Grace – a lesson to teach others

  DM at Heart to Heart has inspired me to try to write down important life lessons as I learn them.  He does a great job of creating “word pictures” to illustrate those illusive concepts we try to not only learn but to teach to our children.  So in his honor I will try my best to tell this story which is a real-life event as told to me by my sister.

This week my sister called me and we talked about an incident which had occured in her small group Bible study.  Her study consists of three families all of which have children, and they meet in one of the couple’s homes.  The parents do a Bible study upstairs and the children typically play in the rec room.  At the end of the study, my 11 year old niece approached of the other fathers and informed him the kids (ranging from 11 – 15) had been playing charades and doing improvisations.  She said that his son had gotten out of hand and taken it too far.  He had stripped down to his tighty-whitey underwear and acted out something.  The father was astonished and horrified and made his son apologize.  His son was embarrased.  My sister was upset that none of the children had put a stop to his actions or immediately come to an adult. The meeting ended and everyone went their own separate ways. My sister said she was anxious about this week’s study because she knew the inicdent was on everyone’s mind and it felt unresolved.

On Sunday at church, the young boy isolated himself.  This week at Small Group he muttered and hung his head, refusing to engage in conversation.  He was obviously embarrased and ashamed.  His parents ignored all the tension and pretended all was well.  The way the Group leader handled things, however, was inspiring.

At the end of the study, the Leader looked directly at the parents and said, “how is Billy handling the events of last week? I noticed he mumbled when I said hi and won’t meet my eyes.”  The parents said he was embarrased and ashamed and they just wanted to put everything behind them.  After all, he had apologized (albeit half-heartedly and only at his father’s mandate), so as far as they were concerend, it was over. The Group Leader said this –

We could pretend to forget about it and let Billy continue to hang his head and hide. But to do that deprives him of the gift of grace, and deprives us of the opportunity to give that gift.  As parents we have the obligation to teach our children life lessons, one of which is the gift of grace.  We need to provide our children with real life examples of grace.  Having Billy apologize is not for our benefit, although it is nice to hear someone else be repentent when they have wronged you. But that is a different gift.  What I am talking about is the gift we can give to Billy. When he apologizes, it gives us the chance to say, “Thank you. We all mess up and I am glad you apologized. Now let’s move forward with a clean slate.”  It allows Billy to lift up his head and go back to enjoying the fellowship of his friends.  The alternative is to allow him to pretend to put it behind him, allow Satan to continue to torment him with the feelings of shame, have him continue to hang his head and not interact – that is punishment and that is not what we are about.

I was inspired and awestruck by his words, even hearing them second-hand.  All too often I have made my children apologize for some transgression. But I have missed the opportunity to take the lesson further and teach them grace.  How wonderful that our Savior offered us the gift of grace and forgiveness. And how wonderful it is to offer that to someone else.


30 Things to do in 2012

Yeah I know, it’s almost the end of January. However I find myself procrastinating as of late.  Instead of a resolution, here are 30 things that are on my “to do” list in 2012 because I probably will do them at some point this year.  Consider them predictions (especially because in the time it took me to actually finishing writing and publishing this post, some have already occurred)

  1. Teach my children at least one new four-letter word  (check – me + Wii Super Mario brothers = bad language)
  2. Cry over a work case (done)
  3. Get a tattoo with my sister (done. Got my first.  Will post pictures sometime)
  4. Piss of my mother (done – see #3)
  5. Learn something new about my family (just discovered my father was convicted of felony child abuse – cruelty the year he died – and it wasn’t with respect to me or my sister)
  6. Love on my kids and learn new things about them.
  7. Realize my children are getting way too old too quick.
  8. Cope with my son’s sensory processing issues and my daughter’s anxiety issues.  Try not to go insane doing it.
  9. Struggle to adapt to change  (having just learned DH is switching to first shift, this is already occuring)
  10. Take back over the grocery shopping in an attempt to save money, actually have food in the house, and have something to eat besides Double stuffed oreos (not that those aren’t tasty).
  11. Struggle with my weight and exercising.
  12. Dye my hair at least 3 new shades and wonder why on earth I don’t just stick with the color I know and like.
  13. Plan someone’s death in agonizing detail – do nothing about it.
  14. Play “Just Dance” and laugh
  15. Try 5 new types of wine
  16. Read good books – some stupid filth trash novels (Sookie Stackhouse anyone?) and some really good ones (The Help)
  17. Curb my sarcastic side enough that I don’t get slapped.
  18. Do something which requires me to apologize to my children.
  19. Curse at an appliance in my house (done – the f***ing dishwasher broke)
  20. Dream of winning enough money to just pay off my school loans.
  21. Get irritated because other people are not as organized as me.
  22. Come up with new creative ways to organize my family (dry erase board To Do lists are working well)
  23. Be thankful for a husband that loves hunting and in-laws that love my children such that he can take the children to his parents, hunt all day, and leave me at home ALONE.
  24. Pin a zillion things to pinterest and only make about 5.
  25. Go scrapbooking with the girls (trip already planned).
  26. Realize how much I love my sister and miss her terribly when we are apart.
  27. Spend the first half of the year planning a beach vacation, then go and have a great time, and then the second half of the year planning next year’s trip.
  28. Go camping at least 2x.
  29. Drink insane amounts of coffee.
  30. Wonder for a brief second how much $$ I spend between coffee and scrapbook supplies, but then realize it’s still cheaper than prozac!

Happy 2012 everyone!

Sensory Issues – SPD

ImageSeveral people have asked for an update to my Raising Boys post.  I haven’t updated before now because I was still trying to find answers. And because I was in denial.

We discovered that the “attack” had been unprovoked. The teachers had just told the other parent that it was more reciprocal to avoid any issues from these parents who have been known to go overboard in their reaction.  The teachers did not see it as an aggressive move by Bugaboo.  He doesn’t seem mad when he does it.  We talked about how he does not communicate verbally in class at all. He points or gestures.  DH and I were at odds on how to handle it and sat down with a therapist who referred us to a neurotherapist. She suspected Bugaboo might have some sensory processing issues.

Me being me – I immediately embarked on a crusade to read anything and everything I could. Multiple battles over referrals and scheduling and such gave me about 3 weeks to read, panic and read some more. Also to observe – how Bugaboo walks, moves, communicates, interacts.  What I read led me to believe that there probably are some sensory issues.  And some things I had not thought were a big deal really are.  Bugaboo’s abilty to entertain himself for 2 hours coloring or stacking/restacking blocks may be useful at times, but it’s not really typical.

Today was our first evaluation. We have one more evaluation before the conferenece to discuss results and goals. But already the specialist says there are some issues we will address.  No one has mentioned a label yet, for which I’m grateful. Goals and improvements sound much less scary and I’m not ready for a “diagnosis.”  I am, however, cautiously optimistic that we might find answers to the failure to sleep at night, the need to be in constant contact with my arm, the unprovoked attacks on other kids, and the other issues.

I Started a Riot – in a Church

When Munchkin turned 4, we got her an “elf on a shelf” from “Elf Magic” and it is a stuffed type elf with yarn for hair. Very cute.  She came with snowflake paper cut-outs that you sprinkle on her and a little letter that was so sweet.  The only instructions were to leave a cracker and water out for the elf and sprinkle her with snowflakes every night.

I totally had a brain fart and was too damn lazy to go look at it when I remembered (last month) that I needed to order Bugaboo one.  So I ended up ordering from somewhere different and he got the actual Elf on a shelf plastic dude. (sort of ugly and creepy looking). Well plastic dude (who we named Scotty) came with a freakin’ instruction book and apparently the rules :eyebrow: say that you are not supposed to touch them or you’ll drain their magic or some crap. Who knew? Munchkin has been playing with her elf for a long time. So I just ignored that part and carried on.

Last night, Bugaboo wanted to take Elf Scotty to the library. Sure. Whatever gets a 3 year old out of the house without a temper tantrum. Right? We leave the library after reading to Scotty and having a nice (sans tantrums) time and go to pick up Munckin from her Girl Scouts meeting (which is held in a church). 

As we stood in the church lobby with all the Girl and Boy scout moms and kids, Bugaboo starts playing with Elf Scotty. 


One kid was seriously crying. And another kid is like “mommy see he plays with his elf. I want to take (whatever he named it – I can’t remember) to school!” The mother shot me a look designed to kill me.

So kids were screaming. Moms were scrambling and I just wanted the floor to open up.

So if you read about a riot in a church — it was me. Now to find some wine and figure out what those damn elves are going to do tonight. I’m thinking fishing in the toilet is a good activity……………………  or maybe this will happen……

Raising Boys – this just might kill me

  My son is a rough and tumble type of boy. He loves to wrestle. When I try to do crunches or other floor exercise, I will be bodyslammed by him guaranteed.  He doesn’t back down one bit when met with an opponent on the soccer field.  He loves to play “tackle football” with anyone who will play.  A game of tag is not complete until he grabs you around the legs and forces you to the ground.  As a female, raised in a household with only a sister, and previously a mom to only a girl,  I was a bit concerned. My husband (obviously a man), raised in a household with a brother and in close proximity to male cousins, told me to relax.  He repeatedly says, “boys will be boys.”

I tried to relax.

Recently Bugaboo has moved to the 3 year old class at daycare. The afternoon teacher asked me if it was okay that he wrestle with some of the other boys. He is the smallest kid in the class. “Sure,” I said, mindful of my husband’s admonition to let him get his aggression out in safe ways.  She said that he seemed to love playing wrestling and football with the other children.

The next week there was a report that Bugaboo had spit on another kid – for no apparent reason. There were also reports of pushing, shoving and pinching – usually a tussle between a few kids.  When these happened, we reminded Bugaboo that “hands are not for hitting” and we needed to use soft touches and make good choices.  We talked about it being okay to wrestle and play football but not to just hit people. 

Yesterday I picked up Bugaboo and the afternoon teacher informed me that he had given another child a black eye.  What?  My cute adorable little blonde haired angel?  She explained that another child left his spot on the carpet, came up and gave her a hug and then walked back to the carpet to take his spot next to Bugaboo. Bugaboo reached out and cold-cocked him.  She said that she spoke to Bugaboo about it and showed him the injury later – after it had turned pretty colors. Bugaboo shut down and refused to say anything, other than to make baby noises (which is what he does when he knows he has done something wrong).  The teacher said the other mother was pretty upset (obviously).

I left daycare feeling like Loser Mother of the Year, and quite tearful that my child had blackened another kid’s eye.  Bugaboo and I talked about it and I did manage to glean the name of the other child – not someone with whom there have been prior incidents.  I went to sleep with visions of my child being labelled a Bully.

This morning, Husband dropped off Bugaboo and talked to the Morning Teacher about our desire for there to be strong consequences for hitting – an immediate time out and removal from any fun situations/games for a time period.  She seemed confused.  She explained that what she saw was Bugaboo and the other kids dancing and Bugaboo elbowed the other kid – she wasn’t sure if it was accidental or a “you’re in my space” thing. She said she’s never seen Bugaboo be aggressive or act unprovoked.

All of a sudden my child looks more like a typical kid?  The afternoon teacher is new to the center and has an older child – not sure if it is a boy or girl.  The morning teacher has been in this center for years, taught my daughter, and has two boys about the same age as my kids. 

So is my kid an unprovoked Bully? Or just a rough-house typical Boy?

I’m fixin’ to find out. I set up a conference with the teachers for this afternoon. If it’s an altercation between kids I’m more in line with their policy of separating the kids and talking things out.  If it’s an unprovoked event, then Bugaboo is in for some firm consequences.  If the first situation, I’ll apologize profusely to the other mother.  If the latter, I might have to bake her cookies and sobbingly beg her forgiveness!

Stay tuned for more information!

What I Learned from Road Tripping with 2 Children

Last week I drove 532 miles twice (which according to my calculator = 1,064 miles).  That equated to two 8 1/2 – 9 hour trips, in a car, with two children.  This is what I learned.

  • Leaving at 5:30 am is great because the children will go back to sleep and not wake until 8 am, which is about 30 minutes past the point when your bladder wants to explode because you required a SUPER-SIZED mug of coffee to wake yourself up enough to drive.
  • If you drink enough caffeine throughout the day to stay awake, you will have to stop too often for restroom breaks.
  • Restroom breaks with two children, one of which is potty-training, can not be accomplished in less than 35 minutes.
  • McDonalds has 132 locations along our drive. I know this because my 3 year old shouted “french fries” every time he saw one. 
  • 8 year olds do not believe that Chik-fil-a is closed on Sundays. Even when you drive by the store that has no one in it. They will cry when you tell them you will not stop at every location just to see if one is open.
  • It is possible to drive while reaching your hand into the backseat to pick up a dropped item, smack your 8 year olds leg to get them to stop screaming, and adjust the DVD player.
  • It is not insane to consider stopping at Walmart to purchase a new DVD player if you are unable to fix the old one.
  • It is not insane to buy two of every toy you pack in order to avoid fights.
  • No matter how well you plan, you will likely hit road construction, pouring rain or some other disaster.
  • You can kill at least an hour discussing why Connecticut is not pronounced – Connect-I-cut and why Illinois has a silent “s.”    Let’s not even start on Arkansas. 
  • Dumdum lollipops are the best invention. They are cheap. Children find it difficult to whine when sucking on one. Because they are small, you can give out about 8 before a sugar high meltdown ensues.
  • It is possible to drown out a 3 year old temper tantrum by opening all 4 windows, playing your music at top volume and singing along while driving 90 mph.


On the Road Again – this time with kids

I received a call from my sister over the weekend. She was preparing to undergo emergency surgery to repair a twisted/blocked/knotted intestine.  Five and 1/2 hours later she emerged lighter by 2 1/2 feet of colon, 8 inches of intestine and an appendix! Yikes!  She is on major restrictions – and drugs – for the next several weeks.

When I last talked with her, she proceeded to tell me how the doctors inflated her with gas and were all waiting for her to fart before she could leave the hospital.  Hmmm. This is a situation ripe for jokes! 

Seriously, she is in much pain and prayers are appreciated.

The kiddos and I are headed to her house to help out. I debated flying but didn’t feel so good about the $1,500 price tag, and that was only if I lied about Bugaboo turning 3 this past weekend and claimed he was still 2. I wasn’t so keen on that (and he keeps proudly announcing to everyone “I tree now”).  So we’ll leave bright and early at the ass crack of dawn (5 am) on Wednesday.  I’ve driven the 563 miles before myself, but not with two kids.  I’ve taken care of many kids before, but not 5, related to me, kids at once. 

So I’ll be back in a week, sure to be filled with lots of funny tales about my sister’s drug induced state, my managing (or lack thereof) of 5 children and my BIL, and attempting to “homeschool” my child for 3 days.

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