Tuesday, March 24, 2015

What to do when your son takes to building with your Tampax boxes... at Walmart

My friend Kelli came into my office the other day and said, "I've got a great story for you to blog about... it was so funny," she leaned the desk and looked down at the floor, letting out a deep belly laugh, "but I can't remember what it was!" How wonderful it is that other people are coming up with fresh bogging ideas for me to use... so much less pressure.

"I know the feeling," I said laughing with her because I completely understand that level of what I call "manageable forgetfulness." Many times I will get distracted in the cooking utensil aisle at Kroger and completely forget why I was originally shopping.

"Oh, I know what it was," Kelli said. "It was Brandon in the shopping cart the other day. It was that embarrassing moment in Walmart when you are walking through the feminine products aisle with your four year old son. To keep himself entertained he is building a high rise, right there in the wagon. It's got toilet paper for the ground level, Oil of Olay for the turret, and every exposed wall is either a box of Tampax or Poise pads!" Her cheeks blushed at the memory.

"Ha," I spurted out, "keep your eyes down and don't stop walking!" My words came out almost illegible because I was in complete hysterics, remembering Senia Mae's public outburst on the swing the other day, "Mama, my hoo hoo is going crazy!"

Everyone who has a child knows that keeping your child calm, quiet, and collected in the store is always going to rank higher than any type of personal embarrassment on the endless list of things that really matter. Kelli, I would remember your Poise Pad Parade with pride and say that your were merely taking one for the team!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Sugar...Yes, Please. How using your kids' sticker reward system can revamp your marriage.

A few years back, during the dreadful days of potty training, a simple sticker chart was taped on the glass of our white bathroom cabinet. I was always astonished to see how much confidence and pride Senia Mae gained when she knew did good, with something as normal as going tinkle in the potty. After she was done she would turn down its lid and sit on the potty like a stool, staring at her chart with the big Dora the Explorer stickers, so pleased with herself. "I did it," she would squeal as she took me by the hand, leading me into the bathroom to show me her accomplishments.

One morning, after an exceptionally romantic evening with Kim, I deliberately stuck a extra large heart sticker on our kitchen calendar. "What's the sticker for?" she asked, finally noticing it a few hours later.

"I thought you deserved a sticker for a job well done last night," I said, giving her a wink. It may have been the best compliment I had ever given her because almost immediately her smile changed into a panoramic grin, her chest peacocking out as she strut out of the kitchen with quite a bit more spring in her step. Something as simple as a sticker, a symbol on a calendar, made her realize that she was still special to me. She once again felt worthy, accepted, and loved while I felt close and connected to her.

It was a refreshing break to our routine that had over the years become slightly blase'. Seeing the stickers on the chart was a sort of challenge to do better all of the time, a simple reminder of how much enjoyment we have together when we take the time to do so. Something as silly as adding stickers to a monthly calendar has enhanced one of the strongest bonds that holds us together as a couple. Not surprisingly, when there are more stickers on the chart we seem to get along better. If we argue, the fights are less intense and we seem to be able to reach a common ground quickly. Our differences don't seem as noticeable because we are adding strength to our core.

Overall we are more happy as a couple and that joy flows into the heart of our impressionable daughter. In the couple of years since we began the chart we have told several people about our system, laughing about how easy it is to reward our kids but how seemingly hard it is to reward ourselves. The most common response we get is, "Oh wow, why didn't we think of that?"

Sunday, March 8, 2015

"Who's your Daddy?"

Some of our deepest conversations happen while floating face up in the hot tub. Senia Mae and I ponder life's philosophical questions, some of which I have the answer to and some that I don't. Yesterday, completely out of the blue, her question was, "Who made Jesus?"

"God made Jesus," I said.

"And who made God?" Senia Mae asked.

"I don't think anybody made God, he just is. God is the father to all of us." I said without much consideration. Senia Mae thought about my answer, her inner brain circuits rapidly firing away.

"Oh," she said as she smiled back at me, "then I DO have a father." I exhaled slowly, aware that my second biggest worry, "how are you going to explain that she has no father?" was being brought to the surface.

"Yes. God is your father." I said, relieved with the conversation was flowing somewhat effortlessly.

A few moments went by and I wondered if I was going to face any repercussions. We had already sailed through three years of preschool with no real issues. When asked about having a father she always thought nothing of it and replied, "I have two mommies."
Our pastor offered to fill the role when her school had "Donuts with Dad." Senia Mae decided that she would rather go to Dunkin' Donuts with her mommies. But I knew someday the question would go deeper, would it be today?

"I am glad that God is my father... but I am really glad that I have two mommies," Senia Mae said as if she could sense my apprehension. She gently slid her body onto my lap and wrapped her arms around my neck.

Senia Mae's face was nuzzled so deeply into my hair that she couldn't see the look of utter relief on my face, thankful that our wonderful, loving child is so remarkably well rounded. I looked up to the sky and whispered the words, "Thank you, Jesus."

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Some tips that everyday, real-life princesses can learn from Frozen

As you know I am the mother of a five ear old. This morning as I left for work she was sitting on the couch watching Frozen for the millionth time, but this time comparing it scene by scene to the Frozen Sing-along Storybook. While my family was in deep analysis mode, I decided to do a little analysis of my own because I agree that the storyline of Frozen unveils some positive life lessons for all of us.

1. When someone's life "appears" perfect it doesn't mean they are happy.
Elsa's icy power caused her so much fear she felt she had to hide in order to protect the people she loved. It is easy to envy people we think "have it all" when they may be living in their own misery.

2. The Prince/Princess who appears to have it all is not always "The one."
Dashing, debonair, and in Hans' case delinquent, just because their last name happens to be Charming doesn't give mean they are all that. We've all been there... the amazing sex, the breathtaking look, the glamorous stuff. It is easy to be swept up by illusions. Don't let your senses get so bombarded by bling that you forget to notice the girl or boy next door.

3. Be grateful if your parents were not lost at sea.
Um, yes. I think this one is self explanatory. :)

4. An act of "true love" isn't always a kiss.
We assume it was true love's kiss that was going to break the icy spell on Anna, but it was actually the love and compassion she had for her sister. Hmmm... what a concept.

5. Do real people have "powers?"
Senia Mae asked this legitimate question a few weeks ago. While you or I might not boast magical ice powers, I believe we all possess special strengths and talents that make us unique and exceptional. Honing in and using the gifts God bestowed upon us is our own way of expressing powers.

6. Why have a ballroom with no balls?
I skip through my living room singing this phrase all the time. We work hard in life to be able to afford finer things. But if fear or fanaticism is keeping you from enjoying the things you work so hard for... what is the point? Take time to savor the small stuff today because tomorrow is not guaranteed.

7. Holing yourself up in a room rarely makes any relationships better.
Anna will probably need years of extensive therapy to conquer her abandonment issues with Elsa. Try talking about your feelings, someone is bound to understand.

8. When life gets to be too much, chocolate is always a simple, sweet,and satisfying solution!