Sunday, February 27, 2011

Parenting 101

A. Don't leave on foot for church 10 minutes before you are supposed to be there. You won't make it. B. Don't let your daughter think that you are stranding her on her bike and leaving her on the way to said church service. So, here is what happened. We headed out to church, me on foot, Elaina and Jack on bikes. Husband had already gone to church with other kids earlier, but happened to be leaving the house by car with the other kids at the same time. I was following Jack and Elaina on the bikes and got pretty far behind them, so when my husband was driving on the same street he pulled over and said, here, jump in and I will drive you up to where they are. About that time, my daughter turns her head around and sees me running over and hopping into a car on the side of the road, and probably figures I am ditching her, and her brother was way ahead of her. So we see her getting upset, so my husband jumps out of the drivers seat, and runs after her, and I drive the car to church. She was bawling thinking I was trying to desert her!!!! Poor baby! I felt awful. But that gave me a nice chance to explain to her that I would never ever leave her, and that as a matter of fact I was jumping into the car to get closer to her more quickly. But this incident spurred 2 parenting themes into my mind: 1. Sometimes we as parents make decisions that cause our kids to get upset, angry, cry, and even cause them to say they don't like us, or even hate us. And while these reactions from our children upset us sometimes, or make us even question our decisions, we have to remain strong in our resolve. It is soooo much better to be upset about upsetting our children now, than taking the easy out now that makes our kids happy and paying for it later with a spoiled, or unkind, or disrespectful child. 2. Sometimes we make decisions that we think our kids are going to be happy about, and lo and behold it is just the opposite. We meant well, we thought we were doing what they wanted, but they ended up getting hurt. For instance, we may think our kids would love to go to a pro baseball game, big musical show, or to the zoo and so we get tickets thinking they will love it, and we are so excited for them to see it or do it or whatever. And the day you are planning to go it ends up that you have a zillion other things going on, and yet you squeeze in the event along with it because you just KNOW that your kiddos will love it! And really what they would like best on this crazy busy day is some time at home to play with their legos or crash out in front of a movie for a while. Making the decision to think more about what our kids sincerely would like, not what we would want them to like, is a hard one for me sometimes. Also don't want to forget: -We went to the Rodeo today with some of Pete's work friends. I look over at one point during the rodeo, and my son Ben, who has befriended Pete's co-worker, is literally climbing onto his head. He has both arms on top of the guy's head and is resting his own head on top of that! The co-worker friend is just sitting there watching with my kid on his head! The friend has 3 boys of his own, but he could not have thought this was normal, as Ben has maybe met the man ONCE! My kids and their inhibitions are going a bit too far...not sure how to curb this. -Elaina is proudly working on her star of the week poster tonight. Hard decision: help her"fix" a few things to help her save face at school a bit (her fine motor skills are behind the other kids), but perhaps hurt her feelings myself, or let her do it all on her own.....ugh....... - I barely saw Charlie today - I had a shoot this morning, then he hung w his dad while I did church with other kiddos, then he went straight to grandmas for the day, and he fell asleep on his way home. I totally miss him!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Magic of the Magic House

My 5 year old awoke saying the words, "I NEED to go to the magic house!" He then proceeded to explain that his friend, Grace, told him all about how Bob the Builder was there, and since Bob is one of his favorite celebrities, I felt I could not let him down. So, we headed over to the Magic House, a place filled with wonder, joy and about 50,000 other kids enjoying the wonder and joy too. After 2 hours of fake fishing, fake grocery shopping, fake restaurant working, Bob the Builder excitement and more, while I monitored their "sharing" capacities, "sand-throwing" scares near the children that are "only children" and their parents who were shooting me daggers because some sand got on their daughters' jeans, the boys were not even close to being ready to leave. I debated heading home for naps or having lunch at the museum and gearing up for a couple more hours of fun....Their sweet little faces and screeches of joy throughout the morning gave me the energy to stay the course and make it a BIG day. So after lunch we headed back to the Bob the Builder exhibit and they played nicely, happily, and hard in there for about 2 more HOURS! And this is the "magic" of the Magic House! But the real magic came when I said it was time to leave to pick up the big kids from school and they happily went along!!!! All I can think is that they were exhausted and ready to fall asleep in the car, which is exactly what they did. And which is the reason I can sit down, relax and blog and enjoy this solitude for a bit. Magic. : )

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


My husband and I go out on a date once a week. We instilled this practice when we had our 3rd child, and haven't turned back once. What does this have to do with the kids? Well, in order to make this happen every week, many stars have to align and since my husband is at his job all day (so we can pay for this date once a week), I am the one to align these said stars. This week that entailed the usual: First there was,my assistance and insistence of Jack finishing his school project this weekend even though it is not due until Thursday. Then there was a quick 3mi run yesterday with a friend to try to get some miles in to prepare for my upcoming relay with friends. During this said run, I let my almost 12 yr old son exhibit his responsibility by watching the other kids while I was gone! Big step. It also meant that I had to get the kids straight to work on their homework after school yesterday, check it all over, make one of the kids redo her homework, and then recheck it all. It meant that I would then immediately sit down at the piano with Jack to get him started on his piano practice the correct way (without my assistance he just plays his favorite pieces, and "forgets" about the others). Following that I would sit with Elaina and do the same thing. About that time the babysitter arrived, and I was free to take the fastest shower ever in order to not smell on my date. On my way to my shower I would text my husband to tell him to make me a drink when he walked in the door and bring it to me in the shower, so that I could begin the ever-so-important "relax and become 'fun wife' mode that is much more enjoyable on our date than the "oh my gosh we have so much to do and I am so stressed mode" that will surface if not dealt with accordingly. I would then do a very quick "try to look sexy and fun while still wearing sensible shoes since my feet hurt so badly from being on them so much lately" task. And finally after running back in to tell the babysitter 13 things we kept forgetting to mention, we would be out the door for a relaxing evening. Where we would talk about the kids all night : )

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Cold Shower & Beautiful Music

Charlie has been pooping in his underwear about every other day or so. I'm trying not to make huge deal out of it or anything, but it is gross and since I know he can poop in the toilet, it is frustrating. Every time he poops himself I have been giving him a bath. Problem is, he loves baths, so I think he does not see this as a problem at all. So today, I got a little tougher. Today he pooped his pants and so I gave him a pretty cold shower to wash him off. Is that horrible? Maybe. Will it work? I think it just might. Will he be scarred for life? Doubtful. Tiger Mom I am. This morning I had the boys do their hour of music practice each. I sat with Jack and tapped (poked) him in the shoulder when he hit a wrong note. This sounds mean right? But no. Jack loves the attention, fears the poke with a grin on his face, and is amazingly more attentive to actually hitting the right notes and not just guessing if he knows he will get a little poke from me while playing. Best part. He is laughing throughout most of the practice, and by the end he can play all of his pieces perfectly. Scotty came downstairs for his practice, from having practiced upstairs in his room on his keyboard for a while. It is staggering the amount of progress he is making with the hour long practices. I started to tear up as he played a really neat piece really well! My husband looked at me while he played with a sort of astonished look on his face. Beautiful music is filling the house! Tiger Mom strikes again!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Monkey Suit

Charlie would not leave the house in anything but his monkey costume today. He calls it his "monkey suit." And he looks adorable in it. However today it was 70 degrees. The monkey suit is all in fur and has a hood which he wants to wear most of the time also. He also was insisting on not wearing any shoes on our outing to the Transportation Museum, as "monkeys don't wear shoes when they climb." he told me. So Ben (5) hears Charlie and I having this conversation and he comes over to sit next to Charlie and says, "Well, Charlie, monkeys don't TALK either." Charlie starts cracking up like he gets it. Then he begins to make monkey noises for a while, but upon realizing he can't sustain the "no talking" monkey rule, he just resigns to putting on his shoes. It was AWESOME! These boys crack me up, and I think they are pretty darn smart.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What they say...

Charlie after falling down: I need ice for my butt. I literally touched the icepack to the outside of his pants for .5 seconds. Ah, that's better now. Ben, at the Valentine Preschool party while staring at Grace about 12 inches from her: Grace is so pwetty. me: Did you tell her? Ben: No me: She might think that's nice to hear Ben: Ok. Grace you're pwetty. I love how he just wears his heart on his sleeve! If we could all be like that, what happy days everyone would have! Charlie: I taking down these Valentine decorations! I want Christmas! It took a while, but I was able to convince Charlie that Valentine's Day is fun too. But I get his point. I just don't remember any of my other kids rebelling against the end of Christmas the way this guy has been doing! After my own heart. Ben upon seeing the pink soccer ball I brought to the park: I don't mind that manly pink ball. Not sure where he got the words "manly pink" but he has been using them lot lately. Also I don't want to forget: -Last night all 5 of my kids got into Charlie's bed during the nightime story. Pretty funny actually having Scotty (11) squish in there with us. -We had a very fun Valentine's Day: Daddy made a delicious dinner of filet mignon for me and him and chicken nuggets for the kids and fruit, vegies. Chocolate covered strawberries and a big heartshaped cookie for dessert. And we all watched The Bee Movie together.

-Ok, Ben just stapled a bunch of pokemon characters together in a big long line, which he cut out of paper, then he taped it on his shirt from shoulder to shoulder. He is so proud!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Attack of the Boys

The kids are supposed to be downstairs cleaning up the rest of the basement - I gave them a huge head start. I can hear this: Jack: "Elaina, quit crying. And no, you cannot go to the bathroom. (Elaina sobs) Scotty, you know what is going to happen. We do all the work, and crying Elaina goes upstairs and tells mom we were being mean. (Elaina sobs) And then mom says, 'Awe, poor Elaina, just stay up here with me' and then we finish all the cleaning ourselves like every other time and Elaina does nothing. (Elaina sobs) She gets out of it every time. (Elaina sobs) No, Ben, she is faking all that crying again, she cannot go upstairs. Elaina, clean." Wow, perhaps I've let Elaina off the hook a few too many times. And Elaina is still sobbing. Not even sure why. I think she just really does not want to clean and so she is crying. So, I just called Jack upstairs and it turns out she is sobbing the words, "I miss Tavy!" (My inlaws" dog who passed away a while back.) This has happened before. Is it an excuse not to clean, or is she actually sideswiped with the reality of the dog's death every now and then? I really do not know. She is quite unusually attached to dogs. Not sure what to do with this one. A manual would be good.

The kids' Commentary

Charlie: on using the toilet - "I'm big like Ben, and Jack and Scotty." "I need to go standing up. Not sitting down. I need to stand up and go potty." "Mom, smack my bottom and shake the drips off." "Going poop is hard." "Poop goes only on the potty chair. I'm sorry mom. I'm so sorry." Jack: in a very serious sad voice - "Scotty, you know that grandpa who died? You know him, this is the chair that he died on. Sitting right on it." (not true) Elaina: to my friend as she walks in the door - "Is your hair different?" (and it was, but not like hugely different, she just had not straightened it - and it was up in a ponytail. She is super observant. Maybe she will be a spy, or mentalist some day.) Ben: regarding the upcoming Valentines day - "I know what you can get dad! Dad LOVES hugs! and you can make him a special dinner!" Scotty: calling home from school - "Mom, I need your permission to be in the equations contest on February 26th." (Why would anyone need permission for this!?)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

You Aw Just So Pwetty

Well, I had the most sweet moment EVER with my 5 year old today. I had asked him to clean up his legos, and then I found them still a mess. So, I called him upstairs to finish the job. He walks into the room and he is just standing there, staring at me sort of weird as I am telling him to clean it up. I say, "Ben, what are you doing?! Start cleaning it up, why are you just staring at me?!" And he says, "oh, sorry, you aw just so pwetty." And then he goes on about his business cleaning up. So of course I begin to melt. I had done my hair a little differently and had put on make-up, so I guess it surprised him a bit. But that was the cutest thing EVER! So I go over to him and hug him and tell him that is the sweetest thing I have ever heard. And then of course I helped him with the legos. : )))

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Elaina, Charlie and the Perfect Friendship

It is a match made in heaven, really. She wants to constantly pretend that Charlie is a dog. Charlie loves to pretend that he is a dog. She wants to constantly pretend that she is nurturing some inanimate object. He will pretend very well right along with her since he isn't really sure what is alive and what is not. She loves to be in charge. For some reason he lets her take charge of him. She sends him on little errands. He rushes off to do her bidding - happy for the attention. They are both just a tad insane. It works out so well! Today I am thankful for Elaina's (7) friendship with Charlie (2.5). Right now they are pretending that my decorative eggs are some sort of eggs that they found in the wild and are waiting for them to hatch to discover what animal will emerge. Question they actually think the eggs will crack?I am pretty sure Elaina realizes they are pretend. Charlie however, may just play along FOREVER until those eggs crack. Elaina may be smarter than I think.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Playing the Piano

My joy is overflowing! The boys piano lessons have been going absolutely swimmingly ever since I instilled the "one hour a day" practice! I am so happy for them. They are enjoying it more - I can tell by the way they sit straight down when their teacher arrives and they begin to show-off how well they can play their pieces. I can tell, by them calling me into the room to "hear what I can do!" Who would have thought that actually putting some concentrated effort into something would make such a difference? duh! I guess I just always had let the kids rule how much they did something, whether it be practice piano, shoot baskets, or work on making a little movie. It seems these days, now that I have begun to push them a little more on these activities, they don't push back quite the way I would have thought that they would. They push through and excel! Yippee! Also I don't want to forget: -Charlie has had some potty accidents here and there. Nothing terrible. But any time he does, he says so sweetly, "I'm sorry mom." and he sticks his little bottom lip out. How am I supposed to be a Tiger-mom when I have to deal with THAT!? -Charlie flooded - and I mean really flooded, like a whole inch of water on the bathroom floor - the basement bathroom today. First he shoved a bunch of toilet paper in the drain of the sink. Then he turned on the water and left it running until it flooded the whole bathroom. I was upstairs changing all the sheets, and my husband was working from home in an upstairs bedroom. All 4 of my other children were in the basement when this happened. No one noticed it. We found it later. Seriously!? -If you ask Charlie (2.5) who was born in the stable he will say, "Jesus." and when you ask him who Jesus' mom is he will say, "Mary." and when you ask him who else was there he will tell you , "The kings. A camel. A cow. Sheep. A horse. Angels." I don't think that is half bad for a 2 yr old. -Lately the kids get a kick out of telling Charlie that no, he can not do something. Because no matter what it is, Charlie will say, "Please I do it!" For instance, the kids could say that no, he can't keep hitting them in the face, and Charlie will say, "PLEASE I keep hitting you!?" Or the kids will say that no, he can not keep breaking all the eggs in the carton, and Charlie will say, "PLEASE I keep breaking them!?" The rest of the kids think this is hilarious. -Had a great time playing basketball tonight with the girls. Scotty was the tenth player, and he played really great. Very proud of him. -Today I am super thankful that I get to go to a mom's conference in Bloomington,IL in March. It is such a wonderful, faith-filled weekend with the perks of getting to hang with my sisters and friends all weekend! I signed up today : )

Blogworthy moments

We changed our nursery into a weight room yesterday. : ((( Yesterday's snow day brought some fun: Whole family watched a movie in the basement about Pistol Pete. That spurred on a basement basketball game using the little guys' indoor hoop. Followed by a family board game of Cranium. Hot chocolate, cookies. Then more basketball. Music practice (which is fun for me to hear, because ever since I instilled the 1 hr practice, the boys have been really progressing!) And finally, an "all kid sleepover" in the basement. (though we talked the 2 yr old into sleeping in his own bed) I have not seen or heard the kids yet this morning, I bet they will watch cartoons down there till I make them stop. Which will be when I want some pancakes - that's their job this morning. But then what...I mean yesterday I spent time in the morning on my computer making reservations for Spring Break and a mom's weekend away. And during that time: -Charlie spilled yogurt everywhere. -Charlie spilled his drink everywhere. -Charlie took off his clothes and ran around naked (totally naked). -Charlie was found exercising in the weight room. -Charlie got my ipad quite sticky. I better find some good entertainment for Charlie...the truth is, he has 4 older sibs home to entertain him, so I let down my guard thinking that will be enough...not so much. Even though I made my kids clean up the basement yesterday before we they could have fun, practice their music for an hour each, clean up their lunch mess, and didn't let them have the friends over they wanted (because it was a family day), randomly they each came up to me and said something to the effect of "you rock, mom" or "mom, you're fun." Sometimes it isn't easy being the parent that lays down the law, because we want to only be the fun one, but I think kids don't really know what they want until we show them. My kids begged for friends to come over, then I planned a different kind of fun afternoon (which included some cleaning and practicing), and they were still thrilled. I wonder if I can somehow get them to think changing all the bedsheets today is fun....