Tag Archives: parenting

ALWAYS lock the fridge

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Why am I posting a picture of a bottle of mustard? Just hang in there with me for a minute.

A few nights ago, I was needing to make an important, work-related, phone call, and Steven wasn’t there to be on kid duty. I did the normal mommy things: got the boys snacks and drinks, lectured on the importance of being quiet, reminded them I would be down the hall, turned on their favorite cartoon, and quietly slipped into my bedroom. I forgot something on my list though. Something VERY important. About halfway through this phone call, I needed to return to the kitchen to get something, though I’ve now forgotten what. I was definitely not prepared for what I found. That little mustard bottle? It was in the hands of my 2 year old. The contents of that bottle were all over my kitchen and dining area, and laundry room.  I had forgotten to lock the refrigerator! The floor, the table, the chairs, the oven, the cabinets, the dirty clothes, the washing machine, both my sons…oh, and the couch, the carpet, two tote bags, a library book, and the dog – all decorated with spots, splashes, smears and puddles of yellow mustard. What’s a mom to do? I’m not even sure what I should have done. I couldn’t even give him a stern look though. I laughed. I told the woman on the other end of the phone what was going on. Thankfully she laughed with me. I then cleaned it up as I finished the conversation. Ah, you’ve never fully multitasked until you’ve undressed two little boys covered in mustard, cleaned up a ginormous mess, and carried on a business phone call at the same time!

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“Being patient is waiting happy.”

I have always considered myself to be a rather patient person. Slow traffic doesn’t bother me; i don’t get upset about waiting in line at the grocery store; it doesn’t bother me to be stuck behind a tractor on the highway. Waiting is something we all have to do, so why get upset about it? My 2 year-old on the other hand, doesn’t yet understand this concept, and it can make me a little crazy. When he wants a cup of juice, he wants me to drop what I’m doing (even if it’s making him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich) and get the juice. He stands next to the sink in the kitchen, asking me 20 times in 30 seconds for apple juice.  He only stops when he sees me getting a cup out of the cabinet and pulling the juice from the refrigerator. No matter how many times I say, “I’m working on it,” or “Yes, just give Mommy a second,” he doesn’t believe me until he sees me doing it.

Last Sunday the pastor of our church gave a sermon on Genesis 16 and 17. God made a promise to Abram, but after waiting a while, he decided he better work on it himself. From that came the birth of Ishmael. In Genesis 17 God reassured Abram that he had not forgotten his promise, but God didn’t need Abram’s assistance in fulfilling it. The covenant would be fulfilled through Isaac, the son of God’s plan, not Ishmael, the son of Abram’s plan. Until God laid it out in front of him, step by step, he didn’t believe him.

Much like my 2 year-old.

And myself.

You see, I may be patient with everyday inconveniences, but the big stuff? Well, I’m realizing lately that’s a different story. On and off, for years now, I have prayed a similar prayer over and over, and over. I cringe to think that over the last 2 years I have sounded like my own 2 year-old to God. It makes me so very thankful for 1 Corinthians 13:4, “Love is patient…” I’m glad He can (and does) overlook my whining! He understands that while I hear Him saying, “I’ve got this. I said yes, now let me work on it,” just like Abram, and my son, I have a hard time believing it until I see the details laid out before me.

Now I have changed my prayer. There is no need for me to continue asking God for something He has promised me. Instead, I will thank God for His promise. I will pray that the details will all be worked out and that I will have the patience, wisdom, strength, and words to help my family deal with the waiting also.

This morning I decided to start Beth Moore’s Esther study again. I have done this study once before, but it has been on my mind for a week now, so I figured I better listen and go get it off the shelf. Sure enough, there in black and white, on page 14,”When we trust our lives to the hand and pen of an unseen but ever-present God, He will write our lives into His story and every last one of them will turn out to be a great read. With a grand ending. And not just in spite of those catastrophes. Often because of them.”

Patience isn’t just a matter of waiting. It’s remember God’s promises to us and waiting for His answer. His plans and timing are perfect, even if we can’t see all the details. Trust in Him. A good friend recently told me that she explains patience to her 3 year old daughter by saying, “Being patient is waiting happy.” I think that’s a good definition for a 3 year-old and a 25 year-old.

“Wait for the Lord; Be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14

PS – As I was typing this my son finished his cup of milk and asked for a cup of juice. Twice. And took his diaper off. Twice. This is a lesson on patience in parenting too. 🙂

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Lincoln says….

Yesterday afternoon we took the boys to Harp’s to do some much needed grocery shopping. Our oldest apparently didn’t get a long enough nap and started whining as soon as we walked in the door. I told him that if he obeyed Mommy and Daddy, and walked with Daddy like a big boy (no running away!), he could have a sucker when we left. After several infractions, he lost out on his sucker opportunity and a package of Oreos he asked for. When we got to the car he remembered the sucker, and he asked about it on the way home. I told him he didn’t get a sucker because he didn’t listen to Mommy in the store. Poor little guy, he threw his hands up, gave a little exasperated sigh and said, “But I wisten to you aww day!”

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I’m a Mama of Wild Ones

I’m a mama of two Wild Ones. I’m proud of them.

A friend of mine just posted on Facebook a link to THIS article from Lysa TerKeurst.

Wow. She hit the nail on the head. If you are (or aren’t) a parent to wild ones, read it. I am so glad I did. Her description of her daughter’s antics at the mall, could have easily been a scene for my life. Oh wait, there was a very similar situation with my oldest son and a friend’s toilet… More than once I have left a playdate in tears, feeling like I must be doing something wrong. None of the other children act that way? What did their parents do differently? No one else has to chase their laughing toddler through the restaurant because he could open all the doors before the age of 2 and refuses to stay in the play area! The other kids aren’t more interested in exploring the whole house, instead of playing with the toys. No one else has to ask for a new high chair, one with a working seat belt… At times I’ve even been treated by other moms as if I must be doing something wrong. It’s not uncommon for strangers to give my children dirty looks, or give heavy sighs as we go by.

With having wild boys, I have realized that so many people don’t get it. They don’t see what I do, and they sure can’t see what lies ahead. They assume we are doing something wrong in our parenting methods, never considering that God made my boys the way they are for a reason. Both of my boys are curious, unafraid to tackle a new challenge on their own, and love to learn from experience. How do those people think adults become that way? They start out that way, as little wild ones. 🙂 They both have the biggest, sweetest hugs imaginable – hugs that aren’t just reserved for mommy but are also for friends, family members, pets, church leaders, babysitters, and each other. Sometimes I get more joy from seeing them hug someone else than when they hug me. I’m their mom. They are born with strings tying their hearts to mine. I meet their daily needs and kiss their boo-boos. They are choosing to love others with those hugs though. The Boy is a born leader – no question about that one 🙂 Brother is an encourager, both to his big brother’s antics and to his mommy every morning when I think it’s too early to get up, but he’s there smiling at me and jumping in his bed. His laughter is infectious. I have always said that I can’t wait to see what amazing things God has in store for my spirited boys. What on earth could require so much energy, fearlessness, creativity, and love? It must be something big. But sometimes it is hard to remember that when you are dealing with rude comments and stares from strangers and people you know, and you’re chasing two toddlers going in opposite directions.

Last week, an older gentleman paused as he approached me in the aisle of a local bookstore. My heart sank; I knew he was going to say something negative or give a big sigh, and I really didn’t have the time, energy, or emotional strength to deal with it that day. I was chasing my oldest toddler across the store, trying to keep him from emptying the shelves or running out the door, while my dad held my youngest toddler (upside down, by his legs) to keep him from emptying the shelves. All I wanted was to get one sheet of stickers and have 3 pieces of paper laminated. (That sounded a lot easier before we entered the the store, found out the lamination machine needed to be turned on and heated up, and one of my sons decided that was  great time for a dirty diaper.) That man didn’t sigh though. He smiled and said, “Don’t get upset. They will grow out of it. Don’t get upset, Mama.” I could have cried, and almost did.

You see,  just that morning I had attempted to take the boys to the park for a picnic and some playtime before running a couple of errands. My husband had been out of town for most of the week for work, and had left that morning to take some fence posts to my grandma’s farm. I couldn’t put the errands off anymore, and the weather was nice for the first time in weeks. We made our way to the park, but after feeding Brother and eating my own lunch, The Boy was still screaming hysterically because I was cruelly making him sit with me instead of running off to play by himself without eating his lunch. While so many little ones want to drag mommy and daddy to the playground, he would gladly take off on his own adventure. Lots of people just ignored him, but a few people were not so kind. I heard more than one rude comment and saw lots of stares. Sometimes I feel like a ticking time bomb; I’m waiting to kick a stranger in the shins and scream, “I’m sorry you had perfect little girls that were too afraid of upsetting someone to be disobedient or a little boy who was too much of a mamas boy to leave your side for 5 minutes until he was 25! That’s not my kid! Deal with it!”  Then God sends that one person to give me an encouraging word or a helping hand, and reminds me that someday I will be that compassionate lady in the grocery store, mixing a bottle for the stressed out mama with two crying babies, unaware that it’s the first time she’s left the house alone with both of them, she hasn’t seen her husband in almost a week, she just had to juggle both of them to pee and change the newborn’s diaper in the dirty bathroom with no counter or changing table, and three other women walked by her without even giving an encouraging smile. (I would love to see that lady again, so I could give her a hug!) I also pray that on that day, my wild ones will be using their adventurous spirits and loving hearts for whatever God has planned for them.

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Lesson #1 Let them eat dog food.

Lately I’ve I’ve been thinking back over some of the parenting lessons I have learned over the last two years. Today I’ll share one of those.

Often parents remark about how you hover less as the number of children in your home increases.You realize the little things aren’t going to harm them and are able to let them be more independent, messy, dirty, loud, messy, adventurous, silly, and did I mention messy?

I was told many times before The Boy was a year old that I was, “extremely laid-back for a first time mom.” I always shrugged it off as being a result of my personality and my husband traveling so much. I also think it had a lot to do with me being exhausted though. Have you tried being 6 months pregnant and chasing a crawling baby across the house, only to have to hold that baby down and attempt to change his diaper while he, quite literally, stood on his head and left elbow to get away, kicking you the entire time? Yeah, it left little energy for dragging him down off whatever he was climbing on for the 100th time that day. It didn’t help matters that he was very coordinated from the beginning and didn’t fall when climbing. I knew he could do it, so why worry?

There was one thing I was constantly battling though. The Boy’s obsession with eating things drove me crazy! Baby gates blocked every doorway and I put everything away – dog food was moved to my bedroom and crayons were in a drawer and hardly used. No joke, he ate finger paints until he was 2. (Rarely was painting done in our house until recently. )

Then Brother came along! If I was “extremely laid-back” about things with my first son, I probably really scare other moms with my second son!

Lesson #1 (It wasn’t the first thing I learned, but for writing purposes that’s what we will call it.)
Let them eat dog food.

Now, before anyone panics and calls Child Protective Services, I’m not recommending you feed your children pet food. Definitely not. However, there are only so many hoops you can jump through, and so many places you can hide stuff. Millions of kids have grabbed a handful of Kibbles or a dog biscuit and crammed it in their mouth before mom or dad could get it away from them. I did it, and I’m betting you did it if you grew up with pets in your home.

Thankfully, Brother has not shared in The Boy’s habit of eating everything. He does, however, show the same love for dog food that his older brother did. Today was no different. The dogs had left a few pieces in one of the bowls in the kitchen, and I didn’t realize it until I was halfway between the refrigerator and the counter, arms loaded with leftovers I was getting out for lunch, and little brother was 2 feet from the bowl. I started toward him, immediately realizing it was pointless. “Have at it son. If you think it’s that tasty…”

It was not just about dog food though. It wasn’t even about realizing it was not necessary to drop everything, trip over the open dishwasher, and accidentally kick the dog just to pry open his mouth to dig out dog food, crayons, dirt, or any other non-food item I knew to be non-toxic that he could safely chew.
It was about that word I posted about yesterday. Joy. Today, like so many other times, keeping the boys out of the dog food, paint, or whatever mess it might have been, was not about protecting them. As usual, it was something that I know isn’t actually harmful. I just didn’t want to deal with a big mess or having to clean a dirty face and hands again. Was it really worth the fight of trying to pull the dog food out of his hands, making him furious, and probably causing me to spill our food everywhere? I decided it wasn’t. A little extra mess would be okay. If only I can remember that more often! If they want to get muddy and dirty outside, that has always been fine and dandy with me, but inside…oh inside the house is a different story. Well, where’s the joy in that for a little boy? Next week I’m planning at least two messy activities. (There. It’s in print, so I have to do it now.)

I went on with making lunch, and Brother happily helped himself to the last few pieces of dog food. Oh well, someday he will realize it tastes disgusting. Until then, I guess I won’t have to worry about him not liking anything I cook!

Isn’t it amazing how children teach us things through the smallest everyday events?

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iPhones for 3 year olds?

I recently came across an interesting article on The Apple Blog. The post can be found HERE. In the post, the author writes about finding an old iPhone, loading it with videos and kid-friendly apps and giving it to his 3-year old. I’d like to share my thoughts on this.

Honestly, I’m just not a fan of the idea. While I love technology and am a huge Apple fan, there just seems to be something wrong with giving a 3 year old what amounts to a palm-sized video gaming system to call their very own. I see nothing wrong with teaching small children about technology and allowing them to enjoy a game on a parent’s phone or an older siblings Nintendo DS, but I also feel it is a parent’s duty to teach their children to use technology responsibly. I’ll admit it. I’m a Facebook/Internet/iPhone junkie and owning my own photography business requires a lot of time to be spent with my laptop. My husband loves video games. However, we agreed long ago that boundaries must be set for children and adults alike. When my husband is home on the weekends, I limit the work I do on the computer. Most of the time I spend in front of the computer is when our son is napping. My husband plays his video games while he is away from home traveling for work and during the evening or early morning hours when I am sleeping. We have no intention of buying phones for our children before it is necessary (It is not necessary in elementary school.), and we will have rules for time spent on the computer/tv/video games. In fact, we don’t even have cable or satellite television. Our televisions pick up 7 channels – the local ABC network affiliate, one 24-hr. weather channel, one blank channel that content hasn’t been chosen for yet, and 4 PBS channels featuring different programming. And while we will probably eventually invest in a satellite dish service, for the time being we won’t have to worry about the kids arguing over who has the remote. I think we need to get back to teaching our children ourselves and stop expecting technology and everyone else to do the job for us. When your three year old asks for their own iPhone every morning when they awaken and can hardly be disengaged from it for conversation on a daily basis, you need to reevaluate the situation and set a few boundaries.

I once heard a parent say, “Well, when I’m home with the kids, I just turn on Sesame Street and let them watch that. That way they are learning stuff.” Really? While television in small doses can be a nice treat for the kids and give parents a much-needed break, it shouldn’t be a long-term babysitter. I feel this is how many parents now use not only television but also iPhones, iPod Touches, and Nintendo DS. How did this generation of parents become so passive and uninvolved? I can’t imagine what it will be like for the current generation of toddlers when they are adults. Many of them won’t have memories of finger painting with Mom or playing with Play-doh with Dad. They probably won’t even remember the hours they spent sprawled in the floor with their noses stuck to a Nintendo DS or iPhone.

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