Monthly Archives: September 2014

The Lesser Known Reasons You Should Have Children

A few days ago I published Murphy’s Laws of Motherhood. As I finished listing all of the ironies, I realized anyone contemplating motherhood might read that and say, “EEK! Kids? No thank you. That sounds like a nightmare!” If you’ve read my blog before, you know that I am a FIRM believer in the blessings of parenthood, despite all the madness and craziness.

In  case you don’t know:

The Bedtime Battle
The Green-eyed Monster
Observations of a Mother
Dreams
Common Sense Life Lessons I Hope My Sons Will Learn
The “Real” Job

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Being a mother has been the most amazing, miraculous, wonderful adventure of my life, and they could spill fifty billion jugs of orange juice on my newly mopped floor and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. ANYTHING! So I thought before I scare anyone from the wonderful (albeit exhausting) life of motherhood, here are some reasons to have kids that you just might not have considered.

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Pest Control

“Mom, come check out this spider! It’s HUGE!!!! It’s literally as big as my hand. You’ve got to see…Oh, never mind. N just smooshed it with his foot. No, he doesn’t have shoes or socks on. Why do you ask?”

Your own personal Jiminee Cricket

“Auntie Chelsi, you said STUPID again! Stupid is a bad word. You really, really shouldn’t say it.”

Anti splurge helper

“Why do you need a new hat, Mom? Your other one looks really good on you! I like your other one better. Waaay better. You don’t need a new one.”

Er…Splurging helper

“Mom, can we please get the good kind of cereal? We have been soooo good and helpful. You haven’t got this kind in forever. It’s YOUR favorite too, remember?? It’s ok. You can get it just this once.”

Honest opinion giver

“No, I don’t like that dress. It looks kinda funny. Mommy? Are you gonna have a baby again? Cause that dress kinda makes you look like you are. That’d be so cool!!! If you are, can I have a baby sister this time?”

Help to keep life in perspective

“Mom, you can clean the bathrooms later. Come build a lego city with us.”

Make you feel super-cool even in your incredible dorkyness.

“You should see my mom. She can JUGGLE! She’s soooo good!”

“Wow, Mom! Do that dance again! I didn’t know you knew the Penguin Polka! Can you teach it to us?”

An opportunity to really hone your skills

“Mommy, will you please make me a paper airplane? Yeah, I know you’ve already made me six this morning, but this time I want it to be smaller and faster. It’s ok, it’s a science experiment!

Appreciation for the little things in life

(Me) “Hey, guys! Look out your window! Quick! Cows! Did you see em?”

A reason to get out of bed every morning

“Moooom! N (age one) is in my bunk bed again!”

Better Health

(Me) “Hmm. If I snitch a cookie, they’ll run in and want one too. Apple it is.”

Humility

“Mom! M’s going to the bathroom on that tree by the playground!”

A better understanding of your parents

(Me) “It is so past your bedtime! You need to get in bed right now!” (in my mind) “Wow, did I really just say that? I sounded just like my mom!”

A renewed sense of adventure

“Mmmm. Pickle, peanut butter, and honey sandwich. You really should try this, Mom!”

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And here are a few more if you were hoping for more serious reasons to consider when contemplating children.

Loving someone more than life itself

That rare and beautiful moment when you walk in their room, hear that steady, sleepy breathing, the silence, and see their perfect little faces, eyelashes brushing against their cheeks. Then you think to yourself, “They are mine! How on earth did I get so incredibly lucky?”

Witnessing miracles every single day

Every little accomplishment, every tiny discovery will leave you in awe.

Their unwavering faith as a reminder of the courage you need to face life’s most difficult challenges

“Mommy? Why are you crying? It’s ok. We’ll see her again. Remember, Mommy? Families are forever!”

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Categories: Motherhood, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Murphy’s Laws of Motherhood

Motherhood comes with all sorts of ironies. Here are a few of ours we’ve experienced in the past couple weeks. And please, please share yours with me so I don’t feel so completely and utterly alone in these not-sure-whether-to-laugh-or-cry moments!

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  1. The night you stay up later than you know you should will most certainly be followed by the earliest morning your children could possibly muster, putting all living roosters to shame.
  2. After a good fifteen minutes of playing perfectly calm and quiet together, you think to yourself, “Ok, they’re contained, I’ll make that incredibly important phone call now.” The second the receptionist comes on the line will be the very moment the amazing fifteen minutes ends and all chaos ensues, including (but not limited to) screaming, yelling, whining, pouting, breaking things, and all manner of loudness and neediness.
  3. The day you plan to do deep cleaning will be the day your child decides to pull out all of his/her toys and dump them on the floor the one second you leave them alone in their room.
  4. If you need them to take a nap at 11:30, they will decide to take one at 8am.
  5. The rare need to really scold your child will be the exact moment your neighbor surprises you with a knock on the door (and, of course, the door will be open leaving your reprimand completely exposed for her to see).
  6. With all the papers scattered across the counter, your child will choose the only extremely important one to scribble on.
  7. If you buy your child a nice pair of shoes, he/she will go through a massive growth spurt a day later, and the shoes will no longer fit.
  8. Not two minutes after you get your child one of those free balloons at the grocery store to keep them quiet and entertained for your trip, it will pop (or float to the ceiling), leaving your child in a pathetic heap of blubbering mess at the bottom of the cart for the entire frozen foods section and checkout. All onlookers will undoubtedly look at you like you are the worst parent on the face of the planet.
  9. The first time ever forgetting to pack extra clothes in the diaper bag will be the first explosive diaper your child has experienced in a year. You will also be somewhere you cannot leave immediately and you will be miles and miles from home and the closest store.
  10. If you need to use the bathroom, they WILL come.
  11. If you spend hours fixing a delicious meal, your child will ask for hot dogs and macaroni. Or after refusing to try a single bite, will eat the play dough they were given to play with after dinner.
  12. If your child finds a worm, it will eventually end up in their mouth. Or a grasshopper, or a handful of mud, or sand, or any manner of luckiness.

IMG_0682IMG_0605Just in case you’re feeling completely and utterly discouraged after reading these facts, stay tuned for…

The Lesser Known Reasons You Should Have Children

Coming soon! (because I’m really not that big of a pessimist, I promise!)

Categories: children, humor, Motherhood, parenthood | Tags: , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Sticks and Stones–Bullying and What We Can Do to Help

My first grader came home from school the other day to tell me about a boy who hasn’t been very nice. “He doesn’t want to be my friend, Mom. I was trying to be his, but he doesn’t want to. He never wants to pass the frisbee to me. He just isn’t nice to me and I don’t know why.” My heart broke. I’m pretty sure I held back tears as I thought about what a tough world he was now a part of. And then a moment came to my mind from many years ago. A day that I probably had filed in the back of my mind to be forgotten. But as we walked up our driveway, the thoughts came flooding back.

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I can remember the moment vividly. I was a senior that year, and my assigned seat in Mr. M’s class was just a few back from her and her friends. In front of her sat a larger guy, someone I guess you wouldn’t call “cool.” In fact, to put it bluntly, he was a geek. He had bottle cap glasses, pimples, his clothes were old and baggy, and he ate lunch at that one spot in the commons area with all the other dorky kids. I don’t remember his name, but I certainly remember hers. Everyone knew her name. She was one of the most popular girls in school. Pretty, athletic…she was what every girl wanted to be, who every boy wanted to be with. As Mr. M wrote on the board the room was silent with scribbling pencils. Just ahead, I saw her pull out a quarter. Getting the attention of her friends, she smiled and leaned forward in her desk. In front of her, his pants opened like a plumber’s, giving just enough space for a quarter to slip through. Her friends stifled laughs as the quarter dropped from her fingers. His head jerked up. As he ran to the bathroom to retrieve the object now located in his britches, she smirked as several laughed at his expense.

And life went on. The boy was humiliated, the girl got a good laugh, the cycle continued. No one stood up. Not a classmate, not a parent, not a teacher.

Even while writing this my heart races with the memories of those days. Honestly, I was just a bit scared of her. Of all of them. And so I kept my thoughts to myself. If only I could go back. If only I had the courage in those days to stand up for those who were torn down. If only I’d put myself in the lines of fire to save someone else’s self-esteem, image, and heartache.

…But I didn’t.

Maybe by watching and not doing anything My lack of action was just as bad as what they had done.

“When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following:

Stop it!

It’s that simple.”

–Dieter F. Uchtdorf

I have no idea what the answer is. Listening to my little boy broke my heart, and I desperately wish I had an answer. But the more the story brewed in my mind, I did have a few thoughts. Maybe we can still change the tides of bullying. It’s worth a shot.

  • How do we talk about others in front of our children? They listen even when we don’t think they are.
  • Do we show them courage by standing up to others who rip those less fortunate (or more, jealousy is a strong emotion) down with gossip?
  • Do we actively encourage our kids to treat others with kindness and respect? And do we show them every day how that looks in our interactions with friends, family and strangers alike?
  • Do we happily serve others and encourage our kids to do the same?
  • Do we encourage our children to play with others who are different from them and encourage them to include those who aren’t being included?

I’m only a mom to small children. I know the teenage years will prove to be much more difficult in these regards. But maybe if we start now. Maybe if we try to teach them while they’re young, it will stick. And maybe it won’t, but it’s worth a shot.

IMGP0419Looking back, I struggled with situations like these, not so much because of the girls who thought others were less than them, but because the adults around us didn’t seem to notice or care. In some ways it was even encouraged, without them knowing, of course. It was discouraging as a kid, and now as an adult I continue to watch it from this side of life. A bully doesn’t always attack with fists. In a majority of situations, bullies attack with word and deed. And they hurt. These predators are often charming, charismatic, lovable, pretty or handsome, seem to be well-liked, athletic, and smart. But what they do to classmates “less” than them is devastating. If we as adults joke around with them, put them on a pedestal and treat them as if they were high and mighty, try to be their friend, and laugh at their seemingly harmless jokes, the cycle will continue. Do we really want that?

We don’t have to be mean. We don’t have to stop treating them with respect and kindness. But let’s try to be more watchful. Let’s try to bring those up that otherwise might find themselves down. We must be conscientious of how we treat all children, charming, funny, cute…or not.

I wish I knew the answers. I wish I could go back and stand up for others instead of idly standing by. I wish I could change unkind words I have said in the past to and about others. I wish I could protect my son from those boys and girls that don’t want to be his friend and who don’t want to be kind. I wish so many things, but for now I will hope that we can encourage our children and do better ourselves. Let’s stop the bullying, no matter how old we happen to be.

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A great 10 minute video. Definitely worth the watch!

Bullying–Stop It by Dieter F. Uchtdorf

And here’s just the talk:

The Merciful Obtain Mercy

Categories: parenthood | Tags: , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Take Some Risks and Follow Yer Dreams, Me Harties!

Blimey! Do ye know it be International Talk Like a Pirate Day in the morn? To me fellow seadogs and swashbucklers, ahoy, me hearties! It be a fine day to celebrate. In our abode we be celebratin’ with me three buckos by dressin’, talkin’, treasure huntin’ and playin’ like a buckineer. What be ye doin’ with yer young lads and lassies on this fine international hol-i-day?

If ye needs some brainstorms, here be spots to take a looksie:

Me Crew’s favorite swashbucklin’ books fer this here occasion:

  • Victricia Malicia
  • Pirate Pete
  • Pirate Pete’s Talk Like A Pirate
  • The Pirates Next Door

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I’ll be honest. I would make a lousy pirate. I don’t have my ear (or ears, for that matter) pierced, I don’t have a single tattoo, I’m a bit scared of deep and dark shark-infested water, not too adventurous when it comes to deep-fried dishes with eight tentacles, and I really don’t care much for swimming. Most especially, I’m a bit of a chicken. With all that treasure hunting, pillaging, looting, shooting cannons, and marooning, risks are what one might say defines a pirate. Yep, a bit of a landlubber I be.

I read this awesome article on risk taking a while back by Leila on Sensitive and Extraordinary Kids. She shared her experiences with taking risks (and she’s taken some pretty awe-inspiring ones!).

She says: “’The best things in life are dangerous’: I’m not so sure about that one. But I do know that it’s those adventures that come with some risk that make me feel most alive. And that is where I get the strength and will to face those fears.”

After reading, I was set on being a bit more piratic. Taking a step or two out of my comfort zone, even if it means being a bit uncomfortable (imagine that!). I’m not sure I’m up for any skydiving or deep-sea diving, but let me tell you about a dream I’ve had for many, many years.

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Children’s books are my passion. My husband spent many a date at the children’s book store before we got married. Consequently, my boys have a decent stash in their bedroom and we frequent the library often. I love children’s books, and I have always thought it would be the most amazing thing to see my name on the cover (along with an illustrator, because, let’s face it. Art is not my forte). So over the years I’ve jotted down lots of ideas, wrote a few stories (not that I’m the next Eric Carle by any means), researched lots of publishing companies, and chickened out over and over and over. Apparently, being a children’s book author is the second most competitive job, following behind a choreographer (can you say depressing?). I did absolutely nothing because of the fear of almost certain rejection. I didn’t take the risk, I never sent in a single manuscript.

Imagine living in a risk-free world! We would miss out on literally everything we have. Risk doesn’t have to mean you’re the best. It doesn’t have to mean the world knows your accomplishments, or that you make astounding breakthroughs. It means you take something you love or are passionate about and give it a try, despite your fear and hesitations (or maybe even because of it!). I have no intentions to compete with the popularity or sheer brilliance of the Berenstain Bears or Pirate Pete. It appears I’d have better luck trying out for the WNBA. But here goes following a dream and giving it a try. I hope we can all take a look at our dreams and take a few risks in order to enjoy the thrills of life.

So on future International Talk Like A Pirate holidays, as you sit with your little lad and lassies all guzzied up in their pirate best, maybe ye can share this story by a pirate-dreamin’ landlubber who finally took the plunge and got her feet a wee bit wet.

Here be an excerpt from me most recent story, because I daren’t put it all out there and have some billage rat plunder it (I don’t have a clue what the privacy is on blogs like this)!

Cap’n Green Hook McGray

He was the meanest, the dirtiest, the gruffest and toughest scallywag to set sail on the briny blue.

He plundered, he looted, and that ain’t the worst he would do.

His crew, they all feared him, “Aye, Aye!” They would say.

Thoughts of the plank made them swiftly obey.

His name: The greedy, the despicable, Cap’n Gristle McGray.

Now pirates all have a weakness, any landlubber knows.

They sail the high seas where ‘er the wind blows.

With a map in one hand and the wheel in the other,

Their eyes are set on treasure chests full of doubloons to plunder.

And to the end…

So that there’s the story of Cap’n “Green Hook” McGray,

And how he finally pursued his dreams that day.

His crew no longer fears him, and though a pirate he be,

He’s the best gosh darn gardener to set sail on the sea!

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Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

The Middle Child

“Ok, Mom. Now we’re going to race and you’re going to dribble the ball, and if you win we play soccer. If I win then we race again. Ok? Ok, Mom? That’s what we’ll do.” I’m not sure if he even took a breath before he yelled, “Ready, set, GO!” and raced full speed down the hall. M is always a big ball of energy. Gram liked to say we were built backwards. If only I could muster even a fraction of that kid’s energy, I could do the dishes, fold all the piles of clothes, read my stack of books, and clean the bathrooms without batting an eye. If only…

imageIMG_0844R (our six-year-old) happened to be on a big kid camping trip with dad and grandpa this weekend, so it was just the younger two and me. That moment as I listened intently to his instructions and positioned the ball ready to dribble, it hit me. Little, energetic four-year-old M is our middle child. He never got the one-on-one attention that our oldest did, and when his baby brother came along, he and R could play so well that I was able to give the baby plenty of attention. He is A MIDDLE CHILD. R’s baby pictures creatively scrap booked and labeled, sitting on a shelf while M’s hasn’t even been touched. R’s accomplishments carefully documented in a beautiful album, M’s scribbled on a calendar somewhere under some pile. I hated to admit it, but the reality was staring me in the face. Just the other day while we played dinosaurs I awoke to a t-rex roaring in my face and a boy desperate for those precious moments saying, “Come on, Mom! You aren’t playing dinosaurs with me! Wake UP!”

IMG_0613As I held that ball, I vowed to do better. I’d let life get in the way of really playing with my kids! Most especially one in particular. I’d gotten too busy, too tired, too distracted. My middle child needed those moments where his mom dropped everything, left the dishes in the sink, scooped the grumpy baby up in her arms, and dribbled the swirly ball down the hall in a frantic race to see what we did next. So in that moment I vowed to make changes. For all my kids, but mostly for my sweet, non-stop middle child. Here’s my list of new rules for myself:

1. Dishes can wait. Laundry can wait. He will only be four once.

2. We can play at the park without friends. We SHOULD play at the park without friends on occasion.

3. At least a half-an-hour every day should be spent being really crazy. Dance to the silly songs, sing along, just being plain goofy.

4. Really try to get to know each kid, spend time alone with each one daily.

5. Live in the moment. Stop thinking about the bazillion things going on.

6. Include them in as much as possible (M was so thrilled to help me scrub the toilets the other day. Time with child plus clean toilets=win-win for everyone!)

7. Find opportunities to hug as much as possible. Say “I love you” every chance you get.

8. Don’t let bedtime get frustrating.

9. Don’t cry over spilled milk (…Or orange juice, or hot chocolate, or yogurt, or refried beans, or chicken noodle soup, or cheese, or mashed potatoes, or salsa, or not quite solid jello, or burrito innards, or eggs, or expensive freshly homemade granola, or pasta noodles…)

10. Patience, patience, patience. I don’t want them to remember me always being exasperated with them.

11. Get on the floor and play. Pretend with them. Do what THEY want to do, not what you want them to want to do.

12. Give in to just one more book. It’s a book for pete’s sake.

13. Talk to them while you drive places. Ask them questions, have a conversation.

14. Don’t freak out when they get muddy. It’s what kids should do. Clothes can be washed.

15. Do things that will make them laugh.

imageNo more t-rex wake-up calls. Here’s to better days, less middle child syndrome, and more enjoying life. What’s on your list?

Categories: Motherhood | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

The Beauty of Sharing

Our house is under quarantine today. Between the coughs, sneezes, boogers, and wheezes, I made the executive decision that today we rest. I figure it all began about like this…

R, at school: “Hey Timmy! Can I borrow your pencil?”
Friend Timmy (which is, actually, a fictional school mate and really no one in particular): “Sure! Aaa-aa-aa-choooo!” –hands R a snotty pencil.
R: “Gee, thanks, Timmy! Let me just stick it in my mouth while I grab a piece of paper.”

Yes, we all thank you, Timmy. All because of you so graciously sharing your snotty pencil, our entire family is infected with this miserable bug.

My kids are pros at sharing their germs. I can’t think of a time when a cold or flu bug has not made a run through our entire family. I can’t say that I’m exactly thrilled about this, but I do have to say that it makes me happy that they are fantastic at sharing other things besides germs as well.

…All three share a room. I know, it’s crazy. But it works! However, that typically means at 5am our day often starts like this, “Psst, R, are you awake? HEY R… R!! Wake up! It’s morning!!!!!!!”
…They are fantastic at sharing peas, broccoli, mushrooms, and carrots (go figure, right?).
…T.V. Time, is, well, shared. Either that, or Mom chooses, and that typically means some girly show. “Nooo!!! Ok, ok, we can watch M’s show, just anything but THAT!”
…Toys are usually shared relatively well, cookies some of the time, and crayons almost always.

As parents we constantly drill into our kids the importance of sharing. At the park, at friends’ houses, when friends come to visit…the sharing never ends. But why? Why do we feel this need to teach our kids to be giving with others? Frankly, I would have been fine if Timmy would have refused to share his pencil.

A year ago our area was hit with a horrible flood. The rain came for days and days and never seemed to stop. Roads closed, bridges washed away, and canyon roads crumbled into the torrent below. Houses filled with mud or completely washed away as rivers changed their direction and spilled over their banks. The news was filled with heart-breaking stories of families being separated, homes being lost, and even lives being swept away. Tragedy beyond comprehension.

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Even Our *little* stream close by turned into a torrential river during the flood. Luckily, nothing could reach our house. Unfortunately not all of our neighbors were able to say the same.

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But among the disaster came stories of sharing. People came out of the woodwork to give of their talents, time, energy, monetary assets, and love. Neighbors came together and really showed what it meant to be a neighbor. Regardless of religion, race, political preference, or any sort of differences, people worked side by side, sharing all they had.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” –Fred Rogers

The kindness of others was truly inspiring, amazing, and incredible those long, rainy days, and for many, many days following.

We were so thrilled when the sun finally came out!

As difficult as it is for our children to share toys, rooms, treats, and time, This is why I think we do it. Because eventually, as adults, we hope they will be good neighbors. That they will bring their shovels, buckets, and wheelbarrows to help a friend. Or more importantly, a stranger. That they will be willing to put together a bag of clothes, a warm meal, or lend a shoulder to cry on.

So for now, as my boys and I share our box of tissues, chicken noodle soup, and sit on the couch today, I will be thankful that my kids are learning to give. I’ll be happy that Timmy’s mother is teaching him as well. I’ll be glad that this world is full of helping hands in a planet where disaster, sadness and despiration are all too often well-known. And most of all, I’ll look forward to the day when my boys can share their time, talents, monetary assets, and love with those in need around them.

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Categories: Motherhood | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

The Chase is On…(Helping My Boys *Eventually* Navigate the World of Girls)

This year was certain to be different. As my six-year-old son climbed those big bus steps and waved goodbye, I couldn’t help but think he looked so grown-up. His first time at school ALL day, first time eating lunch in the cafeteria, first time riding the bus to and from school…First grade certainly would be a year of firsts. The youngest boys and I anxiously waited for him to come home. Afternoon seemed to take forever to arrive, and by noon M had asked me at least a dozen times when school would be done. Finally it was time. With a big grin on his face, R raced up our driveway.

As we sat outside eating cookies, In typical motherly fashion I bombarded him with the string of questions that had been flooding my mind all day. “So buddy, who do you sit by? Did you go to PE? Is your teacher nice? Did you make any new friends? Who’d you ride with on the bus? Did you remember to thank the bus driver? Did you read any books? What’d you do at recess?” In typical first grade boy fashion, he responded, “Andrew. Yep. She’s nice. Yep. Tyler. Yep. Yep. Played soccer.” And continued chowing down on his cookie. Realizing that I wouldn’t be able to coax much out of him while cookies were around, I gave it a rest. Not a few minutes later, he added, “Oh, and at lunch recess the girls chased us around. They were trying to kiss us, Mom! But don’t worry. I ran too fast for them. I bet we’ll have to do that a lot this year.”

When he told me that, this is what I saw in my mind...

When he told me that, this is what I saw in my mind…

...But I'm afraid this is reality. When did this happen???

…But I’m afraid this is reality. When did this happen???

Kindergarten year was a unique one for R. By the last month of school, his class only consisted of six kids. Five boys and one girl. It started out with 12 (still only one girl), but slowly dwindled down. GIRLS. That would be a new dynamic this year I hadn’t even considered.

When my husband got home from work that night and the boys were all asleep, I told him what R had done at recess. “Oh!” he exclaimed. “I remember that game in elementary school. That was fun.” I gave him a death stare. “Hey, I always ran fast enough to keep away! You mean you didn’t play that? I thought everyone played it.” Our first grade boy was being chased by girls to get kissed, and apparently I wasn’t cool enough to chase the boys when I was a kid. This was devastating news to a mom of three boys. Girls? First grade?? That cutesy little chant, “…so-and-so and what’s her name, sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g.” came into my mind. My son was running away from girls, and according to my husband it was totally normal.

Before I sound like a lunatic mother with a little cootie-phobia, Let me clarify. Of course I wasn’t afraid of my son getting caught and kissed. He’s pretty darn fast, even I can hardly catch him! Ok, ok. And I suppose a little peck on the playground in first grade doesn’t exactly spell out matrimony. But suddenly in my mind I was imagining a little boy ten years older taking a girl on his first date. Eight years after that bringing a girl home from college to “meet the parents,” and only a matter of time before a full blown wedding would be planned. Whew! Those years sure flew by in my mind! Playing chase on the playground, simply the beginning.

As my husband and I brushed our teeth that night, I concocted a plan. We have so many friends with adorable little girls. How about an arranged marriage? It worked wonders for so many of my husband’s co-workers from other countries. Why not give it a try? My husband was less than keen on that idea. Since that was out, I was left with only one option. Let my boys make their own decisions and teach them to be good kids the best I can. Darn. I still kinda like the arranged marriage idea (any takers?? 🙂 ).

I remember coming home from college and going on walks with my mom. We’d come to a piece of garbage on the ground, and every time my mom would pick it up and say, “Chelsi, a nice boy would never throw garbage on the ground.” She’d then always add, “and when you meet someone you think might be the one, watch how he treats his mom, because that’s important. That’s very possibly how he will treat you. Does he put the cart back into the cart spot at the grocery store? Does he listen to what you have to say? Can you talk to him?” Those words of advice stuck with me, and when I found my husband, I was pleased to be able to say yes to every one on my mom’s list, plus so much more.
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So, my boys, though you won’t need this list for many, many years, here’s your mother’s two cents of what I hope you can remember when the girls are doing a bit more than chasing you on the playground.

How does she talk not only to, but also about her family? Does she speak of them kindly?

Does she have good spending habits? Is she wise with her money?

Does she have a healthy view of her body and appearance?

Does she listen?

Similar interests?

How does she treat the waiter/waitress? Is she kind to others?

Does she return the grocery cart to the appropriate spot?

For now I will just try to teach my boys and help them to develop good habits that will attract a kind, considerate, happy girl. I’ll do my very best to teach them that garbage always goes in the garbage can, carts should never be left anywhere but the appropriate “cart designated” spots, and people should always be treated with respect, especially women and girls. I’ll try to help them to be good listeners, that potty talk is incredibly unattractive, and to chew with their mouths closed. And for now, I’ll remind my sons to run as fast as they can and try not to let those girls catch them!

I'm afraid my boys will forever be in my mind as this...

I’m afraid my boys will forever be in my mind as this…

...and this...

…and this…

...and this. Just sweet, little boys. Always little. Maybe that's just the way a mom's mind works.

…and this. Just sweet, little boys. Always little. Maybe that’s just the way a mom’s mind works.

Moms of those sweet little girls, I promise to do my best at raising sons worthy of your daughters. Will you do the same? And 20 years from now we can both be thrilled that they have found each other.

Categories: Motherhood | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Black Eyes, ER Visits, and That Sweet Reminder of What Being a Mom is All About

I knew the day would eventually come. With three rambunctious, happy, crazy boys the rush to the emergency room was bound to happen sooner or later. I have to admit, having gone six years with only one or two visits to the doctor for anything other than well checkups, I was feeling like we’d done pretty well. But I suppose my bubble had to burst eventually, and Saturday happened to be that day.

We’d gone to visit my parents about three hours away. My husband was out of town camping for the week, so the boys and I woke up extra early to make the journey. We sang in the car, played 20 questions, listened to Hank the Cowdog on cd, and even slipped through “the big city in between” without a smidgen of traffic (amazing!!). Grandma’s house is a magical place of cookies, hideouts, lush gardens with as many grasshoppers as a little boy could dream of, rhubarb pie, swing set, playhouse, and… the TRAMPOLINE. Oh, the trampoline. That wonderful invention that can keep a little boy on top of cloud nine for hours. We talked about the trampoline for a good fifteen minutes of the drive and determined that as soon as hugs had been exchanged, THAT was what they were going to do.

Sure enough, upon reaching our destination, the boys leaped from the car doors and ran to give hugs, then holding true to their words, ran to the back yard with grandma and grandpa holding their little hands. The trampoline hadn’t been set up yet, so the guys got to work. In and out of the garage the boys and Grandpa went, each time carrying an armful of metal parts. N, our almost-two-year-old was in the thick of it when something caught his eye. A ladder. If you know our youngest son even a little, you know he’s a climber. If there’s ever anything to scale, he’s there. The boys came out with the next handful. All the boys, except N. Suddenly we heard a crash and a scream. I raced in to find our little one lying on the ground under the ladder. My heart hit the pit of my stomach as I lifted his tiny frame into my arms. His eye instantly swelled up as he shook with sobs. In my six years as a mother we’ve had many falls, even more bumps, and innumerable bruises. This one topped them all. With my husband far away in the woods and unable to talk sense into me, my mother and I buckled poor N into his seat and we climbed back into the car.

The emergency room was empty, but for reasons only known to emergency staff, we sat for at least an hour waiting. My son curled up into me and stared around the room dazed. Every few minutes a whimper would escape his mouth and he’d clutch me even harder. I replayed the moment over and over in my mind and felt smaller and smaller. I knew who wouldn’t be getting mother of the year award this week!

Half the day later we were in the car once more headed home with a slip of paper telling us how much Tylenol to administer to a 20 pound toddler. Yep. That was it. “Well,” the doctor sighed after taking a two second look at his face. ” He’ll certainly have a shiner!” (My husband will probably shudder when he sees the bill and hears what it paid for) But he was going to be fine. Thank goodness. Just an amazing black eye to sport for a few weeks.

image.

Much of the rest of the day I spent holding my baby,cuddling him, rocking him, and letting him sleep while his brothers jumped on the trampoline. He needed his mom, and I didn’t want to be anywhere else but there in Grandma’s back yard loving him. Over and over in my mind I could hear a song my older boys have been learning this year at church.

1. Our Father has a family. It’s me!
It’s you, all others too: we are His children.
He sent each one of us to earth, through birth,
To live and learn here in fam’lies.

Skipping to the third verse…

3. A mother’s purpose is to care, prepare,
To nurture and to strengthen all her children.
She teaches children to obey, to pray,
To love and serve in the fam’ly.

[Chorus]
God gave us families to help us become what He wants us to be—
This is how He shares His love, for the fam’ly is of God.

Right then the responsibility to care for that little boy weighed heavily on my mind. To nurture him, to strengthen him while he was in pain. Then, when he was feeling back to his normal, crazy self, to reinforce and teach AGAIN the dangers of climbing without mom there to catch him!!

That day I held in my arms a precious child who needed his mother. How thankful I am for that charge: to care, prepare, nurture, strengthen, and teach my children. How thankful I am for families. For my husband who is usually around to talk sense into me before I rush to the hospital for every little fall. For boys who love to jump and run and play, who get more bruises than I’ve ever gotten in my lifetime, and who teach ME more than I often feel I could ever teach them. And most especially for a loving Heavenly Father who answers my prayers for peace of mind and a calm assurance on the way to the hospital and has given me these three little monkeys to pull my hair out over.
image
image
Until N’s black eye returns to normal, I’ll have a shiny visual reminder of my responsibility as a mom. I’ll have many days to learn what it’s like to be judged by your child’s appearance from passers by, and I’ll have that humbling experience in the forefront of my mind. And I’m sure my three will have more bumps, bruises, and scrapes, and I’ll have that reminder time and time again.

Photo curtesy of Katie Jane Photos (except this is a picture of the picture, so the original is way better! I was just being lazy).  katiejanephotos.blogspot.com

Photo curtesy of Katie Jane Photos (except this is a picture of the picture, so the original is way better! I was just being lazy).
katiejanephotos.blogspot.com

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

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