Monday, June 09, 2008

Clara Joy

I've struggled with how to blog about this for days. I typed up a brutally truthful version of this a few days ago, but thought better of it.

Clara almost killed herself on Saturday and it was entirely my fault. There. I said it. I could blame it on any number of things, but I left my chewable prenatals out where she could reach them and her little Houdini-fingers had no trouble opening the bottle. By the time I got to her, there were 43 tablets missing. She had a mouthful and she fed a good amount to the dog. After some breathless waiting for the poison control person to calculate what would have been a lethal dose, I was told she would be fine. She might suffer from some scary GI symptoms, but most likely she wouldn't get the internal bleeding. Gasp. 56 tablets would have been the lethal dose. Did I mention that this is my second call to poison control in two months? She also tried to down an entire bottle of tylenol w/ codeine recently, which resulted in a very scary trip to the ER.

At church, she escapes me frequently and I find her in any number of ridiculous predicaments... covered in tempera paint, hiding in the Sunday school supply closet, for example. No matter where we are, the temper tantrums are constant and time-outs are frequent.

I feel very inadequate, both publicly and inwardly. Oftentimes, when I share this with friends, I hear, "and you want another one?!" and if it isn't spoken it's written all over their face. My prayer is that God would use my need for grace in parenting Clara, for his glory, and that I wouldn't lose sight of the privilege it is to raise my sweet girl. She is still so very much my baby and it tears at my heart to have to be in a constant battle of the wills with her. I also worry that the combination of her excellent ability to find trouble, and my weaknesses as a parent will get her really hurt. It's hard to swallow.

For now, I'm being hyper vigilant about medicines and vitamins being in their proper place, and reevaluating my priorities... ie. computer time. Do I need to sit at the computer more than once a day? Do I make enough time with just her? If I do everything right, assuming that's even possible, will I be less in need of God's grace to parent her? Somewhere there's a balance to be struck. I hope we find it, for her sake and ours.


lynnp said...

I know that guilt/weight/worry feeling of inadequacy. Thanks for being vulnerable. I so often feel guilty or feel the pressure from folks who think it's irresponsible to have more kids. It's more of a struggle than it should be to realize God is blessing us and the world's view is so messed up (even if it is coming from fellow believers). I think part of the small family mentality is the mistaken idea one is more in control w/less kids. While it might be easier to keep up the appearance w/fewer kids that's all it is (appearance) and God wants us painfully mindful of His constant grace. Man, thanks again for your vulnerability.

John and Katie Flanagan said...


You are the best Mommy I have ever seen in action. Your kids have never doubted for one minute that you love them unconditionally. I can't dispense parenting advice but I can tell you how awesome I think you are. Keep praying and keep loving. God is in control.

linda said...

aww, Karen, I really do understand what you're saying, the feeling of guilt and panic is awful. I think so often we place our happiness in wanting to be the perfect mom, organized house, healthy meals, happy kids, we want that feeling of control and safety and then something happens to remind us how feeble we are. Sometimes though it brings a deep sigh of relief to just surrender and know that our Father holds all of these little ones that we just try do our best with. Lo9ve you.

Anonymous said...

I think I'm the big dork in the group, but my thoughts went directly to Clara's determination, independence, and creativity.....despite the sticky situations. Those super-great qualities can only come from good parenting. I have never met your children or observed your parenting, but I have no doubt in my mind that you are a fabulous mother...and teacher. I don't believe that these things speak to your inadequacies, but to her strengths. Don't doubt yourself for a single moment.

Jenn Fox Barrett

clara joy said...

Clara Joy - sweet name but be warned we Clara Joys are a roughly crowd