15 October 2014

Simply Classical

Those who are friends with me on facebook probably know that I am a big fan of classical education. This has come about because some friends of mine started a classical education Lutheran high school online and asked me to be their German teacher.  Having no clue what I was signing up for I agreed to it.  Though it has been a little stressful because not only was I not familiar with classical education, but I had also never taught or been through 4 levels of high school German.  So I have been wading the waters of both.  The school I teach for is Wittenberg Academy and it is well worth a look at.  We have 7-12 grade online students that are full-time Wittenberg Academy students, homeschool students that take just one or two classes with us at a time and we have students that go to a brick and mortar school, but decided they want to take one of the courses we offer that they do not have access to at their own school.

One of the new things with Wittenberg Academy is our homeschool curriculum we just rolled out this year.  It is fully accessible online when you register for it and it is free.  The curriculum starts in Kindergarten and goes through 6th grade (at which point you would be able to have your child take the online courses we offer).

So that is first background, now to dive into the actual point of this post, which is my son, Samuel.  You see Samuel is a very smart kid, he examines things to bits, has shown that he has a great memory and great attention to detail.  We were at a friend's house one evening and after he finished playing with a toy he was not satisfied until he had put the toy back in the exact same position (including all the parts of the toy) that he got the toy in.  We joke that he is a little OCD, he just notices detail and wants things to be "right."  The other thing about my son is he's slow with speech. By that I mean that he will turn 3 in January and cannot even hold the simplest of conversations.  When last summer started I think his only word was Hoo hoo (Choo Choo for train, he's obsessed with trains, Thomas the Tank Engine anyone?) and he was almost 2.5.

Just before summer hit we started him in speech therapy.  His therapist encouraged me to try to make him talk for things, but I honestly did not push it because whenever I tried to make him talk (like make him say a word before giving him milk or a toy, things like that), he would just get so frustrated and it never ended well.  So we just sat back and kept reading tons of books and had him point out about everything in the books (he was a master pointer, you could ask him where just about anything on a page in the book was and he'd find it, as long as he had heard the word once or twice before, sometimes he had to look for a moment especially on larger pages, but he pretty much always found whatever you asked him to point to).

Then I went to the CCLE Conference.  CCLE stands for "the Consortium on Classical and Lutheran Education."  It happens to be the organization that Wittenberg Academy just got accredited through and it is their conference that we try to meet up as a staff every summer, this is our second year as a school going to it and my first year (last year I was super pregnant with Ruth and would have had to take Samuel along on a 6+ hour drive by myself and we decided it wasn't worth it).  At the conference I learned a ton about classical education, got connected to people who can answer my questions throughout the year (the Bensons over at Wittenberg Academy are a fantastic resource too, but it is nice to be in contact with multiple people who know what classical education is about) and was exposed to a wealth of resources.  One of those resources/people is Cheryl Swope.

Cheryl Swope is a Lutheran who homeschooled her own children classically after deciding that the public schools did not have much to offer them.  You see her kids were and are severely disabled and her having worked in Special Education and looking at her children's specific needs decided there had to be something better out there for them, so they dove into Classical Education.  If you want to learn more about her children and how she educated them I really encourage you to look up her book, Simply Classical published through Memoria Press.  If you live near me, I own a copy and am not reading it (already did that) you are welcome to borrow my copy.  This book is great because not online does she outline how classical education can be very accessible to severely disabled children, but it also does a great job outlining what classical education even is.  It is a great starting place if you want to learn more about classical education.

One of the resources Cheryl Swope had to share is a curriculum she was in the process of finishing up (the first level or two of the three were already out by the time of the conference and now all 3 levels are available for purchase) is a special needs curriculum geared towards ages developmental ages 2-4.    I had seen this curriculum on the Memoria press website before, but after talking to her and hearing her in person I wanted it for Samuel.  At the time of the conference I was wanting to get something to use with Samuel that would just structure a little time (not much, just a little) to focus on oral language skills.  He was great with understanding what was said to him and by the time he started speech therapy he could carry out multi-step directions.  So it was clear he was hearing and understanding language, he just wasn't producing it, so I wanted something word based to use with him to focus a little time together on oral language skills.

The Level A of Cheryl's Special Needs curriculum from Memoria Press has been a perfect fit!  I ordered the lesson plan book only and received it shortly thereafter (quicker than Memoria Press had estimated the time, so that is always nice).  Then I had to order a few other books before we could start.  You have the option of ordering just the lesson plan book or ordering the lesson plan book along with all the books you read throughout.  I looked up the list of books and found that most of them are available at our local library, so I opted to save a little and just order the lesson plan book.  So far it's been good.  The books that are not available (like 5 out of the 30) I am getting through Amazon or ThriftBooks and we put all the books on Samuel's amazon wishlist, after we use the book I move it to Ruth's wishlist because we'll probably do the same curriculum with her too.

Enough on logistics of getting the curriculum.  :-)  What is the curriculum actually made up of?  First of all, you have to understand how I have always viewed curriculum.  To me curriculum is the means to goal, but not an end all.  Even a fantastic curriculum may have to be altered to fit the needs of the student, the teaching style of the teacher or simply the resources at hand.  I have never in my life seen a curriculum that can always be implemented in the same exact way for all combinations of factors and work perfectly.  Adjustments are just something that will be made naturally as you go through the work.  With that said, I also believe that a good education meets the student where they are, encourages them to perfect their abilities at their current level and then pushes them to achieve more than they could at the start.  If it only meets them at their level and never pushes boredom occurs and if it always pushes and does not affirm them in their current abilities burn out can happen.  So both need to occur in my opinion.  Working with my son one on one is great because I can ensure that happens better than when I was in a classroom with 20-30 kids.

So the curriculum is a 4 day a week curriculum with a combination of activities that happen every day regardless of the week and books with activities centered around the book that changes from week to week and day to day.  Every week is focused on 1 book and at least 1 book gets covered over the span of 2 weeks, but there is no more than 1 book per week.

The daily activities include the following; a prayer (that changes every few weeks so they can really learn each one), weather chart, days of the week calendar, counting, the alphabet and a memory verse (its the same one the whole curriculum).  My son adores doing the weather chart and the days of the week calendar.  We heard his first phrases ever with the weather chart (It's cloudy. and It's sunny.).  Lately he has even been saying weather after I prompt him to go to his chart to tell me the weather.  This morning the whole walk to his bedroom (we keep the chart by his bedroom window) he was saying weather over and over again while he walked over to it.  The days of the week calendar has been great too because he is already starting to grasp that each day the clothes pin moves from one day to the next.  We always say what day it was yesterday and then I ask him what day it is today and he usually moves the clothes pin to the next day.  Sometimes, like this morning he decides to go backwards on the chart instead of forwards, but that's all part of the learning process!  After we establish what day it is today we say all the days of the week in order Sunday through Monday.  The lesson plans do not lay out exactly how to do this, but we have found this routine works for us.  When he is better about always moving it to the next day we'll probably talk about what day tomorrow is going to be, but right now I think that might be a tad confusing for him.  We'll get there!

The prayers I have occasionally subbed in more Lutheran ones (Cheryl Swope is Lutheran, but Memoria Press is not and the prayers she chose are great, but I also want my children to learn our Lutheran prayers, like the morning and evening prayers).  Usually I use whatever prayer is suggested in the lesson book, there are some goodies in there like the Lord's prayer and some of the more traditional children's prayers that kids used to always learn.  I have to hit him at the right time to do the prayers otherwise he fights me.  The joys of a toddler right?  So far he does not say the alphabet with me, but when the alphabet is connected with specific letters on the book cover he has shown that he can remember what the letters are and transfer that to different contexts.  We were at the library in the children's area and he had to point out certain letters to me, he does not know them all, but you have to start somewhere!  As for the numbers counting, he isn't real good at doing the counting himself, but I know he will one day as he is constantly hearing the count happen.  Right now we have been having fun counting people's fingers and toes to get to 10.  As for the memory verse he won't repeat it in chunks yet, so I just have him repeat word for word and then I tell him what the whole verse was.  Every so often I test the waters and see if he'll do 2 words at a time, but so far no such luck, so we'll keep at it word for word and keep checking if he'll do multiple words.

The books that were chosen for the weeks are wonderful.  Some of the books we already own because well, they are just typical books that people buy for people who have little kids, like Goodnight Moon, or Brown Bear, Brown Bear.  We probably already owned about 5-8 of the books, so between that and getting them at the library we are mostly set!  Also when I say it is time to read "fill in the title of the current week's book here" he eagerly grabs it if I don't have it in hand already and plops down in my lap to read it.  The lesson plans are great and pulling different aspects out of the pages of the book.  Some of the things they pull out are counting, colors, animal names and sounds, emotions and other simple concepts or word groups.  There are prompts in the lessons to get your child to respond to things in a particular way to encourage certain vocabulary.

Then there are other activities that focus on fine and gross motor skills.  One week he got to cut up a banana (with supervision of course) and make his own peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  Another week we ran around the house like we were different animals, galloping, waddling and such.  It just really depends on what the story is what kind of activity is suggested.  The last week he got to practice using scissors (and he loves using scissors, not great at it yet, but getting the hang of it) and coloring in the lines.  This week it's drumming on an oatmeal container.  There is a wonderful variety of activities and he has been pretty motivated to do them so far!

Now that I outlined what the curriculum involves, how time consuming is it?  It is hardly time consuming at all generally!  In fact most days we finish everything listed for the day in about a half hour.  Sometimes the activities take longer or depending on schedules we don't have time to do everything listed so we either break it up through out the day (in the morning we might just accomplish the weather chart and days of the week calendar, then after lunch read the book and then do something of the other activities after supper in the evening for example) or we just leave something out.  If we leave something out it is generally the gross motor activity because though it reinforces the other things assigned for the day it is the easiest thing to leave off without losing something from the curriculum.  Also as a 4 day curriculum if you are super busy one day, just make it up a different day!  I've been really struggling a lot personally with sleep and some other health things so we have just skipped weeks occasionally and then picked up the next week where we left off.  I think the most important thing to remember is that you are doing something and that you do not have to race through to the end.  With something like this the first to the end does not win a prize, its more about teaching my son and having him enjoy the learning process.  If I am so exhausted or sick feeling that I cannot make it a good thing for him (there have been some days when I try to start work and then just don't do the work with him because of my patience level) then it may be better to not do it.  The curriculum lasts only 34 weeks which means in order to finish it within a year I have 18 weeks breathing room!  With a baby on the way that is a great thing for me to remember.  Also because of when we originally start it we were going to be reading the Christmas book before the end of November, now we'll read it in the middle of Advent which I personally like a little better.

Since the beginning of the curriculum what changes have I observed in my son's abilities?  Well, he is saying a lot more words, he's started being more spontaneous in his speech (when we started he only spoke when prompted too, now he will say words or 2 word phrases because he decided to as opposed to being told to) andI just get to see his little face light up each time we read a book.  We have continued speech therapy, though we have gone down to every other week instead of every week, even his therapist has noticed a great increase in his vocabulary since we started working with him on this curriculum.  We have also started doing flashcards (given to us by his therapist and ones that I have created myself) which I have laminated and put on the ring to take with in the diaper bag and that seems to be helpful too.  We just started doing that 2 weeks ago, but it's been good so far!

All in all I am really happy that we purchased the lesson plans, they have been a blessing to all of us. To Ben and myself as we watch our son grow in his abilities and to my son as he is able to be excited about the lessons and learn to say and do more.  I know this got lengthy, but I hope the information is helpful.  I love education and am excited to learn more as we educate our children, no matter what form of education that may take in the future.

09 July 2014


This year has been a really insane year for me.  All year I have been struggling with sleep (though essential oils have over all really improved that), stomach problems, a screaming baby (ok that was towards the beginning of the year, but it still is part of what has made this year so stressful) and a whole slew of random things that has made life really interesting and generally just rough.

Ok, this is not a post to complain, I'm just trying to set the stage.  Because of all of these various struggles I have really dropped the ball on taking care of the house.  By that I am referring to laundry, dishes, general cleaning and cooking.  Basically this year I have done little of all of that and have really leaned on my husband for things.  Also getting my work done for the online class I teach has been a struggle (doesn't help that when Samuel is awake he grabs for my computer making it impossible for me to get stuff done while he's awake or close by).

So I keep falling in ruts of not getting much done.  Earlier this year, in one of those ruts I was having little success of getting me working again, so I did a search online for to do lists, but I was looking for something more than just a simple list, exactly what I wasn't sure.  That is when I stumbled on HabitRPG.  I have been using it off and on since last spring and when I first started using it, Ben was amazed at what all was getting done around the house.

Basically what it is is a site that you list habits, dailies and to dos.  Habits are things you do frequently, but do not necessarily have a particular rhythm to them.  Dailies are things you do every day or regularly on certain days (you can set it to be a MWF daily for example).  To Dos are things you do and they are done and you can set a deadline to do them by.

As you go throughout your day you check off things that you have done (the first weeks of using it the lists get tweaked and changed until they are what you want) and doing that you earn experience and gold and you can also find things like eggs, hatching potions and food.  You hatch your eggs and feed them and they can become your steed.  As you level up you get access to more things that you can do in the game.  You can also join guilds (kind of like joining a group on facebook), enter challenges (these have their own tasks and rewards of diamonds that are used to purchase things) or join a party.  Parties are groups of people that take on challenges and fight evil foes.  I have only done a solo challenge so far, which is an egg hunt.

Right now I need to get back or reorganizing my lists and the needs of life have changed a tad over the last months and re-enter things into my to-do list column.

If you are looking for something different, try out HabitRPG, yeah it is kind of gimicky, but it is free and kind of fun.  And if you join and want to go on a quest, let me know and we can form a party.

25 June 2014


As some of you may have noticed I am really bad about updating photos on facebook.  Sure I add a photo here and there, enough to wet your palate and then I don't post any new ones for a while.  This is not because I do not want to share my kids, part of it is simply logistics.  I do not have a smart phone, so to put more photos up I have to take the card out of the camera and put it in my computer and then put the photos on my computer and then upload them into facebook.  Although I realize I am not the only one with this particular problem, I will say my toddler who likes to try to use my computer does not make this task easy.  So normally when I have time to use my computer I am busy getting work done for Wittenberg Academy, the online school I teach German for.  They are paying me to teach, no one is paying me to upload photos, so they win my free time on the computer.

Something I am reasonable at though is making photobooks.  This seems to be shaping up to be my summer hobby.  I really do enjoy making photo books, it is way more interesting than uploading photos onto facebook to me!  So if you want to see photos of the kids, the best way to do it is to look at my blog to see if I posted some recently (I'm trying to get into the habit of writing a new post once a week - I have a future post to write about a website I am using to help me in that) or just ask me when you see me in person.  I would be happy to bring along photobooks to show you!  Though remember, the last time I made photo books was last summer and the ones I am working on now are not yet complete and ordered.  However I will post the photobook I made for our trip to the zoo, that I wrote about last week.  Yeah I know, more of the same photos, but hey, they are pretty recent photos and pretty darn cute ones too!

Create a gorgeous, high quality wedding photo album at Shutterfly.com.

18 June 2014

A Trip to the Zoo

My husband had some guard training he had to do for 8 days during the first part of June.  Just before he left for it I was looking at the calendar and realized that the weekend he was to come home was our best shot at going to the Henry Doorly Zoo as a family this summer.  So instead of him driving home right away we planned to meet him in Omaha the evening he was off of drill and then spend the next day at the zoo.

Not only is the Henry Doorly Zoo one of the best zoos in the country, it is the zoo that I frequented as a child.  My Grandparents always took us Grandkids to the zoo when we visited, so I have lots of fond memories of the zoo as a child and could not wait to start sharing that with my children.  This trip to the zoo was much more for Samuel than for Ruth, but they both seemed to have an enjoyable day!
Samuel and Daddy checking out the animals in the Jungle.

Exploring some vines!

Taking a food break.

Ruth had fun riding in the stroller or riding on Mom's back.

Of course we took turns pushing the kids!

Rhino Butt!

Finding the animals.

Cool globe in water that you could see your reflection in.

This water bottle tastes yummy!

Desert Dome Time!

I like to play in the sand!

Ben's obligatory cactus-butt photo.

Samuel LOVED the aquarium, best part for him!

We even got to seem them cleaning the tunnel.


Ben's fantastic jelly fish photo.

Bye bye zoo!  We'll come again soon!

04 June 2014

Life with 2 (Mostly) Happy Kids Aged 2 and Under

Life has become much happier in our household, with many thanks towards Ruth's much more content attitude.  In fact over the last month or so I have found that I actually have to remind myself that I can take Ruth places.  When she was so fussy all the time I just couldn't bear the thought of having her scream the entire time we were out.  That meant that no matter how appealing trips to the library or shopping (or the parks as the weather got better) sounded, I had no desire to drag a screaming infant with me.

So now our weeks are filled with trips to the library, walks to the park and fearless trips shopping.  I say fearless because despite having a fussy baby I still sometimes had to go shop and that was just no fun.  Now all these activities are generally fun (other than the expected problems that arise when you have a 9 months old and a 2 year old).

We try to go to the library 2-3 times a week and with their summer programming starting soon, that very well might become more frequent.  On some of the really hot days we've already had I have had no desire to sit at a park and roast with them, so a pre-naptime trip the library is just about perfect.  Then we often round out the evenings with walks around the block, I might wear Ruth or we might push her, while Samuel roams the sidewalks looking for anthills to destroy.

Trips to the park generally involve me trying to run.  I say trying to run because I have exercise induced asthma and have barely ran since before Samuel was born, so I am working from square zero.  That means I run as much as I feel able to without my lungs exploding and walk the rest.  I try to at least keep my walking pace up at least and so far my running will not be winning me any trophies, except for maybe a good effort one.

Lately it has just been quite entertaining to watch those two kids interact.  Samuel adores his sister and she in turn adores him.  Of course with him being 2, their playing together sometimes involves things that end with Ruth crying...  That's just how it goes!  But also with Samuel being 2 things sometimes end with him scraping his knee, so at least I know he isn't just causing trouble for his sister!

It has also been fun to watch their very different personalities and paths of development unfold.  For example, from the first day we started Samuel on solids (and we started earlier than I intended to just because he seemed eager for them) he would devour almost everything in his path.  He has always loved to eat.  Ruth on the other hand refused to eat solids for quite a while.  She simply had no interest and would only fuss about us trying to feed her if we persisted and didn't take her hint.  Well, last week I tried to feed her solids again and this time, she loved it!  Over the last week we have been slowly increasing the amount and types of food we feed her.  So far she loves butternut squash and bananas and really loves to self-feed (something Samuel outright refused to do until after his smash cake).

Ruth also got her first two teeth mid-May at about 8.5 months old.  She'll be 9 months old tomorrow, so it is about time she got teeth and started eating solids!  :-)

Our family with Grandma at a cousin's wedding in Nebraska.

14 April 2014


I finally finished the book Broken by Jonathan Fisk.  It took me a long time to do, as I got sidetracked many times along the way, but I finally finished it.

This post isn't going to be long, just long enough to say that I found the book to be helpful.  It goes through 7 Rules Christians should break.  The 7 Rules break down concepts to a basic level, because of that the book has helped me identify what those concepts are as they are applied in life.  It is so easy for us to fall for the lies of the devil, but it is important for us to be able to recognize those lies and come back to Christ on the cross crucified for our sins, buried, descended into Hell and rose again to give us new life with him.  We cannot save ourselves.

Please take the time to read this wonderful book!  Also take the time to check out Pastor Fisk's YouTube channel and this video about the book:

10 April 2014

Life on the Happier Side

I haven't posted since my February update, so a quick recap of it:

Life was miserable for the weeks following that post.  She had a few good days and got worse than before (or maybe not worse, but it felt worse because her crying did not stop, but it was probably the same amount of crying).  When we took her in for her 6 month check-up she had lost apr. 10 ounces from when we took her in 2 weeks before that check-up.

So our doctor told me we should bottle feed her (breastmilk or formula, didn't matter, just wanted to check ounces).  After an extremely emotional weekend I made the decision to completely stop nursing.  We would feed bottles and I would pump until I dry up (getting sick shortly after that really sped up that process!).

I can say that although it was really really hard for me to stop nursing, it was the absolute best decision in our situation.  I had been so stressed out for so long, I just needed to be able to let go of something.  She had been nursed up till 6 months and I got her through winter.  So stopping then was perfectly fine with me, just hard emotionally.  I have theories as to how we got to where we were, so if anyone would like to know more about those, please contact me privately.  Maybe some day I will write publicly about those theories, but right now is not that day.

Since we switched to bottles all the time Ruth has become a very happy baby.  We hear lots and lots of babbling, she is become a more solid sitter and starting to hold herself in a stand when holding onto something (like the pew at Church it is the perfect height for her and perfect width for her hands).  That is something Samuel wouldn't hardly do until he was 1 year old!  He just did not like standing and Ruth has always loved standing.

I am now getting more excited about life again, though the stress of this year has left me with a mess, a messy house, always just barely keeping up with the class I teach and other things, so now I finally have the energy to start focusing on those other important things!

Something Ruth achieved recently that Samuel never did, was injuring my hip!  Saying Ruth loves bath time may be an understatement because she LOVES bath time.  In fact, she loves it so much that almost 2 weeks ago she splashed so hard she got lots of water on the floor.  I normally bathe her in a tub in the kitchen sink and as I shifted the weight between my feet I ended up on the floor doing splits.  Now my hip has been really sore!  A few days after that happened I could go up stairs normally and as of yesterday I have started to be able to go down stairs normally.  Maybe in 2 weeks I can start running like I was planning to 2 weeks ago?

18 February 2014

The Attack of the Fussy 5 Month Old

So I have slacked on my blog once again…  This is why I will never try to make money with a blog, I simply don't remember to post.  Since October I have frequently thought about writing a post, I just haven't quite gotten there.  Well, here I am, writing a new post.  :-)

First a few quick (very quick updates):
  • Samuel turned 2 last month!  The day after I turned 28 to be exact (some days I am amazed at how close I am to 30).  He enjoyed his birthday and adores his tricycle that he can't pedal yet because his legs are too short, maybe by summer he'll be able to?
  • Samuel LOVES cars, trucks, trains, anything that is a vehicle.  He enjoys spending his days finding new surfaces to roll his vehicles over and sometimes ends up quite precariously perched on top of things to do it…
  • I started teaching my second online class (German) with Wittenberg Academy.  This is a classical Lutheran high school and we are developing a middle school curriculum.
Ok, told you those would be fast!  Now to talk about what the title of this post is about, the attack of the fussy 5 month old.

Recently my daughter turned 5 months old, also recently she has rekindled her "joy" of having screaming fits.  This has made life very tough for the rest of us.  Normally when she's crying Samuel always gives a concerned look in her direction (he truly is a doting older brother).  When she cries as much as she has been it also sends all sorts of emotions through the parents dealing with her, specifically me, as the Mom that stays at home and spends all day with her.

Some reading this may recall a post recently about how she is crying a ton and I needed prayers and not advice.  That was followed up by a post about how I deleted a post that was not about my daughter because people started giving me advice on how to make my daughter happier (and all things suggested had been tried and failed).  Now I would like to explain a little of what was going through my mind.  This post is not going to be a pretty one and is definitely NOT about the joys of parenting.  This post is purely about the frustrations and pain that can go with parenting.

Last fall when my daughter was about 3 months old we started taking her to a chiropractor because starting around 2 months she started getting really really fussy and really really spitty.  I was convinced that her spit up was not a reaction to anything in my milk (yes, we nurse), but a reaction to her fussing, so we took her in to see if the chiro would help reduce the fussing and thus the spitting.  I am happy to report it worked and life became happy in the Venteicher home.

Then the last 3-4 weeks happened.  About a month ago she started getting really really fussy, but just in the evenings.  I figured her witching hour just got worse and rolled with it the best I could at first.  Well, starting about 3 weeks ago she started getting fussy all day long.  So 2 weeks ago I took her back to the chiro, but it didn't do much good this time.

I do not want to go into the things we tried or didn't try because I worked on trying different things and lots of things didn't work.  I had my suspicions, but it takes a while for things to have an effect.  So I had to patiently wait through all the fussing and screaming fits.

I was working on slowly tweaking things to see if it helps.  I do not think it is good to change everything at once for a day or two and then try something new, to find out if things are working, it takes time and patience.  Unfortunately at the time of posting I needed prayers because I was rapidly running out of patience.

It was about that time that she would start crying and I would literally start bawling.  I just could not take it any more.  Several days after posting that I needed prayers I resolved that every time she started getting even the slightest bit fussy I would change her diaper (if I hadn't just barely changed it already) and just put her in her crib, shut the door and crank the music.  This may seem cruel, but it is something I had to do.  I opted to lay my baby down in her crib and just let her cry there instead of keeping her close when I knew I was not in an emotionally good place, I was shutting down quickly and the sound of her cry made me want to run away.  That week I also had some people come over to take care of my daughter for me for a few hours in the evening when she would cry the hardest.

I am happy to report that by the end of the week I had regained my emotional control and was able to care for my daughter without worry.  I think that break from each other really helped.  I stepped back and instead of frantically trying to calm her and constantly not succeeding and just getting more and more frustrated, I retreated.  Babies need their parents to be able to care for them with a clear head and I clearly did not have one.

Slowly the things I had been doing to help her become less fussy started having an effect, I think at least.  But then again maybe it was nothing I did and she just started to be more content with life.  She is still fussy and only very very recently slowed down, but at least it isn't constant like it was.  Ruth is still a baby after all and babies do cry (just the amount of crying she was doing was quite unusually high).

Following is exactly what I was thinking throughout all this and part of why advice was so unwelcome, especially in a public forum like facebook.

It was simply this.  I just can't do it.  I cannot make my daughter happy, satisfied and content.  I am trying everything I can think of and nothing is working.  It is not possible I cannot do it.

Then I realized how strangely that sounded like our salvation in Christ.  Without Christ we have to hold the law perfectly to get to heaven.  We simply cannot get to heaven on our own merit because the law holds such high a standard we are all going to fail sooner or later.  It is simply impossible.  That is exactly what I was feeling with Ruth, it was simply impossible for me to console her and hearing more and more advice was like hearing more and more about what I have to do to get to heaven.  The only problem was I simply cannot earn my own salvation, it is impossible for a sinner like me.

The law (advice) just seemed to condemn me even more, like it was saying, you simply aren't doing enough.  You need to try harder and do more and things will be good!  Only that simply wasn't true, the harder and harder I tried to make her happy the harder she seemed to cry…

However, I believe that Christ came into the world to save us of our sins by dying on the cross and bring us to heaven with him in new life.  The greatest thing about it is we don't have to do anything.  Christ did all the saving work for us, there is nothing we can add or take away from it to save ourselves.  We simply cannot save ourselves.  We need Christ because without him we are condemned by the law.

This is why I only wanted prayers and no advice.  This is why I may be thankful later to go through this hardship, because it reminded me that I cannot do it all and that I cannot save myself.

When I posted that I needed prayers, maybe I should have posted something like this, "Hey everyone!  I need to be told the gospel.  Right now I am feeling worthless as a parent and I just need to be told the gospel, oh and lots and lots of prayers."

If you are a parent with an inconsolable child (call it colic, call it the period of purple crying, call it whatever you want), know that it is not your fault.  Do your best to feed, diaper and love on that child, but know that sometimes it just isn't enough.  Know that some times there is nothing you can do to stop the crying.  I had some ideas of what I could do to make it better, but ultimately all of those ideas could have failed and all of those ideas took time to try out, none of them were over night solutions.

Know that you are doing the best you can and you are an wonderful parent to your child.  Your child's fussiness is NOT a narrative of your parenting.  My heart goes out to you if you are in the midst of a fussy child.  The only advice I would give is to find someone to help you, or you may find yourself is a really bad place.  I wish I had people come over sooner to give me breaks from my daughter, but thankfully I had a clear enough head to know that I could not deal with her any more and needed to set her down and walk away.  Going through this last phase of fussiness put me through more emotional turmoil than when Samuel was in the NICU.

Are we in the clear to not go through a fussy bout like this last one?  I hope so, but I really have no idea, for now I'll enjoy the calm and wake up tomorrow to another good day hopefully.