Sunday, May 31, 2009

The little things

This morning Skyler saw Anaya playing with a button and started a protest that he wanted it. "Skyler," I reminded him, "it's selfish to want Anaya to give you whatever she's playing with. You can wait patiently. You don't want to be selfish, do you?" He stopped.

"Anaya," I continued, "you're being selfish too. You know your brother would like that button. Wouldn't you like to share with him?" After a moment's thought, she handed it over.

(Yay! A victory!)

Then Seth started. "I wanna button..." I started the same process with him, but no sooner did he cease wailing than Skyler handed over the button without prompting!

I wanted to shout. (In fact, I did.) Hooray! It's working! They're learning!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Britney Spears I ain't

Anaya is enchanted with the fact that she used to be in my tummy. But she finds it fascinating that she can still see the evidence she was once there, in the form of stretch marks. Today she came to me and patted my tummy. "Mommy," she exclaimed, "your tummy looks old!"

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

An Amazing Fact?

This morning Seth touched Anaya's hair and giggled. "You hair is falling out," he declared. "You are Pastor Doug!"

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Modern art?

Here's a random sample of my boys' artwork. They had to climb on a chair to reach this nail on the wall. I have NO idea how they even knew there was a nail up there.

Blessed are the peacemakers

Skyler has a little problem right now with his temper. Actually, temper problems are never little problems, but we're working on it in little ways (the only ones that work). The crucial element is that anytime he hits or pinches anyone, he gets promptly disciplined. Here is where my boys are light-years apart in personality. We never would have had this problem with Seth--as you may be able to guess from yesterday's happenings.

Yesterday I was working outside while all three kids were indoors. Soon Seth came bounding outside. "Mommy, Skyler hurt Anaya! You need to come spank him."

"What happened?"

"He gave her owies. I held his shirt and tried to stop him," my little peacemaker insisted, "and I gave Anaya love and kissed her owies."

I came inside to find an unperturbed Anaya doing My Place with Jesus on the computer (great site for kids!). "Are you okay, Anaya?"

"Yes," she assured me, not even looking up. "Skyler hurt me though."

"Sowy," put in Skyler.

I spanked Skyler's hand and sent him to give Anaya love (which he did willingly). Then Seth bounded over to her too and both of them gave each other exuberant hugs. They celebrated the triumph of love by singing a line together from one of their favorite, self-made songs. "You never heard a diaper sing!"

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


This morning Skyler came to the bathtub with an unusual request. "I want jump in bathtub!" he squealed. Sure enough, he bent his fat little legs and was about to try to do just that. Then common sense apparently struck, because he paused, obviously realizing the impossibility of leaping over something that was presently at his nose.

Suddenly it dawned on me what had caused this outburst. "Alan," I called, "did you happen to tell Skyler to go jump in the bathtub?"

Mystery solved.

No bones about it

I got a sunburn last week, working in the garden. It wasn't much, but this morning Anaya noticed it. "What is that white stuff on your back?"

"It's Mommy's skin peeling from her sunburn," Daddy explained.

Anaya examined it closer. "Is all her skin going to fall off, and we will see her bones?"

Sunday, May 3, 2009

True sacrifice

Seth came to me this afternoon with his Sippy cup in his hand. "Anaya wanted to take my Sippy," he announced. "She wanted to drink it all up!"

"Maybe you should share," I suggested. "Couldn't you give her a little bit to drink?"

That's quite a proposal for a three-year-old, and Seth wasn't sure at first. He pondered this mighty sacrifice for a few seconds, then strode purposefully over to his sister. "Anaya, you can have a little bit to drink," he offered graciously, handing her his little cup. (I was surprised!) "But don't drink it all up! If you drink it all, I will be sad."


Anaya loves clothes. Lately she enjoys whirling through several outfits in a day sometimes, wearing each hour or so at a time and leaving a mountain of unfolded clothes on her bedroom floor.

Well, that's not going to work. I informed her of this a few days ago, telling her to put everything away. Each time she came out with a new outfit, I asked her if the previous one had been put away. "Yes, Mommy, I put it away," she assured me each time.

I checked her floor, and sure enough, it was clean.

Until the next morning, when I pulled her laundry hamper out of her closet and found a heap of clean clothes in it. Not to be defeated in this game, I laid them all on the floor and sent her to her room with instructions to fold them and put them away. On the way past her, I noticed a shirt that was still in the laundry and didn't need to be. I pulled it out and held it out to her. "Put this one away, too."

"But Mommy, that one was wet!"

"How did it get wet?"

Her creative powers momentarily deserted her. "I didn't want to put it away. So I licked it."

When "responsible" isn't enough

Since Anaya is five years old, I have tried to institute responsibilities for her to do every day. These are limited, and so far consist of making her own bed, putting away her pajamas, keeping her laundry in the laundry hamper, getting dressed, and taking the compost to the compost pile. Not too complicated. Putting away pajamas is a difficult one for her, though, as evidenced by repeated violations. Finally I began confiscating favorite pajamas for a week whenever they were left on the floor after one reminder.

Well, maybe that's not enough. Anaya's favorite bedwear is her pink flannel nightgown. After two week-long confiscations, I thought that things were becoming clear to her, thanks to my faithful consequence-ing. Then a few days ago, I spotted her nightie on the floor again. "Anaya, that needs to be put away," I reminded her. "I don't want to have to take it again."

"No, Mommy," she responded with an aggrieved, sacrificial air. "I think you need to take it. I didn't put it away on time."

"Just put it away now, and you won't have to lose it for a week," I encouraged.

"The consequence will help me to learn."

I was a little suspicious of this dramatic surrender. "Okay," I responded. "But you still need to fold it and put it away. Just put it on the top shelf."

"But Mommy," her voice took on a wailing edge, "I don't want to have to fold it! That's work!"