thoughts on daily life within our family of SIX....each child in her own phase of childhood....

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Monday, January 28, 2008


Matthew 6:8 Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.

We have three children and a nine year age spread. Although we didn't necessarily plan it that way, it's worked out nicely in so many ways because each baby got to be the baby for a good long time. Until each child was no longer a baby, really (except in Mama's mind). I've loved the time that I have had with each little one; I've had the chance to create unique and individual relationships with each child, and I wouldn't trade that.

Sometimes, though, I think that part of the struggle that my middle child has with her love/jealousy toward her little brother could have been averted if they had been closer together in age. Perhaps she would have been more open to that change and been less resentful over the sudden appearance of this little guy who suddenly sucked up her spotlight (in her eyes). Since his arrival, she's loved him, but in a "let me poke you in the cheek a thousand times, and then I'll move on to your legs" kind of way.

Little brother has always been crazy about the big sister. Generally, she's been a roughhousing, silly kind of girl that can make him laugh at the drop of a hat. He loves her. They play together, and she directs the play (he likes it that way, and she MOST DEFINITELY likes it that way). He is her charge, and there is no struggle between them over this. Usually.

The little guy has sometimes been apprehensive about middle sister's presence, however. If she comes running up to him with a smile on her face, sometimes he puts on a defensive stance like he knows something bad is about to happen. Smart boy.

Over the past two weeks, however, I have seen a bit of a miracle happening before my very eyes. I didn't even really know that it was something that I wished for, so I definitely was not praying for it. Some days, my main hope and prayer was that my children wouldn't hit each other too hard or say something to each other that would permanently damage the other. I think that I had gotten away from the vision that I had for my children....before that vision was complicated by competition, sulking, jealousy and temper tantrums. In effect, I could no longer see the forest for the trees.

But,God has great blessings in store for us. Blessings that we cannot even think to ask for.

Over the past two weeks, I have seen my middle child (5) and my youngest child (2) become playmates. They've been spotted playing kitchen--together, playing reindeer--together, sharing toys--together! The baby has been saving things like stickers, saying, "Dis is for Nana." ("Nana" is his name for her.) "Where is Nana? Let's go get Nana." This thrills my heart, and for the first time since the baby was born, I feel like God has spread His comforting Hand on my back and has given me the solace of knowing, "She will be okay."

But more than okay. Blessed. Instead of taking something from her when I delivered my third child, her daddy and I were giving her a gift. She has been given a gift, and her daddy and I have been blessed enough to participate in giving her that gift. We have given her the gift of a playmate, a buddy, a friend. All of this for my tender child who has often seemed to wonder where she fits in and who will choose her to play with.

Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


My kindergarten kiddo came home from school today talking about mammals vs. non-mammals. How exciting! I taught my own kindergarteners about mammals when I was a teacher, and remember some of the cute and funny things that we talked about. I couldn't wait to elaborate on what my daughter's class had talked about at school!

Me-"Remember that mammals have live babies instead of laying eggs and they have a little bit of hair (even though you can't always see it at a distance). Are birds mammals?"
Her--"Nooooooooooo!!!! They lay eggs!"

The conversation went along this way for only a couple of seconds before I realized that I had led myself and my child down a path that I did not want to go down today.

Her--"Yeah, and birds can fly, so..."
Me--(Trying to fill her with all of the details that she'll need to know to lead a full life) Yes, but there IS one mammal that flies. Do you know what it is?"
Her--"Give me a hint."
Me--"It doesn't have feathers...."
Her--"Give me another hint...."
Me--"It starts with a b..."
Her---"A bat?!"
Me--"Right! A bat is the ONLY mammal that can fly!"
Pause for 30 seconds
Her--"Mama? I don't think reindeer can really fly."
Me--Oh, my gosh. How did I get to this place? She has already skeptically asked me how Santa could fit her brother's big train table in his sack. This will surely seal the deal.
Me--"Oh, I think, uh, hmmm...surely...why not?"
Her--"Well, reindeer are mammals. Trying to cover up that she is WAY more than a little skeptical at this point..."I think they fly on an airplane."
And the conversation just went downhill from there.

My first kiddo believed until she was 9 or so. My second child is only 5. Of course, we'll continue to play it up without actually lying and telling her that the big guy does so make it all around the world in one night and even stops at every single house. But, inside her little head I think it's over. She's so practical and detail-oriented that it would have happened soon even if they hadn't talked about mammals at school today.

But, can I just cry?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

My Sweet Middle Child....part one

It's so hard to be a middle child....

I never knew this growing up because I was the very last (SURPRISE!!!) child with two much older sisters(15 years and 19 years older). I was the baby that I'm sure got all the ooooohs and ahhhhhhhs that my children have each gotten when they were the baby.

Of course, I remember all of the details about when I had each of my three children, and I also remember being spellbound from the moment of their births. Each of my three was the most absolutely beautiful baby anyone had ever seen, so beautiful, so intelligent, so, perfect! Later, when I'd have her (or him) in the shopping cart at Wal-Mart, strangers would come up and tell me what I'd already known about my precious infant. She (or he) was perfect! No, I mean, they REALLY WERE perfect!!!!

I remember feeling bad for my oldest when my second was born because she was already 5 1/2....a school-aged child by the time I had my second, and she had already lost all of her baby fat, etc. Well-meaning strangers would comment on the perfection of my second daughter without speaking a word to or about my oldest. I remember feeling that "ouch" for her yet being reluctant to say anything much about it to her for fear of making something bigger out of it than it was in her mind.

Yet, my oldest still had one thing. She was the oldest. The first-born. The only for 5 1/2 years.

And the baby was...the baby. My giggly, curly haired, huggy, sweet and sensitive baby. When she was 4 months old, I developed a quick and nasty case of mastitis, and for the hours before my mom could drive over from out of state, the baby was content to lay in bed with me, snuggling and cooing. For 3 1/2 years, she was beside me almost constantly.

Even when I was sick and throwing up while pregnant she'd come and pat my back and ask if I was okay. She never complained about how tired and lethargic I was during my pregnancy. We were two peas in a pod, that girl and I.

And then, as people discovered that I was pregnant again , they began to ask (often in front of my two girls), if we were going to find out the sex of the baby....maybe we'd get lucky and have that elusive boy this time. Like my first two children were just efforts to "make" a boy. Okay, I was feelin' that ouch for both of my girls....

My oldest was going to be 9 years old when this baby was born. She was excited. The baby was going to be 3 1/2. I was a little worried about how she would take it. A lot worried. But I thought that it would all even out.

More to come....

Saturday, January 12, 2008

I've been keeping a book of funny things that my kids have said and done and things that my sweet husband and I never thought we'd find ourselves saying. Of course, life comes at us so fast that my little book is still little even though I could have filled a bookcase with stories if I had written them all down. Thought I'd share a few things from my book today, and I hope that you'll share a few of your funniest with me!

My four year-old pumpkin confronted me one day with, "Did you know the devil's name is Robert?" "I don't think so," I said. "I've never heard that." "Yeah, Sissy told me!" Ahhhh....then it must be so.....

Same four year-old pumpkin, different day, announced, "I don't feel good. I feel like there's a bear in my life!!!!" That was really a bad day. I'm certain that there was a bear lurking around our home!

Our nine year-old sweetie was stunned one day after we confronted her 4 year-old sister about lying. "Why is she lying so much? I used to lie, but now I'm almost finished with lying!"

When we moved into our current home, our six year-old must have thought that our front door was something special. We found her early one morning camped out on a blanket in the foyer, looking out the window. What in the world was she doing up so early? She was a little disappointed by this point. She had been waiting for Peter Pan.

Our two girls had not been around little boys very much by the time their little brother was born. Certainly not little boys who were diaperless and getting changed every couple of hours. Soon they got used to having a little brother, but some things were still pretty confusing. Our middle girl asked one day, "Why does G have that little tube?" My husband objected not to the word "tube"...only to the word....."little".

Our only child at one year was just the right level to teethe on our coffee table, and we often found ourselves saying things like, "Stop chewing on the table." What a different life from the one we had been living.

Some of the funniest things have been said when our kiddos have just started to put language together or to use words that we didn't even know that they knew. I walked into the kitchen this morning to hear our newly two year-old telling his five year-old sister, "I have to make poo poo, actually."

All three of our children have very different personalities. The older two, in particular. One is an adventurous sort, never afraid to try something new. The other is more cautious and analytical. At Disney World, one of my children and I saw Chip and Dale, the chipmunks. I asked her quickly if she wanted to go see them before other people saw them and the line got too long. The four year-old with me decided to pass but did have a question about them, "Do they carry diseases?"

Also at Disney World the same four year-old girl entered Cinderella's castle with a wide-eyed anticipation of seeing Cinderella herself. As we came to the top of the staircase and entered the dining room, she asked, "Am I dreaming?" Then to Mommy, "I'm wishing, no I'm really dreaming!" And they say that children have the most fun at Disney.

As much as she has struggled with all the changes that have come since our youngest was born, our middle child loves her brother like crazy. One day, when thinking about her life as a grown-up, she asked, "Can I have him for a kid? Can he be mine?" At other times, she refers to him as "Prince Charmy". I agree. He is charmy, indeed.

I so wish that I had all of the stories and sayings that have come our way through these three blessings in our lives. This little list really doesn't do the subject justice. However, I do have one absolute favorite that I'll leave you with. Same analytical four year-old quizzed me one day...."Did you know that a toot is a message?" "A message?" "Yes, you know, it means that you have to go to the bathroom."

Sunday, January 6, 2008

They Just Crack Me Up...

Free Photo of Corn Flour Products. Click Here to Get Free Images at Clipart
My kids just crack me up. Okay, most of the time. But, for instance, not this morning in church. Yet, that's a story for another time.

Back to when they do crack me up, and I'm only looking serious on the outside. Inside, I am rolling on the floor laughing at the hilarity of it all.

Friday night, we took the kiddos out to eat Mexican. Food. In a restaurant. That alone is funny, huh? Funny because I know that anytime we go anywhere were're going to have to visit the bathroom at least once. Usually for a reeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaally long time. (Maybe I should have brought the chips and salsa in there with me, but....gross.) Also, keeping clothing even somewhat clean is a real challenge. The little guy has taken to using his shirt as a napkin, and this works especially well with cheesy queso, no?

Well, Friday was funny to me because after the usual haggling about what we don't want from the nino menu (Would you like a taco? I don't like tacos. How about nuggets? No, I don't want their nuggets. You like enchiladas; how about a cheese enchilada? Okaaaaaaaaaay........), abandoning what was ordered and begging for a tortilla (even though that's what all that cheese is wrapped in or her plate), I heard that phrase that I hate to hear when we are in public...."I have to go to the bathroom really bad."

Once there, (oooooh, I like those sinks, Mama! Aren't they neat?) we completed our ritual layering of the toilet paper on the seat, while the child in question did the ritual potty dance and song. You know how the song goes...."Hurry, Mama! I gotta' go right now! Hurry! I can't hoooooooolllllllllllllllld it! Hurry, Mama!" Repeat until layering is complete or until toilet paper that has been knocked off during the potty dance has been carefully replaced. All of this is sort of funny when I think about it later, but in a normal sort of way. We've had the chance to replay this scene all over the Gulf coast, so....funny, but....normal.

You know how when you are really tired, it takes just a little to tickle your funny bone, and before you know it you are snorting and barely able to catch your breath? This was that kind of funny to me. Only I wasn't tired. From lack of sleep. Any more than normal. I think I was just worn out, tired. From the dance and the song and the layering and the waiting. All along the Gulf coast. You know, that kind of tired.

So, my Love was sitting and doing her thing, and I was do the prodding. ("Are you finished?" Rolling up some toilet paper and handing it to her. "Come on, sweetie. Daddy and the others are waiting for us. Hurry up." "But I have to go poo poo!") I looked around and noticed the ads on the back of the bathroom door... She noticed them, too. "Look, Mama! Which of those things is the cutest to you?" "Ummmm..... " "I think the one with the baby is the cutest, don't you?"

After a little conversation and a little more prodding, I went out of the stall to wash my hands. Thought maybe she'd hurry a little faster. I washed. I waited. I prodded. I waited. By now, we're working on 15 minutes in the bathroom. Where was that salsa?

Tried to go back into the stall and discoved that she had locked the stall. I think that means that she was off of the potty, but now she is sitting back down again. You know what happens when you get of off a toilet papered seat...the toilet paper gets knocked all over the place and leaves the potty seat bare and teaming with germs. Germs that I now assume are glued to my little girl's cheeks.

After I convince her to get off the potty again and unlock the door, I stand, once again, in the inner sanctum, prodding and reading the ads on the back of the door. My love is an excellent reader and doesn't miss a beat. "Look, Mom! It says, free birthday parties!" The picture shows a woman holding a martini and some sort of club scene in the background. Not your typical early childhood birthday party. Now, she's finally off of the potty, and she's on the second out of five or six wipes. She's reading while wiping. "Look, that one says, 'Share love and life.' That's nice, isn't it?" Now she's done, and I'm anticipating finding my husband and other kiddos waiting for us in the car. Now she's pulling herself together, and we're about to go out to wash our hands in the neat sinks. I unlock the door to the stall. Egg.........don.....something..needed. What's that word after egg, Mom?" Frustrated and ready to GET. OUT. OF. THE. BATHROOM, I tell her, "Donor, Sweetheart. That word is donor." We hurry out of the bathroom before she gets to the next sentence which begins with "Surrogate".

Some days. The bright eyes, innocence, and ever-questioning mind of my middle child....I just have to laugh.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Two More Memories of the Season

How silly of me! These are two of the best pictures of the season!
Just a note about that Santa pic....the little one has be obsessed all through the Season with Santa. Every time we'd get in the car, "Can I see Santa?!!!!" He never seemed to get nervous...even when we walked right up to the big guy in the suit. As we arranged his sisters, he was saying, "Hi, Santa!Hi, Santa!Hi, Santa!Hi, Santa!" But when I put him on that knee....well, you can see. He was highly insulted.