on peaches, apples, and blueberries through a mesh feeding thing.  That gets pretty sticky pretty fast, but he can really get most of the substance through it and seems to like it.  We're going to try some avocado soon too.  But I'm in no hurry as long as he seems satisfied from nursing.

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