When your daily activities are in concert with your highest priorities, you have a credible claim to inner peace. – Hyrum Smith



Today was Parker's 3rd birthday. Third birthday! How did that happen? Where is the screaming infant I brought home from the hospital, the drooling, smiley baby staring at me from the Bumbo seat, the speed-crawler, the stair-master, the grinning, wobbly tot pushing a walker, the toddler?

Who is this big boy in his bed? With the long feet and skinny legs? Who is this little person talking to me in run-on sentences about the galaxy and Neptune and shooting me with pretend lasers?

I snuggled up in bed with him tonight. "Happy birthday," I whispered. I was glad it was dark so he couldn't see the tears streaming down my face. I stroked his cheeks and kissed his soft little forehead. I listened to him prattle on and on about Buzz Lightyear, wondering how much longer this will last, dreading the day when he will turn to me with an exasperated, "Mo-om!" and push my hands away.

Well, at least that's not tonight. And tonight I thank God above for my wonderful little man, my big baby boy, who still lets me kiss his sweet face.



Parker has a lot of stuff. He is very blessed to have generous friends and family. Our toy room is quite full. I have tried hard to instill in him a sense of gratitude. I have told him [true] stories of children I've known who have never received new toys or who have never had any toys at all. Blame the social worker in me, but I think he needs to understand just how good he's got it!

Tonight we were discussing his upcoming birthday party. I asked him if he thinks he will get lots of toys.
He replied, "Yeah! And then I will give some of them to the kiddos who have none toys, and they can keep them forevuh!"

I got a little misty. I said, "Well, Bud, how about we go through your old toys, and you can pick out a few to give away?"

He paused. "Okay, but not my light-up sword or the tool belt Grammy gave me."

Me: Okay...

Parker: We could give them this [pointing to a plastic bowl].

Me: No, I think a toy would be better.

Parker: We could give them this [smiling devilishly and pointing to a half-eaten animal cracker].

Me: [losing that warm, fuzzy feeling] That's not a toy.

Parker: Sure it is! See! Doo-to-doo-to-doo! [picking it up and dancing it around the table].

I suppose the moment of generosity had passed. Sweet while it lasted!


One of THOSE people

Motherhood is humbling. Period. You realize all those times you judged others are now reversed. All eyes are on you now. You are the mom who can't control her kid in the store, the family no one wants to sit next to on the airplane because your kids started wailing before the boarding process began, the parent of the child with the dirty [actually just chocolate, but looks like dirt, and if it is chocolate, shame on you anyway for giving candy to a toddler before 11am] face at church. You have become "one of those people."

Up until about the age 2, Parker detested his car seat. Strapping him in was equivalent to an Olympic event. I would have to wrestle him into the seat, pin him with my elbow, avoid his flailing, pinching, scratching hands, tug his arms through the straps, and fasten the buckles. I sigh now just thinking of it. I would close his door, sink into my seat, and exhale. Then I would gear up for the car ride home, during which he would scream incessantly. It was absolutely exhausting to go anywhere.

My very good friend Danielle came to visit us in Seattle and had to endure several such rides. One day we went to the grocery. We finished our shopping and loaded the van. After securing Parker into his seat, I shoved the cart onto the nearest curb, slumped into my own seat and started the van.

Danielle was a little taken aback..."Jess, aren't you going to put the cart back?"

Me: [Head resting on the steering wheel] No way. Just get in. Let's go.

D: But...I can't believe you just leave it there. I always put the cart back. I'm feeling a little bad.

Me: I used to, too...before Parker. Now I have him, and I understand why there are carts all over the parking lot. It's okay. [Ear-piercing screams emitting from a tiny mouth directly behind me.] Can we just go?

D: Um...okay.

I realized that in that moment, I had become "one of those people" in her eyes. The inconsiderate-too-lazy-to-return-the-cart-driving-up-the-cost-of-groceries-lady. Oh well.

Now, I smile when I see carts all over the parking lot. I am not judging those who left them there. I actually feel some pity for their plight (whatever it may be). Things haven't changed much in our van. Though Parker climbs into his seat and waits patiently to be buckled, a new contender has entered the ring. Maddie has yet to win a match, but I have several scars [scratches] to prove she is a worthy opponent. My approach has changed a bit. I utilize the same technique to strap her in, but these days, I am putting the cart back.

See, once she is in the van, I don't torture myself by listening to her cries. I simply slide the door shut. I smile as I hear the gentle click of the lock and then walk slowly to the cart corral. Ahhh. What was once a deafening shriek becomes a dull roar, then depending on the distance to the corral, silence. I lift my face to the sun and drink it in.

Perhaps I have become another "one of those people." The lock-your-screaming-kids-in-the-car-and-walk-away-lady. *Sigh* At least I'm putting my cart back. :)


Holy Ghost!

So some time back Parker got spooked. A little girl in our Seattle neighborhood pointed to the woods near our house and said she thought she saw a ghost. He quickly developed a fear of ghosts and woods, both of which we have worked hard to discourage. I have told him there are no such things as ghosts, except for the Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit. I explained that He is with us all the time to help us and protect us...a good ghost.
I think it's sinking in.

When I woke him from his nap yesterday he sat straight up, his eyes wildly searching the room. Relieved, he sighed and fell back onto his pillow.

Me: What is it honey? Are you okay?
Parker: Yeah. I thought there were ghost-ez in here, but there wasn't...only the Holy Ghost, who speaks quiet and peaceful, like this (unintelligible whispers).
Me: Does He talk to you?
Parker: Yeah, Him and Jesus and God.
Me: When?
Parker: When I'm in my room alone and I get sad and scared when you aren't here.

Very sweet, but also kind of spooky. Wish I could be a bug on a wall!


Disgusting Discovery

If you recall, Maddie has an affinity for dipping the aptly named Stinky Bear into the toilet. Sad to say, this gross ritual continues. Given how frequently he is washed, I'd made peace with this previously disturbing situation...until today.

Why do kids do the things that they do? This is a rhetorical question. There are many things my children do, and for the life of me I can't figure out why. For the most part, I don't even care why anymore. So long as the behavior isn't dangerous, I just shrug and let them be.

However, it is time I take a stand. Stinky Bear is going to have a major overhaul, involving lots of bleach, and just when I think I'm done with him, I think I'll bleach him again.

See, today I caught a glimpse of Maddie's motivation for the potty-dunking. We were outside, and Parker and Maddie were splashing happily in the kiddie pool. Then Maddie got out, retrieved Stinky Bear from the steps, and dipped him in the water. No big deal. Maybe a little pee in there, but certainly no worse than the toilet, right? Then it happened....

She sucked him. Sucked the water right out of him. AAAAUUUUGGGGHHHHH!!!! Gross! Gross! Gross! That must be what she's been doing all along!!!! I almost threw up when the revelation hit me. If she were able to sleep without him, he'd be toast. Unfortunately, he irreplaceable. Guess he'll just be few shades lighter when she sees him next.

Attack of Buzz Lightyear

So during the move, let's just say I was a little less stringent about TV restrictions. Parker was plugged in...a lot. He discovered Toy Story. He has become Toy Story.

"Mom, can you be Woody and I be Buzz Whiteyear?" No kidding, I get this request at least 10 times a day.

"BZZZZZ! I am shooting you with my wazer!" He pushes a non-existant button on his forarm and aims it at whatever happens to cross his path.

"Wook! I can fwy!" Pressing an imaginary button on his chest, arms shooting out to his sides, running in frantic circles around the room.

My personal favorite: "To infibity um peon!" (To infinity and beyond.)