The Efficient Parent Blog


Letters to My Son September 16, 2009

Filed under: Protect — theefficientparent @ 14:41

His Birthday
His Birthday



This month is my son’s 4th birthday and I’ve been thinking back to when he was born…wanting to blog about it here.    However, it occurred to me that I’ve written letters to my children since before they were born.  So, I  think I’ll just copy the words from those letters I wrote to him about his birthday here.   (sorry for the crazy formatting…I can’t get it straight).



 September 18, 2005:


 This is the 1st time I’ve had to write to you since you entered this world.  You are a beautiful baby and I’ve never loved anyone so much in my life.  I’m so happy to finally meet you.

 Giving birth to you will forever be one of the happiest and one of the saddest days of my life – if not THE happiest and THE saddest.  During birth, you suffered great trauma – sub arachnoid hemorrhage.  I’m still learning what that is, but basically it’s bleeding in the brain caused from your little head being squished in the birth canal.  I wish we could rewind and do the entire day over with a C-section.  But we had no way of knowing this would happen. 


 I pushed for 2 hours and it was the most beautiful 2 hours of my life.  Your dad was just wonderful.  It was so much fun & we really just couldn’t believe it could be so fantastic. 

 Once you were born, we immediately knew there was a problem.  It was intense.  You’ve been in the “special care unit” each day.  I finally got to hold you and touch you yesterday.  It took so long because during delivery, I had a fever.

 I’m going to be straight with you.  The prognosis is uncertain.  You may come out of this perfectly healthy, or you may have severe brain damage.  If there is any any chance of you living a normal life, we will not allow to you look at any disability you may have as a barrier.  We will give you the support, love and skills needed to be as self-sufficient as you’re able to be – which is no different than we would do if this had not happened.  We love you even more – if that’s possible!

 I want to take away your pain & suffer for you.  Your dad has never experienced anything even remotely close to this either.  It’s such a challenging time & we are doing our best.  Our TEAM is pulling together and we have a plan.  Of course, we just learned that no matter how well you plan, you may never have control over the outcome.

 But we do have control over loving & supporting each other.  We can let this get the best of us or we can use this as an opportunity to be stronger.  We choose to learn and grow from this.  We are a TEAM of winners.  We may not always win the game, but we take away more than we came with…we take away a learning experience.  You have a lot going for you.  The best part is that you have our love and support.  

 Please be strong.  We love you.  Welcome to our TEAM.  We can’t wait to bring you home once you are physically able.  This is a rough and emotional time.  The only thing I have to compare this to is my mother’s death.  I want to remain positive. 



 September 19, 2005:
 This is your 2nd night w/out a seizure.  They took out your catheter last night.  Yesterday you were sleeping when we visited.  On one visit, you were trying to open your eyes to see your daddy.  You are precious.  They said you might get to start eating today or tomorrow.  We feel optimistic that you will be coming home soon.  I have a lot of hope and faith that you will be just fine.
 You are so strong.  Yesterday you were sleeping on your belly & your legs were stretched out.  Then, you positioned yourself up on your knees all by yourself.  That’s a huge accomplishment with all those hoses and tubes coming out of you!

 We’re so fortunate and so honored to be your parents.  We love you very much.  It’s so quiet around here.  We need to have you home!!  I’m going to see you this morning. I’m so excited…gotta run now and get ready for my sweet baby.
Oh-you are on the prayer list at over 10 churches now.  If you have a thousand prayers being said for you, then I’m sure God will hear them all.  You’ve got great things in your future.  I love you.



He was 2 days old before I got to hold him

He was 2 days old before I got to hold him

September 21, 2005:
 A few days have passed since I last wrote.  You are still in the NIC Unit but you are improving.  Each day you grow stronger.  Each day you get cuter!  Currently they’ve taken you off all your meds and they’re monitoring you for seizures.  They say you should lead a normal and healthy life.
 Today you finally got to eat.  That’s great because you are so hungry!  WE have to see how you suck and how you digest.  Those are two hurdles you have to jump before you are released.  You are alert and cooing.  For someone being hooked up to all those monitors, you sure are a very happy baby.  You’ll be even happier at home though.  You’re still more than a week away from coming home.
 1:32 pm
 It was a very traumatic day at the hospital.  You are learning how to eat and it’s not as easy as we think.  It’s actually very complicated.  It was hard watching you try to coordinate swallowing and breathing.  You were hurting and I didn’t want you to hurt.  You are my sweet baby son and it’s just hard to know you are suffering.

 5:02 pm
 For the first time since you were born, I feel depressed.  But I know the cure for it!!  All I need is to see you and I’ll be fine.  But the nurse  said I can’t come back until 8 pm.  I think she just wants me out of her hair.  I can’t stand you being up there alone.  She said you ate again.  I’m glad I wasn’t there because I really can’t handle it.



 You seem like you’re in so much pain when you eat.  I cry and just feel your pain.  I wish I could take it all away from you.  I wish I could make it just go away.  Once we get you home, it will be better.  Now is rough on all 3 of us.  Your dad and I are handling it well I think.  We do have our moments when we want to say something unguarded.  Our patience is being tested.  It’s hard to really think of anything else.  You are all that is important.  I’m depressed because I want to be with you.  I was really worried that I’d have a huge problem with post partum depression.  but I’ve been fine except for right now.  Guess I’ll just clean some more.  3 hours left until I see you.



 September 23, 2005:
Today they mentioned discharging you.  You’re eating an ounce every 3 hours now.  I hope I can keep up with you.
 September 24, 2005:
You have a discharge plan!  You are eating well except you haven’t figured out that you need to put your tongue down instead of at the roof of your mouth when you start to eat.  You burp really well.  You’re starting to cry now – that’s good!  The nurses kick us out because we stay too long.

7:10 pm
Your appetite is picking up.  They are increasing your intake to 1.5 oz.  Tomorrow you might start eating 2 oz.  If you do that, then we’re really in trouble! 

The past week and a half has been very stressful and also joyful.  It’s mixed.  We’re happy when we see you and hold you. But we want you home.  You’ll be happier here.

 September 25, 2005:
Well today was fantastic.  We got to spend the entire day with you.  You are such a good baby.  Yesterday you gave me a frowny face.  You made that look the entire time I changed your diaper because you had just been circumsized!  It was sad.  You didn’t take your eyes off me.
September 26, 2005:
This is your 11th day in the neonatal unit.  I’m soooo ready for you to come home.  Your cat scan showed that your blood was reabsorbed.  I’m pretty sure it showed that you are a genius, although the doctor can’t confirm that part.  You are the sweetest baby. 

 Right now we’re not really sure what exactly caused this.  The nurses and doctors saved your life.  You were born lifeless.  No movement, no breathing, no crying.

 5:05 pm
You’re home!!!!!  Dana was your nurse today.  She told the doctor that she didn’t think you need to be there and to discharge you.  He did.  Yea Dana!  He said they were running out of reasons to keep you.  You were a very sick little boy initially.  But with each hour you grew stronger.  We’re so happy you’re home.  So is Winnie the Pooh!  He’s been waiting for you the whole time.  You’re sleeping in your swing now.  You’ve already had a poopy diaper.
His 2nd Halloween

His 2nd Halloween


Nurture. Teach. Protect. = The Efficient Parent September 3, 2009

Filed under: Nurture,Protect,Teach — theefficientparent @ 17:59
The concept of  THE EFFICIENT PARENT  is very simple.  
If we strive to nurture, teach and protect our children in positive ways, then we are striving to be the efficient parent, and we are fulfilling our role as parents.    
More than anything, it’s the quality of our parenting  that determines the quality of a child’s future.  Exposing our kids to different fun experiences reinforces what they  learn in their church and school classrooms, and helps them make those educational and spiritual connections on a deeper level.  Nurturing our children with the unconditional love that God shows us shapes their hearts and creates their kind spirits. 
Protecting them from the dangers of the world…whether it’s the dangers of world “out there” or the daily dangers that pop up inside our own little world…makes them feel safe and secure in their home.  
It’s our job as parents to prepare our kids for what lies ahead. 
My personal indicator by which I will determine if I’ve been successful at being  The Efficient Parent is if my children develop into adults who are living in a way that is pleasing to God.  Of course, that means I have to parent them in a way that is pleasing to God.  That’s really all that matters. 
Time tells all truths.
Parents will always be the most influential factor in shaping our children.  Our job as parents is the most important role we’ll ever play.  It’s too important to mess it up.  Of course, there are certain days when I feel like this blog could arguably be named “The Deficient Parent”.  But if we get it right…the efficient parent part….most of the time, then I think our kids will turn out fantastic.  Here are just some thoughts about what nurture, teach and protect mean to me.
Nurturing goes a long way and determines if a child will grow up to be an angry person or not.  Adults who have anger problems…”the perpetually angry”…were not perpetually nurtured as kids.  Kids learn to love by being loved.   If a child is nurtured by at least one person consistently, then they will be better equipped to nurture others – and themselves – as well. 
Any situation can be used to teach.   Exposing them to different situations and experiences truly helps make a deeper educational connection when they are studying particular topics in school.  It doesn’t have to be a lot of work to create a teachable moment.  Just remembering that our children need guidance and direction can prompt a simple discussion or activity that they’ll benefit from.  
Protecting our children is the one area that a child might not be able to rebound from if we don’t do it.   If we let our guard down in this one area, then we’re putting our kids at risk.  I don’t have to teach and nurture my child every moment of every day, but I do have to ensure their physical safety every moment of every day.  Otherwise, our kids are at risk for not just having a ruined day, but a ruined life.   If I miss an opportunity to teach them something, then the information  can always be learned at another time.  If I snap at my son when I’m impatient, I’ve ruined the moment, but I haven’t ruined the future.  Kids are resilient like that.  But if I fail to protect my children from a physical danger then their futures could  be forever altered negatively.
  • Main Entry: ef·fi·cient
  • Pronunciation: \i-ˈfi-shənt\
  • Function: adjective
  • Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin efficient-, efficiens, from present participle of efficere
  • Date: 14th century

1 : being or involving the immediate agent in producing an effect <the efficient action of heat in changing water to steam>
2 : productive of desired effects; especially : productive without waste <an efficient worker>

synonyms see effective  — ef·fi·cient·ly adverb
So, let’s go forward and parent our kids the   NURTURE, TEACH AND PROTECT way!!

Who Wouldn’t Want A Cavity? August 21, 2009

Filed under: Nurture,Protect — theefficientparent @ 12:11
Tags: , , ,


I would give anything to be a kid in 2009.


Even a trip to the dentist today is a great adventure…just ask my son, who was disappointed to learn that he has to wait 6 more months before he can go back because he doesn’t have cavities or other dental needs.  

How cool is this place!

How cool is this place!

This type of  kid-friendly atmosphere is common today, as we are more in tune with the meeting the needs of kids.  Some may view it as just a ploy to lure repeat pediatric business, but it is definitely nurturing the needs of children and creating positive experiences for them. 

Even the dental tech was extra sweet to my son, speaking in such a soft, kind tone as she was about to insert a sharp scraping device into his mouth.  And he willingly let her!    Does she talk like that in real life, or just because she gets paid to?  



a peek inside the dentist office

a peek inside the dentist office

 Is she truly that sweet and soft  for real?  She was so sweet to him that I felt a little “deficient” for the moment.   And then she gave him a prize, a little itty bitty monkey which he actually adores.  Our challenge as parents is to find a good balance between soft and firm, while still nurturing a child’s sense of security and trust.

And, in case you were wondering, here is the expert advice we got from the dentist to maintain healthy teeth (but getting a cavity sounds like much more fun!!!):
  • Limit beverages that contain any sugar to MEAL TIMES only.  Examples of these beverages include fruit juices, juice boxes, sweet tea and milk (milk has sugar too…who knew?!)
  • Between meals, offer water or sugar-free beverages.  Examples of sugar-free beverages include Crystal Light, sugar-free kool aid, Wyler’s brand, Fruit20, and Fuit Falls by Minute Maid.
  • No sodas, Gatorade and Powerade.  A good alternative is Propel Fitness Water.

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Traffic “Issues” August 19, 2009

Filed under: Protect,Teach — theefficientparent @ 04:03
Tags: , ,
It was an an “aha” moment while sitting in traffic.   I was making a left turn at a busy intersection with a blind spot & couldn’t see if there was oncoming traffic coming.  So I made a decision to stay put until I got a green arrow. 

The guy behind me made it abundantly clear that he was definitely not in favor of my decision.



I realized this when he laid on his horn behind me.  And from my rearview mirror, I could see his arms wildly flailing (ironically just like my infant daughter’s arms flail when she’s upset!!).  Happily, I couldn’t hear the words that were flying out of his mouth, but I assure you that he wasn’t wishing me a blessed day! 

The guy with the flailing arms wasn’t too concerned about our safety…he was having a really, really bad day and he was having his bad day in a hurry. 


My first priority was to protect my children and myself by not making a blind left turn into oncoming traffic.  Still, my first reaction was a sense of urgency to make the left turn regardless of if anyone was coming.  For a brief moment, the big guy with those crazy arms and fast-moving mouth seemed like more of an immediate threat than any cars that might crash into me. 


But I kept my cool and stuck with my decision to put saftey first.  And then the thought hit me…I wasn’t the cause of that guy’s bad day.  I suspect he has many episodes like that often, and I simply can’t take credit for making him mad.  Honestly, I’m just not that influential over anyone.


 Whatever his problem was that day wasn’t going to be solved by me making a left turn when he demanded…he needed professional help!  So, as I sat there (with my doors locked and 911 pulled up on my phone…just in case!) sticking to my “no left turn” policy, I also made a new policy in life not to own other people’s problems…especially in traffic!  Wow, what a sense of freedom.  I didn’t get upset at the guy for cursing me and honking at me.  My day wasn’t ruined by letting his problems spill over into my day.  My heart rate and blood pressure were perfectly normal.


Not taking ownership of someone else’s  “issues” meant my day wasn’t ruined.  I’d  like to pass that onto my children.