Thursday, February 28, 2008

Whining Makes Me Sick!

I love PBS. They have cute shows and I can trust that their content is cool for the kids - Most of the time. Sorry PBS, but you struck out with the show Caillou, in my opinion. For those of you who are not familiar with this particular show, it's about a whiny 4 year old named Caillou and everything is about him. I mean everything. His mother is so considerate of his feelings that it makes me want to scream!

Don't get me wrong, let's try to be considerate of our children's feelings but you have to draw the line somewhere. This kid's parents don't and I refuse to let my kids watch the show. It is also, I might add, where David learned to say, "Bad, Mama!" Yeah, I nixed it after that.

So now I just tell David that Caillou is whiny and whining is ugly. We don't like the show now. Most of the time he still begs to watch it but one day he said, "We don't watch Caillou, Mama. Caillou is so whiny and whining makes me sick." Me too baby, me too.

Because the more I think about it, whining does make us sick. It infects us as insidiously as does cancer or any other terrible disease. It sneaks up on us. First we whine about how our particular situation is tough. And sometimes it really is. But soon that's all we can see or think about. How everything is hard or frustrating and it's all happening to me! At least that's the way it is in my life. And before I know it, I can't see the forest for the trees. I can't see the good, only the hard. I can't see the blessings, only the obstacles. And I can't see the arm of the Lord coming to rescue and relieve me, I only see the hand of my enemy.

So, yes, whining makes me sick, spiritually, that is. It makes me sick and it's one disease that I have complete control over whether or not I get sick.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Even A Child...

Proverbs 20:11 says "Even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right."

Sigh....That's how I feel when I read that verse. On the one hand it reinforces the importance that I place on training my children, discipline, and the like. But on the other more depressing hand, it reminds me that, unfortunately, even children build reputations based on their behaviors.

I wish it wasn't like that. I wish that people could see into the hearts of my children the way that I do. I would like for people to see David acting crazy and be able to reason, "He's tired. He's had a long day or he is just overwhelmed." Whatever the underlying reason is for his behavior. But that is usually not the case.

Which leads into my coversation with David yesterday. So he was wearing his Burger King crown yesterday in the car. When I looked in the rearview mirror I exclaimed, "David, you're a king!" His response? "No, I'm just a kid." Okay, so at this point I'm clueing into the spiritual lesson to be taught here. I respond, "David, you are a royal priesthood, a holy nation. It doesn't matter if you take your crown off. You are still a child of the king."

Proverbs 20 also says, in verse 27, that "the lamp of the Lord searches the spirit of a man; it searches out his inmost being."

Thank you for that redeeming last point! My kids' heavenly father will search out their spirits. Even when they act crazy, He will search their hearts to understand the reasons and motivations for their behaviors. He will know that they are Kingdom children even when they don't wear their crowns.

Ah, the grace of God. Not only to my children but to me too.

Monday, February 18, 2008

An Audience Of One

It's so hard to discipline and feel like you are doing the right thing when you have an audience. Whether the audience is your family or friends, it's still really difficult.

And it seems there is no "right way" to do the right thing by your children and do you know how frustrated that makes me feel? I want concrete answers and how to's. I want an exact algorithm for raising happy, healthy children who are set up for success later in life.

I hate it when I lose my cool and yell at my kids. I hate it when I allow myself to get so frustrated that I forget who the two year old is! I really really hate it when I feel like I am not enough for the people who need me to be enough. I hate to feel like I'm failing.

Okay, there it is. I hate to feel like I'm failing - my children, my husband, my self. It sucks.

But you can only fail a test, something that there has been a bar set for. Where you have a least amount and a greatest amount possible to be earned. Instead, in parenting, we're just doing the best we can. I listen, I hear what my Father says, and then I give it a try. Sometimes I feel pleasure about the way a particular situation turns out and sometimes I feel despair. But in the end, it doesn't matter. I am enough for my children, with all of my faults, the way that the Lord, with all of His perfection, is enough for me.

One day they will grow and that dependence and need will be transferred to their Father. That is my goal.

I parent to an Audience Of One. His opinion of my skills is all that matters. He brings Chuck and I together on issues and He enables us to support one another. He gives me the insight when I sometimes lose it and act like the toddler instead of my children. He gives me the strength to start over and try again instead of running away. And running away is indeed what I have been tempted to do time and time again.

Instead, I stay and parent to My Audience of One.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Strong Wills

It's official, both of my kids are strong willed. We have wondered about Rae because her will so rarely asserts itself but she confirmed my suspicions yesterday.

David we have known about from his earliest days. We were very concious first time parents and we worked on his obedience relentlessly. He tried us about everything. He still does. He makes no secret of the fact that he gets tired of being told what to do. At least that is easy to understand.

Rae is different. She is completely compliant and easy most of the time. She doesn't fuss, demand her own way, or make any kind of waves. But boy when she gets it in her mind, that other tiny percentage of the time she is a real pistol! Yesterday I kept telling her no about touching the computer power button. We had to progress to popping the hand, then to swatting her bottom, then her lef, then we just kept on. Finally she got tired of the "game" and turned to me and laughed! She let me know that it was over for her only because she thought it was funny and she was ready to move on. Yikes.

I think we have not worked on discipline with her like we did with David because she is so sweet and tiny. It's sometimes difficult to not think of her as a tiny baby who doesn't understand. She does. She said, "Where's David" this morning. Hello, Mom!

What's a mother to do?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Green Housekeeping Update

My clothes drying on the line. Inspirational, I'm sure. I am trying to eliminate the dryer at least a few loads a week. So far so good. And I used a vinegar and water solution to clean my microwave this past weekend. It worked really well and came out nice and clean. The Green Housekeeping Project is coming along nicely.

Sometimes it's tough being a kid. You have to take time out for the little things like tv watching and relaxation.

She looks like the tin man just without the suit. So cute.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Fleas and Snakes

We've had a busy week. Lots going on and plenty of fun stuff to tell.

First of all my green housekeeping is progressing. I dried 4 or 5 loads of clothes on my new clothesline. Pretty exciting. I felt like such a hero for the environment. I know it is precious little but at least it's a start. I'm posting a picture soon so you can envision.

Snakes - We had a little baby snake on our front porch this week. Gross. I hate snakes. I am terrified of them and what really scares me the most is that David has no fear of anything. He loves all creatures great and small and wants to "investigate" them. Actually, let me take that back. He hates ladybugs. He told me he doesn't trust them. I'm still not sure where he got that from.

Fortunately for me, I have a heroic father who eliminated the baby snake. Unfortunately for me, I have a practical friend who pointed out that if there is a baby snake there are parent snakes. There whereabouts are still unknown.

Fleas - We have fleas in our backyard. I did not discover this until David was COVERED in bites. Could I have felt more like a trashy and incompetent mother? Absolutely not. The dog no longer lives with us but her fleas do. Great. Ignoring all grean housekeeping advice, my chemically licensed husband sprayed the heck out of the yard. The fleas are going down.

I asked him how the spraying went. His reply was, "Like the running of the bulls." What? "The bulls always die, baby. "

Okay, fine with me when it comes to fleas and snakes.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Green Housekeeping

I recently bought a book called Green Housekeeping. I am very interested in eliminating chemicals from our house that don't need to be here. I also want to do some things that will help be good to the environment. Soooo, I'm going to give it a shot. But all things in moderation, right?

Today I'm going to Wal-Mart and am going to buy some clothpins. I already have a line up in the yard that would work for a clothesline and when the weather cooperates (which it has been doing lately) I could hang some clothes on the line instead of using my dryer. That cuts down on my energy consumption and uses resources that are already available to me. Now, I know that Shireen is probably gritting her teeth that we have weather warm enough for that already but hang in there girl surely the snow and cold can't last forever.

So, I'll keep you posted on how my going green adventure progresses. If I only make one or two small changes at least it is a start.