Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Dad: Someone who stands in when mom is not there.

On Monday, Kris planned a wonderful family home evening lesson. He decided to teach a lesson on prayer and was using the FHE resource manual to tell a story. The story is about how a dad is working at home and throughout the day his various children come to him and ask him different things. One child comes with a broken doll which he says he'll fix. One child comes with a math problem, the dad kindly listens and then suggests different ways to try to work the problem but he doesn't give the solution. One child comes and asks for money and the dad says no. There were a handful of other situations. Our children have been getting progressively more rowdy during prayer time. Kris' thinking was that maybe if they could understand prayer a little bit better, they'd be more reverent. So the purpose of the story was that we really have a Father in Heaven who loves us and takes the time to listen to us about whatever we're willing to share with Him. Kris also told the story to try to stress that Heavenly Father doesn't always say "yes" to our prayers. Well, at the end of the story he asked a question from the manual in an attempt to emphasize these points. He asked "Why did these children go to their father for help?" He was hoping for an answer along the lines of "Because they know their daddy loves them and will help them". Ahhh, hope springs eternal. Kaylyn started bouncing in her seat in typical 7 year old fashion, hand raised high in the air saying "I know I know" so Kris called on her. And here is her wonderful nugget of an answer, "They went to their dad because their mommy wasn't home." Thank you Kaylyn for countering my opinions of my mothering skills.

I have discovered what I will do with my children's toys when they don't pick them up: Tada! No more stepping on little toys, now we'll just eat them.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

And the winner of the mother of the year award goes to......ugh, not you

Yeah, I won't be winning any mother of the year awards any time soon. But that's ok. I'm fine with being "adequate". It seems my children are fine with it as well. I figure as long as we can all laugh (though some things we won't be laughing at until we've had the time and distance needed for them to become funny) then we are doing fine. Fine fine fine fine.

So why don't we have a breakdown of the things that have disqualified me from the mother of the year award:

1. This can best be told by a picture or maybe two.

Why yes, that is my 2 year old with stitches. I can't entirely accept blame for this injury. I wasn't even in the room. Hunter is awfully fond of tackling things: sisters, mom, dad, barbies, trees. You think I'm kidding don't you? Ha! Well, one particularly fine evening he was tackling Ashley. The two were giggling and having a grand old time. I could hear Kris repeatedly telling them to be careful, someone was going to get hurt, knock it off.....etc. Then I heard the crash and the scream of doom. It seems Ashley had tired of being tackled and had ducked. Good for her, most unfortunate for Hunter as the TV stand was right behind Ashley. It was semi-late on a Friday night because, you know, when else do accidents happen? Kris and I hemmed and hawed over the cut was large enough to require stitches. We actually had to call a neighbor to get a third opinion (thanks Shannon). I guess we know it was a good call when the doctor said (in a somewhat sarcastic tone, looking at me like I'm crazy for asking), "um, yeah he needs stitches". You may wonder why this eliminates me from mother of the year when I wasn't even involved? Well, it dredges up a past incident in which I was involved (ok, fine! it was my fault!). When Kaylyn was just barely 1 we were having a grand old time jumping on the bed together until I bounced her off and right into the dresser. Look, when you have your babies and you are very very young, you don't always use the best judgment. Anyway, she split open her head and as I was slightly worried about a concussion, that ended up in a hospital visit. Next time you're looking for your parenting skills to come into question I dare you to go to the ER and say "I was jumping on the bed with my baby and I accidentally bounced her into the dresser." If you're lucky, they'll believe you and just give you strange looks. If you're not lucky, like me, they'll put you and your baby in separate rooms and make you repeat the story several times to different hospital personnel. I have since eschewed all jumping on the bed and am even nervous about trampolines. If nothing else, lesson learned. I will say one little thing in my defense. If you have ever heard Kaylyn giggle you know that it's the most delicious and magical sound in the world. Her preschool teachers used to try to make her giggle all day long. Bouncing her on the bed was one of the things she laughed hardest at as a baby, and therefore had been a favorite pastime until this incident.

2. My children have started having these "airing of the grievances" discussions. That's my term not theirs. At least once a week, they gather together and say things like:
I'm mad at mom because she makes me do chores.
Well I'm mad at mom because she won't let me play with friends today.
I'm mad because mom won't let us have candy for breakfast.
(or Hunter's personal favorite, because he has to chip in) I'm mad at mom for putting me in a diaper.
The kids have these top secret discussions in the girls' bedroom. They always tell me they have to have a private kids only meeting. What they forget is that we have a monitor in their room so I can hear every single word of it. After they're done they mope around and glare at me for a little while. Then they're back to normal until the next "meeting". I'm either doing something very right or very wrong.

3. I started making a conscious effort to look for teaching moments with my kids, more specifically, for spiritual teaching moments. An opportunity arose when I had the following conversation with Kaylyn in the car (if you don't know the boy the story is about, you probably shouldn't know and therefore, should promptly forget):
Kaylyn: mom, how old were you when you got married?
Me: 20
Kaylyn: How old was dad?
Me: 22.
Kaylyn: How old are boys when they get back from their missions?
Me (thinking: where is this going?): um, usually 21.
Kaylyn: Ok. That will be perfect.
Me: Uh, perfect for what kiddo?
Kaylyn: Well, I'll be 20 when Jonathan gets back from his mission. We'll be just right for getting married.
Me: Well, yes I suppose. *pause as I wonder how on earth I got into this conversation with a 6 year old* I thought you wanted to go on a mission?
Kaylyn: I do but.....*long pause*
Me: What honey?
Kaylyn: Well *voice cracking as she starts to tear up* if I go on a mission he'll marry someone else before I get back.

So this led to a conversation about personal revelation and prayer and letting the Holy Ghost be our guide. I silently congratulated myself on a job well done and promptly turned up the stereo (which is probably why I was oblivious to any revelation coming my way). Not too much later I hear a noise so I turn the music down. Kaylyn is in the back just sobbing. I asked her what was wrong but she refused to tell me. It took every single trick in the mother's handbook to get it out of her. She said something along the lines of:
"Well, I really love Jonathan and I know he likes me and I know he knows I like him but I don't think he knows how much I like him. I'm scared to tell him, but if I don't tell him, he'll marry someone else. I'm just really scared to tell him how much I love him."
We had another conversation that included a cute little story Jonathan's mom had told me about how much he likes Kaylyn and hopefully, I did better on the second conversation than I did on the first. I suppose I should chalk it up to good practice. I have a feeling there will be plenty of drama on the boy front in just a few years.

4. We told Ashley that at the new year, she would have different primary teachers instead of still having mom and dad teach her class. You would think she might be just a teensy bit sad. Nope. She cheered, she did a dance, she shouted "hooray". And then she asked, "Will I still have to live with you?" And when we told her "yes" she said, "oh" and looked very disappointed. It's a good thing that she has her moments on needing mommy, and just mommy, or I might feel like the worst mother on the planet.

5. ***WARNING: if poop stories gross you out you might want to skip this one*** After almost a month of Kaylyn complaining of stomach pain and me replying with, "well, you have no fever and you're not throwing up so you're going to school" I finally took her to the doctor. What makes it worse is that I only took her because she called home sick from school and I told her, "if I pick you up you have to go to the doctor". So I took her. The doctor did a physical exam and decided to do an xray of her stomach. I can't exactly explain the results as I have no medical knowledge. But I do remember hearing "impacted bowel" and "barely any oxygen pockets" and "kids can have normal bowel movements and still have their bowels backed up". The poor kid has her whole intestines full of pooh [go ahead and say that inappropriate joke that I will kick you for later]. So, hello laxatives, goodbye pooh.

I have more examples but I figure this is sufficient. You know what though? There's a misconception among many that this life is about striving for perfection. Let me let you in on a little secret: it's not. This life isn't about being perfect. It's about learning how to be perfect. Perfection will come at a much later date. For now, let's enjoy the learning process.