I greatly underestimated the lack of energy I would have on the day we returned from youth camp! But I also recognize the moment I get out of the Sunday blog writing routine it will be game over, so be patient with my slow mind right now!
Jake, Malachi, and I embarked on a big adventure with the youth group as we headed to the mountains of South Carolina for 5 crazy days. This year we had 24 kids/chaperones in our group and overall it was an amazing week. Malachi and I always rent a place in the closest town 15 miles away and drive back and forth each day. This year we rented a basement apartment and it turned out to be a perfect environment for us throughout the week.
I have explained this before, but preparing for any trip with Malachi is so incredibly complicated. We have to start weeks in advance to make sure that enough diapers are ordered, medications are refilled within insurance time limitations, rescue medications are packed for a worst case scenario, medical history papers are updated and put in the glove box just in case, wheelchairs and home chairs are packed, food is thought out for the week, and coolers are ready to go. For this trip, add into that medical paperwork and waivers for 23 other individuals. Preparing for a trip is a job in of itself!
Malachi was a champ on the 4 hour drive to camp and was so excited to be on an adventure. We had two of the high school girls ride in the car with us and he was so happy to have one sitting in the back with him. He kept leaning forward to see her, smiling from ear to ear.
On most days we tried to keep a manageable schedule and go to camp with the kids from 10:30a-7pm. Then we would head back to the rental to deal with medications and try to wind down before bed. Unfortunately Malachi was a goober most of the week and wanted to stay up late and party every night. Last night he was particularly wild and I told him sternly “Malachi, you need to close your eyes and go to sleep.” Apparently that crushed him and he immediately started crying and yelling “Daddddy”.
In the last few months Malachi has been developing his emotions in big ways. He used to not understand emotion changes and thought it was funny if we had to raise our voices to him. But lately he has started to cue into our emotions and it tends to hurt his feelings and lead to crying and a meltdown. Very typical behavior of a 4 year old…YAYYYY!!
For example, we took Malachi’s wheelchair stroller to camp with us and quickly realized we needed to make some modifications on the headrest so we raised it a bit. By the end of Day 1 he had discovered that he could fling his head and get it stuck under the headrest, and boy did he think it was hilarious. It looked absolutely painful so we would panic and fix it, only fueling his game. I took him into Wal-Mart on the way to check into the rental to pick up his milk and in that 5 minute trip he got his head stuck under the headrest more than 30 times. The lady behind me in line commented with shock on her face: “He is totally doing that on purpose, isn’t he?”
The next day he continued his game literally the very second I set him in the chair. I told him very sternly that if he did it again that he would be in trouble and that little stinker grinned at me and did it again. I leaned down and got nose to nose with him and as I fixed his head this time I very sternly told him “No Malachi”. By his reaction you would have thought that I had spanked him and he immediately burst out into sobbing tears. Obviously my heart melts when this happens, so I wheeled him over to a close bench and got him out to hold him and talk to him.
This is such a tricky situation for me as his momma, because I fully believe that Malachi is able to learn the difference between right and wrong. In other similar scenarios we have done the same thing, and the targeted behavior stops immediately so I know he is able to equate the two! But it is also hard to discipline a child like Malachi…and heartbreaking.
We sat together for several minutes and he slowly calmed down. We talked about how mommy loves him but he has to listen and be a big boy. I put him back in his seat and he didn’t try it again for the next two hours.
Other than these few emotional moments for him, Malachi had a wonderful week with the youth. Pregnancy very clearly wore me down more than normal but we managed.
And God is so gracious- my pregnancy nausea disappeared the day before we left for camp and stayed away until yesterday afternoon. What a blessing that was!
One of the evenings I decided to stay a bit later and take Malachi into the chapel service…risky move as he likes to make scenes these days yelling when it is quiet. They started playing some praise and worship songs that Malachi happened to know and he was so excited. He would work so hard to say the right word at the end of each line, but would always be one step behind the group. It was absolutely the sweetest thing to hear him praising God though. So the group would sing “Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me…” and when the group would pause Malachi would yell “MEEEE!”
But I can safely say that we survived youth camp 2017! It will be the last year that Malachi and I will attend for several summers but I am very grateful we had enough energy to make this final trip happen. It is always such a great time to connect with the kids.
Baby C is a wiggly one! I had a very surreal moment in the chapel with both Malachi and the baby- they started loudly playing a praise and worship song that we have been listening to daily and at the exact same time Malachi started happy dancing in my arms as Baby C started wiggling like a wild one in my tummy. Feeling them both react at the same time was such a fun reminder for me about the bond I know they will have.
We have been talking to Malachi about the baby as often as we can, and it has become one of his favorite topics. He gets giddy with excitement! Here is a video I took this week as we were talking about the baby:
We are scheduled to meet with high risk on Wednesday and should be able to find out the gender! What fun news that will be to share with you all next week!
I would love to write more, but Jake just laid Malachi down and I have been looking forward to crashing in my bed all day! We need to build up some energy for the very busy week we have ahead of us.
We love you all,
Jake, Leah, and Malachi