Tuesday, June 3, 2014


Have you ever been watching a post-apocalyptic movie and wondered how the writers came up with such and such a terrifying detail? Sometimes I have, but if you're ever been unable to escape from the screaming of grumpy, sick, or downright disobedient children, you need no longer wonder. Or on the flip side, your child being seriously hurt can make your life feel as dark as the apocalypse. [image]

We've been going through a rough patch in the last few days with Ishmael. He is generally such a sweet kid, but all of a sudden, he has decided that listening is for babies, and he's no baby. One of my greater parenting struggles is being a consistent disciplinarian, but there comes a point where I'm fed up enough to enforce the law of the land. He thinks that's cute. In fact, he really doesn't find spankings to be much of a deterrent, and I didn't expect him to pull that one on me.

Equally distressing is my first experience feeling like I'm powerless to protect him from the world. On Saturday morning, we noticed strange marks on his arms and torso and I've been worrying myself sick unable to figure out what happened and whether his excessive crying and tantruming is because of some mysterious pain that I can't fix or understand. Coupled with the fact that he was (at the time I was first writing this) having many meltdowns and crying excessively over absolutely nothing that we could tell, it was very difficult to watch and wonder if it was the new tooth coming through, or something much more serious. I'm not one to get weepy when he falls and scrapes himself, but the fear of the unknown reduces me to a puddle. 

This morning as I was feeding Ishmael breakfast and wimpering inwardly out of fear and sadness and trying not to fly off the handle in reaction to his incessant and grating meltdowns, an old worship song that my dad used to play popped in to my head. It's by a band called Enter the Worship circle, and the first few lines are, "since I am so sick, since I am in need, since I have no healing within me....", a reference to Psalm 30. The part about "no healing within me" is particularly painful today because I feel helpless to take care of my son, but they are also a good reminder to me that I am not alone as a parent nor can I ever hope to be everything that Ishmael needs. 

The one island of goodness in these harder days is that I get to be the comforter. It's so touching to have another human fling themselves at you and cry out that they need you and love you and come to you for protection and to be rejuvenated. The fact that I get to be that safe place where Ishmael can recharge his strength and courage and then go back out and face the fears and trials of his miniature world is something I'll never tire of in all my days.

Since I started writing this post, I was able to get Ishmael in to see a doctor, who hardly batted an eye before diagnosing him with phytophotodermatitis which sounds gnarly, but isn't really that big of a deal. Basically, there's a chemical in limes, mangoes, celery, some sunscreens, and many other every day products that when it gets on some people's skin and is then exposed to sunlight, creates marks that look very much like severe bruising or chemical burns. Very often, the marks are shaped like finger marks and placed where hands would have held him, leaving this skin condition (which isn't painful, and will fade within a week) commonly misdiagnosed as signs of child abuse.

I don't think I've ever been so worried as a parent as I was this past weekend. And it was an experience that raised so many questions and feelings that I never imagined having to face as a parent. We were so blessed to have friends and family supporting and comforting us, and most of all, we're thankful that we have a loving God to run to when when we have no healing within us. It was so difficult to live with the possibility that someone could have hurt my sweet, sweet son, yet be baffled as to how that could have happened. The whole experience has made Jonas and I take a hard look at our lifestyle (a lot of working away from our kids), making sure we're taking care of our sons the best that we can with our time and our money, and what exactly that looks like, despite the fact that it turned out that this very scary incident was no ones fault nor a result of negligence on anyone's part.

What's the scariest thing that you've encountered as a parent? What brings you comfort when you're faced with the fact that you can't protect your babies from everything? In case you're facing a Toddlerzilla, a fearful unknown, or perhaps just some limes right now, I must say, Psalm 30 is a keeper.

P.S. Isn't it crazy what sort of medical things you become a mini-expert on when you're forced to confront them in your life? Pregnancy and childbirth are great examples! 

1 comment:

  1. Hi Karissa-

    I'm sorry you're going through a rough patch. Know that you're not alone. So many parents struggle with... well, parenting. Ha. Myself included. Sometimes you feel like you're "damned if you do, damned if you don't", at least that's how I feel.

    Lately my son (he's 4) has been beating up on his little sister (she's 2) Even as I write that, it sounds completely normal for siblings their age, and I know that it is, but seeing it day in and day out, no matter how I try to discipline (though, I've never spanked him) or distract him is really difficult. He's also going through a "I'm not going to listen to you phase." And he makes it well known and in your face. If I say, "Roman, put your shoes on so we can go to the playground." He responds, "No, I'm not going to put my shoes on." He doesn't just not do it, he loudly refuses, I often think just to get a rise out of me.

    Toddler age is hard.

    My daughter, Amelia, is also a challenge. She has very loud, explosive anger, sometimes screaming repeatedly, at the top of her lungs if I tell her "No more Little Einsteins" or "No juice, you can have water". She is the classic throws herself on the ground, kicking and screaming, spitting girl when it's time to leave the playground. It's a combination of amusing, terrifying and embarrassing.

    I've not had any medical scares with my kids, though. Only the normal panic when there's a high fever, or something. I've heard from lots of people who have older kids is that it's a rollercoaster that goes up and down and up and down, easier and harder, easier and harder, and to always just enjoy it as much as you can (which, clearly you are)

    About the focaccia:
    One thing that might make it tough is the yeast part. Does your dough actually rise (double in size, and because light and fluffy) for the time you let it sit? If not, the yeast isn't activated. Water over 105F will kill yeast, and killed yeast will kill your bread. Make sure the water you use is just warm, not hot, not cold. The dough should be in a fairly warm spot when rising, and make sure you give it a full couple hours.
    Do you use an mixer, or do you knead by hand? It's near impossible to over knead if you're doing it by hand.

    Another thing I do is, after you shape the bread, just before you put it in the oven, let it sit another 15-20 minutes and let it rise again (doesn't need to be covered). I just let it sit on the pan, on top of the stove (gets a little bit of warmth from the preheated oven below).

    I hope that helps :)

    I'm glad that you found a little bit of ease after taking your boy to the doctor. I hate knowing that I can't protect them from everything, but sometimes remind myself, even though they are YOUR children they are also THEIR OWN people. So you have to let them experience both good and bad sometimes, it's the only way they will grow into great, amazing people. It's our job to guide them in navigating the good and bad <3



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