Joys of Summer

Are you enjoying your summer?

School ended on June 28th. On the 29th I took one of our sons for dental surgery. The surgery itself was fine, but the anesthesia took its toll. My son asked for a milk shake. While I was in the Wendy’s drive through he started groaning and whining. A few seconds later, the contents of my son’s stomach were on the seat beside him. I had no extra clothes, and no plastic container, no water, no wipes. Thus began a LONG trip home with several more “events” of a similar nature. Sometimes I managed to pull over to the side of the road in time, and sometimes I did not 🙁

On the brighter side, we have been enjoying 7 adorable kittens. Here are a few pictures for your enjoyment, compliments of my daughter, Grace.


What Kind of Legacy am I Leaving Behind?

gifts backgroundSometimes my mind makes strange connections. Today was one of those days. I was invited to attend a party and asked to bring two items wrapped in newspaper for a gift exchange. One of the items I picked to give away was a book about legacy. As I wrapped the book, I thought about the kind of legacy I want to leave my children.

Nothing strange about that thought. Fast forward to later in the day when I was working with a group of volunteers cleaning up garbage along a local road. As I picked up scrunched up beer cans, cigarette butts, and disintegrating plastic bags, I began to think about the people who left the items behind. Did they even think about who might happen upon the garbage they were tossing? Would they still throw it on the ground if they knew others would find out about it?

Somehow as I walked along the ditch the two ideas merged: garbage and legacy. They are both things people leave behind. One has a distinctly negative connotation while the other could be either negative or positive, depending on what kind of legacy is left.

As I’ve pondered what kind of legacy I want to leave for my children, here is my list:

  • A sense of wonder and curiosity
  • Discernment and wisdom
  • Healthy self-esteem
  • A solid spiritual foundation
  • Genuine love and concern for others
  • A basic understanding of their strengths and interests
  • The knowledge they are loved and accepted for who they are

 


Avoiding the Bedtime War Zone – Ruth L. Snyder

pillow fightWhy is it that almost without exception, children love to hate bedtime? One of the most important things you can do as a parent or caregiver is to create bedtime routines. Here is a checklist to get you started:

  • Bath
  • Put on pajamas
  • Brush teeth
  • Bedtime snack/drink
  • Clean up toys
  • Read story together
  • Hugs
  • Tuck-in time

You may include all of the items listed above, or select only 2 or 3 to start with and build from there. The important thing is to be consistent. Once your child gets used to the bedtime routine, he or she will know what to expect and the “war zone” will disappear.


Painting Lessons

It seems like lately every time I ask my three-year-old what she wants to do, her reply is, “Let’s paint!” Today was no exception. First we tried out finger paints. She was OK with dipping her fingers into the pots and dabbing the paint onto the paper. However, when I suggested she put paint on her whole hand to make a hand print, she looked at me like I was crazy. “Why don’t you put paint on my hahand printnd,” I suggested. She was quick to comply. It was an eye-opening experience for me. I felt vulnerable as I waited for her to place the paint on my hand. The paint was cold, and it tickled when my daughter brushed her finger across my hand. I shared my reactions with my daughter. After I made my hand print I asked her, “Do you want me to put paint on your hand now?” She smiled at me and nodded her head. We made a couple of hand prints and then we were both ready to wash up.

An hour or so later, the paints were pulled out again – this time with a paint brush. I set everything up and then sat down to do some work on the computer. My daughter painted for a few seconds and then called me over. “I need help, Mom!” I helped her with the requested task and then went back to my work on the computer. A few minutes later, she “needed” help again. It dawned on me she really wasn’t asking for help, she was asking for my undivided attention. I sat down and for the next few minutes we painted together – first she painted, then she told me what to paint.

It is now mid afternoon. My daughter has a splotch of red paint on her elbow, various colors of paint splattered on her shirt, and a red stripe on her cheek. Our masterpieces are drying on the table.


Toys

Rolling in a drumHave you noticed that the most inexpensive things make the greatest toys? I clearly remember a Christmas from my childhood when my parents spent more money than usual on our toys. They were looking forward to watching us play with our new toys. However, we surprised them. Instead of playing with our expensive toys, we played for hours with the empty shipping drums in our yard. We found countless ways to use those drums – standing on top and rolling the drum along while we walked (or ran), having races with the drums, curling up inside the drums and rolling down a hill then laughing like crazy because we were dizzy. You get the picture.Ball or apple?

My own children reminded me today to keep things simple. My three-year-old daughter asked for an apple. I thought she was going to eat it. Instead she and one of her brothers rolled it back and forth across the table. The fact the apple was not perfectly round just added some excitement to the game. The apple kept them happy for a good half hour before it finally became a snack.

Do you have any similar stories to share?


Lima Beans Anyone?

lima beansI had to smile tonight as we were eating supper. My kids were comparing how many Lima beans they found in their mixed vegetables and then competing to see who could eat them the fastest. No complaints, no whining, just eating their vegetables.

It’s a trick I learned from my parents many years ago. You see, when I was growing up, one of my family’s favorite desserts was fruit cocktail. But none of us wanted to eat the cherries. My Mom and Dad had a discussion and came up with a creative plan. The next time we had fruit cocktail, my Dad made a big deal about finding the cherries. Then, he made an even bigger deal about how great the cherries tasted as he ate them. It didn’t take long for all of us to follow his lead. Soon we were competing to find the most cherries and commenting about how wonderful they tasted. It wasn’t until years later that Dad “fessed up” and told us his secret. By then we all truly enjoyed our fruit cocktail and our Dad’s wonderful sense of humor.

Parenting has its moments. There are enough battles without making more. Sometimes a bit of creativity and humor can dissolve problems. Lima beans, anyone?!


The End of 2011

Colorful FireworksAs I write this post, I am sitting beside my younger children who are watching Paddington Bear. My husband and oldest child are at a New Year’s Eve party. On Facebook my cousin mentioned he is also home with the kids, one of whom is ill.

Parents often end up celebrating events in ways that would be unacceptable or at best, unexpected, to those with no children. As a parent I missed most of my nephew’s wedding reception because one of my sons soiled his pants and the nearest clean clothes were a half hour away. Last New Year’s Eve I spent a very quiet evening by myself because one of my sons needed to go to bed early. This New Year’s Eve I’m at home because several of my children are tired out after a week of fun with cousins who were visiting.

I tell my children that often we cannot choose what happens to us, but we can choose how we respond. I choose to be thankful for opportunities to spend time with my young children, building memories that may never be able to be built in any other way. I choose to remember that my children are only young once. I choose to laugh and take pictures of my daughter with a pile of cat food on the living room floor (she was having a “snow ball fight with her brother”) before I help her clean up. I choose to put my hobbies and aspirations on the back burner, or at least delay them until my kids are in bed! Parenting is definitely a challenge, but the rewards are worth it!


The Rush to the Bus

school bus

Getting kids out the door to the bus every morning can be challenging enough for most families. However, when kids have special needs, the challenge is even greater. Parents of kids with special needs perform a delicate dance each day – taking into account the individual needs of each child while also making sure necessary tasks are accomplished.

Take this morning for instance. When I told Levi to make his lunch, he ignored me and kept playing. I set the timer and again instructed Levi to make his lunch. This time he came out of his room and threw a few choice words my way. “Levi, you have five minutes to make your sandwich. If you don’t, I’ll put a roast beef sandwich in your lunch kit for you.” (Levi is very particular about his lunches and does NOT like roast beef sandwiches.) With a minute to spare, his sandwich was in his lunch kit. His older sister even had him smiling and singing along to a silly song from a Paddington Bear movie.

As soon as I showed up with Levi’s hearing aids, the smile vanished. Levi covered both

A beautiful morning

his ears. “Levi, why don’t you want your hearing aids in today?” No response. I lifted his hand off his left ear and immediately an elbow took its place. “Levi, I need you to tell me why you don’t want your hearing aids in.” Still no response. I remembered the school was having some issues with Levi’s FM system – more than one piece of equipment on the same frequency which resulted in Levi hearing instructions from another classroom. “OK, Levi. You need to wear one hearing aid today. Your right one doesn’t have the FM on it. How about if I put that one in for you?” Levi looked at me, still not totally convinced. However, he did allow me to put his right hearing aid in.

“Time for jackets!” Four kids raced for jackets. Levi went to his room. I helped my three-year-old daughter put on her snowsuit and found Levi’s mitts and toque. I placed them on the floor next to his backpack. Levi was still in his room. As I entered his room, Levi hit the floor. It was clear he was heading under the bed. I caught him and sat him on my lap. “Levi, it’s time to go to school.” He shook his head. All morning Levi had been telling me by his actions that he didn’t want to go to school. Time was ticking. I knew the bus was coming. What should I do?