Baby Fiala, Peace and Contentiousness

Fialas little Elvis smile

Fiala's little Elvis smile

When I was pregnant, I admitted to Daja in a comment on her blog that I was — rather selfishly — hoping for a very peaceful child.

When I was a kid, I couldn’t understand why my mom got along better with my sister than with me.  After all, I was the one who got good grades, was good at sports, could make friends easily, and had better fashion sense… what wasn’t to love?  Ugh.  I also LOVED/LIVED to argue, was obviously conceited, was a major fault-finder, and was host to a number of other character flaws and unpleasantries completely unnoticed by me.  No wonder she like my sister better.  Seriously.  I do not blame her whatsoever.  In fact, I completely understand why my mom took more pleasure in my sister’s company than in my own.  I just wasn’t enjoyable to be around.  I’m sure, for a mother, being around myself as a child was an awful reminder that bringing children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord was, with some children, seemingly impossible.

I dearly, dearly love each of my children.  And, each has their own set of both admirable qualities, and areas on which we work… “tough spots,” we call them.  For all four of my older children, tops on their lists of tough spots would be “contentiousness.”  Ugh again.  Wonder where they got that??

My dear hubby Martin and our little bitsy Fiala

My dear hubby Martin and our little bitsy Fiala (don't tell him that she's 99% asleep!!)

They didn’t get it from my hubby.  In fact, it was my marriage to my generous, merciful, peace-loving husband that clued me into the fact that there were more important things than winning a fight.  I quickly learned that being right, which was previously my main goal in life, amounted to a hill o’ beans compared to peace in our home, sweet peace between the two of us.  Not that my bad habits of picking fights and “proving” my points were broken easily or quickly… and when he and I were talking about this recently, he semi-jokingly implied that perhaps they weren’t broken at all.

But, I have to say that my values and perspectives in this area have made a complete 180.  I hate fighting.  I hate the debate I used to crave.  It breaks my heart to see anyone verbally deconstruct someone else’s self or opinions in the very same way that I used to, and (to my shame) gleefully so.  Not that I want anyone to be a pushover;  I advocate for making one’s stand in a polite, respectful way that values the feelings and thoughts of the other person; I attempt to teach this to my children, and practice it myself.

If my husband hadn’t taught me to love peace, having four stubborn, rowdy, strong-willed children who think every hill’s a hill on which to die, would have done so.  I grow weary of the fights, yet feel ill-equipped to teach any of them how to be a peacemaker.

All of that to say that I realize that I, by no means, merit a peaceable, gentle child.  However, back to my opening sentence, I was encouraged by Daja to pray over the heart and character of my unborn child.  Prayer.  What a concept.  I have prayed frequently for my children, in utero, but I seriously had never considered praying over their character and disposition.  But, you can teach this old dog a few new tricks, so I immediately started praying over Fiala.

Only minutes, or maybe hours after she was born, I realized that she was so different from Audrey.  Anyone who has read this blog knows that I adore my 2yo daughter.  But, from birth, she was never cuddly — she would stiffen even as an infant, and resist being snugged, even eschewing the “burrito wrap” that babies, supposedly, univerally adore.  She wanted her freedom.  Always curious about the world and its people, even from the first day after birth, she wanted to be bolt upright on my shoulder — the better to see you with, my dear.  She’s still like that.  She wants to be hugged frequently, but her hugs are given in millisecond speed.  It’s like she wants to check in to make sure you love her and that you are willing to give her attention, but she doesn’t want to hang out and soak up the love.  Cuddling is stifling to her;  she’d rather be on the go.  98% of the time, anyways.  She’ll bend her own rules, sometimes, but only on her terms, not on anyone else’s.  If you want a cuddle-hug from Audrey, uh, good luck.  But, sometimes, she’s bestow one.  🙂

Fiala is cuddly — melty, snuggly cuddly.  She’s only three weeks old (today!), but it’s obvious that she absolutely adores human contact.  Her favorite thing is to be cradled in my arms, and then for me to bend my head over so that my cheek is on the side of her head… hard to describe, but in that way, she’s virtually enveloped by me, and she adores it.

Actually, in my room at the hospital, when it was only myself and my newborn baby Fiala, I started crying.  Admittedly, I cry very easily after the birth of my baby — usually from tenderness, not from sadness, so please don’t fear PPD or anything like that.  It’s just that my tears brim close to the surface during this time, and they spill over for things like feelings of love, or thankfulness, or during worship, or just when my hubby was praying over our dinner last night — stuff like that.  🙂  Anyways, in the hospital, I just got a major sense of the presence of God in my daughter’s life, and that she truly was a peaceful little girl, just what I’d been hoping and praying for.  At that time, she was barely 24 hours old, so it’s not like I had a full picture of her character… but I just had the sense that God had heard my heart and answered my prayer, and in spite of my undeservedness, had given to me a gentle, loving, amiable, caring little girl.  I was overwhelmed with the mercy of God, and with thankfulness for my new baby, and a feeling of eager anticipation of seeing her grow and develop and become who God intended her to be…

Grandmas in peaceful baby granddaughter heaven

Grandma's in peaceful baby granddaughter heaven

Friday night, my mom & stepdad were over for dinner, and my mom said, “I was praying for Fiala this morning, and I got one word…  I feel like it was from God.  It was ‘peacemaker’.”  I’ll take that!!

So… thanks to be to God our Father who heard my heart, and undeserving though I am, has given me a daughter filled with gentle sweetness.  And, thanks to sweet Daja, who encouraged me to pray for Fiala.


About Karen Joy

I'm a partially-homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 19, 17 and 15 years old, and three girls: 11, 8, and 3. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I very casually lead a very large group of homeschooling families in the Phoenix area. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.

Posted on November 12, 2008, in Christian Living, Family, Motherhood, Pregnancy, The Dear Hubby, The Kids. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. My husband was actually reading this with me this moring. He was kinda snickering through the whole thing and giving me an elbow in the ribs. I am sorta like that. OK a lot like that.

    Just yesterday the middle child and I had it out pretty bad. She wants to fight worse than any of them. When she was born just her head was out (everything else still inside me) and she started screaming. Give you a little hint as to her attitude??

    It seems all they want to do is argue with each other and me. I thought maybe it was just me and the pregnancy but I don’t think so. I think I need to start praying over them again. I used to do it all the time.

    Thanks for the post. They always reassure me and give me hope that I am not the only one .

  2. Congratulations on your baby girl! I looked your site up again because I remembered that your 4th has a dairy issue and my 5th has turned out to be sensitive as well.

    What a blessing the peaceful child is! While I never had more formal prayer than some hastily offered, “Please Lord, let this child be a sweet, calm baby” when my 4th was, um, being her feisty little self, He heard my plea, too! Abigail has turned out to be the happiest child on the planet! All smiles and so peaceful. She will be smiling as her spit up is erupting like a volcano…she will be smiling as she (pardon for the squeamish) is squirting out mucus…She has an allergy to milk and probably more, as we are trying an elimination diet for me right now. In the midst of her eczema, she was squirmy, but still happy.

    As a recovering contentious person myself, I am overwhelmed that God continually gives us what we don’t deserve.

  3. Not only is she peaceful, she’s also absolutely precious! What a beautiful baby. 🙂

    I think the Lord often gives us just what we need, when we need it. Baby Fiala gets to be the calm within the storm, like a lighthouse sending outs its light beckon… you get to snuggle her when you need peace.


  4. I know what you mean about this. Long before Kiko was born, I knew his personality, probably right from when I heard his heart beat at 11 weeks. I knew he was going to be determined and strong, and I do think that is what saved him. But not peaceful! Heh! In fact, your description of Audrey reminds me of how Kiko is. He was so uncuddly as a baby. Rocking and patting would stir him up, he fought the swaddling. He would never sleep if we were cuddling him. He likes cuddles now but on his terms! (Heh, I don’t know if you had one of those baby slings, but the only way Kiko liked his was if he was facing forward, watching the world!)

    Baby Fiala is soooooooooooooo cute! What a little darling. I love her smile.

    You know, my mum said I was such a difficult child, not so much argumentative, more determined to be myself and do my own thing, even if it really went against the norms. She is laughing now because so much I describe to her about Kiko’s behaviour reminds her of me! She says: “Grandmother’s revenge!”

  5. Christy ~ So, do you mean that you’re a “recovering contentious person,” too?? Hahaha. Maybe that’s not all that funny, but perhaps that’s why I’m so loving your blog… We’re going through the same things. Sort of, anyways.

    Jill!! I e-mailed you, too… but it’s so great to see you around again! I feel badly that I very recently deleted you from my blogroll, after a year of inactivity on your blog. Yes, both my 3rd and 4th have serious problems with dairy, but I didn’t pinpoint the dairy issue in my 3rd until we figured it out in my 4th. (Does that make sense?) They have different symptoms — with my 3rd, it gives him almost immediate asthma symptoms (his asthma is now 99% gone, since we took him off of dairy), and with my 4th, it gives her g.i. problems and a bodywide rash. Weird. …”recovering contentious person” That made me laugh! But, that’s me, completely. Sheesh, maybe all of us around here!! Your comment, though, really made me think of how God uses so many things, motherhood especially, to bring His redemptive and life-changing power to bear. If we let Him, that is. 🙂 Please God, let me let You.

    Jamie ~ Thanks!! I keep thinking of that term “a face only a mother could love” because I think all my children are gloriously beautiful, but I think my perspective is skewed!! 😉 So, thanks for your compliments.

    Helen ~ Oh… Grandmother’s revenge!! My mom laughs about this ALL the time. She has no mercy. With Audrey, though, my mom recently said that she is reminded of my little sister, Robin, and of herself. IOW, IT’S NOT MY FAULT! Hahaha. I don’t have a sling, but I’m thinking about looking for one on Craigslist (have that in Australia??). I don’t want to spend $30 for an experiment, but I think I’d like to buy one on the cheap to try it out. I think Fiala would really like to be carried around in one, and then maybe I’d get my floor mopped. 😀

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