Children

Where did we go wrong?

Rise and Shine, Beautiful!Today started out like any other day. The alarm spoke, I resisted, it spoke again, and I begrudgingly listened to it.

I stumbled to the bathroom to get my day started and that’s when I called my own parenting into question. How could I have let this happen? How did this just slip by all these years with no guidance from me? I can’t believe I became “that person” and I knew I had messed up my child(ren) forever because of my own carelessness.

You think you have all the time in the world to nail down all the principles and base standards before the world comes along and tries to negate those teachings and infect the kids with alternative beliefs. In reality, time is so very short and I feel like I missed an opportunity I may not ever get back.

My mind began to spin on the damage control I can do…heck I don’t even know at this point who my “problem child” is! All I know is I HAVE to fix this…now!! Some may even say this isn’t a big deal, but it starts with the little things and just snowballs. I have to get my kids back on track before its too late…

So this is my new parenting goal…I have to solidify deep within the bellies of my children, nay, in their DNA.

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Toilet paper goes on the roll with the paper going OVER the roll, not under it for heaven’s sake. Seriously, I contemplated taking a personal day from work over this. You just can’t be too careful with these things!

 

 

Children, Family

Pinch Me!

This day went like most others…not really anything to write home about.

Kids played, they did school, they played some more, they ran errands with Daddy, they made lunch, we all ate dinner together, they argued, they laughed they cried. They spent some time in time out. All normal things in the course of the day.

And then something amazing happened. Just amazing. This happened:

Maddux

Boy child decided that he really wanted to vacuum. In fact, he didn’t even come right out and tell us. I found him playing with baby girl’s Minnie Mouse play vacuum, just humming the motor sounds as he moved methodically back and forth.

I saw his technique and the dedication to his craft so I asked him, “Boy child, would you like to use the real vacuum and vacuum the family room floor?”

Oh, the joy in his eyes! He couldn’t nod his head quickly or harshly enough to convey how much “yes” he wanted to.

Never one to miss an opportunity to bribe my children, I told boy child to go brush his teeth and get his jammies on. If his teeth were sparkly and his jammies on, I would get the vacuum for him to use.

I have never seen such efficiency. Or quality of work. Or enthusiasm for cleaning. Pinch me! I have a child who wants to clean!!

Who is this boy? And what is going on?? You know what- doesn’t matter. He wants to vacuum, who am I to stand in his way?!

So I plug the vacuum in, and he insists on stepping on the release to bring the body of the vacuum down and he gets started. Man, he’s good. He’s got the wire in his grip so he doesn’t accidentally run over the cord and suck it up.

And then…he did something that made me speechless.

He started moving things around so he could vacuum underneath! Praise God, my boy is thorough!! He did a phenomenal job and his heart was full of clean, vacuuming joy! That is until he got to the best part…

Stepping on the lever that automatically winds up the long, twisted cord back into the hungry belly of the vacuum cleaner.

The smile on boy child’s face and his tip-toeing around his own handiwork was a sight to behold.

And just like that, he was off to something else he wanted to do.

 

Children, Family

Ugh, what’s that smell?!

dsc_0399So…we’ve had an interesting conversation this weekend.

Something has happened enough times that we need to talk about it before it becomes a widespread problem. This is not something to take lightly, either.

And I feel like I’m doing the world a favor by nipping this in the bud now. So…you’re welcome, world.

A child, who shall remain nameless, stinkered in the car. Stinkers are flatulence…passing gas…floating an air biscuit…a fart. That’s right, one of our dear ones farted in the car. In the winter. When we had the heater on.

And it was a silent one.

Can I tell you how much I did not enjoy the invisible slap in the face? It just quietly wafted into the front seat. Where I was strapped into my seat and unable to move.

So…the discussion:

“Dearest children,

If you need to stinker, please say excuse me when you do it so we can roll a window down before the stinker permeates into the fabric of our clothes and the upholstery of the car. I know sometimes you “just have to” and that’s ok. But please don’t forget there are other people in the car who do not want to smell your stinker, let alone have it sneak up on them.”

Their response?

Giggling.

 

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

Why don’t your socks match?!

img_2508Is it just me or are kids today weird?!

Correct me if I’m wrong but socks matched when I was a kid. Always. We matched socks when they came out of the wash and complained when one was missing.

This is where the whole “washing machine eats socks” phenomenon was discovered. Early domestic explorers came upon this discovery after counting socks as they went into the belly of the mechanical beast and came up short once the transfer was made to the dryer.

So, my question is…what happened? Like genetically? DNA markers have been modified such that children born in the past, oh I don’t know, 10 years don’t match socks.

Like it’s not even on their radar to match socks. How did this happen?? my kids don’t match their socks. Ever. I have no idea what socks have matches and what socks have lost their lifelong partner, though it’s probably been ages since the partners have even seen each other unless fate placed them together in the sock drawer randomly.

But my kids don’t care whether their socks match or not. Doesn’t phase them. In fact, it’s more of an event when the socks happen to match. “Oh look at that…that’s odd!” as they peer down to their feet to see two pink solid color socks.

It’s the weirdest thing. It jars something deep down inside me. I never say anything because it’s their feet and they can dress them how they please.

Always looking for the silver lining in things, it sure does make laundry easier. All we do with socks is put them in one of three piles for the kids to deliver to their respective sock drawers.

 

Children, Family

Cleared for take-off

13880276_10210554468605916_4196458609370190689_nThis boy.

I’m amazed at where his brain takes him…what adventures he creates. So the day he got an airplane was a big day indeed.

Now to you, this is a dollar store toy. A cheap, styrofoam toy…a tad bit big and bothersome in terms of clutter in the house. Because this toy is going to be all over the house for the next few days. On the kitchen table, in the bathroom, possibly hanging from the hallway light (you read that right), in the middle of the floor of the family room, stuck in a bush in the yard…

But to boy child, this is a complex adventure.

First there is, of course, the test flight. This is the first flight of the airplane once boy child has leapt out of the car, ripped open the plastic covering, slipped the wings through the center slot and inserted the rudder in the back. This flight is a bit wonky…obviously there is a nuance to flying such an aircraft that has yet to be learned, but it’ll come with time.

13924929_10210554468205906_5785743377515524949_nDuring this test flight sequence, boy child decides that the airplane is missing something…but what? Ah yes, it needs color. So the next step is the design of the airplane paint scheme, if you will. Though it may look like scribbling, a lot of time is going into how the color is applied and what colors are being used.

This decision does not come lightly.

Once the paint is applied, flight can resume. Of course, this is if playtime outside hasn’t ended. You know what, come to think of it, it doesn’t matter. Airplanes fly inside just as good as they do outside! Hence the airplane’s many locations indoors over the next few days.

13934577_10210554468485913_1108394360469103248_nThough boy child is perfectly willing to risk consequences of flying his airplane indoors, it is outside where his adventure really takes flight. His airplane gets a flight plan, gets cleared for take-off and soars to it’s next location…

Someplace exotic like the Bradford pear tree in the side yard.

 

 

 

Children, Family

Let’s cook up some trouble!

img_9324These kids…man they can cook up some trouble!

It’s almost as if they brainstorm on how to get the biggest bang for their buck on getting into trouble. For instance, they could get in trouble for having an untidy room…OR…they could tie all the belts and towels and jump ropes together, attach them to the bunk beds in such a way that they make a swing!

If you’re gonna get in trouble, might as well go big, right?

So that’s what we are blessed with…three children who collectively decide to make it count. Make it big. Make it awesome. Make it fun. Make it break. Make it fall. Make it whatever.

Example: one typical afternoon, we were enjoying the peace and quiet of our dear children quietly playing together…

“It’s amazing how well they are playing together. I mean, we haven’t heard a thing in awhile…no screaming, no tattling. We have the best children.

Others would be jealous of our enlightened parenting skills.

Hmm…it’s quiet. It’s too quiet. Let us go check on our brood to see how their creativity is blossoming, shall we?”

What do we come upon? The children have made a carnival swing for their animals out of the ceiling fan. Four helpless critters were tied in some fashion using socks, string, pipe cleaners and other random materials. As we were walking upon this scene, they were adjusting the speed of the fan so the animals could have a fun ride.

Oh. My. Word.

I can’t even tell you how hard it is to not giggle at the sight of stuffed animals who I swear have the look in their eye that this is how it’s gonna end for them. And to see three kids who suddenly, for the first time, are realizing that maybe this wasn’t the best idea after all.

In this instance, silence is best. It’s actually the best way to keep a straight face. If either of us were to saying anything in this moment, the very act of speaking would cause the facial expressions to uncontrollably turn into laughter, which then would negate the atmosphere of “you’re in so much trouble!” we have barely been able to create.

I gotta hand it to these kids…when it comes down to it, they sure are creative and boy do they get their money’s worth out of getting into trouble!

 

 

 

Children, Family

Expectation Versus Reality

img_1150Expectation versus reality…it’s amazing how far apart these two aspects can be. And make it even further in the mind of an imaginative child.

Every time we have a chat with girl child, especially, the reality of an impending activity, celebration, or event becomes an extravagant occasion. We see it coming so we try to pull her out of the clouds, but once she’s there it’s hard to change that mental image. This, of course, leads to mild to moderate disappointment because reality did not mach expectation, depending on how imaginative girl child was.

It can be anything…vacation destination, what are going to the store for, getting a haircut, how the dog doesn’t appreciate her cuddles. There is no limit to her expectations and consequently, no limit to the irreconcilable difference between that expectation and what’s really gonna happen.

Case in point…Groundhog Day. Regular old Groundhog Day. Does this day spark any excitement in you? Does this affect your day (outside of coming across whether the critter saw his shadow)? No…because it’s Groundhog Day.

But in our house? Groundhog Day is a day that should rival a day at the county fair.

Maybe there will be cotton candy? Maybe a ferris wheel…girl child really likes ferris wheels, after all. Maybe there will be a parade. Maybe there will also be candy! Like a goodie bag of candy for all the kids who come to visit the groundhog. A band may play to celebrate. You know what will be really fun? A piñata! Yay! More candy. This will be a great day, indeed!

Guess what…we planned nothing. In fact, that stinkin’ animal saw his shadow before the kids rolled out of their beds. Imagine the head-on collision between expectation and reality that girl child was a victim of that day??

Let the moping of the lost day of celebration and fun begin.

To quote girl child, “Groundhog Day is always the worst day of my life!”

So…at least she takes it well.

Anyone have a youngster like this?

 

 

 

 

Children, Christmas, Family

Come with 3, leave with 3!

fullsizerender-jpg-1Christmas!

Just let that wash over you…and almost drown you with the sudden realization that there is much to do and little time in which to do it!

Thankfully, despite all that “goes wrong” each season what floats to the top of everyone’s memory banks long after this season is over is only the happy memories.

Last week, we made a deposit into the happy memories bank by going to our town’s annual Christmas tree lighting event, complete with parade and arrival of Santa himself. I have it on good authority that this was, in fact, the real Santa as dear husband was participating in the parade so he had close access. It. was. Santa.

Did you pick up on that just now? Hubs was participating in the parade. You know what that means, right?

That means that I am going to be managing the Christmas magic and wonder of three little children at dusk and into the evening, surrounded by thousands of strangers….all by myself.

Sweet Jesus and all the angels, please help me keep track of these children and please make them listen to me.

First things first. We had to cross a major state highway to get to the city hall lawn. No big deal…except we quickly realize that baby girl has a much smaller pace than the others so we quickly fall behind. A quick scoop of baby girl into my arms and a reminder to boy child and girl child to stay right by me and we make it across the road just before the light turns.

Next…we are early so I begin one of my enlightening speeches about how we aren’t buying anything right now and not to ask and I’m not made of money and nothing’s open yet and just be patient. I’m sure you have a similar speech in your repertoire. The kids love it.

img_1740-jpgA couple of “hey, we’re having a great time! Not worried about this situation at all!” pics and then we head into where the grand tree is sitting in all it’s unlit glory.

We approach a vendor tent as they are setting up and out of nowhere this lady hands us all light sabers and lighted giant candy cane sticks! For free! My gut reaction in all honesty was “crap, now I have three awkward toys to hold all evening once the kids tire of holding them.” But then I quickly realized how I was looking at this situation all wrong! These were access points to each child…and they wouldn’t let go of these new treasures if they were given the ultimatum of handing them over or leaving before seeing Santa. (For the record, no such ultimatum was given…but these kids were hardcore about these light sticks!)

I have three children but only two hands so I rate the children on possible flight risk. Baby girl is through the roof so she always needs to hold my hand. Boy child, God bless him, will follow a butterfly into another city if given the chance so he gets my other hand. Girl child is Miss Responsible…I love this quality about her.

So, with a finger free from boy child’s grasp, I grab girl child’s light saber. This connects us into a gnarly clump of smiling children adorned with light sabers and blinky candy cane glory.

In a lull as we wait for the parade to start, I take this opportunity to remind the children to stay close to me and to not get lost. They also love this speech.

The parade goes off like Christmas magic…Daddy on the lead float playing Christmas music on his cornet and we yell and holler for him as he passes by. The parade ends with Santa and everyone immediately gets up to walk toward the Christmas tree in the square.

The children all seem to know what I’m looking for…a little hand, a larger hand and a light saber. Once I have these, we join the crowd and walk over to the tree and it’s only then in the darkness, surrounded by what I believe/hope are all lovely people, but strangers none the less…it hits me what I can tell the kids so they have a way to find me if they get lost.

“Kids!! If you get lost or we get separated…come to this giant tree and stand at the base of it. I will come find you here!” Parenting gold right there.

Of course it’s like two hours into this event and we are in our last twenty or so minutes.

But still. Better late than never, right?

All I can say is…I started out with three children at this event and I left with three children. And they got a good deposit into their happy memories bank account. And they got light sabers. And some candy.