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


11/17/11

Gladdest Day

Today was a great day. 

It didn't start out that way.  It started out with me snapping at the kids as I hurriedly tidied the house before a play date.  You read that right, before a play date.  [How dumb is that?]  The toys and clothes were put away.  I desperately needed to sweep (and use a Clorox wipe to scrub off rogue spit-up drops that managed to escape my attention and dry like cement on the floors).  I contemplated taking pictures of my full [nasty] dustpans.  Somehow I felt like I needed proof of just how bad it was.  I wanted all those people who say, "Oh, just leave it!" to look at those pictures and tell me if they would be comfortable leaving it on their floors.  I'm talking spaghetti noodles from last night's dinner, broken crayons, stickers, human hair, cat hair, dirt, tricky little dried peas (from who knows when), sticks, dried bits of play dough, etc.  Nasty.

Parker and Maddie wanted to play...with toys we'd just put away.  I just wanted them out. of. my. way.  Nice, huh? 

The guests arrived, and a wonderful time was had by all. 

Not long after our friends had left it was "quiet time."  By some miracle, all three kids were in their rooms at the same time.  I knew I had a good hour to catch some z's.  But I couldn't.  I tossed and turned.  Something my friend said during the play date played over and over in my mind.  She said she loved reading my blog because it reminded her of just how precious this time [with our children while they are little] really is. 

As I lay in my bed, I was overcome.  Precious = valuable.  What do I value?  A clean house?  That's pride.  Time with my children, now that is valuable, to be cherished, not squandered.  I am certain some readers are sick and tired of reading about this revelation.  I know I am.  Shouldn't true revelation inspire revolution?  Where is the change? 

I jumped down off the bed.  Lying face down on the floor I reached out to God.  I prayed for humility.  Here I was again.  Treating the priceless gifts that He has literally placed in my hands with disdain and annoyance.  I begged for forgiveness...for some true and lasting change in my heart. 

An old sermon I'd heard years ago tickled my brain.  Something about repentance and turning your behavior around.  As I was writing this blog, I did a little research.  Did you know there are actually about four different words in the original Bible texts that have all been translated into the word "repent" or "repentance" in modern translations?  One means to regret or feel sorry (been there, done that).  But one means "turn."  Basically, it means don't just feel badly and say sorry; quite literally turn your behavior around.  Repentance is an action.

I couldn't wait to get off that floor.  I ran upstairs and hugged my babies (the older ones, anyway; I haven't had enough time to really mess things up with Jack yet).  They were confused but happy.  "Is quiet time over already?"  I was grinning and crying.  "It is today."

We went downstairs and began work on some "ordaments," as Maddie calls them.  Flour and salt flew everywhere.  Dough dropped on the floor.  Mushy ornaments were torn.  With each perceived infraction, two little heads whipped around to gauge my reaction.  I didn't even have to fake it.  I shrugged and laughed, dismissing it with an "It happens." 

Love and warmth and kindness filled our kitchen.  I watched in amazement as my two (typically territorial) children shared.  Maddie climbed atop the stool and immediately scooted to one side.  "Here, Buddy.  Here's a place for you."  "Do you want this cutter, Maddie?"  They squished dough balls and traded cookie cutters for the better part of an hour.  When we were finished, the counter was lined with stockings, gingerbread men, candy canes, and hand prints.  They were beautiful.

With a huge smile on his face, Parker sighed, "This is the gladdest day ever."  I couldn't agree more. 

Tomorrow is another play date.  Remember the mom with the white socks [see previous post: I saw your socks, and I'm sorry]?  They are coming.  My floors are a mess again tonight.  Maybe I'll see if the kids want to play with the dustbuster and suck up some crumbs tomorrow.  Maybe I won't.  What I do know is that with God's help, I will set my pride aside, and tomorrow can be the gladdest day ever, too. 

11/11/11

Professional

I often wonder what professions the kids will choose when they grow up.  I thought I had Parker pegged.  He is a real dare-devil.  He likes to climb to the tops of trees, do "tricks" on his bike (which still has training wheels on it, mind you), walk across the tops of monkey bars, etc.  He always tells me not to worry, because he is a "professional."  Yeah.

Given his interests and coordination, I daydream about his future as a snowboarder, gymnast, and so on.  However, the other day, I decided perhaps I had pigeon-holed him and needed to reconsider his options...

With Jack on my hip I entered Parker's room and encouraged him to change his clothes so we could go out.  He was wearing his favorite [ratty] orange shorts.  He knows that he must change into pants when we go out, given the fact that it is fall (and thank goodness, too cold to wear those grimy things outdoors). 

Parker dropped the shorts, revealing the fact he decided to go "komodo" [commando] today.  He began to dance around, naked.  He was very amused at his, er, anatomy.

"Hey mom!" he exclaimed, "How 'bout you tell Jack one day when he grows up, he'll have big private parts like this."  [More gyrations]  Clearly this child does not have a confidence problem.

I quickly turned away to shield Jack from the display.  Aw, who am I kidding?  Jack is 3 months old.  He doesn't have a clue.  I turned away so Parker wouldn't see me cracking up.

Stifling a chuckle, I repeated, "Yeah Jack, one day you'll have big private parts, too."

Parker prattled on happily to himself as he pulled up his underwear, "Yeah, and everyone will say, 'Wow!  Look at those big private parts!"

Who is everyone and why are they all admiring his private parts? I wondered to myself.  That's when it hit me.  The career option I had ignored thus far: adult entertainer.  His dad will be so proud... 


11/10/11

Play!

It has been an exciting time in our house. I have been so inspired by things I have seen on the web that I have tried lots of new activities with the kids.  (So many, in fact, I fear they may begin to expect crafty entertainment on a regular basis.)

Keep in mind that I am very frugal [cheap] and creatively challenged [only capable of stealing and replicating good ideas, not creating them]. I believe the best ideas are fun for both the child and the parent. In order for me to enjoy myself, the activity usually has to be easy to set up, easy to clean up, very engaging [they should be interested for a good 20-30 minutes], and cheap.

Here are some pictures of our recent undertakings:

I LOVE this project. It could not have been easier. I think I found it on Pinterest: Put paint in a bag. Tape it to the window. Let them smear it around. (I also gave them q-tips so they could write letters or draw pictures - another Pinterest idea.)








 
This was fun for a rainy day.  The kids wanted to play outside.  I wanted to stay in.  This way they could get some energy out and have a neat sensory experience at the same time.  (Idea courtesy of playathomemom3.blogspot.com)  They loved the fact that I let them throw the balloons at each other and splash as much as they wanted!

The water in tub was warm; the water in balloons was cold.
Demolition is always the best part!
Water, water everywhere!
  
We tried this one today. We made our own Mission Impossible obstacle course out of streamers. What an inexpensive, simple way to have fun and work on motor skills! Parker loved the idea that he was dodging laser beams.  (Idea found on Pinterest.)


Creating the chaos...

Careful now! 





























Time to tear it down...almost as much fun as setting it up!

I just hope I can find more activities for the long winter months ahead!

11/4/11

Rocks

Parker loves rocks.  He has a massive "collection" that lives on our back porch.  It was inside, but due to his tendency to spread it all over the floor and our habit of walking in bare feet, it was banished to the porch.

Still, it's not unusual for me to find strays littering the floors of our home from time to time (especially after an outing at a park).  So, today when I went to wake Parker from his nap, I was not surprised to see a smooth, oblong, slightly cracked object on his carpet.  I tilted my head and nudged it with my toe.  "Is that a ro--" I started to ask.  My eyes traveled a bit farther.  More "rocks."

Oh. No.  In case you haven't guessed by now, it wasn't a rock.  At least, not one that came from the ground.  Ughhh! 

Parker was groggy.  "What is it mommy?"

"It's poop."

I immediately turned my attention to Maddie.  She is, after all, the child who tends to relieve herself in inappropriate places. (See previous posts: It's all fun and games; Poop in the tub II, etc.) I went to her room, and waking her as gently as possible, I asked in the sweetest tone I could muster, "Maddie, did you poop in Buddy's room?"  She stared at me blankly, cocked her head (as if sincerely searching her little memory banks), and answered plainly, "No."  Hmmm...Maddie generally owned up to this sort of thing.

"Well, someone pooped on his floor.  I want you to come in and take a look and make sure it's not yours." [Yeah, because looking at it would make all the difference.  I'm sure she'd be able to determine if it was hers or his by staring at it.  Idiot!]

She followed me into his room, dutifully examined the poo, and shook her head.  "Nope."

I started to chuckle and shake my head.  The kids looked at me as if I were crazy.  It was like they were waiting for their normal [read: angry] mommy to appear and begin ranting.  I mentally debated the pros and cons of just cleaning up the mess and going on about our business.  In the end, I decided it would drive me crazy if I didn't know.

I began to pace the floor and lay out the facts like I'd seen lawyers on TV do so many times:
"There is poop on the floor.
Parker, you say you didn't do it.
Maddie, you say you didn't do it.
I didn't do it.  Jack didn't do it. And Daddy didn't do it.
Maddie, you were playing in Parker's room before quiet time.
Parker, no one has been in here but you since quiet time started..."

Parker interrupted my musings: "Mommy, I need to change my shorts.  These are all sweaty from my nap."

I took a closer look at his navy shorts.  They were soaked.  When he handed them to me, I smelled them.  "Honey, you peed in your pants." 

"No I didn't!" he insisted, insulted.

"Come here and bend over for a second."  Aha!  A chuckle escaped my lips.  The kids were very confused.  I was strangely satisfied, peaceful almost.  My detective work paid off. 

Parker has been under the weather for a few days and has been taking naps again (during which he sleeps like the dead).  Today, when I checked on him, he had set up his blankets and pillow on the floor.  Sometime during his nap, he had moved to his bed (leaving the trail of...evidence).  He didn't even realize he had an accident.  Poor guy!

He looked confused and upset.  "It was you, honey.  You didn't know it.  It's okay."
He burst into tears. 

He was consoled by an episode of his favorite Godzilla cartoon while I sanitized the floor.  All in a day's work!