Monday, March 30, 2009

A beautiful day in the neighborhood

This morning Anaya kept singing loudly, over and over. "Many colors, many colors--Joseph had a coat of many colors!"

Finally I couldn't stand it anymore. "Anaya, please stop singing that over and over!" I ordered.

"But Mommy," she protested, "I want the neighbors to hear it!"

Sunday, March 29, 2009


My boys don't like haircuts. It really doesn't make sense, especially since I set them down in front of the TV and let them pick out whatever DVD they like to watch while I cut away. But, knowing the penchant to howl, I tried to prepare Seth gently the other day when I saw a haircut was needed.

"Sethie," I told him as he snuggled on my lap, "your little wild hairies are getting very long. I think we need to cut them."

"No," he asserted, "I tink we don't."

"But they are very long."

"I don' tink they're very yong."

"But they are long," I explained vainly. "Anyway, Mommy has decided to cut your wild hairies, and we are going to do it today."

He wasn't ready to go down without a fight. There was a long pause. "Mommy," he pointed out, "you hairies is bigger den mine!"

Relationship counseling volunteers needed

Anaya came to me this morning with a major concern. "Mommy," she began, brow furrowed, "I've thought about it, and Sethie and I have a really good er'lationship. I just want to marry him. I've tried to decide not to marry him, but I just love him! So," she concluded seriously, "even if God sent someone else for me, I would just have to marry Sethie, because of my er'lationship with him!"

Thankfully, I could assure her that this wasn't a decision that had to be made today.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Referred pain

Well, the good news is, Anaya is getting big enough that she doesn't screech and howl whenever I brush her hair. "Ouch, Mommy," she will say, "that hurts." Finally.

And the other news is that she doesn't need to say a word. Now her brothers gather around in glee whenever she gets her hair brushed, keeping up a running commentary of their own in imitation of her past performances. "Ow! Ow! Waaah! Owie!"

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

3-year-old jokes

Here's another morsel of Seth's humor. We have a set of DVDs of Scripture songs called "Plant a Seed." The words to the title song begin, "Plant a seed, watch it grow." Yesterday I was working in the garden planting tomato plants. Then I saw Skyler wading into the tomato row to slaughter the muddy tomato plants. "Skyler!" I wailed. "Get out of the tomatoes!"

Seth giggled and looked at me, a naughty twinkle in his eye, and sang, "Pyant a seed, watch it die."

Monday, March 23, 2009

The lamblike beast?

Seth is developing quite a sense of humor. When we were acting out a Bible story a couple of days ago, Seth was supposed to be starring as a lamb. However, our grinning lamb came around the corner and said, "Meow!"

Yesterday I saw him playing in the dry leaves, throwing them up in the air in glee. Then he gathered up as many as he could hold in his hands and marched aross the yard to Anaya's playhouse. I watched him sneak inside and up behind Anaya and toss the entire bunch of them over his unsuspecting sister.

The wrong side of the bed, or the wrong Mommy?

Lest you think that all is always well in paradise, here's a glimpse of this morning.

I was gathering trash to be put outside for the trash man, and came in Anaya's room to check her trash can. Since hers is in the office/schoolroom, it is usually just papers, but I discovered a wet Pull-Up in it today. "Anaya," I cautioned her, "I don't want you to throw Pull-Ups in your trash in here. I don't empty it very often, and it might start to stink."

"But Mommy," she wailed, "then I will have to walk all the way down the hallway, and sometimes I'm so tired, and it might be so hard I might get hurt."

"Right," I pronounced heartlessly. (A common weakness of mine, heartlessness.) "Now you lose your trash can from your room."

"But Mommy..." the howls continued.

An hour or so later, Anaya's condition had not improved. "Anaya, it's time to get out of the bathtub. Put your toys away."

"But Mommy, you never let me do anything fun!" went up the cry. "I just want to take a bath, and you're always taking away the nice things..." The diatribe apparently needed to be confronted, because she was really getting into the swing of things.

"Anaya, that's whining and complaining. You know there are consequences for that." I calmly spanked her, eliciting further anguish. When I tried to reason with her, she demanded, "Mommy, don't talk until I tell you that you can."

"What?" I spanked her again. "That's completely disrespectful, Anaya! You know better than to talk like that."

Apparently deciding to discharge all her ammunition in one battle, Anaya unleashed her clincher. "I think Daddy married the wrong Mommy!"

Saralyn and I suddenly found it necessary to look other directions. "Anaya," I managed, "I'm afraid that means another spank."

"Oh, no, Mommy," was her hasty (and futile) defense, "I think he married the right one after all!"

Monday, March 16, 2009

To the God who reads hearts

Last night Seth decided he was big enough not to have to repeat his bedtime prayer after Mommy.

"Help me make good choices. Help me be good boy," he began. "T'ank you for toys we pyayed wiv on Daddy's chair. T'ank you for food. T'ank you for juice. Help Skyer not to die again [?!]. Help Mommy not to die again. And..." he sighed, "You wemember the rest. Amen."

Mind reader

This morning Skyler asked for a certain little book. I left it out for him, but before he got to it, Seth snatched it.

"Seth," I reminded him, "Skyler just asked for that book."

"He doesn't want it," he assured me, " he wants this one." He handed Skyler Good Marriages Take Time.

How to get it all done

People keep asking how I get so much done. Well, it's not by writing blogs (hence, long silences). But I have to admit, I'm not superwoman. The house is often messy and there are never enough hours in the day. I'm trying to keep my priorities straight and get in quality time with God, husband and kids, exercise, 8 hours of sleep, counseling and schoolwork and a life on the side.
But I do have a secret that makes a huge difference. Here's an example: This morning I was up at 5:50 and off to the gym. I'd only been up once with the kids in the night, but I had still only gotten about 6 hours of sleep. After devotions, shower and breakfast, I went back to bed at 8:30 and woke up at 10:30. And what was happening with my kids during that time? Here's a clue of what I saw in the kitchen when I came out.

Saralyn and the kids were making bread sticks. (Anaya isn't in the pictures because I whisked her off to Lindsey's house for school.)

Have I mentioned lately how I thank God for Saralyn's quiet, cheerful ministry in our house?


With this title you might wonder what is going on at our house now. Well, actually this post is NOT about our house. Just a note for all who are in the Chattanooga area, we are having a wonderful revival series here at Southern Adventist University, starting this Friday evening at 6:30 pm. It will be in a tent outside at the entrance of the campus. David Asscherick is our speaker.

At the meetings, you may expect to hear us before you see us. Our row promises to be a little lively. (Any babysitting volunteers? We will be easy to find, somewhere at the back.) It might sound like we're speaking in tongues, too, but hopefully our shouts won't be Pentecostal. And hopefully Mommy and Daddy can get a blessing too.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

No concentration necessary

Seth is still our little imitator (with Skyler following eagerly in his tracks--I see a gloomy future looming). He loves to copy whatever anyone else says. Sometimes he stands beside me when I am on the phone, parroting every word I say. It's a little unnerving, hearing my words taken completely out of context and repeated, while I'm trying to get my next thoughts together. Not to mention irritating.

Tonight Anaya was asking Saralyn for some food for supper. "Can I have butter on my waffle?" she queried.

"Can I have butter on my waffle?" echoed Seth.

"Sethie," Anaya heaved an exaggerated sigh. "Do you have to keep concentrating me?"

Skyler's Last Stand

Skyler is in the terrible twos. There is no doubt about it. Conversations are liberally punctuated with, "I don' wike it!" (which I thought would be preferable to "no," but it's getting to where I don' wike it either). Periodically he evaluates his surroundings and settles on something that he approaches with the courage (and foolishness) of Custer's Last Stand. Summoning the strength to rise to his full height (still well below my waist), he will look me in the eye and announce that he will now do this new task "by self."

I first noticed this at my parents' house at Christmas. The best place for Skyler's Pack-n-Play was right next to the bed in the bedroom. However, this meant that he was close enough to the bed to climb out all by himself. This intoxicating power trip had to be repeated over and over, no mattter what consequences he suffered. I thought we had won the battle one night, but when I came in to check on him, I found he had succumbed one more time, but was so tired out he fell asleep halfway through his escape. I had to capture that on film.

Climbing into his booster seat at the table is another such issue. Lifting him into it instead of letting him climb in by himself is seen as the equivalent of swaddling him in a baby blanket. "NOOO! I wan' do it by self!" he shrieks in anguish. He must slide out and then immediately climb in, "by self." Swimming is another such issue. "No, Mommy," he assures me, trying to writhe out of my grasp. "I wan' s'im by self." Climbing into the bathtub? No matter how cold the side of the tub, he MUST slither his own bare bottom over the edge into the water, with no aid from Mommy. Any touch from my hand necessitates a complete exit from the water, both feet planted on the bathroom rug, and then a re-entry into the water "by self."

Bedtime is another common Last Stand. No sooner do I deposit him in his bed, turn out the lights and close the door, than he pops out and dashes across to Seth's bed. "Mommy, Skyer got out of his bed," is a familiar cry from the bedroom. (Seth finds this delightful--himself being the good boy, and Skyler getting disciplined--but that's another battle.) I heave a sigh and return to deposit the flailing child in either his own bed (with a solid spank), or in his Pack-n-Play, amid cries of, "I don' wike it! Wan' s'eep in big boy bed, not baby bed!" Or I see the lights being switched on and off (the light switch was unluckily placed on the wall right above the only place that will work for Skyler's bed).

The other night I heard strange mutterings coming from down the hall long after bedtime. Sure enough, the light was on in the boys' room. I ground my teeth (this was about the fourth time that night) and stomped to the room to open the door. A merry sleeper-clad Skyler was perched on Seth's bed, book in hand, "reading" animatedly to the slumbering Seth, who had apparently signed off long ago.

Well, I know that children inherit their parents' weaknesses, and I'm not going to deny this one. I guess this is how God uses our children to purge out our weaknesses! I see myself in my son's eyes, defying God as He offers His help. "No," I assure Him, assaulting impossible obstacles in my foolish self-confidence. "I wan' do it by self." Overcome sin? Use time wisely all day? Keep from getting irritated? No problem! Surely I can do all of those today, by self.

Or not.

Illusions of grandeur and other things

This morning Anaya chose a dress-up dress, a long silver and velvet one someone gave us, as her morning attire. She surveyed herself with satisfaction and informed Daddy, "Now I'm a mommy. But," she added, "now I need to go make Skyler's bed. I want everybody to know I am a real mommy, not just a little girl dressed up as a mommy."

Soon finished making the children's beds, she flounced into the living room where Alan and I were chortling over her antics, and sat down unperturbed on the couch beside Daddy. "Let's talk about the children," she invited. A brief discussion followed, of which I caught telltale morsels about the children who "didn't come out of her tummy, just came out of the closet." Soon the talk with her husband was finished, so she sauntered over to me. "What do you want to pretend you are, Mommy?"

"I'm a wild, irresponsible college student without a care in the world," I responded.

Alan laughed from the couch. "I'm afraid the illusion isn't going to last long."

"No," Anaya suggested, "why don't you pretend you're like Saralyn. You are a person who stays with the children, so we can go bye-bye. And then, when you go bye-bye, we stay with the children."

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Helper boy

This morning Seth wanted to move a toy picnic table from one room to another. Not finding the strength in his own little arms, he bounded to me. "Mommy," he announced, "I need you to be a helper boy."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Not exactly what I had in mind

Last week while we were driving, Anaya tried to convince Alan and me that she was going blind. (I think it was a bid to get glasses.) "No, really, Mommy," she protested when I chuckled. "This is not my 'magination! My eyes just stop seeing, and everything gets dark for a little while! I'm serious, Mommy!"

"Does it all get black for a few seconds?" Alan queried. "And then do you start seeing spots of pink and purple?" (My husband is good at this.)

"Yes," Anaya breathed. "How did you know?"

"Is it happening to you now?" I put in.

There was a short pause. "Yes, it is!" she shouted.

I looked back and saw her in the back seat, eyes squinted shut tightly. But the suspense of not being able to see what was going on was too much. Soon one eye opened cautiously. "Sometimes it just happens to one eye, and then the other," she added. "Like, right now it is just one eye."

"You can relax, Anaya," I assured her. "The problem is not with your eye. It's behind your eye."

"What's behind my eye?"

"Your brain."

She wasn't going to be satisfied that easily. "But what about my other eye?"

"The problem is behind that one too."

"Wow!" she blurted. "You mean I have two brains?"

Racism rears its not-so-ugly head

I think anyone who knows Alan and me knows that we have a thing about racism. We hate how some people think that their own skin color (or some other factor) is superior to others. You might be surprised, then, to find that I don't have a problem with my daughter's racist remark yesterday.

I had just told Anaya that we had a visitor coming to stay with us, one she didn't know. "Oh, goody!" she squealed. Then, out of the blue, "What color of skin does he have? I hope it's chocklit!"