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


10/28/10

Foolish Pride

That is what stings right now - my pride.

See, I am "room mom" at my son's preschool. I'm in charge of coordinating volunteers and making sure parties go smoothly. Walking into the school at 10:15 AM, armed with streamers, balloons, and cupcakes, and candies, I had spectacular visions of his preschool Halloween party...Happy, cooperative children, appreciative smiles from the teachers, Parker running to me with open arms [hey, it happens sometimes when I pick him up from the gym] to thank me for the amazing party.

Fast forward 2.5 hours...Ignoring the confused stares of teachers and parents in charge of darling, smiling children, I gracefully muscle my way out the door of the school, lugging a 35lb heap of crying, snotty boy and a bag filled with extra napkins, icing, crafts, etc.

Thank goodness my mom was home with Maddie. I fixed lunch for mom and the kids and retreated to the office for a good cry, prayer, and reflection. I came out laughing at myself and my own foolish pride. That's really what the problem was.

It wasn't so much that the kids weren't that into our crafts and games, or that we waited so long to give them the cupcakes they were ravenous little beasts with no interest in decorating them, or that trying to move them from one activity to the next was like trying to herd cats...no, those weren't the real issues.

I realized I was in trouble the minute Parker saw me and wanted to pick him up, to let him hang on my knees as I tried to move around the room, to sit with him, to do his craft for him, to whine incessantly. I was embarrassed. Then his teachers said the most awful thing. I have heard it before from more caregivers than I care to count - grandparents, gym workers, church nursery staff. "He never acts that way here!"

My hackles raised and stayed up for the rest of the party. Why would someone say that, I asked myself. My inner child [brat] wanted to scream at them: "Congratulations! You must have magic powers! I'm sooo glad he's such an angel for you! Maybe you could teach me some of your voodoo, and I wouldn't be such an incompetent parent."

Later, after some reflection, I have come to some different conclusions about their motivations for sharing this information. Perhaps they were just trying to assure me that he's well-behaved at school. That's nice. I am sure they weren't trying to insult my parenting skills. I realize I was hypersensitive.

However, for all of you caregivers out there. Please don't say that to parents. Ever. It really doesn't help.

10/27/10

Insanity

Do you know what insanity is? It's when you do the same thing over and over and expect different results.

My children haven't quite grasped this concept. Here is a snippet of a conversation that occurs (in some variation) every day of the week in our van.

Maddie: Dyno-saw, mommy. [turn on the dinosaur song]
Parker: Maddie, look at me! [begins swaying in his seat with a gleam in his eye]
Maddie: No Bubba dance! [in her own little world, Maddie is the only person allowed to dance]
Mommy: Maddie, everyone can dance.
Maddie: Noooo! Go way, Bubba! [go away, Parker]
Parker: Maddie, I can't go away. See? I'm buckled in!
(pause)
Maddie: Hippopahmuth, mommy. [turn on the hippopotamus song]

Repeat sequence above.
Every. Single. Day.
Fun.

10/21/10

Forgiveness

Thanks to an idea from one of my Bible study leaders from Seattle (Marianne), I am able to get a daily dose of God's word from an unlikely source: my kids.

Marianne is one of the wisest women I have ever encountered. She offers sage advice about child-rearing, marriage, and life in general. One of her suggestions was to teach my children one Bible verse per month. When reviewed at mealtimes, even small children can have 12 verses memorized in a year. Given the fact that I struggle with my own "memory verses," this idea sounded fantastic.

Parker's memory verse this month is Luke 6:37 "Forgive and you will be forgiven." The actual verse is longer than that sentence, but I thought that portion was sufficient for a 3 year old. Hearing it repeated 3 times a day is truly good for the soul.

I can be as angry as a hornet at lunch sometimes. The kids are hungry, tired, and fussy. They are hitting each other, arguing over who gets the yellow plate and blue fork, and complaining about the food presented. They are spilling milk, launching edamame, and wiping mac-n-cheese fingers on the backs of their chairs. I take a deep breath and ask, "Now what is our verse this month?...Luke..."

A tiny voice chimes in, "No wait, mommy! I can do it! Wuke six firty seven: Foe-give and you wiw be foe-given!"

Each time, it's like God's speaking directly to my heart. Kids and forgiveness go hand in hand; they have to. If I stayed angry at my kids for every minor offense (or even major one), I'd be miserable all day, every day. The fact that they are my offspring, and I love them so much I would jump in front of a train for them, also probably helps the forgiveness process along. They're not being malicious (most of the time) when they hurt my feelings or make me angry. As Parker so often explains, "Mo-om, we wuh juss playin'!" Generally, it's pretty easy to forgive them.

It's other people in my life that are tough to forgive. I won't name names. We all have people whom we need to forgive. Why not do it now? I'll admit, Parker's advice isn't always that great (especially when it comes to appropriate places to put boogers), but today it's truly inspired: "Forgive and you will be forgiven!"

10/17/10

My Girl

Maddie's language is exploding these days. She says some of the funniest things! Perhaps it's not what she says that'so funny; it's that tiny, lisping voice that parrots absolutely everything she hears that makes me laugh. I just love listening to her speak...or try to.

Juice is joosh.
Wash is watch.
Elephant is eh-fent.
Soap is taupe.
Spider is cider.
Sometimes she sounds so grown-up when she strings her words together.

When we are driving in the car, she often says, "Daddy, ton it up, pwease." (turn up the radio)
When she is attacking me (play-fight), she says, "Take that, Mommy!" (a direct quote from her brother)
When she is getting dressed, getting into the car, brushing her teeth, you name it, she will quickly turn away from an offer of help and say, "No! Maddie do it!"

The other day I came home from an outing, to find Aaron asleep on the couch and Maddie shrieking, "Dadda! Dadda!" from her crib upstairs. I ran up the steps and burst into her room. There she stood in only a tee-shirt, holding a diaper toward me.
"What happened?" I asked, my eyes quickly scanning the crib for signs of a blow-out.
"Uh-oh. Maddie took it off! [pause] Oh dear. Oh dang it!" I laughed so loudly, I was afraid I would wake Parker from his nap. We giggled all the way downstairs.

My favorite thing she says (by far) is "Wuv oo, mommy." Are there any sweeter words?

10/10/10

Private Joke

Ever notice how a really good joke usually contains some small grain of truth? That's what makes it so funny. Well, I've heard people joking for years about how to clean off really filthy children: "Just hose 'em off!"
"Ha ha!" I would laugh politely, certain that no decent parent would subject their darling children to such treatment. Clearly this was just a harmless little joke...


However, today in the Rausch household, that joke became a reality.

Maddie has a sinus infection which we are treating with antibiotics. I had forgotten what that medicine will do to a little person's tummy. Sometimes they just can't make it to the potty. When I spotted Maddie in the driveway sans pants prancing in a puddle of, well, you can guess, I freaked out.

"Uh-oh," she murmured, calmly wiping her toes off with her fingers, then wiping her fingers on her shirt. (Ughhh!)

"Don't move!" I bellowed, as I ran for the hose. If our neighbors weren't looking before, they certainly were now. "Stand back!" I shouted at the kids. Adjusting the nozzle to "obliterate", I scoured all evidence of the mess off the driveway. Holstering my weap - er, nozzle, I turned my attention toward Maddie. I plastered a smile on my face and attempted to mask the undoubtedly hysterical edge in my voice, as I beckoned her toward the hose.

Thank goodness she came. We were already a sight to behold. I can only imagine the CPS calls if I had wrestled her to the concrete or chased her around the yard dousing her with water.

As she assumed the position, bare bottom raised high in the air, palms on the ground, I began to laugh. I laughed so hard I could barely control the hose. When did this become my life? I couldn't believe that I was hosing poop off my daughter's bare bottom in the middle of our driveway in broad daylight for all the world to see!

On the gentlest setting, we rinsed her off and took her in for a bath. She was back outside and playing again in no time.

No calls from the authorities yet. I suspect more than a few parents have hosed off their children. I feel like I've just been let in on a private joke, and I'm still chuckling!

10/2/10

Date

Parker and I had our first date! It was so much fun! I stole the idea from a girlfriend from high school. I read her facebook post about how her son took her to the movies and to dinner. It inspired me.

Aaron is out of town, so Maddie stayed with Grammy and PawPaw. When we arrived at the theater, I asked Parker if he was excited. "Yeah, but a little sad, too." When I asked why, he replied, "I just miss Maddie. She's my favorite." What was I, chopped liver? I could see we would need to work on his dating skills.

We went up to the concession stand and ordered our treats. Parker pulled a twenty from his pocket (which Grammy had given him) and paid for both of us. Okay, so the date was improving.

We skipped all the way to the last theater on the left - a special sing-a-long version of Beauty and the Beast. The words were displayed as the songs were sung. (Too bad Parker can't read yet.) The theater was filled with little girls decked out in princess gowns and tiaras. I noticed the parents were all singing louder than the children (myself included, of course).

Parker wanted to sit close to the screen. However, when the scary parts came on, he decided we might need to move farther back. He also ended up in my lap a few times. I'm not complaining; it was precious!

Tonight, as I was tucking him into bed, I said, "Did you have fun on our date today?"
He rolled onto his tummy and cupped his chin in his hands. "Hmmm," he sighed thoughtfully.
"Lemme see how I can explain this to you..." pause. "I had a pretty awesome time but not too awesome."
Trying not to giggle, I asked him to explain. "Well, I wish Daddy was there."

Why am I not surprised? "Well, I'm glad you had a 'pretty awesome' time. I did, too. Love you."