Sunday, May 31, 2009

That's NOT FAIR!

I have a certain middle child that has been coming to me (with increasing frequency) with this arms crossed, bottom lip protruding and eyes angry saying, "How come I didn't get a ____" or "Why did (brother) get one and I didn't?!" Its enough to drive this mother up the wall. Said child is obsessed with fairness as of late. Before evaluating whether or not the amount of pretzels in front of him is satisfactory for his hunger level, his eyes are on his brothers' pretzel piles and no matter how many are in front of him, AUTOMATICALLY his pile is less than his brothers'. And then the protruding lip, angry eyes and crossed arms are back. With gritted teeth, I might say something like "finish what you have in front of you and if you are still hungry, there are plenty more." I'd be lying if I said I have never lost it in this scenario. It is all I can do to allow him to keep even ONE pretzel. Every ounce of me wants to show him who's boss. "You think you have less? Alright, I'LL SHOW YOU LESS," swiftly grabbing up and dumping the food for which he was so ungrateful.

I have a thing about fairness issues: I am of the opinion that if someone is claiming that something is not fair, no matter how you try to prove how it actually is fair, that person will not be convinced. You may have 100 reasons for each person got what they got; you can count every raisin in front of each sibling; you can set a timer so each turn is even, but if a child (or adult!) is of the mind that things are not fair, you will not win. There is always a reason why it is STILL not fair. So I have a policy of NOT being fair. Okay, okay, I did make sure each kid (who is old enough to care) had the same number of presents under the tree. And I am guilty of keeping Spiderman paraphernalia equally distributed among the sizes. And I do try to generally make things fair whenever possible. But what I don't do is get into arguments or discussions of fairness. If a child is claiming unfairness, I usually try and focus that child on what they can be thankful for.

HOWEVER, this method is not clicking and the current unfairness bombardment is more than this mamma can take. That is, until today when I had a wonderful ah-ha moment: Oh my. He doesn't trust me. He doesn't trust me. Here's what lead to that epiphany:
He came stomping up the stairs having seen his brother eating a banana: "How come DAVIS gets a banana and NOT ME?!?!?" he said, complete with his standard lip-eyes-arms stance.
(Deep breath, momma. Don't blow...) "Sweetie, when you say things like that," (I imitate him to-a-tee, at this point) you are only causing yourself trouble. When you say things like that (I imitate his words and stance again) does mommy ever give you what you want?"
Angrier eyes coming my way. More deep breathing by Mommy. Lord, help me keep the tone kind and gentle.
"The reason Davis got a banana is because he asked for one. Maybe if YOU asked for one in a kind manner, I might give one to you also. What do you think?"
Shoulder shrug. "Can I please have a banana?"
My face lit up and I handed him a banana. "Little guy, I love to give you the things you want and need. All you need to do is ask, OK?"

When he walked away, I could tell that something new had clicked for him. For that I am thankful. Even more, I am thankful that something clicked for me. He is assuming (right or wrong) that I am going to slight him every chance I get. Here is my opportunity to really build up trust between the two of us. Rather than be frustrated by his angry assumptions, I can and will be patient with him, rehearsing with him all the ways I love to care for his needs (and how he must make proper requests). When he trusts me to care for him like I care for his brothers, I suspect that he will stop focusing on fairness, resting in the knowledge that no matter what others get, meeting his unique needs is paramount to his mommy.

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Lesson in Humiliation

Last week, while sitting on the stands at the baseball field, I listened while a mother humiliated her little girl. I wanted to jump up and pull that mother aside so she could see what was really happening, but instead I knew I could only sit there, with a stomach ache, and wait until it was all over.

The girl, who was about ten, was being accused to going on their home computer and googling a phrase that was (apparently) s*xual in nature. The little girl was horrified that she had been discovered and was flat out denying that it was her. Mom was insisting that it was her and giving her proof by explaining how she can look up the history of internet searches to see where her daughter had been. "I know you did this! But it doesn't matter! It's fine to be interested in this stuff. its totally normal! If you are curious about that sort of thing, you just have to ask." The girl kept on saying, "I'm not curious! It was an accident! I didn't mean to! I typed the wrong thing!" Mom kept on insisting, "I know you did this and it is normal to be curious!"

The girl eventually put her fingers in her ears so she could block out her mom and the whole conversation. The message was sent loud and clear by mom: I am right, you are wrong. I am not to be trusted with your heart.

I can just imagine the scenario that lead up to the google search (and I can imagine it because I remember being a clueless kid when it came to this stuff): The little girl hears some phrase in the gym that "all" the other kids understand but she is clueless about. She laughs along with the other kids, pretending to have a clue while at school but then goes home to figure out what in the world those kids were talking about. She probably has a guess as to the fact that it is s*xual, or at least embarrassing, so she is ashamed to ask mom about it. So she launches a Google search on the subject matter and is even more embarrassed when she discovers what her classmates were talking about. She probably does not know what to do with the information in her head, and is probably ashamed, wishing she never looked it up or learned it - I remember wishing for my innocence back as soon as I learned stuff like this from peers. Her shame is furthered when Mom accuses her of looking it up, insisting that she wanted to know all about that subject matter while in truth, her interest rested in knowing what they were referring to, not in the subject matter itself. (Do you get the distinction? She heard a word and wanted a definition, rather than was introduced to an experience and wanted to learn all the ins and outs.)

The mom's intentions were really good, but she was so argumentative with her daughter that she completely missed a golden opportunity. The poor girl was so humiliated by her mother that it would take a miracle for her to ever come to her mom with further questions. My guess is that she will simply look for a sneakier way to gain knowledge. My heart broke for that girl.

As I was listening and imagining all this, I was keenly aware of the lesson I could gain from one mom's error in judgment.
1. Never, never, never talk about or infer s*x with your child in a public setting.
2. Never accuse your child of being interested in knowing about s*x. "I know you want to know more about it!" (Those were literally some of the words I heard from this mom.) My gut says this will mortify your child and stifle any hope of conversation.
3. Don't argue about non-essentials. As soon as that child denied the google search, mom should have made sure her daughter thought her mom believed her. 'You didn't? Ok. I believe you. If you ever wonder about things that just ask, ok?" We don't want our kids to lie, but in this scenario you don't want to miss the forest for the trees! Let the lie go (it is obviously only covering up embarrassment) in order to build trust in your child in a different and difficult area.
4. Invite your child in to a conversation but don't force them. Matters of the heart take time. So much thinking and processing happens in the quiet moments of the child's heart. You can't rush this process or these conversations. You have to be willing to start and stop them based on the cues your child is giving. So if they are defensive at all, it is time to humbly end it in a way that makes your child know that they are safe to bring it up again.
5. And since the matters of heart take time, start slow and early!

I wonder how applicable this will be in my pursuit to raise BOYS?

Friday, May 22, 2009

I'm Back?

Has it really been two weeks since my last post? heavens!!

Life has been full and busy. Ryan has been covering for his full-time therapist (working something like 65+ hours a week) for the past 5 weeks, we opened our forth location, switched billing companies (a HUGE change in the medical field!!), and adopted a new scheduling program. Baseball has been in full force (remember me mentioning 5 nights a week of baseball? We are ALMOST done with this crazy but FUN sport). Ryan and I took a quick weekend to San Francisco (forgot our camera, but as it turns out Karina was there on the same weekend and took pictures from many of the same places we went to and did many of the same things we did, so if want to know all about our trip, hop over to her blog and just imagine my face where ever you see hers). And finally last weekend we took a trip over to Long Beach for a marvelous family get-away.

Highlights from that trip would be the 12 mile bike ride we took with Davis and Jackson (Weston went too but was a passenger on the back of my bike). D and J were amazing troopers, never once complaining - only begging us to "keep going!!" It was a fun-filled weekend with swimming, kite-flying, digging in the sand, and playing with cousins.

We are just about done with this little season of life - just in time for summer, I suppose, when blogging gets a little hit-or-miss.

Anyway, I thought I would at least let you know I have not fallen off the face of the earth. I am here, and I am (nearly) back!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wacky, Wonderful Weston

This post is all Weston. He is SERIOUSLY the cutest thing on wheels. I mean we are talking INTENSE CUTENESS.

His "Curious George" way of communicating (a series of uh-uh-uh-UH-uh-uhuhuh-uh sounds, accompanied by LOTS of pointing and hand motions and facial expressions) has given way to a non-stop talker/singer. I just have-to share his cuteness with my bloggy world.

(Each video is only 30 seconds long or less.) Enjoy!

Weston's love affair with SuperWhy

Weston counts NOT to 10

Weston sings Happy Birthday

Monday, May 4, 2009

Book Giveaway!

Make your own list (1-3 or more) that is suggested in the bottom of the previous post and then come back and leave a comment to tell me you did. One person will be the lucky winner of her own copy of The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace. (If you already own it you could always give it away to a friend.)

Winner announced May 8th!

Sunday, May 3, 2009


Probably one of the hardest things to overcome in marriage is bitterness. When he has done things that have hurt you (whether he meant to or not) and you have stored those things your heart, bitterness takes root and grows. You may or may not recognize what you are feeling as bitterness but if you are angry or resentful of your husband, that is bitterness. The Bible says that we need to but away bitterness and put on forgiveness. (Eph. 4:31-32).

Reading through the book The Excellent Wife Martha Peace gives examples of what bitterness sounds like. Some of the bitter thoughts are so bitter "Oh, I am so thankful I haven't said that," I said to myself in pride as I read. However I was humbled when I read the contrasting "forgiveness" thoughts because they are hard to say! Have I gone so far as to say the forgiving things? Am I willing?

Here is a short list of what she calls bitter thoughts and the contrasting tenderhearted, forgiving thoughts. I appreciated looking through the list to recognize where I have allowed bitterness to take hold.

Bitter Thoughts

Kind, Tenderhearted,
Forgiving Thoughts

He doesn't love me, he only loves himself

He does not show love as he should
but his capacity to love can grow

I do so much for him and
look what I get in return!

I wonder if I can do something
differently to make it easier for him.

I can't believe what he
decided. How ridiculous!

Maybe he has information I don't have.

I can't believe what
he has done to me!

What he has done is difficult but
God will give me the grace to get through it.

He'll never change.

By God's grace, he can change.

He should have known better.

How can he possibly know?
I've never told him. He can't
read my mind

(from The Excellent Wife, p. 94-95)

I wrote much of this post in the 24 hours before church today. And I was doing a little bit of editing in the hour before we needed to head out the door. I had the opportunity right then to actually practice replacing my bitter thought: "I can't believe he pulled tools out to get mmore of that project done. Why isn't he helping me get the kids ready and in the car! Can't he see how much I am struggling to manage all four of them? (Plus I am blogging about something that he should appreciate!) Can't he see we are going to be late again?!" with a tenderhearted thought: "I know that he only has a few hours today to get this project done and when Sunday is over, he has 12 hour days ahead of him all week long. He is feeling the pressure to finish up today so he can focus on work - and Little League- the rest of the week. When I stepped outside myself and thought of him rather than myself, I found that I was really grateful for how hard he was working to complete that project. Had I focused on my needs instead, I would have caused unnecessary conflict that morning (not to mention made it diffcult for the both of us to enjoy church because of the fight we would have most certainly had).

By replacing my bitter thoughts with tenderhearted, forgiving thoughts I blessed THE BOTH OF US. As cheesy as it may sound, by thinking not of myself, I suddenly found myself so grateful for Ryan, so blessed by him. Only the power of the Holy Spirit can do such a thing. If you struggle with bitter thoughts I encourage you to seek the Lord in prayer and ask Him to help you. Martha Peace suggests making a list of those bitter thoughts word-for-word and then writing next to each a new tenderhearted, forgiving thought that you can rehearse instead (she also suggests literally burning the bitter thoughts list so no other eyes fall upon it). When you make it a habit to replace the selfish, sinful thoughts with God-glorifying thoughts it will become increasingly easy to do.

Challenged? I am!!

Book Giveaway coming...!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Read-read-read-read-read to your kids!!

You just HAVE TO jump over to Randy's blog today. You will find an encouraging shove to read to each of your children.
Now is the time!
This is the day!!

For a great list of books (not just from me but from a bunch of people who commented) click here and then if you are local go here to reserve one or two at the library!