Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Just Writing

Older people always say "Enjoy this, enjoy it. It goes by so fast..." and they gaze wistfully off into some fondly remembered past. I try to take it to heart, I really do. But in all the bustle and confusion of temper tantrums and needs and MESS I sometimes forget that someday I, too, will look back wistfully on these days.

And then every once in a while I have a moment...

Our final choir performance was Sunday night. All the anticipation of months of practice and all the thrill and excitement of the Christmas Season all rolled up into one. We sang our way through the annunciation, the angels and the shepherds, the wise men and Baby Jesus in the manger. And then the Junior choir comes up and they sing;

They waited for a king with crown of gold
To save the world as was foretold
A sovereign wise, a ruler bold

But only a baby came...

And as I sat there listening to the voice of my daughter sing out those profound words, with solemn face, perfect pitch and a straight, steady gaze at the audience of over a hundred congregants, I could barely hold back my tears. My little baby girl. She's nine. NINE. How did this happen?

Next year Judah will sing in the Cherub choir for 4-6 year olds. And then before I know it, Sofi will be in the adult choir with me and Judah will be singing with the high-schoolers and it will be Jamie in front of me with perfect poise, no remnant remaining of the toilet-diving, dirt-eating, electric-socket-poking toddler I see before me right now, singing so earnestly,

They waited for a Prince to gain the throne
A Savior sent by God alone
A Lord with kingdom yet unknown

But only a baby came...

And in moments like that I feel myself slowing down, each second an eternity, breathing deeply of the aroma of these days while they are still small. I want to soak it in while I can.

It goes by ohso fast.

Linking (a day late) with Heather for Just Write. Join us!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Teaching him to read.

Judah has always been far more verbal than I expected, being a boy and all. People re-assured me constantly, when he was an infant, not to expect him to talk as early or as fluently as Sofi had, since he was male. But he starting talking even earlier, and he really hasn't stopped since. It's made homeschooling him....interesting. A typical reading lesson, in which we are working our way through a word list of two-syllable words;


Judah: "Cah-mmm-eh--t. Comet. Whassa comet, Mama?"

Me: *explain*

Judah:  "I know what a shooting star is. There's a shooting star in Kipper, Mama. It's the episode where Kipper sees dat dragon. Remember dat, Mama?"

Me: *re-focus*


Every word has to be explained and discussed, definitions given and examples created. In addition, we occasionally  run across a problem with his accent.


Judah: "Pp-UH-pp--EH--t. Puh-pEHt. Mama, wassa puh-pEH-t?"

Me: *explain*

Judah: "Oooooh! PuppIT. Puppit. Hahaha. PuppIT, puppEHt."

And then he'll get obsessed with the different vowel sounds and go on "PuppIT, puppEHt"--ing for quite some time. Also, "HusbAAnd, husbIIInd. HusbAAnd, husbIIIInd. HusbAAAAnd, husbIIInd....(etc.)"

And of course, in addition to all that, he's definitely a boy, despite his linguistic... uh... skills, so there are plenty of interruptions for noises, dramatizations and questions. Today's lessons came to an abrupt halt with:


Judah: "Vvv... AH...M... it. Vomit. Whassat, Mama?"

Me: *explain*

Judah: falls all over the couch, clutching his throat with one hand, while the other hand mimes vomit flowing from his mouth in copious rivers down the couch, all the while making the most graphic gagging sounds imaginable.

Me: may or may not have given up in gales of helpless laughter.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Learning to talk, learning to talk back.

Jamie has learned some new words. He's been walking around the house this morning going, "Duuuuuursh, seeeeeeeeeet, SET!" and then chucking something across the room, or jumping off of something, or hurling himself into my arms. The intonation is perfect, even if the words (ready, set, go!) are a bit... mangled.

Judah, on the other hand, just told me, "Mama, you can't SING while you get me my milk. It will distract you!" And when corrected for his impertinence he responded, "But that's what you tell ME all the time."


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Just Writing

Sometimes this post is hard to write because I sit down in front of this blank screen and I just can't suck in enough Quiet to see if I have ANY thoughts, much less decipher them into anything Post-like. Even stream-of-conscious style is too structured for me some days. So maybe I'll just pretend to write in my diary-- like middle-school, back in the days when my thoughts were my own and marched along to the tunes in my head all day.

Dear Diary, Today we went to the park. Judah wore his Batman cape and his Green Thing mask because Kate got a pink cape and Supergirl shirt for her birthday and we made her a pink, sparkly mask to match. 

They play together so well these days. It wasn't always like that. There's more talking and less screaming, more playing and less tattling. That's good. Judah still has so much trouble talking. His words get all mixed up somewhere between his brain and his mouth and more often then not a waaaaail comes out, rather than actual Words. He gets frustrated easily with his inability to have an affect on his world-- no one listens to him, no one pays attention, he thinks.

"Use words, Judah. Stop whining and crying and use Words." 

Kate is a picture of independent Girlhood in her pink and superhero and sparkles. Flashing that lopsided smile. They say that asymmetry is attractive in the female face. I read an article that analyzed the features of some A-list celebrities and some of them are down-right CROOKED. Beautiful Kate and her mis-matched front teeth, flitting around the playground like a fairy-sprite-elf-child are a perfect example of that.

 Jamie is so Not-SofiandJudah. It's like starting over again with the whole parenting thing. He and Nicholas were playing on the slide and Nicholas fell over into him and he toppled off the edge of the slide right onto the back of his head. Baby dominoes. Not a game I recommend. I ran and scooped him up as he wailed and clutched his B. But he struggled and shoved me away after about 30 seconds, legs wiggling frantically to be free and off on his own again. Once he decides to give up nursing, I may never see him again. Why do the last babies always grow up the fastest?

Slow down, already. I need to breathe for a minute.

linking up at the EO, for Just Write again.

Monday, December 5, 2011

I got my heart broke today

I took the boys to the store this morning. They both needed various articles of warm clothing, because now that it's almost Christmas we're finally getting some chilly weather :) This particular consignment store has a nifty little play-place for the kiddoes to hang out while I shop. Another little girl was in there with the two boys and, as you might expect, I had to intervene to keep the peace a few times. The little girl's grandmother (I assume the older woman who brought her in was her grandmother) pretty much stared and ignored the little squabbles, tossing an occasional, token "Share with the little boy, Girlie." Oh well. No biggie. It's not like it's the first time we've run across other parents who don't make their kids behave in public places. I can cope with that.

But as we were leaving, things took a harsher turn. The little girl whined to get out. Grandma grabbed her arm and hauled her out over the wall and set her in the stroller. She stubbornly stood, refusing to sit on command.

"Siddown right now!"

*silent defiance*


*more silence, more defiance*

"If you don't siddown right now, I'm gonna hit you. You want me to hit you? I'll hit you. I don't care. You better sit down. RIGHT. NOW."

I can hardly describe the pure mean-ness of the tone of voice, or the effect of those words on my heart. Hearing such harsh ugliness come out of the mouth of an otherwise kindly -looking, grandmotherly woman was chilling-- along the lines of those horror movies where the kid or baby is possessed, or something. Evil spewing out of something you expected to be innocent and good. White-washed sepulchers.

It also made me so very more conscious and careful how my words come out to my own children. Am I disciplining and correcting in LOVE? So, so important. This is an important verse for me to remember as I go about instructing my children by the grace, and through the wisdom of my Heavenly Father.

James 3:17
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.

It is significant to me that "unwavering" is at the very tail end of that list. It's an important part of parenting, but it comes after purity, peace, gentleness, reason, mercy and good fruit. I tend to reverse that all too often. I start out unwavering; bossing my children around without proper consideration of their needs, venting my stress and frustration with their slow-ness and childish behaviors.

But I need to reverse that. First, what is my motive in this situation? Is my heart pure right now? Or am I rushing, worried and stressy? Am I promoting peace in this situation? Or am I just escalating the conflict between us with my own bad attitudes. Is my voice gentle and reasonable? Or am I just being bossy and unnecessarily harsh. Am I showing mercy to my child? Or am I insisting on my "just" pound of flesh. And finally, is good fruit being produced in the life of my child?

And after I get the right answers to all those questions, then I can go ahead and unwaveringly require obedience, respect and right behavior from my child. And finally, I need to be sure (oh so sure) that my motives for all this are for the benefit of my child and not to make myself look like a good parent. Children can sniff out even the barest whiff of hypocrisy. They're like little Pride Bloodhounds. And just when you're the most determined to make a good impression, they will throw a hissy fit in the middle of Taco Bell. Screaming and throwing their burrito across the dining room in a rage, and generally behaving like a Holy Terror.

Ask me how I know this.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

note to self:

In future, remember that it is not possible to UNDERestimate the amount of work you will get done on a single day. For example, it is highly doubtful that you could have actually cleaned the house, purchased a Christmas tree, set it up, decorated it and the entire house with ornaments and what-nots unpacked from the attic, made several wreaths, and also put all the lights up outside the house. Particularly not that last one. Especially not on the day Jamie learns to do this: