Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Indian roots

You know the old joke about how Indians can't play soccer, because every time they get a corner they set up a shop? I think my daughter is an Indian after all. This is the corner beside our front porch. She has set up a store and has been making little pots (mud balls with a finger poke hole down the middle) to sell. She has already sold a couple to a hapless visitor, but since she's only charging a few pennies each (gotta get to that education about the values of different coins), I'm not bothering her about extorting.

You can see her "Closed" sign in the background if you look for it. And yes, it says "Open" on the other side.

A picture is worth...

This was the result of making it through church without taking a nap. When we got home, I hauled Skyler in from the car and dropped him in his bed unconscious. (And yes, that was his bed, because we didn't have beds yet, even though we moved in a couple of weeks before this.)

First comes love...

The other day Skyler came in our early in the morning, but just at the brink of early enough I thought he might go back to sleep. Not wanting to wake my darlingest husband, I crept out with Skyler, promising him I would lie down in his bed with him. My littlest snugglebug was thrilled at this idea (surprise surprise), so we snuggled into his bed and I tickled his little back and arms softly to relax him.

Soon he gazed up at me with the purest adoration in his meltingly big brown eyes. "Mommy," he whispered, "when I grow up I will mawwy you."

Accountable Kids!

Well, after a summer of complete chaos as we moved from one hotel or spare bedroom to another for three months, we have moved into a new house for the next four months. The kids had been getting out of bed several times each evening and pushing boundaries in all sorts of ways, and I felt a desperate need to get the household back under control. So I pounced on a system a friend told me about called Accountable Kids. You can read about it at

I'm sold. This has been a great investment for our family. It's not just a chore chart (which we have tried before without much success). The kids have reminder cards hanging on the first peg, telling them what their responsibilities of the day are, in order. When they finish something, they hang it on the second peg. The third peg is for tickets (of which they get three a day, one each for morning, afternoon and evening responsibilities completed), Best Behavior cards (special cards given randomly when they do something especially thoughtful or responsible), and Privilege Passes (given for conquering some specific bad habit we're working on). The fourth peg is for Date Night cards, and they get a star for each day that they don't lose any tickets. The fifth and final peg is for extra responsibilities they can earn money for doing.

Not only is it helping the kids to realize that they are responsible members of the family, but it also is helping them to recognize limits. It's done magic in getting them to go to bed and stay in bed, and we are hardly ever watching DVDs anymore (since they have to pay the tickets they earn if they want to watch something).

I realize that much of the benefit of the program is its ability to keep me accountable. When the card is staring me in the face each morning reminding me that it's time to have worship with the kids, it's hard to just dismiss it for later, which often meant we would forget about morning worship altogether. And I realized that I have often reminded the kids over and over to do something until I get frustrated. Now, instead of having to tell them again and again, I just tell them they have to do it anyway, but they have lost a ticket. Our house is cleaner, the kids are more obedient, and we are enforcing Biblical principles (such as if a person doesn't pick up their toys, they don't get to eat until it's done). Of course, their jobs are small, but I don't want to wait until they are older to instill in them a sense of responsibility. This has been a terrific blessing to our family, and it's going to be very helpful in our homeschooling too!
Yesterday the kids came bounding to me in a wild wave of excitement. "Mommy, come turn on the fans!"


"We need all the fans on in the house!" Anaya burst out. "Then we will be able to fly!"

After a brief, vain explanation that turning on ceiling fans does not increase the amount of air in the house, only the movement of it (why do I bother?), I concluded the easiest course was to let them try. We turned on all the fans in the house, and the kids vainly leaped from the edge of the couch time after time in hopes that once they figured out how to flap their arms effectively, they would take off. I made a video of it, complete with cries of "You just have to flap this way!" and confident declarations of, "See, Mommy, I stayed up a little bit!" I'm afraid the primary research method is not always productive of learning. But at least they got their exercise.

A Little Nutty

Sabbath afternoon Skyler found an acorn while we were out hiking. (Hooray for being able to actually go on a hike on a non-stroller-friendly trail!) He hauled it around, flying it like an airplane and asking for help to tuck it into his little bitty pocket so he could keep it. Sunday morning I found him cradling it in his hand. "Mommy, this yittle nut is my fwiend," he announced. "I'm going to call him Yittle Nutty."

We made a tiny beanbag bed for Little Nutty to take his nap beside Skyler's bed after lunch, complete with Band-Aid blanket. ("He needs a byanket!") But the bed was empty at bedtime.

"Skyler, where's Little Nutty?" I asked.

He pondered for a moment. "He wanted to hide from me. So I hided him. I will find him yater."

So much for Little Nutty. Hope he's not hatching worms somewhere in my house.

Get a grip

(OK, so it's been a long summer and there are a hundred things I could post on here if only I had time and could remember them all! I thought I would try to start putting little ones on as I have time.)

This morning Seth brought the childproof bottle of kids' vitamins to me. "Mommy, could you open this? It's locked."