Children, Family

Child-noise

D587DC83-B949-418C-BA27-739E486E4AEFIt happened one day that our first child came into the world. Soon after another child and then a third child. So our hearts were filled with love and our home filled with child-noise…a special noise that is many things all at once. Lovely and irritating. Joyful and frustrating. Amazing and exhausting.

So many things all balled up into the experience of having little ones and if you blink you could miss it.

Of course that’s what everyone tells you and of course you think you heed the warning but I have been almost scared to find that it’s actually true. Where did all the time go?

A few weeks ago we were begging for a night without a crying baby.

Last week we watched our little one take her first steps.

Three days ago, he begged us for his paci because we were weaning him off. “I na ma paci!!! I na ma PAAAACCCCIIIII!!!”

Just yesterday, she stopped needing pull-ups.

Now our kids are still on the young side but they are growing fast and furious and I’m starting to be concerned at how unprepared I am for them to grow all the way up.

Sometimes I look at girl child and think that in the same amount of time that’s already passed, she will be driving a car. She won’t need her friend Teddy anymore.

I look at boy child and think that someday, even though he’s not interested at all right now, there’s a girl who’s going to be more important to him than his Momma.

With Baby girl, I think, “You’re already so strong and determined. Am I ready for the firecracker you are going to be in your teen years?”

It didn’t occur to me that the babies we wanted so desperately and finally received would eventually grow up and start their own lives and now that I see them starting to grow more independent, it’s hit me that there’s an end to our little family under our roof.

They’re gonna stop wanting to snuggle up. These babies are learning how to leave me and I guess that’s part of the joy of parenting…teaching your children how to get along without you.

Yeah I’m not prepared for that at all.

Children, Family

Meet Arby’s

IMG_1154This is Arby’s.

Arby’s is a little white-tail fawn. Adopted by boy child during a family trip to the mountains, this little deer is one of many special little friends in boy child’s crew.

So, the name? Three guesses.

It’s funny how boy child finds names for his little critters. And he’s not one to flip flop on the name, with it changing each time you ask what the name is. He names his friend and that’s it’s name, end of story.

So, among others, he has Mavis the turtle, Frankie Jr., the little whale shark (not to be confused with Frank, the big whale shark), Pleasant the pheasant, Beluga (the beluga), Hootie the barn owl, Snakie…the snake. Ok, I know some of these names aren’t all that creative. But by golly, you better not call them by another name.

And then there’s Arby’s.

Arby’s…not Arby. Arby’s…like the restaurant.

Because that’s where we ate right after “adopting” the little deer. And it was good. Boy child remembers this meal because he got to have a warm salty caramel chocolate cookie as a special treat since we were on vacation. He also remembers the restaurant and every time we head back to the mountains, he is forever connected to Arby’s- the deer and the eatery! So he has all the components to remind him of this happy memory he will never forget.

Regardless of what friend boy child has chosen to bring with him on any given travel in the car whether near or far, what tickles him and the girls is that every once in a while one of his little friends gets to drive the car!!!

It takes a bit of serendipity…dropping the animal in Daddy’s seat of the car, Daddy being in a playful mood, whether the animal wants to drive, whether we are running late, traffic in general, and if everyone is paying attention to the driver when it happens.

Imagine the sight of Arby’s plowing down the highway without a care in the world and feeling the wind in his fur. And the kids are in heaven with giggles and laughter!

What do your kids name their stuffed animals?

 

Children, Family

Yeah, that’s a chicken on my head!

img_7226Are you able to laugh at yourself?

Or are you one of those people who gets really uncomfortable and then angry or embarrassed when something happens that causes other people to laugh at you?

I’m not talking about bullying or taunting at your expense, I’m talking about when you do or say something you have no one to blame but yourself.

Like if you accidentally pass gas while someone is praying…I don’t care how old you are, that is funny and I’m not going to able to keep from giggling.

I’ll tell you one thing we are trying so hard to instill in our children is their ability to laugh at themselves.

Their favorite joke to tell each other as young children is: “(Insert name here)! You belong in a tree because you’re a nut!” (compliments of Family Guy- which they absolutely DO NOT watch) They go bonkers with laughter when they say that to each other. And it’s always well placed because whoever is being accused of being a nut is, in fact, being a nut at that moment!

Not only does laughing at ourselves reduce the amount of bickering and arguing sessions that we have to settle, but it also gives the kids reminders that life is fun, sometimes funny things happen, no one’s perfect, don’t take everything so seriously, see the humor in things, laughing at each other isn’t the same as making fun of someone, don’t sweat the little things…the list goes on and on.

Humor is so necessary because this world is really stinky these days! It needs more laughter- it sure does a body good.

As a kid, I struggled to laugh at myself. I was always embarrassed and that really sucked. I feel like I missed out on some fun because I was so busy being irritated or embarrassed at any attention thrown my direction.

Once dear husband taught me how to really laugh at myself, I saw how liberating it really is. It’s diffusing. It’s fun. It makes awesome memories and great stories. I hope one day when the kids are grown and we are all sitting around the table, they remember some great stories and we all reminisce about how much we all enjoyed those times.

Children, Family

This is gonna be awesome!

35e3ad13-fc53-4b67-9bf0-688f5e047981-jpgSo baby girl is in that phase where she’s really into imaginary play. On any given day, we’ll catch her in the middle of a well-thought out plot of a class picnic where one of the friends is new and another somehow gets injured and then all the other friends console the injured friend while baby girl performs surgery.

And she talks and talks and talks all through this imaginary play.

Recently, she was assembling her class into order for a story that she was going to read them (she cannot read…this is irrelevant). Bless them, girl child and boy child even accommodate her imagination by “dropping off” their own animals for school. They even go through a good-bye sequence to preserve the authenticity of baby girl’s school.

Once all animals are in their seats and in order, she begins handing out things? I really don’t know what the purpose is or what those objects are in her world. Maybe it’s a snack, maybe it’s a pair of scissors. Again, not relevant.

So as she delves into her story, which she tells with surprising accuracy, the opportunity to be a fly on the wall presents itself and when that happens we try to take advantage because it’s only a matter of time before she says something either adorable or hysterical.

On this particular occasion, as she was passing out the things to her class, she was mentioning reminders like being quiet because the story was going to start and staying in the line. And then, we distinctly heard her whisper to herself:

“Oh, this is going to be awesome!”

And I’m pretty sure it was awesome. At least all the animals in her class thought so!

Children, Family, Issues!

Snuggle up, please!

img_2393-jpgSometimes my kids get on my last nerve. And I hate that because of how much time I actually don’t spend with them. Like really with them.

Sure, we spend time together while I bark out orders:

“Get in the car…we are so LATE!!”
“Who made this mess? Girl child, I swear if I see this stuff on the floor one more time, I’m throwing it in the trash can!” (relax, it never goes in the trash can)
“Boy child, why is your X-wing fighter tied to the hallway light??”
“Baby girl, where are your shoes??”
“Sit down…do you have ants in your pants?!”
“Eat it!!”

You get the idea here. This is not spending time together. This is managing livestock basically. And I mean livestock in the best way possible. My little lambs.

Now for the excuse-making section of the post:

I am so busy. I have a ton of crap to do and I have a ton of things expected of me. I’m tired. I’m stressed out. I have everyone pecking at me like buzzards do with a not-quite-dead unfortunate squirrel in the road. I feel like I look like that squirrel sometimes.

*sigh*

In ten years, none of those excuses matters. And what sucks about that is the fact that despite knowing that none of it matters, all of that crap gets in line ahead of the only things that should really matter. The only things that should be at the front of my “now serving” line. My family.

So, the day I for some reason had an afternoon to nap (no idea how that happened)…it took about five minutes before two of my little ones realized where I was (in my bed), to climb in as delicately as elephants, rearrange the blankets, push and pull on pillows, fix their stuffed animals and want to snuggle with Momma while she napped.

I almost got angry. Almost. And then, I was happy. Because there’s only a little more time where they’ll want to do this on their own. Where they’ll want to be in my company.

I’m glad they climbed in.

How do you keep your priorities in check? Let me know in the comments!

 

Children, Family

Stop picking your nose!

Boogies.pngI can’t tell you how many times I’ve said this phrase! Any of you reading this who have children have probably said this phrase about as often as I have. It’s amazing how often I have to say this and I get that all kids do it, that all kids think it’s funny and that all kids at some point will subsequently eat said boogies.

Any of this sound familiar??

  • Go put your jammies on…stop picking your nose!
  • Look both ways before crossing the street…stop picking your nose!
  • Let’s head into church, we’re late…stop picking your nose!
  • Go sit down, it’s time for dinner…stop picking your nose!
  • Put your shoes on…stop picking your nose!
  • Hang up your wet bath towel…stop picking your nose!
  • Time to make your bed…stop picking your nose!
  • Hey, look at this cool butterfly…stop picking your nose!
  • Brush your teeth…stop picking your nose!
  • Help me pick up sticks in the yard before Daddy mows the grass…stop picking your nose!
  • Take this bag inside for me?…stop picking your nose!
  • Go say goodbye to Grandma before she leaves…stop picking your nose!

Now I know some of my kids, if not all, will at some point be mortified at the thought of nose picking in public and will equally be upset at the contents of this post. But it’s no secret that ALL KIDS PICK THEIR NOSE!

It’s just funny to me how much of my day is spent saying these magical words: “stop picking your nose!”

Boy child even corrects me when I say it by telling me he’s not “picking his nose”, he’s cleaning it out.

In all fairness, he is our most finicky and particular about his hygiene and methods of cleanliness. It’s only fitting that the cleanliness includes his nasal passages, I guess.

Children

The hole of shame

IMG_8439Just look at that little angel! Isn’t she precious?!

Have you ever lost your crap with your kids? Don’t answer that…I know what the answer is.

My darling brood has the innate ability to sense when I have zero patience and tolerance left within me and it is in that moment where they access a whole new level of crazy. And I think that because there’s three of them, they think “she can’t kill all of us, right?!”

Even in the actual moment of confrontation with the little perpetrators, they have the look of fear and trepidation which quickly is washed away with giggles and laughter before they try to correct their faces back into remorseful ones…only for giggles and laughter to once again appear.

One such instance happened recently…I was so tired from taking care of illness that was running through our family. And of course, illnesses only show up outside of doctor office hours and usually after midnight. They are also kind enough to almost completely abate as the sun rises so I foolishly think to myself that whatever illness it was must have been a little fluke and all is now well.

So, I organized some activities for the kids to do in an effort to give me a moment to rest my eyes on the couch. Of course, my kids would be sympathetic to my  situation and allow me a moment’s peace.

Whatever.

Baby girl instantly started kicking me with her feet, thinking she was playing the “footsie” game with Momma…so much fun! Girl child and boy child noticed this fun game and decided Momma must be all better so they ramped up their shenanigans and volume accordingly.

And then the monster showed up. I lost it. And they knew it. I’m fairly sure I need to send back my mother of the year award at some point because this certainly goes against everything that mystical creature stands for.

I left the room after advising the children not to enter my presence unless someone is bleeding or the house is on fire. Thankfully, they briefly obliged.

Much later…much more composed but no more rested I received this note from girl child:

IMG_9755 (1)

Excuse me while I climb out of this hole of shame I seemed to have tripped into.

Children

The story of Teddy

FullSizeRender-9This bear.

He has been with us for a really long time. Well, sort of. He is actually the second version of the original “Teddy”, who met girl child when she was three brand new days old.

Original Teddy was given a very special job one day while girl child was on an outing at the mall with Grandma. Without warning, Teddy left to go help another little girl who needed a friend. Unfortunately, Teddy wasn’t able to say goodbye and this was very hard for girl child, who was only about three years old at the time. One minute Teddy was with her, enjoying their outing and the next minute, he was gone.

Girl child was so sad about losing Teddy- he was such a good friend and they went everywhere together.

So, we began the hunt for a new Teddy. We found an exact duplicate of original Teddy and we showed girl child on the computer. We told her how this new Teddy didn’t yet have a friend and he needed one very badly. We asked her if we could bring him to our house so girl child could be his new friend.

She thought for a moment and happily agreed…but she had to wait. Teddy lived in Miami, Florida and would be traveling leisurely via the United States Postal Service. So we waited and prepared for Teddy’s arrival. I must admit, this was a long and difficult wait as girl child had to do so many things without her friend for the first time and that included going to sleep all by herself. But, she did it and the day Teddy arrived she was so happy.

Since then girl child has been very careful to watch out for her little friend and even though she’s getting older now, she still has a very special place in her heart for her little pink friend. He still goes everywhere with her, though sometimes he stays in the car.

When I look at this ratty little bear, I can’t help but think of how loyal girl child is to this particular bear. He’s covered in wear spots and dingy stains that prove he’s been on every adventure and every trip with her. He’s got a floppiness about him that shows how many hugs he’s given and received. He’s got a worn little nose that shows how much he’s been snuggled.

What a great friend he is!

 

Children, Family

What’s my gift?

FullSizeRender-7Yesterday I ran to the home improvement store to pick up a few things, including some supplies for girl child’s last science experiment for her class. She is testing her hypothesis on which type of water will make a plant grow best. Little did I know that we would have a wonderful discussion on what her gift is.

Since a lot of what I was getting was for her, I smuggled her out of the house so as not to alert boy child or baby girl that we were going somewhere without them!

The trip itself was largely uneventful…we picked up the supplies we needed and headed to check out. Of course, girl child stops to smell the flowers and I love that she loves this.

When we we in the car returning home, girl child asked me what her gift was. I know what she meant by this because she likes to ask this question. This is how she starts a conversation about God. What gift He has blessed her with. There is something distinctly unique about her- she knows it and we see it. We’ve talked to her about how God has a distinct purpose for her. He’s given her specific gifts so she can complete her purpose. I think that idea intrigues her as she is also very nosey by nature and wants to know what’s going on at all times. So the idea that there’s a plan in her life but she doesn’t yet know what it is is extremely interesting to her.

I told her that God knew millions and billions of years ago that she would be created when and the way she was. And, He knew that she would have a specific purpose for Him. She asked me what that purpose was and I told her honestly that I didn’t know. But in God’s time He will let her know.

In the course of this conversation, which seems very deep but in actuality was very light and simple, I decided to give girl child a new idea to munch. So I asked her why God put us on Earth instead of just making us in Heaven. This thought really got her little wheels spinning and while she was pondering, I gave her a possible answer:

What if God put us on messy, sinful Earth to give us the chance to decide for ourselves to choose God? Rather than just putting us in Heaven, He has allowed us to experience this life. To come to our own conclusion that God is who we want and Heaven is where we want to be.

She liked this idea a lot. It gave her subsequent thoughts of how people choose God and how some don’t choose Him. How some people don’t know to choose Him. That’s when I reminded her of her gift and her purpose…

What if God knew you would choose Him? He’s going to use you to help others choose Him. Looking back in the rearview mirror, I saw beaming eyes and a smile that said that she liked that idea.

 

Children, Family

She’s a wrecking ball!

IMG_9290The destruction a three year old can do in the time span of five minutes is both astounding and impressive. She is a force to be reckoned with and she’s hard to keep up with. We are caught between fostering a blossoming imagination and wanting sanity with a somewhat slightly unmessy house.

The internal struggle to watch her at work is intense; minding her mess and her capability to clean it up is a full time job in and of itself. There is the logic that if she can take the toys out, she can put them back. But there’s the reality that she becomes so overwhelmed by her own tornado of fun that she can’t manage or offer any real ability to clean up her own mess.

Make no mistake, we walk her through cleaning it up. It’s a dreadful process and each time feels like the first time she’s ever cleaned. She’s got a good racket going on here and there are days where she can catch us unwilling to put up with the hellishly long process of telling her what to pick up and where to put it. On those days, she happily toddles off to wreck another room while we “clean sweep” the one she trashed.

Sometimes it feels like I’m chasing a wrecking ball- it’s like I’m instructing a wrecking ball to clean up what it pulls out to play with. And I get the same response from the child as I would expect from the wrecking ball.

It’s exhausting. I just want to see the carpet on the floor. I just want to not step in something wet when I’m in my sock feet. I just want to go to the bathroom and not see a morning constitution and way too much toilet paper in a toilet that’s just waiting patiently for someone to flush it.

It’s all part of learning…and she is learning. She is getting better. Slowly. Very slowly…she’s getting better.

And one day we will miss this. Not today, but one day.