I am a proud wife and mother, and a born again Christian. I work from home as a writer while taking care of Miss N, our six-year-old, Miss M, our four-year-old and Miss C, our newest bundle of joy. Life is crazy but so much fun!
My friend Janna is doing a blog series about Shepherding a Child's Heart. I am broke and do not have the book, but I will try to jump in when I can get it. Regardless, one phrase she quoted got me thinking. It was about how most children have emotionally left home by the age of 12.
I had a wonderful home. I always knew my parents were there for me and I could talk to them about anything. Literally. I want that for my kids.
I asked my mom one time why me and Joey have such a good relationship with them, and why she thinks we always felt we could talk to them. She answered that she always listened, even when we were two and made no sense.
So, in light of what i have read from Janna's blog and what I have been meditating on, I have decided to have more open communication with my daughter, and to do so purposefully. Today, Natalie had a rough day. For some reason she was really tired, and she was struggling to be kind and loving with me and her sister. I pulled her aside, and instead of chastising her for her behavior, I hugged her and asked if something was bothering her. She wasn't able to verbalize what was wrong, if anything, but I wanted to show her she could talk to me. Then, taking a cue from my friend Michelle's blog, I helped her to think of things she could be thankful for. She said, "I'm thankful for you, Megan, and the whole wide world."
It stopped the griping for a while.
A walk to the park (fresh air and exercise) did the trick for a while after that.
I really do love my child, and sometimes I think in the process of being a mom and a writer, I let the annoyances overrun the love. In a way, I am behaving like her, dwelling on the negative instead of focusing on what I can be thankful for. I am going to work on this in the coming weeks - communication and focusing on the positive.
As my children grow, it becomes harder and harder to shelter them from real life. Last week we were driving home from the park, and an abortion protesting group was demonstrating near an intersection where we were stopped for a light. While I completely approve of their cause and support it, this particular group had highly graphic images of broken baby bodies, and Natalie was captivated by them. So far, she hasn't asked any questions, but I was heartbroken, because those are pictures I would have much rather not have her see. Those are questions I am not ready to answer.
Earlier this week we went to the park with some friends, and Natalie really enjoys these two swings at this particular park. I talked to her before we got there, because I knew I would not be able to keep Megan occupied near the swings for long. I told Natalie we would do the swings last, and that we would let Megan play on the baby things for a while first. I gave her my word. She did not whine or complain about having to wait, and finally it was time to head to the swings.
Someone was using the swings when we went over there, so we waited. Natalie decided she wanted to use the red one. Our friend we were there with wanted to use the blue one. We waited. And waited. My friend made a few comments about how nicely the girls were waiting, hoping the other moms would get the point. They didn't.
After we had waited 15 minutes or so, my friend finally asked the other moms if our girls could have a turn. The mom with the girl on the blue swing happily took her child elsewhere (the cell phone in her ear was probably the reason she didn't notice us waiting). The other mom attempted to remove her daughter (perhaps granddaughter), who whimpered some and complained about not being done. So the mom was like "She doesn't want to share" and just kept swinging. Natalie was standing there like, "what's up?" I told her she could use the blue one, and she very clearly said, "Mommy, I would like to wait for the red one." No way that mom didn't hear her. Now, I need to add that this child had been using the swing for a VERY LONG time. Not just the 15+ minutes we were waiting.
The look on Natalie's face here says it all.
Natalie eventually used the blue swing after our friend's turn was over. She was very disappointed, however, and left crying sad tears (not fit tears) because she had her heart set on the red swing. I was angry. She had waited so patiently, not crying or whining, but patiently waiting her turn, but because of someone else's selfishness and lack of training her child to obey, Natalie never got to have what she was waiting so nicely for.
I realize this is real life, and we have gotten over it, although Natalie still asks about the "mean girl" who "didn't share." I praised her for waiting so nicely, and we did something else as a nice treat together. However, these two events made me think about how hard it is to protect your children. It's a sad reality. I wish I could keep her safe and away from the sin of this world forever.
I don't really know the purpose of this post. I guess I'm just realizing that the sweet innocence I love in my babies is something they will someday lose. These two incidents were mild, of course, compared to what other children must experience, but it still made me sad. We work hard to create a supportive, loving environment for our children, but the real world is out there, constantly waiting to creap in and impact them forever.
We just got back from a quick trip to KC. Here is what I learned:
1. Aiden is a good name (so says Natalie upon meeting a baby with the same name as her playgroup friend).
2. When you give a three-year-old privacy in the bathroom, proceed with caution if she is in there for too long.
Yep, she pulled down my mom's wall paper. Sigh. I asked her "What did you do in Grandma's bathroom to the seashells on the wall" and she said "I broked them." Three days later. Yep, she totally knew what she did!
3. I have the world's greatest husband! He let me go all by myself to scrapbook with my mom and her friends for a whole day. This was AFTER taking bedtime duty so I could go to the movies and AFTER taking bedtime duty the night before so I could hang out with my friend Janna.
4. There are some people in the world who you will always feel close to even if they live 5,000 miles away.
5. Megan is much more flexible on her sleep schedule than Natalie.
6. Keeping your kids up until 11:30 ensures you will get to sleep until at least 7:30 the next day. Nap time the following day, however, will not be a pleasant experience.
7. Weaning Megan is not going to be that easy.
8. 3D movies are very, very cool, especially when on IMAX screens
9. Kansas City will always feel like home in a way.
10. A giant punching balloon that costs $1 will provide hours upon hours of entertainment.