Monday, June 30, 2014

Go to Bed!

One summer evening, Son #1 and Son #2 decided that they wanted to camp out in our youngest son's room for the night.  The boys dragged out their sleeping bags, special blankets, and pillows.  Son #1 brought in his stuffed Snoopy while Son #2 cuddled with Pete the Cat.  I sat down on the floor with their devotional book and a fun story book.  The boys snuggled under the covers as I read.  Then, we prayed and gave each other kisses.

Son #1 pulled the blankets up to his chin and hugged Snoopy tightly.  He closed his eyes and whispered.  "Good night, Mommy.  I love you."

I kissed his cheek one more time and said.  " I love you, my little Coo Agoo"

Son #2 wiggled around under his covers.  He reached up with his tiny hand and asked.  "Ear? Ear?"

I leaned down and let him hold my ear for a second.  Then, I pointed to my cheek with my finger.  "Kiss?  Kiss?"  I requested.

Son #2 pursed his lips and planted a kiss on my cheek.  I kissed his chubby cheek and whispered.  "I love you, Baby Jangly June."

As I walked out of the room, I reached out to turn off the bedroom light.  Before the light went off, I turned to blow kisses to my sweet boys.  The boys began to bounce around and I warned them in a growly voice.  "Lay down.  Go to bed."

They immediately lay down and apologized.  Then, Son #2 picked up Pete the Cat and placed the stuffed animal on his bed.  He covered Pete with a soft blanket and scowled.  "Go to bed!"  He scolded loudly.  Son #2 crossed his arms, sat on his sleeping bag, and wrinkled his brow. 

Irritably, Son #1 admonished his younger brother.  "Be quiet!  I'm trying to sleep."

Son #2 replied to his older brother.  "You go to bed!"

From under the covers, Son #1 muttered.  "Shut your pie hole."

Before things went completely awry, I turned off the lights and reminded my boys.  "Shhh!"  Then, I quickly ran to the other side of the house before they could argue again.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Valentine's Day Flowers

My family is your typical one income family with a couple kids and no extra money.  We are blessed by God to have enough income to pay our tithe and offering, save for a rainy day, pay our living expenses, pay for medical expenses, and treat ourselves to one fun thing or activity.  Our budget is incredibly tight.  I don't mind.  We just have to exercise our imaginations when we want to be romantic. 

This last Valentine's Day, my husband and I laughed about our simple plans.  The kids wanted to make a heart shaped pizza and get some flowers.  We could afford to make the pizza but flowers were a bit pricey.  So, we came up with a fun idea.  I happened to have pink construction paper, scissors, and a bag of pipe cleaners left over from some school project.  I called the kids over to the table and told them to draw as many big and little hearts as they could on the pink sheets of paper.  The kids looked at me like I was crazy but complied.  Son #1 immediately began to draw the hearts as fast as he could go.  Son #2 held the pencil in his hand and cried.  I asked.  "Do you need help, Baby?"  Son #2 shook his head up and down as tears welled up in his eyes.  I placed my hand over his and we began to draw hearts together.

When the boys were finished with their hearts, I told them to go play.  Once they were out of the room, I cut out all the hearts and punched a hole at the bottom of each heart.  Then, I stuck a pipe cleaner through each hole and made a knot at the end of it.  Silently, I dug around a bottom cabinet for empty vases.  Finally, I arranged a group of hearts into each vase.  When my husband and the boys came out from the other rooms, they gazed at each vase of "flowers" in amazement.  We were able to have flowers for Valentine's Day after all.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Whoa Whoa Whoa...

Two year old children have the distinct ability to fling themselves backward whenever they encounter something disagreeable.  Son #2 is no exception.  This habit of throwing himself back regardless of who or what may be behind him began at the ripe old age of one and 7/8ths.

If his little mug contained something that was not to his liking, he threw himself backward.

If his older brother took a toy away from him, he threw himself backward.

If he didn't get a cookie first before his brother, he threw himself backward.

If he didn't know someone and was scared, he threw himself backward.

If he was told not to touch something, he threw himself backward.

There were and still are an endless amount of scenarios that could make my young son throw himself backward shrieking "Whoa, whoa, whoa!" on his way down.  There are an even larger amount of reactions that I display when his tantrums occur.  When he hits his head on the way down, I snuggle and comfort him.  Other times, I rush to catch him before any damage is done.  However when he cautiously throws himself to the floor and catches himself before injury occurs, I eyeball him and voice my disapproval.  Inevitably, I talk to him about being patient or listening and obeying depending upon the situation.  We always end with a hug, a kiss, and a child's promise to end the fits.

Do I believe the tantrums will end? 


Eventually in a year or two, we'll be able to have a conversation instead of "Special Cry Time" performed by my two year old child.  I look forward to the day when I don't have to stick my fingers in my ears to drown out the naughty protests and demands when Son #2 does not get his way.  Yet, I shrug my shoulders and accept the fact that my two year old wants independence but does not know how to explain himself.

I think he is slowly learning to control his temper.  With time, he'll find better ways to communicate his displeasure.  I'll be curious to see if he can learn to construct well thought out arguments minus whining and complaining.  As my mom always says.  "It's only a phase.  When this passes, something else will take its place."

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Bike Ride to the Park

Several weekends ago, Son #1 and I decided to take a bike ride to the park while his younger brother napped.  We silently tiptoed to the garage and carefully opened the garage door.  Then, we wheeled the bikes to the driveway and gingerly shut the garage door.  I smiled at my oldest son and cheerfully asked.  "Ready to go for a ride?"  Son jumped onto his bike and replied.  "Oh yeah!"

Before we started our ride, Son #1 and discussed the rules for our ride.  "Alright Son, before we go you need to promise me that you will stay right behind me as we ride.  We're going to be riding on the road so we're going to need to follow road rules."  Son #1 agreed seriously.  We reviewed riding on the correct side of the road, following road signs, being aware of cars, and signaling for turns.  Son #1 absorbed all the information with a growing feeling of increased responsibility.  He proudly agreed to follow our rules and then pedaled off  behind me to the first stop sign. 

It was a beautiful day for a ride to the park.  The temperature was in the seventies and there was a cool breeze lilting above the trees.  Son #1 and I rode past all types of houses through a couple neighborhoods.  As we rode, the architectural style of the houses changed representing the decade in which they were built.  Small, new trees gave way to expansive, shade trees.  In the distance, a tiny park was tucked in between two older homes. 

As the park came into view, Son #1 and I sped up in excitement.  When we pulled up to the gate, we hopped off our bikes and steered them toward a picnic table.  Son #1 lounged on the bench and drank from his water bottle.  We talked while we rested and sipped water.  Then, Son #1 shouted.  "Let's go play!"

Son #1 and I sprinted to the playground.  We swung on the monkey bars and slid down the slides.  We rode on the various vintage playground toys.  We laughed and played until we were completely worn out.  Then, hunger pangs reminded us that we needed to return home.  Slowly, my son and I walked to our bikes.  We guided our bikes to the road and hopped on them for our ride home. 

I called out to my eldest son as we peddled back to the house.  "Did you have fun?" 

Son #1 yelled out with delight. "Yeah!  I wanna do this again!"  "

"Me too!"  I responded as we sped toward our house.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day

Only A Dad
by Edgar A. Guest (1916) 

Only a dad with a tired face,
Coming home from the daily race,
Bringing little of gold or fame
To show how well he has played the game;
But glad in his heart that his own rejoice
To see him come and to hear his voice.

Only a dad with a brood of four,
One of ten million men or more
Plodding along in the daily strife,
Bearing the whips and the scorns of life,
With never a whimper of pain or hate,
For the sake of those who at home await.

Only a dad, neither rich nor proud,
Merely one of the surging crowd,
Toiling, striving from day to day,
Facing whatever may come his way,
Silent whenever the harsh condemn,
And bearing it all for the love of them.

Only a dad but he gives his all,
To smooth the way for his children small,
Doing with courage stern and grim
The deeds that his father did for him.
This is the line that for him I pen:
Only a dad, but the best of men.

For my terrific Daddy (I miss him)...

...And my two sons' wonderful father

Saturday, June 14, 2014

My Quack Quack in the Mug

Son #2 loves to play with his bathtub toys.  He has a couple rubber duckies, a tug boat, and a set of water flutes.  Bath time is very exciting with these toys in the tub. 

One evening, Son #2 finished his bath and hopped out of the tub.  He huddled in his towel on the bath mat and tried to stay warm.  Water dripped off his hair and back soaking the fluffy rug underneath his feet.  I rubbed the extra water droplets off of his little arms and legs.  Then, I helped him put on lotion and his pajamas.  Finally, we combed his hair and brushed his teeth. 

Son #2 felt shiny and clean as he ran around the living room like a maniac.  His older brother was in the process of taking his own bath when Son #2 flew into the bathroom and stole a rubber ducky.  Son #1 shouted out.  "Hey!  I'm naked here!  Get out of the bathroom!  I need privacy!"  Then, he quickly locked his younger brother out of the bathroom.

Son #2 pounded on the bathroom door and growled.  "Brudder!  Popen da door!"

Son #1 yelled back smugly.  "No!  Now, go away!"

They argued back and forth for a time until my husband and I distracted the youngest from his tirade.  "Baby!"  I called out.  "Are you thirsty?  Do you want a Ba?"  (Translation:  Ba is currently organic soy milk.  Son #2 has a mild milk allergy.)

Son #2 paused at the bathroom door and pondered the question.

"Come on, Little Son.  Let's get something to drink before bedtime."  My husband beckoned.

Son #2 clasped the rubber ducky to his chest and rushed to the kitchen to get his mug.  I poured the "Ba" into his mug as Son #2 steadied it above his head.  He brought the mug to his lips and savored the first gulp.  With a look of satisfaction on his face, he meandered to the couch and relaxed with the ducky and drink. 

I continued to help my oldest son with his bath while my husband chatted with our youngest son.  Eventually, both boys were bathed and dressed.  Each had brushed their teeth and were settling down for their evening devotional before bedtime.  I hung up wet towels and placed the bath toys on the rim of the tub.  Then, I noticed that one of the bath ducks was missing.  I asked my youngest son.  "Baby, do you remember where you put the ducky that you had in your hands?"

"Huh?"  My youngest son responded.

"Where is the other ducky?"  I asked with an exaggerated shoulder shrug.

Son #2 clapped his hands together and exclaimed.  "Oh!  I find it!"  He scurried around the house until he located the ducky.  Once the ducky was discovered, he proudly returned to the living room and announced.  "Wook!  I did it!  My quack quack's in the mug!"

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Flower Pot

A few weeks ago while school was still in session, Son #1 brought home a painted flower pot with a tiny plant as a Mother's Day gift.  I was delighted.  I carefully took his little gift into my hands and began to examine the art work.  The clay pot was painted a brilliant, deep blue.  In the middle of the pot, Son #1 had painted a bright red flower with dark green leaves.  I smiled to myself and then peered at the plant.  So far, the plant was only a tiny seedling.  I asked my eldest son.  "What did you plant in the pot?"

Son #1 replied.  "A flower!"

"Cool!  I love flowers."  I responded.

Son #1 beamed with pride.  "Yeah.  We made it at school for Mother's Day.  I got to paint the pot and then put dirt in it when it dried.  Then, I got to plant a seed and water it.  Oh and it grew!"

"Wow!  That is really awesome."  I hugged Son #1 tightly.  "Thank you!  I feel so special!"

Son #1 returned my hug.  He smiled and then replaced his smile with a very serious face.  "Do you know why they call this a flower pot?" 

I made a silly face and said.  "No.  Why?"

Son #1 was shocked.  "You don't know why they call this a flower pot?!"  He glared at me, surprised that I did not know everything.

 "Nope."  I replied with a laugh.  "Why do they call it a flower pot?"

"Well, let me tell you."  Son #1 explained.  "It's a plant that grows into a flower.  That's why it's called a flower pot!"

"Oh!  Now I get it."  I said with wide eyes and a grin.

"Good!"  Son #1 yelled as he ran to his room to play.  "Now, don't forget it!"

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Race Around the Picnic Table

A couple weekends ago, our little family decided to go have a picnic by the river.  We hopped into our car and headed out into the countryside.  Son #1 and Son #2 fought and played in the back seat.  My husband and I tried to ignore the noise.

The afternoon was cool with rain clouds on the horizon.  However, we drove on to our destination undeterred.  Soon, we came up to the bridge crossing over our favorite spot on the river.  The kids were so excited.  It had been a while since we had played at this popular little bend.  My husband turned the wheels onto the dusty dirt road and wound his way down to the rocky bank.  As we approached the water's edge, we noticed our favorite place to play had been invaded by pipes, concrete, and a back hoe.  Needless to say, we were very sad and a bit disgusted.  My husband turned to me with a perturbed look on his face and said.  "Let's get out of here!"  I agreed quickly and we were off in search of a new destination.

After consulting our mental maps of the area, we decided to visit a little river just west of our location.  Before we had the kids, we used to hike along its bank on random, summery afternoons.  Once, we even rafted down the river using a blow up mattress and a couple of canoe paddles in honor of the movie Deliverance.  When we finally reached our new destination, we noticed that the river was completely dry.  Now, we were annoyed.  We should have known that the drought had wreaked havoc on the local streams and rivers.  Yet, one would think there might at least be a trickle of water in the river bed.  I turned to my husband and said.  "Where do you want to go?" 

He shrugged his shoulders and stared out the window.  Then, he turned to me with a smile and asked.  "Do you remember the rest stop on that hill out in the distance?" 

I grinned and replied.  "Yeah.  Do you want to go out there?"

He winked at me and pulled out onto the road again.  "Sure." 

Raindrops began to fall onto the windshield as the storm clouds gathered ominously on the horizon.  From the back seat, Son #1 piped up.  "Let's see if we can see any tornadoes while we're there."

When we arrived at the rest stop, the kids hopped out to play.  I set up our lunch on the picnic table as the kids raced around the shelter.  Son #1 began to lap his younger brother.  Realizing that he was falling behind, Son #2 devised a plan to beat his older brother. 

Son #1 shouted.  "Ha ha!  I'm winning!"

Son #2 responded.  "No Bruder!  I wimming!"

Son#1 shrieked.  "Oh no you're not!"  Then, he put on the steam and raced around the corner. 

Son #2 pouted but then cut through the picnic area just in time to jump in front of his older brother.  "I wimming!"  He cried with glee.

Son #1 was out of breath as he laughingly called out.  "Look Mom!  Look Dad!  My baby brother cheated!"

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Scissors

There is a book called "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten".  Never has a more accurate book title been written. 

When Son #1 was in kindergarten, he would come home and expound on the bits of wisdom imparted to him and his classmates.

Before handing out exciting items, everyone knew..."You get what you get and you don't throw a fit."

Before starting a writing assignment, the children understood..."You write with your pencil in the book, not on the table."

When on the playground, the kids realized..."We do not karate kick our friends.  It's just not nice."

Just a week ago, Son #1 finished first grade.  He and his friends met at their Sabbath School class the next day at church.  They were so excited to see each other again.  The noisy group of friends marched into the room and shouted to each other about their exciting summer plans.  Their Sabbath School teacher finally calmed them down and began their fun Bible activities.  The kids delved in eagerly. 

Eventually, time slipped away and their class ended.  Son #1 hopped out with a huge grin on his face.  He talked a mile a minute about all his friends.  My husband smiled and responded cheerfully.  Then, my husband furrowed his brow and peered at my eldest son's hair.  "Hey!  What happened here?"  He asked.

Son #1 replied nonchalantly.  "Oh!  I cut my hair with the scissors."

My husband gritted his teeth and brought Son #1 to me.  Then, he said.  "Tell your mom about your hair."

I winced before asking.  "What did you do to your hair?"

"I cut my hair with the scissor!"  Son #1 repeated happily.

I paused with a smirk and then asked once more.  "What was it that your teacher said in kindergarten about the scissors??"

Son #1 sighed.

"Scissors are for paper and not for hair."