Kari Apted is a writer and speaker residing in Georgia with her husband, three sons, two cats, two fish and one dog. She writes a humorous weekly parenting column for The Covington News and freelances for various publications. She placed second for Best Humerous Column in the Georgia Press Association’s 2008 Better Newspaper Contest.
Random House released her first nationally published work on September 12, 2006 — Operation Homecoming: Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Home Front, in the Words of U.S. Troops and Their Families. She also appeared in Muse of Fire, a documentary that accompanies the anthology as it is distributed to libraries and military bases around the world.
And now, here’s Kari!
As a busy homeschooling, freelance-writing, three-boys-raising Christian Mama, I can honestly say I learn something new every day. Some of this knowledge is helpful, such as learning that my toddler, Jonah, has mastered the art of screwing off bottle caps. Other bits are completely useless trivia that will only benefit me if I land on a game show someday.
For instance, did you know that an elephant, lacking access to water on a hot day can—and will—swallow his own trunk, suck up his stomach fluid and spray it all over himself to cool down?
Now that I’ve enriched your life by sharing that bit of trivia, I’d like to thank my friend Leigh for allowing me to share a few more of my recent gems—thankfully, none of which are as disgusting as the above.
First, I learned just yesterday that trying to force my 16-month-old cuddle bug to cry-it-out at bedtime is just pointless. My older two sons were such great sleepers. Zach is 13 and Eli is almost 9, and practically from birth, they slept happily in their own beds. The idea of co-sleeping in a family bed was so foreign to me. I couldn’t imagine it.
Then came Jonah. They say the third child comes to shake up everything you thought you knew about parenthood, and I can vouch for the truth in that.
My column that’s running in the Covington News today is about this very topic. What that piece doesn’t mention is that we did try letting Jonah cry in his crib a couple of nights this week and it left him so wakeful and cranky that it just wasn’t worth it. So, back into my bed he went. We’ll still try to sneak him into his crib whenever he’s asleep, so that he’ll get used to being there. But I just don’t have the heart to leave him to cry when all he wants is the safety of being tucked between his parents at night. Maybe this child just needs that more than the other two did?
Which brings me to an overall life lesson I’ve learned since having my third child: attachment parenting isn’t just for crunchy granola types. I’m about as non-crunchy as they come. Politically conservative, I don’t recycle, I’ve never owned a pair of Birkenstocks, hugged a tree or even considered adopting a vegan lifestyle. (A life without cheese? I wouldn’t want to live it!)
But my baby wears cloth diapers, is still breastfeeding, and I already mentioned that co-sleeping thing, all of which I once thought I’d never do. I guess one of the blessings of being over 40 is that you stop caring so much about what other people think and just do what works for you.
I just learned something new from the mouth of my 8-year-old, even as I type. He is reading about lobsters and informed me that they can live to be 100 years old and grow up to 4 feet in length. Additionally, a lobster that has lost both its claws is called a bullet or a dummy, but this doesn’t hurt his self-esteem because he has the superpower of growing them back. Thank you, Eli, for giving me another set of gems for my “Future ‘Jeopardy’ Appearance” file.
Probably the most valuable thing I’ve learned lately came from my pastor last Sunday. He’s been speaking about abiding in Christ, and this week focused on the role the word of God should play in our lives. Basically, he said that if we neglect to read our Bibles, we’re showing contempt for the gift that God has given us in his word. That really hit me hard.
Here in America, we make it easy to neglect our prayer and devotion times, filling our lives up with things we enjoy, but are spiritually void, working hard for material things that please us but have no eternal value. And then we wonder why things are so hard, or why we aren’t blessed.
Pastor Chad summed it up with this verse, Joshua 1:8: “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”
And there you have it, my friends: the most valuable thing I’ve learned lately is the secret to prosperity and success; something that many people pursue but never find. How amazing to learn that it’s so simple, and right under our noses.
I hope that one day I can write a blog post about things I’ve learned and testify that I’ve finally learned how to give God rightful ownership of my entire life, instead of always snatching bits back from him. I’m just so thankful he is a patient father, a more patient parent than I am to my kids.
Because a toddler who’s mastered screw-tops and nabbed the ointment can wreak more havoc than you can possibly imagine.
Thanks, Kari, for being my guest today and for sharing a slice from your life. Visitors, leave a comment or ask Kari a question, and be sure to visit her website for more glimpses into a writing mom’s life.