Friday, April 1, 2016

Tooth in Lending

Some people, it's said, would give you the shirts off their backs. In the case of James . . .

Well, let me back up and set the stage.

Genevieve was thrilled today to find that she had a loose tooth: she'd been jealous that James was on the verge of losing one, but now she too had prospects of Tooth Fairy loot. They wiggled their teeth and compared them over the course of the day. On the way home, hers came out. There was much talk of how excited she was for morning, and how she planned to put a note under her pillow with the tooth, explaining all the details. James tried not to be jealous, but his had been loose for several days, and he was a bit frustrated that she beat him to putting one actually under the pillow after a mere day of looseness. He redoubled his wiggling, but to no avail.

Then - alas! During the car ride, Genevieve dropped the tooth, and couldn't see where it fell. There was much weeping and gnashing of - you know - but it seemed a simple case: the tooth had to be in the car. She looked. James looked. Nothing. More weeping. We insisted she stop fussing for the rest of the ride, as we adults would certainly find it when we got home.

Well, I searched diligently for that tooth, but have no idea where it could be.

Fortunately, Priscilla had experienced this several times (she swallowed at least two teeth, for example), and set about persuading Genevieve that all would be well. "But my note to the Tooth Fairy was supposed to be a minor part of the plan, and now it has to be the only plan!" Sister comfort triumphed in the end, and there was at last peace.

Suddenly: "My tooth came out!" James exclaimed. Instantaneously, he held it out. "Here, Genevieve. You can put this under your pillow."

(Yes, she accepted: "Thank you, James! It's just like mine was . . . only bloodier!")

Some days, it seems all they do is annoy each other on purpose, complain about each other, and speak angrily to each other. But when it counts, the "tooth" will out: there's real love there.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

These Are the Days of Wonder - and Horror

So there we were, living an ultimate example of what homeschool is supposed to be all about. James and Vivi had, on their own, found a beautiful little frog, named him (her?) Lightfoot, and made the creature a habitat of sorts. Lightfoot actually seemed rather happy to inhabit it.

A neighbor boy joined them, and they excitedly displayed their find. Genevieve started telling him of how James loves reptiles; James replied (gently, even!) that this was in fact an amphibian, and spontaneous child-led discussion of the differences between the categories resulted. Said neighbor's mom was so entranced by all of this that she delayed sending the child to school so he could soak all of this up.

James ran in to get treats: ice pops. He proceeded to describe how he had been experimenting with various kinds of liquids since he got the ice pop kit, and what happened with each.

About this time, Lightfoot tired of his bark perch, hopped out of the bowl, and started climbing on our front door. 

Not only was this adorable, but now discussion turned to how a frog was designed to be able to do this.

So all was going swimmingly. Yup. Just about then, Lightfoot crawled further up and our eyes followed him to the top corner of the door where he decided to stay for quite a while before going sideways onto the wall (and eventually back to the bushes).

Unfortunately, with all this looking up, we saw that Lightfoot was not the first frog to traverse our door . . .
NOT Lightfoot
And it all ended in screaming.

Such is my life.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Signs We Need Thomas and Priscilla Back from Their Aunt & Uncle's House

Thomas and Priscilla have gone to help out with their little cousin Rhiannon, who has a brand-new baby sister, Rosalee! But Craig and Jenn are going to have to give them back this weekend. Things are getting desperate over here. A few signs:

1. Little Genevieve is having to take Thomas's place in sword battles. This just doesn't work quite as well. (Sometimes I fill in, too.)

2. Priscilla's talent at cake making is simply not matched by her mother's, as illustrated by Genevieve's great amusement in the picture to the right. I made a cake for her so Grandma Nauman could celebrate Vivi's birthday with us while she was here. (The littles had such fun with their grandma! And her presents to Genevieve are still being used daily.)

3. James is more and more resembling Commander Shepard from Mass Effect, slinging as big a toy gun as he can find onto his back and looking constantly but in vain for "bad guys." The boy is stretching out the necks of all his shirts, but his papa is secretly kinda proud of him, so we're letting it slide . . .
But really, the bottom line is that Glenn and I can't wait to see our big kids again.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Face Painting Part 2

James was sick recently. Stomach flu sick. We had a strange feeling of deja vu at the restaurant we'd been treated to as we watched him raise his shirt and point to his tummy. "Hurts," he said, almost casually. Glenn and I looked at each other quizzically: why did that seem strangely familiar? Oh, yeah, he did the exact same thing last fall when he-- Too late. Up came his lunch. Always fun, doubly so in public forums. (My friend Lizzie is right: There is a desperate need for a sarcasm font.)

He recovered rather quickly, only to get sick again 3 days later. (Weird gap.) Then I confined him to his room for the day. He was clingy and sweet, and got better again. But he remained weak-willed for a few days, and I grew complacent about things like gating his door during nap.

That was a mistake. Two days after that, I came up from the basement, where I'd been having a good homeschool math session with Priscilla on the white board, to find that James had invaded the girls' room a good bit earlier and was still there. He'd gotten out tons of Priscilla's jewelry, awoken his little sister and supplied her with markers (which she was using in, on, and around her crib with great enthusiasm), and found a treasure for himself: face paint. Probably recalling the dog faces Priscilla had created (see earlier post), he decorated Genevieve and himself.

Oh, boy.

James is good at picking up phrases from us that he hears quite frequently. ("No t'anks, I good" when he's full, "Don' know what missing!" when we refuse food he offers us, etc.) I'm just waiting for the inevitable repeat of "You gonna drive me to drink."

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Um, not really progress...

To say that we are going very slowly down the road of toilet training would be a vast understatement. There seems to be an important cognitive link missing as to which end should be addressed to the task...

Friday, January 8, 2010

Learning Humility + Grace = Parenting

Our "bigs" are visiting their aunt and uncle and are therefore supremely happy. Our "littles" thus have had all my focus during their waking hours this week, and it's been something.

First came Monday. We had an appointment at the WIC office, and for some reason these folks insist on having hours that correspond exactly with nap for most toddlers. We had also planned badly and been gone all morning, so Genevieve had slept for maybe 30 minutes and James for even less. So they were wound up. More than you think. A lot. I'd changed them in the parking lot and was dumb and didn't bring in my diaper stuff, thus they both had stinky diapers within the first 10 minutes. That didn't start them out as children you'd want to be around! Plus, there was a play area where they were expected to frolic unsupervised while I went into a separate office to register. By the time I came back out 5 or 10 minutes later, they had managed to spread out about a hundred pages' worth of pamphlets all over the room, and the other staff were "looking for me." Yet they were the ones who insisted the kids would be fine playing on their own! Maybe other kids are... There were other horrid parts of that visit that I will not elaborate on, but I was thoroughly feeling like a rotten mom by the end of it.

I don't know the answers. You'd think that by my second round of this parenting thing I'd have a clue what to do here, but I don't. There's been lots of prayer this week, though, and that's a good thing! I do remember telling the Lord I had no idea what to do next with the first ones (as I often do with later stages with them now, too), and that's my only parenting "secret": Know and admit your own inability and weakness. Ask Him for help. A lot. Then pick yourself up and go back to work with the little guys.

And then there are other things that have gone so much better. James had been appalled at the switch from a crib to a "big-James bed" this week (and begged pitifully for his crib the first night, and then slept on the hardwood floor in protest! - it was killing me!), but it has dwindled remarkably, and he has really been enjoying the relative freedom of naptime play in his room. Genevieve has been listening better and obeying the first time with not touching things and/or putting things back. We've been working on cleaning up areas, too.

Then, this morning, I went to the grocery store with the two littles, and James walked obediently by the cart, not touching anything or being anything but a model young citizen. And Genevieve rode contentedly in the cart. It was beautiful! I can look for differences like nap not being an issue and not having been out with them much the rest of the week and such, but those only explain so much, because there have certainly been other times when the circumstances were similar but behavior was awful.

I used to prepare for airline trips with little ones by telling myself, "I'm either going to be learning about grace or humility." Really, I need to continue learning both in all cases.

I can't explain my older two, who get hugely complimented on their behavior nowadays, except that God gave me training wheels, parenting-wise, and gave us circumstances and conditions that shaped them and us (like homeschooling, and wise friends with good kids to watch, and living in cramped quarters with people in their 90s). I can't explain my younger two, except that I know the Lord is showing me new things about children and myself and Him, and how I am as His child.

I am verbally compliant but in my heart I want to see what I can get away with and not really change. I think I can sneak things, when it's all laughably obvious what I'm trying to pull. Yet in all this, He delights in me, never gives up on me, teaches me, is patient with me, loves me more than can be expressed. And I would not know all this as clearly without the object lesson of trying to be like the parent He is to me.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Face Painting

Priscilla loves face paint, and had received some for Christmas. Yesterday, in honor of one of the few "dog days of summer" we've had this year, she painted her face like a dog (using brown clothes to dress the part), and James was absolutely fascinated. He ran into the other room and returned with a pink crayon. "Mommy! Write dog James too!"

So Priscilla got her kit and asked him to stay still (a Herculean task for this 2-year-old!), and soon they were both sporting a canine countenance.

Wow. I never realized how long a tongue that boy has.