Monday, February 27, 2017

losing... ceding... control of my universe

Despite the fact that my oldest is 9, I have always had control over their screen time. I have decided when, where, and what they will watch or play. The closest I've come to not deciding is when my husband chooses something.

So it came as a surprise today when suddenly the theme music to Octonauts came blaring from my basement. My three year old had decided to watch TV. In some ways I should have been expecting this. He's been studiously learning to use the remote controls for the last few weeks. But nevertheless, it was a surprise.

How is he my first child to do this? I wondered. Oh, because my oldest is very obedient, and would never dream of watching TV, which is a controlled substance after all, without permission. And my middle may be willing to flaunt the rules a bit, but is terrified of the basement, and will not go there by herself. Thus she would never turn on the TV independently.

My son has neither an obedient heart nor fear to keep him from the television. He is perfectly willing to go downstairs by himself, and he does not have any great need to obey the rules. It just goes against his generally sunny disposition to fight us very often. But if our rules get in the way of the life he wants to lead, then he can say no without a problem.

So for the first time I had to be explicit: you don't watch TV unless I tell you it's okay.

Ironically, had he not turned the volume up to 84 out of 100, it might have taken me much longer to figure it out.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

my life companion

The boy gets to hang with me all day. And he is a great traveling companion. He is content to come along to "gro-shee shop-ping" or whatever else is on the agenda. He's also fairly content to stay home and play with his toys, or read books, or watch TV. He's a good soul.

In fact, the other day I prefaced a story for my husband with the question: Who do I talk to the most? Yup. The boy. Which is why I almost found myself saying "He does go" instead of "He goes." Oops.

He brings me joy by being such a good companion, even when our trip is just an hour in the car dropping things off at various places.

Babs didn't fight about her homework today, and requested that my good husband put her to bed. That was joyful.

And Kiddo is diligently working on the computer to write some introduction about pokemon. She is so very imaginative.

More joy for me :)

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

choosing joy, jan 31.

We've been talking a lot around the house about how we help the children: making food, clean clothes, fun toys, helping with homework, driving places, etc. This morning Babs asked me,

"So, all these things you do for me, helping me get ready, getting me a snack, I see what I get out of it, but what's in it for you?"

And given the morning we were having, I was truly stumped. I finally muttered something incomprehensible about how you obviously don't get parenting, or understand having a child, and spent the rest of the day pondering what's in it for me.

It's my job, seemed to cold. I'm just in the habit, seemed fairly honest, but not very inspiring. This is what I do, seemed the most correct, but still missing something.

I think the answer is actually, parenting isn't about what's in it for me, it's about helping you be the best you possible, and helping you with these things is how we're doing that right now.


It reminded me of a conversation I had with a friend. I was on a typical rift about how challenging Babs is at home, and how wonderful she is at school and church. My friend asked, "Would you have her switch behaviors? Be good at home and a pill at school?"

I immediately responded, "No. I love her so much, I will keep working with her no matter how challenging it gets. A teacher would just eventually say 'it's only a year' and suffer through."


And with that preface, I am trying to find joy in my children, every day. I am sure that some days that will be easier than others.

Kiddo got all A's on her report card, and was thrilled about it. We are too. She is a diligent worker and it shows. (It doesn't hurt that she's pretty smart too!)

Babs also had a wonderful report card, including praise from her teacher about being self-motivated, a good problem solver, willing to work hard, and always having a good attitude.

And the boy asks me for chocolate. The other day he told me he wanted candy, and I told him we didn't have any, which I thought was the truth. "No, you did buy some at the store," he contradicted me. What? "Chocolate." Oh yeah. My stash. So, I shared with him then, and today. My stash may be gone soon...

Monday, January 30, 2017

christmas in late january

Tonight it was Babs' turn to do the lesson for FHE. I talked to her on Saturday to tell her it was coming. I asked her on Sunday what she wanted to focus on. She decided the birth of Christ. Okay.

This afternoon I asked her what we were doing for the lesson. She reiterated the birth of Christ, and I agreed, but told her there was a lot there, so how what really were we doing. She decided we would act out the nativity. There ended up still being a lot of time before FHE, because my husband was out serving someone in the ward. This gave Babs' enough time to set up the manger scene (laundry basket with blankets and a baby doll), assign out parts, and lightly script both our actions and lines.

Once FHE started, before she got to directing our performance, I asked her why she chose the birth of Christ as her lesson.

"Well, reason #1 is I like babies. And whenever I get to see the statue of Christ, or talk about Christ, or his birth is when I feel the Spirit."


!!! This means we've managed to both provide her with opportunities to feel the Spirit, we've identified it so she can recognize it, and that she desires opportunities to feel it. She can even use the right language! This is for sure a parenting win.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

not funny

Babs looked at me seriously last night and asked, "Have you ever laughed since you were a grown-up?"

Really? You can't ever remember me laughing?

I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry.

we are in the or-nge?

For Christmas, the boy got a world map. He actually got many things along with the map, but this map of the continents is really one of his favorites, and we pull it out to look at it often. They colored north america orange on the map, and so now he asks all the time "we are in the or-nge?" so he can locate us on the map. We are always on the orange. At first he wanted us to be all sorts of colors, but we don't have the money or time to be world travelers like that. He especially wanted us to be in Africa at the beginning. He is now resigned to the orange.

Two weeks ago, we were at the pharmacy dropping off a prescription. He was done with our activities, and was lying on the floor, talking to me.

"I was born here?" he asked.

"well, not here, at CVS, but you were born here in this area" (which he knows, because every time we pass the hospital he was born in he wants it to be identified for him).

"No." he replies, "I was born in Africa."

At this point, we have the full attention of the pharmacist, who was, in fact, born in Africa.

"What did you say?" the pharmacist asks the boy.

The boy is reluctant to talk to him, but the boy insisted again he was born in Africa.

The pharmacist then said something about what sort of TV shows is this boy watching to pick up something like that. Knowing what TV he watches, I know that is not the culprit. (Mighty Machines is not based in Africa.)

"I don't think it's TV," I say.

"Well, you have to pick up that idea somewhere," the pharmacist insists

"He has a map," I offered. He thought that was funny. But I think it's true. My boy loves his map.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

what shape are you?

The boy and I were discussing what sort of cake to make for Kiddo's birthday. The question was whether she would prefer a heart cake or circle.

Me: "I think maybe Kiddo's a circle kind of girl."
Boy: "She is not a circle!"
Me: "You're right. She's not a circle. What shape is she?"
He pondered this question a moment, the announced, "Kiddo is a line." I laughed at his accurate perception, then he continued, "a big, fat line!"

Although the words big and fat are not good descriptors for Kiddo, if she were a line, they would be. I love three year old understandings.