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


Under construction

Parker and Maddie were recently having issues with pestering and tattling.  I decided to reach into my old counseling bag of tricks and pull out a discipline technique based on the book, 1-2-3 Magic.  The idea is that when a child misbehaves, you calmly state, "That's a 1."  If it continues, "That's a 2."  If the child persists, "That's a 3; you are in time out." 

It's pretty effective with small children, providing you are consistent, calm, cool, collected (all of which I am not).  I decided to modify this approach, as my children seem to be unfazed by time-outs these days.  Instead, if I reach a 3, they lose all sugar for the day.  Did I mention they were sugarholics? 

I have only reached 3 once.  However, I get to 2 many, many times throughout the day.  You see, you can't catch them misbehaving at 9am, count it as a "1" and then see another problem behavior at 11am and count it as a "2."  There is a grace period during which they can return to a zero (usually about 15 minutes).   

They have had difficulty with this grace period.  They have no issue when it applies to their own situation, but when grace is given to a sibling, oh, the injustice of it all!

Sometimes I will overhear them arguing in the living room when I am in the kitchen.  Maddie will call, "Mommy!  Parker just got a 2!  Tell him he got a 2!"  I have to remind them that I am the only Master Counter in this house [cue the malicious, power-hungry laughter].  I listen to Maddie's argument and then ask her to identify her own role in the problem.  What did you do?  Nuh-fing!

Oh, how this reminds me of my own condition!  I keep coming across the same bible passage from Jesus' sermon on the mount:

Matthew 7:3-5
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye."  

At first, I assumed this wonderful passage was given to me as a teaching tool for the kids...I mean, it even says "brother," right?  Then it hit me.  It was for me.  Uggghhh.

Just 2 Sundays ago, I was listening to a wonderful sermon and thinking so-and-so could really stand to hear this; I'll have to send her the link.  Then it hit me again.  Why don't you listen up and pay attention and see what God wants you to hear and change today? 

It just keeps hitting me from all sides.  Speaking of planks, I feel like I am under construction here.  God uses a still, small voice for some, but then there are people like me, thick-headed, stubborn, hypocritical, and just plain critical.  For me, he has to bang me in the head a few times before I really get it.  Well, Lord, I think I have it...for today.



Things are happening at the speed of life here...not much time for blogging these days.  We're too busy  flying kites, swinging, checking on the eggs in the robin's nest...Just wanted to jot down some things before I forget.

 Jack started crawling.  He's also wearing size 18 month clothing.  He's only 8 months old, but he has a really long torso, like his daddy.  So hard to believe that my baby is on the move and will soon be a toddler! 

Parker and Maddie were especially wonderful last week.  I don't know if it was because it was spring break, and we had nothing to do but stay home and relax, or if they are maturing on some level.  Hoping for the latter!

Some brief examples:
When grandma bought them a bag of popcorn to share at the craft store, Maddie literally fed pieces to Parker, then gave him her quarter so he could have 2 turns on the mechanical horse.  (It's pretty ancient and bucks like a bull, so her decision might have been fear-driven, but it was still sweet.)

On a different afternoon, I returned to the backyard after changing one of Jack's diapers inside, and I happened upon the two of them talking, as Parker gently pushed Maddie on the swing set.  I stopped dead in my tracks, with tears in my eyes.  It was so precious [and rare], I didn't want them to see me and stop.

When we are in the van and it's nearing a feeding time for Jack, Maddie will gently feed him little baby cereal puffs, one at a time, to keep him from crying.

The other morning, Parker requested to give Jack a bottle.  I propped them on the couch with pillows and watched as Parker carefully tilted the bottle back.  When Jack started drinking, Parker laughed, "This is fun!"  He kissed the top of Jack's head and snuggled in close.

One afternoon, we were playing in Parker's room when I realized I needed to switch the laundry.  It was about time for Parker and Maddie to have quiet time in their rooms and Jack to nap.  Maddie went to her room without complaint, but Parker and Jack didn't seem quite ready to go to bed.  I asked Parker to please watch Jack for a moment while I ran down to take care of the laundry.  I finished quickly and raced back upstairs to find Parker laughing and playing carefully with Jack.  I told him I would take Jack, and he needed to have quiet time.  "Please, mom, can we just have a few more minutes?  I was having so much fun playing with him!"  I shrugged, scanned the floor for small objects, and agreed to let them play a bit longer while I picked up the living room.  I returned a short time later, and picked up Jack.  "Thanks so much for watching him, Parker."  He replied (without a hint of sarcasm), "No, thank you, momma!" 

Today was Monday and business as usual.  We dropped Parker off at preschool and headed to Bible study.  I dropped Jack off in the church nursery and headed for the preschool room for Maddie.  When we arrived at her door, she clung to my leg.  I looked down to see her bottom lip protruding and tears filling her eyes.  "What's wrong?" I asked, alarmed.  She shook her head as fat teardrops spilled down her cheeks.  I sat in the middle of the hall and held her in my lap.  She finally sobbed, "When Parker has preschool and you have Bible study, we never get to have Mommy-Maddie special time!"  Ohhhh.  You see, typically, on Parker's school days, I am able to put Jack down for a nap and have uninterrupted "special time" with Maddie at home.  We usually end up playing with plastic horses and lizards up in her room.  She loves it.  And she was right, on Mondays, we are at Bible study and miss out on that special time.  "How about if today, during quiet time, I come into your room for some special time...with the Ipad?"  Her eyes lit up.  She nodded and hugged me, burying her face in my hair.  I held her and rocked her and thanked God that she still wants to have special time with me.

Finally, tonight I got to rock my baby to sleep.  He was so tired that we left Grammy and Pawpaw's early.  Aaron will be coming home any minute with the older two.  It's amazing how quiet the house is when they are gone!  Jack fell asleep in the van on the way home and barely woke when I got him out of his car seat.  With his head on my shoulder, I made his bottle and carried him up the stairs.  He drank his bottle slowly, and I changed him into his pajamas in my lap.  He laid his little head on my shoulder and I patted him and sang lullabies and kicked myself for all the evenings I had rushed through nighttime routines so I could have some "me" time.  We snuggled in the silence, and I finally carried him to his crib and gently laid him down.  He glanced up at me with heavy lids and drifted off to sleep as I patted his back.  What a special time!

I can hardly wait for Parker and Maddie to get home so I can have some quality cuddle time with them, too!