Saturday, March 29, 2008

A Little About Me

This is a fun little thing that I first saw on
my sister's blog and thought it would be kind of fun. Hope you enjoy it!




Age I will turn this year:



The instrument I would like learn to play





My favorite food:
That's Mizithra Cheese over a plate of spaghetti noodles at The Ol Factory, baby!

My favorite dessert: I do wish the Spag Factory served Mile High Mud Pie





Something crazy - er STUPID - I did once
in

Yeah, and by God's grace, an airline pilot picked me up and drove me straight to my destination (a quick but frightening trip as I contemplated how vulnerable I was.)

Something stupid I did today:

(I burned my finger.)

I singed the epidermis of my left index felangy, dorsal side, perhaps in the hyperaemia zone (ha! like I know what I am talking about). Incidentally, the pics that pop up when you type in "burn hand cooking" in Google are extremely graphic. Makes my little white mark look pretty pathetic. But try typing without that finger. It's not an easy task. Poor me.

A favorite movie




Currently reading (well, actually I finished it last night, right after I wrote this post)



and one chapter a night before Davis heads to bed in:

On deck:

but I am tempted to slip in "A Wrinkle In Time" first...




My some-day hobbies?


and


Now you know a little bit about me... how about you?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Proud Mama

This evening my two oldest boys were sorting out their clean laundry right before dinner time. I don't know what I was thinking in assigning them a responsibility at the bewitching hour of dinner preparation. Our laundry room is downstairs, and the kitchen is upstairs. The boys know all the steps to doing laundry, and this step - pulling clean clothes out of the dryer and bringing them upstairs to sort into ownership piles - is not difficult but they often drag their heels. Today, as I wrist-deep in raw meat and vegetables, they were downstairs attempting what might be the impossible: cooperation at 4:47pm. I hear a scuffle that I hope does not require my intervention. One screamed up to me that the other was not pulling their weight...the offender quickly "changed his mind" and began to pitch in. The basket came up the stairs under the power of four little hands.

They immediately started sorting the laundry out. My older one tends to work faster and more diligently (he is older, afterall) but this time both boys steamed through the pile. Jackson, with all the pride he could muster said, "MOMMY! We are working diligently! See Mommy?!?" Yes, I saw and was pleased. Dinner was ready so I called them to the table where they knew they would be served some of their favorite food, as is our Friday night custom. "We are almost done, Mom." They completed their task though they were not asked to. "Are you coming, boys?" I called out with immense pleasure in my voice. "Yes Mom!" was Jackson's sweet response, and immediately he hopped onto his seat. "In a minute Mom," said my Davis. Our informal dinner was already served when Davis arrived at the breakfast bar with the biggest smile you have ever seen. He had not only sorted the laundry, he also put his away...and then he put his brother's away (WAY above and beyond normal). Jackson commented that he thought Davis should get an O Award.

"Doesn't it feel great to do something so nice for someone else?" I asked with an even wider, prouder grin. "Yes," he responded. And with all sincerity in his heart and voice he continued, "But I was not thinking about an O Award when I did that. I was thinking about rewards in Heaven."

Oh buddy. That's awesome. I love it when they connect the dots.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Careful Words II

I mentioned in my previous post that I would tell you the most effective tool I have used in producing positive change in my four-year-old. Today I am making good on that promise.

I cannot take credit for the idea. Diane Moore, in her book Parenting the Heart of Your Child gave me the idea. (I sang the praises of her book in a previous post.)

In her book she talks about how to mature your children - what tools you need to concentrate on giving them so that they can move on the higher levels of maturity (from the selfish "it's all about me" stage, to a "it's all about us" stage, and on beyond to a "it's bigger than me" stage). She readily admits that many adults never do progress through these stages and can be stuck in the me-focused stage. Know anyone like that?

Anyway, there are two "handrails" you must give to a child to move across a bridge from the "it's all about me" stage to the "its all about us" stage. Those handrails are consistent consequences and random rewards. And they should be introduced in that order. Consistent consequences are given to starve a child's hope that they can 'get away with' poor choices. Random rewards "feeds the good hope that 'I will receive a reward because of my good decisions.'" (Diane talks about why consistent rewards are not nearly effective as random ones. Again, I encourage you to pick this book up and get the details of what I am talking about.

So, it was time for me to give my four-year-old the second handrail: random rewards. And Oh, how he embraced it! There are lots of ways to do it, but in our house, I came up with "The O Award." I catch one of my children doing something that I would like to see more of and I look at them in the eyes with my mouth in the shape of an "O" (as in "OH WOW THAT WAS GREAT!!"). I then tell my child exactly AND SPECIFICALLY what I caught him doing and reward him with an "O" shaped candy. One life saver, or one marshmallow, or one jelly bean (yes, somewhat less O-shaped, but never-the-less effective).

I remember when I first started doing these with my oldest. I wanted him to show more kindness (patience) to his younger brother. The first time I did it he was about four years old also, and he was BARELY being A TINY bit kind. But he caught on to it like wildfire. After that O Award, he hunted down ways to be kind. And I randomly rewarded him for it. It was like magic.

But I was unprepared for how magical it would be with my sweet and sassy middle child. He was blown away by the reward, and he immediately did a one-eighty. I mean you have never seen a kid change their approach to life so fast. And it is obvious to me, in light of what I am learning about hope, that he needed something to hope in. He gets in trouble a lot, and so there was previously a LOT of starving of the hope that "maybe this time I can get away with it." He's the kid that, when one morning we were too tired to get up when he did we let him get in our bed with us for 10 minutes. EVERY MORNING FOR THREE WEEKS that kid woke himself up earlier than usual to see if maybe THIS TIME Mom and Dad would say yes again. We never did say yes again, but it took the threat of a spanking before he was willing to give up.

Now, after introducing the O Award, he is constantly praising his little brother, very often hopping up with a "yes Mom!" the first time I ask him to do something, and frequently asking "are you gonna go 'O' ? Cause I obeyed quick-i-ly. Didn't I obey quick-i-ly?" "Yes little man, you did. And you never know when the next O Award will come, so keep it up!" I have given him more O awards in the past couple of weeks than I remember giving my oldest in a year. But that only goes to prove once again that these two kids are different (oh so different) and I must respond to their little personas in kind. No cookie-cutter parenting here!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Careful Words

Anyone who says that motherhood is not a "thinking job" is sorely mistaken. There are the mundane tasks that keep a mother rather occupied, but the fact of the matter is motherhood requires a TON of thinking. My sister and I often rehearse various parenting challenges to each other over the phone. Some of it is a vehicle for venting frustration, but more often than not, we are digging to the bottom of a child's motivation, determining the status of their heart, and deciphering a deep need that is silently going unmet. So it is in the vein that I write this post.

My most challenging child, whom is not built like me, and whom I therefore have the most difficult time understanding, is the child I speak of today. I have been trying very hard to measure my words to him - each and every word, in order to deliver hope into his little life.

You see, he is my "YOU NEVER...! ...I ALWAYS...!" child. The one who melts in a pile of whiney, noisy tears when I tell him that indeed he may not have a dessert after breakfast. "AAAWWWWW! Then I'm NEVER gonna have a treat!" he concludes. Of course the tantrum-esch behavior only lands him in his room (of which he refuses to go), which leads to a spanking for disobeying mommy. All for one reasonable no to an unreasonable request.

So what's happening here is that the poor little dude jumps to the hopeless conclusion that if he can't have it now, he's never gonna have it. Hey, little fella! That's simply not true. But how am I going to convince you of that? Hope. That's what will convince him.

So I slowly begin to measure my words more carefully. The answer to a sweet treat after breakfast still must be no, but I can use this opportunity to deliver hope to this little guy. I deliver the good news first, and the bad news last: You CAN have a treat after lunch. What kind of treat do you think you will want after lunch?"

For the first many weeks of careful words, I don't think he found my words all that measured. He saw right through it and still heard the 'no.' But as I kept my promises, the hope I was trying to give him began to sink in. (By the way, lest you think this whole issue is about a sweet tooth, I will assure you that it has been systemic; the melt-downs came for all sorts of reasons.)

But I have saved the most effective childhood hope-deliverer for last. This one has single-handedly changed my little dude's perpective on good behavior and given him a new-found hope that has drawn him toward me, and given us a new connection. Stay tuned for the next post on this subject.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Do We Have A Stair-Climber?

Weston has just about mastered the stairs. His body mechanics harken back to his funky crawling days. (Editorial Note: he never had a crawling day that was not funky.) Grandpa "Safety Doug" Glover would never survive the stair-climbing show:

video

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

What's Next?

You ever wonder what is next in the parenting world? I mean, you know that after about 16-18 months of being in the world, until about age four, your kid needs to master the idea of submitting to authority (The Lord knows that this is an area we work on throughout our whole life, but those first few years sure seem to be critical for establishing this).

And you know that it will all be re-tested when your children hit those blessed teenage years. There, as it has been reported to me, you will re-visit nearly every lesson AND THEN SOME about submitting to authority. But what on earth fills that ten year gap? How do you know what to focus on in those years so that, hopefully, the teen years are not a war-zone. I have a theory that some teenagers go off the deep end because of the rather "quiet" decade that falls in the middle. Parenting perhaps takes a back seat, while busy-ness and extra-curricular activities are driving the train. Those activities are not to blame, I don't think. And I am not talking about "bad parents, " here. I am talking about any and all parents, actually. I really think that it is a time of parenting that is quiet by nature, but there are seeds growing quietly in your child's heart that bear fruit in adolescence.

I have run across a book that really helps to give a road map of how to prepare your child in this decade (well, I guess it actually includes the period before and after the decade too). The book points very solidly to the Bible as the guide and opens your eyes up to parenting nuggets in the Bible that I never before saw . I am wondering if there is any interest out there (moms) in meeting at my house every other Tuesday evening to discuss what we are facing, and what the book is suggesting.

The book is called Parenting the Heart of Your Child by Diane Moore (not to be confused with Tedd Tripp's book Shepherding a Child's Heart). If the book or author sounds familiar, it might be because she spoke at Mom to Mom a could of years ago. Tedd Tripp's book was done in an 8 week study group a few years before that, for whatever that's worth...both books are must-reads.

Drop me a comment if you are interested. I would love to see this happen.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Four-Year-Old Theology

Jackson's prayer last night at dinner:

"Dear Jesus, thank you for my Mom and Dad. Thank you for dying on the cross for our sins. And pul-EEEEEEEE-Zzz help Pastor Barry's back to feel better. And pul-EEEEEEEEE-zzz help my Mommy's back to feel better. And pul-EEEEEEEEE-zzz make the sunshine come back. And American Gladiators, too. Amen."
*******
Jackson's comments on the afterlife:

"When bad guys go to HELL they watch TV and do not their chores. And they watch BAD GUY shows."

Rest assured, 6 1/2yo brother was kind yet swift to correct this misguided thought:

"No, Jackson. There is no TV in hell. And in HEAVEN there are no chores. So it's bad to be in hell, where they work all day and never get paid any money for it. But it's good to be in heaven, where we never have to do any work."

"Ohhh!"

*******
Jackson is working out some pretty big heaven-and-hell issues out in his head right now and it is very interesting to hear his comments. You can just TELL that he is thinking hard about it.
Jack: "When do I get to go up to heaven?"
Mom: You have Jesus in your heart, so some day - probably a long time from now, sweetie.
Davis: Unless Jesus comes first!
Mom: Yes, that's right.
Jack: "HOW do I get up to heaven?...
Mom: "Our verse from Romans told us that, remember that verse? "If you confess with your mouth..."
Jack interrupts quickly with: "I know! I know! I confesswithmymouth JesusisLord and believeinmyheartGodraisedHimfromthedead (he memorized Romans 10:9-10 and says it really fast), but HOW do you get there?...where is it? are there big long stairs?..."

Friday, March 7, 2008

Park Season is Approaching


Today we made a stop at "The Target Park" in Fairview. It has been a long-time-favorite of our family. This will be Weston's first year where being at a park means more to him than "Taking My Afternoon Nap in the Car Seat" or "Putting All Objects No Matter the Size, Smell, or Jaggedness Into My Mouth." In our short time at the park, he enjoyed the slide and the stairs leading up to it. Weston really doesn't put everything in his mouth anymore, but still I chose today to pop his binki in his mouth, as that tends to mitigate the oral situation nicely.


While we were there, a father and son were also enjoying the park. His first words to me were, "WE broke him (pointing to his son) of his binki at SIX MONTHS." An awkward pause filled the air as I filtered the information and determined just what he was insinuating. I decided that his prefrontal cortex was misfiring, and he did not allow his thoughts to properly channel through that vital section of the frontal lobe. No worries. He was a nice enough man, as was his son - a 3 year old boy of sixty-three pounds (another prefrontal cortex misfire that dad offered up for no apparent reason).


The father continued to make casual conversation in a slightly socially awkward way and I smiled and added to the conversation when I could think of appropriate responses to his string of comments. It was sort of a funny interaction and it caught me off guard but now that I am home and blogging, it occurs to me that I need to be ready to give a response when fellow parental park-goers engage me in conversation - or better yet, when I step out and engage them. The parks are a great opportunity to be a witness for Christ and share the love He has for those kids and parents alike. I am looking forward to the interactions, and asking the Lord that he would set up some divine appointment this season. And that I would be ready to give an answer - even if I do feel slightly socially awkward doing it.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

2,081 Posts - In my head

Two thousand, eighty-one. That's the number Jackson uses when he's trying to say "a lot." Its not the biggest number he knows (he's all about "ten-thousand-million"), but I think its the biggest one he can wrap his mind around.

At any rate, I have had very little time in front of my computer, but I have written 2,081 posts in my head. None of them have yet made it to the computer. Except, of course this one.

Way back on February 25th, Jackson turned four. He is my blankie-thumb-sucker kid whose front teeth show the evidence of the otherwise adorable habit. About 6 months ago I started prepping him that when he turned four, we would cut his blankie into tiny little "handkerchief pieces" (have you read the book "Owen?"). We talked about it often enough, and I was not worried about it until the day of his birthday. Suddenly I thought, "WHAT ON EARTH WAS I THINKING?? WHAT'S SO BAD ABOUT A KID AND HIS BLANKIE?" The answer, of course, is nothing. There is nothing wrong with a childish love affair with a ratty, thread-bare blue blankie with large gaping holes in three of the four corners.

But we had talked about it for months, and whenever people asked him about his upcoming birthday he associated it with the blankie demolition. So I had to go through with it. And honestly, I think it was harder for me than it was for him. I let him keep one tiny 3 inch square, which he promptly lost, and prepared myself for the worst that night. But it was uneventful. He complained a couple of times, and asked about it for two nights in a row. But if you know much about my passionate middle child, you know that things should have gone worse. Much, much worse.

But earlier this week, my big boy said in his most cheerful voice, "Mommy, remember when I turned four and you cut up my blankie? I like being four so I can not have a blankie!"

What a victory.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Funnies

About 10 minutes after a minor discipline episode, Jackson came to me with a sunny disposition and a smile, "That spankin' you did didn't even hurt, Mom. I LOVE that spankin.' You can do 'em like that ALL the time! Ok Mom? Ok?"