Tag Archives: raising children

How can anyone hold THIS all together?

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A while ago I got an email from a friend of mine in Montana who wondered if I needed more ammo for my “Gross Mommy Stories”.   She sent me this tale of her own personal version of the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day.  Seriously, under these conditions how could any mother be expected to hold it all together.  Don’t even mention being “Christ-like”  I’m sure Christ never had to clean up so many bodily fluids in one day.  So here’s Noelle’s family scene:

Gizelle got up fairly early this morning.  Mark just let her go out and watch some TV, but didn’t change her diaper.  When I got up almost 2 hourrs later, I found her in Addie’s room, and she was starting to take off her jammies.  She was taking them off because she had just peed through everything and it must’ve felt quite uncomfortable.  I couldn’t believe the puddle of urine on Addie’s carpet! Ugh!  (she’s been on an antibiotic for 10 days, so it smells SUPER gross!)  So, I got out the vinegar, towels, etc and spent quite a while cleaning carpet.

Next I watch Addie walk right into Gizelle’s cashew’s which are nicely placed on the floor in the middle of footpath (I just vacuumed, and washed that floor last night).  Sigh.

shoes2Then I took the kids on a long walk/ride/run.  Almost 2 hrs later,  we are finally on our street, when Ezekiel announces he has to use the restroom. Super, we’re almost home, so I tell him to go on ahead and use the restroom.  I dilly-dally and talk to our neighbors, then walk on home.  When I get home he’s outside playing, but he suddenly runs inside FAST.  A few minutes I go inside and see him in his room putting on different shorts.  Didn’t think much of it, because he loves to change into his swimsuit any chance he gets.  Then I go into the bathroom and see the pile of wet shorts, underwear and a HUGE puddle in the corner of the floor! I have no clue how he had that much in his bladder!!  Of course, I had also just scrubbed the bathrooms and the floors on my hands and knees last night as well.  Why didn’t he go straight home and nicely use the restroom!  I asked him about said mess and he said “I peed UP and it did that”… hmmm?  What does THAT mean?  (Please don’t laugh at that last comment, because he doesn’t deserve any mercy yet).

Next I take a quick shower because I want to go to Garden of Readin for a book signing for Janice Thompson.  It ends at 2pm, and it’s 12:54 when I get in the shower, so time to CRUISE!  I get out, get dressed and then work on getting everyone clothed.  I tell everyone to get in the car and get seat belts on.  Then notice Gizelle has a yucky, full diaper.  So I put her on the toilet and run to get her clothes.  I’m ready to go with only a few minutes to spare.  When I go out, I see that nobody is in the car with their seatbelts on.  

bubble-catcher_lCaleb’s driving the JEEP around and I tell him to stop now please.  He continues driving, so I tell him louder to “stop please!” Still ignores me, so I go tell him to go into him room.  I give him a swat for both disobedience with not getting in the car and not stopping the JEEP.  He’s already been disciplined today because he was being so unkind all day!  He stomps off and shoves his hand at the door in a huff,  Well, his height is a bit “wrong” for that screen door because when he pushed his hand hard into the door, his hand went right threw the glass!!!! He just broke our front door!  The door popped back at him since his hand went threw it and hit him on the face.  He got a little bloody nose!  So he was really crying hard (mostly scared about all the shattered glass around him)  No cuts on his hands or anything.  

In the end, I took all 4 kids with me because Mark needed to do some chain-sawing and thought it best to NOT be supervising kids while doing that.  With the way our day was going, I thought this was a VERY good idea.

spilt-tea-1_lSo, we made it to the book signing, then I took the kids to Safeway because we still have some Starbucks cards from Easter.  I thought it’d be fun to have a little drink and get a couple sandwiches for the kids to share since nobody really had lunch yet.  We get our drinks, then grab some sandwiches from the deli.  I tell them they can choose a box of fruit snacks.  So as we’re heading that way, Caleb drops his whole hot chocolate!! What a mess! Then Zekers promptly drops his cup into the mess too!  As I bend down to get his cup, my keys fly out of my purse into the puddle as well.  UGH!  So we humbly apologize to the nice lady who comes to clean up the mess, choose some fruit snacks, the go to the check-out.  Where AGAIN Ezekiel drops his hot chocolate.  He’s always quick to say “I didn’t spill ALL of it though!” (no he has a little more he can save to spill in the car)  I told the lady at check-out that I’ll try to hurry up and get us out of the store as fast as possible!

Addie had her own money with her, so I let her buy herself a little treat at Safeway.  When we get home, she was in the new room on the new rug.  She started jumping up and down on a dance-mat-type of thing, and proceeded to spill all the powder-sugar stuff from her candy on the new rug!  It sure smelled sweet in there!  So, I got to take out my lovely vacuum and clean up all the glass in the front entry and all Addie’s powdered sugar stuff in the rug.  

Just before dinner, I asked Addie to take all the toys off the dinner table.  She kept the book she was reading in her hand and tried to lift the huge pile of toys off the table.  It landed on her foot.  I hate it that I had so little empathy for that when she didn’t decide to put her book down first!  She was crying so hard and looking at me like “don’t you CARE!?!?”  ummm… I wish you would’ve put down your book first…

This is just the list of spills and drops today- there were so many more whines, disobediences, fights, and frustrating moments that I couldn’t even begin to write down… and thankfully I’ve mostly forgotten all of them already now that everyone’s in bed, clean after baths, and sleeping peacefully and sweetly. 

It feels so hard and exhausting trying to keep up and provide a comfortable, clean environment for our kids- not to mention a peaceful and happy home as well.  Wow, do I ever need the Lord’s grace and peace daily.  He’s so good and patient with me.  I never thought I’d have to ask forgiveness so much!  

Aren’t we so much like our own children in the house of God the Father?  We make messes, break things, disobey, bicker, whine, and basically act like… children.  Yet our Father God has infinite patience and forgiveness for our childish ways.  We love you Lord and thank you for your Grace.

 Photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/rayani/2672808893/”>Rayani Melo</a> / <a href=”http://foter.com”>Foter.com</a&gt; / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>CC BY-NC-ND</a>

Photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/kubina/185188456/”>Jeff Kubina</a> / <a href=”http://foter.com”>Foter.com</a&gt; / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>CC BY-SA</a>

Photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/carowallis1/303633288/”>Caro Wallis</a> / <a href=”http://foter.com/Food/”>Foter.com</a&gt; / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>CC BY-NC-ND</a>

Honorary Auntie

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Missionary families often say that the hardest part of our job is being far away from family.  Especially when you have a close and loving extended family, you miss them a lot.  When we were preparing to become missionaries, the “experienced ones” all told us that the other missionaries on your field become like the aunties and uncles and grandmas and grandpas for your children.  I was offended by this idea.  My kids already HAVE aunties and uncles and grandparents.  I didn’t want them forgetting their real family, and I didn’t want them replacing those roles in their hearts.  And I wasn’t really keen on the idea of someone else’s kids calling me Auntie.  I wasn’t impressed with this substitute idea of family.

But time has passed and my attitude has softened.  My kids have NOT forgotten their real family and thanks to Skype and Face Time, we can talk to them face to face whenever we want to!  They know who their real family is and they love them like no other.  But it can get kind of lonely and sad out here.  There are no relatives to babysit for you when you need a date with your spouse.  There are no proud grandparents taking pictures at your school plays or sporting events.  And don’t even get me started on all the birthday parties that my family has missed and we have missed in our turn!

So here is where the missionary family comes in handy.  We KNOW we aren’t really related, but we ACT like we are.  I have taken care of children who are not mine– overnight, while their parents were out of the country.  I have pulled loose teeth, tucked them into bed, bandaged owies, and packed school lunches for kids who are not mine.  I have driven kids to school, picked them up again and taken them to youth group.  I have watched school plays and cheered at sports games.  I’ve taken kids to the movies and McDonalds and go carts.  I’ve attended every birthday party we’ve been invited to.  I’ve earned my Auntie status in a million ways.

It in no way diminishes my love and connection to my real family, but we all need a “Jesus with skin on” so to speak.  We all need the Village to raise a child (we just hope and pray that our village isn’t full of idiots!).  And we try to be that kind of community for others that we are missing ourselves.  It’s about living in harmony with people that you don’t get to choose… just like a family.

Doing the Birthday Party Rounds!

Doing the Birthday Party Rounds!

Hey! Who rescheduled my play-date?

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My friends in Latin America actually think it’s weird that American kids move out of their parents’ house before they get married.  Their idea of family is that multiple generation can live together for the benefit of all.  From the looks of things, it appears that America is swinging towards the Latin way of doing family, which might not be all bad- just different than what we’re used to.

It was just a few years ago that my sister, who works at a university, first used the term “helicopter parents” in a conversation with me.  I had never heard that before so she explained to me that it is the term used to describe parents who hover over their kids and get too involved in the details of their adult kids’ lives.  This generation of kids (Gen-Y) think nothing of having mom talk to their college academic advisor, or their boss at work, or their room mates.  These kids are so dependent on their parents that often times they return to the nest after they’ve vacated it.  When this happens, the adult kids are called “Boomerang Kids.”

We’re way beyond soccer moms and the loud mouth Dad at the Little League game.  This has become a national trend- a cultural shift.  According to this article, 3 out of 10 adults between the ages of 24 and 35 now live with their parents.  Which translates into about one third of all American men in this age bracket still living with their parents.  That’s a lot of Mama’s Boys.

When I was growing up we didn’t have the same terminology for this phenomenon.  We used words like “spoiled,” “babied,” or if we were feeling generous “pampered” when speaking of kids who failed to cut the apron strings.  So when I met my future husband and he still lived at home I didn’t realize that he was just ahead of his time.  I decided that we’d have to practice stretching those wings before we tried to fly together.  I insisted that he move into the dorms for at least a year before we got married.  It was a wonderful and worthwhile experience for him.  Along with moving out, I made him get a checking account, learn to iron his own shirts (which he now refuses to do), learn to make some basic meals and generally clean up after himself.  It was a year of training well spent, in my opinion.

With these kinds of independence issues in mind, our son is turning 16 soon.  We plan to send him back to Minnesota this summer to get his driver’s license and his first job.  This plan sounds crazy to our Latino friends, but I want to do everything I can do- outside of being a helicopter parent- to ensure that when my kid goes off to college in a few years that he has already flexed those wings and he’s ready to fly.  We are all a bundle of excitement and nervousness at this prospective adventure for Taylor.  Let’s keep our fingers crossed that the flying lessons go well for the boy.

My Son, Spiderman.  Boy, you need to get INSIDE the car to learn how to drive.

My Son, Spiderman. Boy, you need to get INSIDE the car to learn how to drive.