Wednesday, January 23, 2013

something about 5

Recently, Kiddo has grown up. I just turned around, and she was older. She listens better. She is more helpful. She is better at entertaining herself. She reads before she goes to sleep (as opposed to us being with her). She grew into a school kid, even if she has six more months (no seven!) before the real action begins. (But, she is still five, screams when teased by her sister, needs help putting on her tights, and well, maybe someday she'll buckle her own seatbelt...)

The other day she informed me that they still learn the letters at preschool because some of the kids don't know them. This is a compassionate view of what could be a very boring situation for her (learning her letters when she can already read). And she loves preschool.

No joke, I am nervous about the big step of sending her to school next fall. But I can't see her any where else - she's ready for a bigger world than our home. And now she actually looks and acts it.

Monday, January 14, 2013

babs' and FHE

As we sat around the blanket, my husband asked "What do we do to start Family Home Evening?"

"RUN AROUND!" yelled Babs as she stood up, took off, and then climbed on the coffee table (also known as the stage around these parts).

(The correct answer is "sing a song".)

Saturday, January 12, 2013

girl just wants to have fun

We refer to Babs as "our strong-willed child" because getting her to do anything is just a little (or a lot) harder than it was with Kiddo. She doesn't really like to come to dinner with us. She refused to be potty trained. She often runs with you ask her to 'come here.' She pushes her sister. She hits her dad. She often won't participate in Family Home Evening or family scripture reading. And she wails "I HATE IT!" when we enforce the "one-bite" rule at dinner (after she's decided to come).

And everything's gotten just a little worse recently. She's a little more combative. [Related story: We have a gospel-centered Quiet Book for church. There is a page on the Lamanites burying their weapons of war. I glance over at my kids on Sunday to see Babs "fighting" Kiddo into the corner with her 3 inch felt spear, and Kiddo trying to protect herself with her felt shield. We pulled Babs away, and took her weapons too.] She's a little more running. And she's spending a lot of time in time-out.

In response, we've been praying: How do we direct this precious little girl, protect her big sister, and help her interact appropriately with the family?

I don't know. But the first thing that happened was I remembered a question I asked often when Kiddo was this age, and I thought I was experiencing parental angst with some of her choices. I often asked: how much of this needs to be corrected, and how much of this needs to be lived through because she'll outgrow it?

And yesterday I had another light bulb. The majority of this behavior is about having fun. There is nothing she loves more than a good laugh, and a good tease. Playing with toys is so much more fun than eating. Pushing your sister might make her chase you, which is fun (but not very smart, because Kiddo rarely chases, she usually just wails). Yet some of the behavior is just plain bad, stemming from frustration of not getting her own way.

So mostly we just hope that eventually, we'll get through this. Either she'll grow up some, or we'll finally convince her that our rules and expectations are not unreasonable, even if they don't exactly match what she wants to do.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

oven obstacles

On Monday, during dinner, our oven stopped working. It started beeping incessantly (which meant that two tired parents were immediately snippy and impatient with their suddenly needy children), displaying an error message (which was not referenced in the instructional manual), and heating way up.

Michael did keep dinner from burning. And we did finally cut the power to the oven, thus stopping the beeping. And I was grateful that with all the house hunting we have been doing in the last few months, well, at least we were still renting and financially, this was some one else's problem.

I called our landlord the next morning. He called me back with an repair window of 12 - 5 that afternoon. Well, that didn't sound like much fun, but it was a Tuesday, which is a really easy day for me to stay home. Except the repair man never showed up. I called the landlord again. I fed the girls popcorn, cheese and crackers, and fruit for dinner. Note to self: when feeding kids snacks for dinner, identify it as dinner so they don't expect something else soon.

The next morning (now Wednesday), the landlord called back, to let us know that our appointment was rescheduled for Thursday afternoon. Okay. We cooked on our griddle on Wednesday. But you can't cook pasta, our favorite lunch, on an electric griddle.

Finally Thursday morning, 20 minutes before ballet class (not our scheduled time) the repairman called to say he was on his way. What if I wasn't a stay at home mom? What if I was already at ballet? Then when would have my oven been fixed?

But that's not the point. He came. He repaired. He charged my landlord lots of money. And I have an oven and stove back. I should have spent all dinner (cooked in the oven!) being grateful. I am spending all my time after dinner being grateful. I love my electricity, and all the convenience it brings me. (And Kiddo will be so happy to have mac and cheese tomorrow!)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

small prayers, big thanks

Babs often chooses to be uncooperative. She makes a special push to be off-task when we have Family Home Evening, and family scripture study/prayer. We are walking the delicate balance of letting her know what our family expectations are and not making gospel moments miserable moments (after all, they should be joyful, for her and us). Because of her uncooperativeness, but maybe just silliness, she often won't talk, talks in a baby voice, or slightly modifies what you've asked her to repeat. So, what few prayers she's offered in the last few months have been fed to her, where my husband talks, and she repeats (or doesn't, as the case may be).

But you've got to try again right? So the other day I let her pray by herself for the lunch blessing. And she did a good job.

Two nights ago, I suggested that we let her do family prayer by herself.

"Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for letting me see the baby. Amen."

She has prayed three times since then, and they all say about the same thing.

She is immensely grateful for a few minutes over the Christmas holiday. We went to the Pioneer Village at the This is the Place Monument, and there was a live nativity scene, with a shepherd, Mary, Joseph, and a little baby Jesus. Babs loved it. She loved it so much that she convinced her good Aunt M to take her to see it a second time.

Two weeks later, she is still grateful that "Aunt M took me to see the baby."


I too was grateful to see the baby. Having a Christmas baby (like Kiddo), or perhaps any baby, makes the whole Mary, baby, in a stable?!? story so poignant. And seeing a tiny baby, with lots of dark hair, so small, well, it reminded me of my babies, and what a sacrifice Mary made, and how grateful I am.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

my advancing age

Tonight we played a new game. Kiddo came and visited me at the nursing home.

I have no idea where this came from. But I had been mostly ignoring her, and that comment really got my attention.

I can only hope that they will be so attentive in real life. She explained "We come to visit you every day, even on your birthday!"

Sunday, January 6, 2013

knee deep in the chaos

I read an article today that talked about sharing parenting responsibilities equally between two parents. It said that although it sounds good in theory, in practice, most parents will tell you its chaotic and stressful.

I thought: you think that parenting in a more "traditional" sense isn't chaotic? isn't stressful? I'm not sure what they're expectations are, but to think that chaos and stress are separable from any kind of parenting seems like wishful thinking to me.

So I'd like to report that we're knee deep in the chaos.

But I can also tell you that parenting is fun, funny, and worthwhile.

still here

Three days before we were supposed to travel to Utah for Christmas, I got sick.
Two days before, I was sick enough that my husband stayed home from work to take care of the kids.
One day before, we suspected Babs was getting a fever.
The day of, she had one.

So we did what any irrational family would do: we medicated her, got on the plane and went.

Here was my reasoning: there are plenty of germs on the plane, I can do my best to keep mine to myself. Babs' fevers are not a risk to any one else. If I can just get them to Grandma, then she can take care of these kids, and I can sleep.

And that's exactly what happened. I rested, and somewhat healed, while the girls played and played and played with family.

We got home, and within a week, my husband got sick.

We are functioning, but I'll tell you what, catching up on my last month's activities on my blog/journal is pretty low on my list... Actually it's relatively high, but feeding my kids, and cleaning up the dishes, and resting, rank higher. Truly, those three things are about all that's getting done around here.

But maybe, I'll vacuum tomorrow.