Saturday, December 20, 2014

A name

Father-in-Law:

I asked Husband what he thought about naming his son Edward Columbus. Edward after your father and Columbus after your uncle who died fighting for our country. Two great men who did amazing things with their life. One returned home to start a family; the other- without whom your parents would not have dated. While the life of Columbus was cut short, he left a legacy that we see today in this house. 

Husband said no.

I always knew the name he wanted, but wanted to investigate all options before committing. 

I asked Husband about Henry Thomas- part of your namesake. Henry has a lot of fight in him and the name goes back five generations your family. Henry Thomas was a faithful man of God, devoted father, and astute businessman- all qualities we hope for in our son. 

Husband said no.

Stretching to the other side, I asked about Lynwood Raiford- Lynwood after your father-in-law and Raiford after his father. Another fine example of two great men. Men who helped build Colquitt county in both the physical sense- brick by brick and judicial sense- creating and enforcing laws behind the walls of the courthouse still standing in the square. 

No.

William Thomas, I am here to tell you that there was only one name my husband found acceptable for his son. You are not unique in naming your son after your father. Going back more than a century, sons of your family have been named for their father’s father. 

All of these men started out as mere children and became something extraordinary. These children were but sons and babes held in their mother’s arms, swaddled in love. But all these men have something in common- they laid the foundation and are setting the course for our son- our William Thomas. 

William Thomas did amazing things, too. He traveled halfway around the world thinking that’s where love would be. Only when he finally returned home and to his roots did he discover it was there all along. William Thomas worked to support his parents, took pieces of families and made them whole again before branching out to start success after success with nothing more than his two hands and God given talents. Nothing was easy. Nothing was handed to him- except his name.

William Thomas, I promise you that you will not be the last William Thomas. There is another one coming. 

And he has a lot to live up to. Let’s teach him well and teach him with love. 


I give you the name of my first son. 


Wife

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Argue much?

Do all kids argue? Or just mine? LMC (Leenie) goes on streaks of bad habits and as soon as we break one, a new one pops up- much like whack-a-mole. She used to grind her teeth. When I asked her about this new teeth grinding habit, she said, "Lily says I have sharp teeth like a vampire, and I don't want to be a vampire. So, I am grinding them down and they won't be sharp anymore- and I won't be a vampire."

While I totally understood her logic, the habit was there. Softly correcting... softly reminding... softly saying, "LMC, please don't grind your teeth. It's bad for them." Soft got loud. Patient grew in. Grinding ceased.

LMC also decided that she did not need to brush her teeth. She would pretend to brush her teeth. She put up an argument about brushing her teeth. Every morning it was a battle to get her to brush her teeth. Sure, I could have done it for her- but what would that accomplish? (besides a calm morning, a pleasant day, and no screaming matches, time outs, or hand poppings)

"Leenie, brush your teeth."
"Noooo.... my legs are tired."
"What do your legs have to do with your teeth? Brush them."
"I DID!"
"No, you didn't. I sat here and watched you. Brush. Your. Teeth."

The more we argued, the, um, louder my voice grew. Turns out, my yelling is on the same decibel as glass breaking. Every time I spoke (read: yelled), there was a pleasant little chime in the background

"ding ding ding"

alerting me that a door had opened, a window had broken, or somehow the circuit of the alarm had broken.

Sensitive little sucker.

I brought this up with my brother at lunch after a few weeks of the continued nonsense and alarm ding-ding-dinging in the background. Taking a page from his book, which was borrowed from a page of his friend's book, the next time Leenie did not brush her teeth, I took her hand and we surfed Google looking for pictures of what happens when people don't brush her teeth.

She cried.

Habit broken.

She also could not sleep that night...

I mentioned the lack of sleep to Brother and he said, "Yeah- Lauren mentioned that. She showed her boys what starving children look like and they could not sleep for a few days either. But they ate their supper without anymore problems."

Priorities?

Recently, though... recently we are on a fun one. Let me back up...

I pride myself on being accepting of other's opinions and thoughts. This is something that does not come naturally to me. But, I have some amazing friends who are very different than me in all kinds of ways and I love this about us. We believe differently, think differently, and can all still be friends. In this friendship, we value each other's opinions.

Leenie? Yeah... notsomuch. She has recently decided that it would be fun to argue about everything.

"Honey, it's warm outside. Do you want to take off your jacket?"
Her response?
No it's not.

"Leenie, today is Tuesday and I need you to get dressed for tap and ballet."
"It's not Tuesday. It's Wednesday. I have piano today."

"Leenie, what's your favorite thing about Christmas?"
"That my baby brother is coming out of your tummy."
"Honey, Robert Fuzzbug won't be here until February."
"Nah-UNH! He's coming at Christmas."

"Mommy! Today is the day I wear jammies to school!"
"No it's not. That's tomorrow."
"QUIT ARGUING WITH ME! IT'S TODAY! I AM GOING TO WEAR MY JAMMIES TO SCHOOL TODAY, BECAUSE TODAY IS THE DAY TO WEAR JAMMIES."

The more emphatic she is, the more aggravating it is.

"Honey, just because you are louder does not make you any more correct in this instance."
"TODAY!"
"No, it's tomorrow."

Have you tried to reason with a kid? I can reason with a toddler. I can probably negotiate with a terrorist. But a kid? Hah. Fat chance.

Yesterday, on the way to school- Husband was trying to explain to Leenie about the pitfalls of having to always be right and constantly arguing.

"Leenie, I want to talk to you about something.... have you noticed recently how you have been arguing with mommy and daddy about unimportant things?"

"Nah-UNH. I haven't been arguing. HMPH." (and she crosses her arms over chest... this is not going to end well for her. I can already see it.)

Slowly, Husband puts the brakes on. Slowly, he puts the car in park. Silently, I say a Hail Mary for the five year old in the background. Slowly, he turns around and looks her in the eyes.

He raises his eyebrows.
And stares.
And stares.
And stares.

Minutes tick by. I am silent in my Hail Marys. Bennie is clapping her hands saying, "Dah-Dee! hi? Dah-Dee! hi?" He is unswayed; continuing to stare.

Very quietly, Lennie looks down and says, "Sorry, Daddy."

"Thank you."

He turns around, puts it in drive and heads off to school.

"Leenie, you are arguing about arguing. Is it fun to get in fights with people? Do you like to get yelled at?"

"I don't get in fights!"

"Leenie, that's not the answer to my question. Do you like getting in fights with your friends?"

"nooooo...."

"Do you like it when we have to yell at you?"

"noooo....."

"We don't like yelling at you either. Can you please think about what you are doing? You are arguing about nothing and I don't think you even realize you know you are doing it. It's not fun to argue. No one likes to get into fights and no one likes an argument."

"OK, daddy."

Fast forward to the end of the day. I pick her up from school.

"Where's Daddy?"
"He's at the hospital. He'll be home tomorrow."
"Nah-UNH. He's not on call."

[clearly the morning's conversation sank right in]

"Ok, he's not on call," I quip back.
"If daddy is on call, do I get to sleep with you?"
"You told me Daddy wasn't on call."
"If he is, do I get to sleep with you?"
"Depends. If he is, are you going to argue with me that he isn't?"
"I SAID HE IS ON CALL, WHICH MEANS I GET TO SLEEP WITH YOU TONIGHT."
"Oh? But, you said he wasn't." (maybe... just maybe Mom was being a touch passive aggressive)
"HEEEEE ISSSSSSSSS ONNNNNNN CALLLLLLLL."

Ding ding ding goes the alarm. Apparently, both of us can hit the same decibel as glass breaking.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Nativity

We have a nativity set that I bought last year. Paid retail. And paid too much at that. It's one of those Little People Nativity sets and the first time I saw it, I wanted it for the girls. Price searching, I remembered that nothing for Christmas is on sale before Christmas.

But I wanted it. So I bought it. And paid retail.

Because I paid retail and because I knew how much more fun it would be to have all the parts of the nativity (because there are a lot of parts), I was a bit of a... uh... brat about where the nativity could be set up and where the pieces were allowed to wander to. The manger, Baby Jesus, those wise men, Mary, and Joseph were all on a silver tray (because that's how I roll) on top of the piano. LMC had a stool set up beside it where she could step up and play with the little people.

While a brat about where the nativity was, I didn't care how she played with it- as long as all the pieces stayed in the living room. Mary liked to slide down a piece of scrap wood and Joseph had fun climbing through the mountain of presents. The sheep played the piano. Somehow, in our house- the living room is about the only room where the kids can play and not break something.

The same cannot be said for my parent's house.

This year, Bennie has her feet beneath her and an attitude about her. You cannot tell her no. Actually, you can tell her NO all day long, but she just looks at you as if this "no" word" were Japanese. Or, better still- "no" doesn't mean "no" but it means "Yes, please. Keep on destroying [insert object here]. I love it, really I love it when you do that."

Our precious little nativity set that was cared for and loved by LMC so much last year has slowly migrated out of the living room... and into every crevice of the house. Recently, I have heard myself talking to my children about the nativity set:

"LMC, don't kick Baby Jesus."
"Bennie, please get the camel out of your mouth."
"Bennie, where did you put the sheep?"
"LMC, stop kicking Baby Jesus. Would you like to be kicked?"
"Bennie, honestly. Quit throwing Mary. She doesn't like it."
"LMC, Baby Jesus does not want to be kicked. He's the Son of God. Do you think that's wise? He decides who gets into Heaven."
"Bennie, Joseph is not a snack. Get him out of your mouth."
"LMC, thank you for not kicking Baby Jesus. But, please don't throw him at your sister."
"Y'all- where's the manger? Don't you think it'll be cold without it?"
"Yes, LMC, since the sheep is gone we can pretend your 'My Little Pony' is a sheep. That'll be great."
"That's the angel Gabriel. He came to tell Mary that she is with child." ---- "Where do babies come from? Good question- Jesus came from God to Mary." ---- "Gabriel was a messenger from God."  ---- "I don't know how he knew, perhaps he saw the pregnancy test before Mary."

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Life Lessons

Bennie (and I) have learned some good life lessons today on this day spent around the house-

Dirty dishes go in the dishwasher, not the cabinets.
Clean dishes go in the cabinets, not the dishwasher.

Bennie was trying to be such help as I loaded the dishwasher. She ran to her cabinet and pulled out a variety of plastic utensils and brought them to me in front of the dishwasher. Good thought, Bennie. On the flip side of that same coin, I had to go through four spoons before I found a clean one. She likes to put away dishes, clean or otherwise.

Mom should not use glass dishes to feed Bennie with.
Bennie should not throw dishes when she is finished eating.

That dish will break and Bennie will be put in time out. Babies in time out cry. Second borns get to be in time out until they stop crying. First borns get a minute per age in time out.

Potty chairs are for potty training- nothing else.
Potty training should commence outside in the grass and not in the den... on a rug.

Forks, even plastic ones, are effective at picking up food.
Forks are not effective in picking up rice.
Forks are effective in poking eyeballs and noses.
Toddlers should not be served rice at a restaurant.

Final note: Most laundresses separate lights from darks. We don't do that in this house. There are lights and darks... and blues (because we wear that much blue), pinks and reds (because we wear that much in the rose family), whites (bleach), lights (no bleach), darks that are of a light nature, and then darks that are of a dark nature- not to be confused with black. That's a load in itself.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Gurgle

I skimmed an article one time about how Pinterest is ruining the average mother- because the average mother is exceptional (I, often, am neither average nor exceptional). While the article was boring and a little self-righteous about slice and bake cookies, I got the gist of it: this isn't a competition.

This same thought goes along the lines of the Elf on the Shelf. There are calendars to make it "easy" for parents. We won't have to think about where our Elf will sneak off to in the middle of the night, however- sometimes the assembly of the projects is a bit absurd. I am waiting for someone to invent "kits" to make 24 days of Elf antics.  But, if you want to win- you have to play. I look at the calendars and see if there is anything I can attack with ease and typically end up not using it.

Our Elf doesn't TP the tree. Because someone would have to clean it up. (cough, cough)
Our Elf doesn't get in the sugar. We live in the south and ants are a year round thing.
Our Elf doesn't get in the way. This house is chaotic enough as it is.
Marshmallow bath? Are you kidding me? I have a 2 year old and to keep her away from a small magical Elf is hard enough. Throw in something sweet and Gurgle will be a goner.

Gurgle- that's his name. Gurgle likes to keep things simple. LMC goes to bed every night wondering where Gurlge will be tomorrow. She sneaks into my room a few minutes after going to bed and says things like, "Mama? Do you remember the time Gurgle put all my stuffed animals in the hallway?" or... "Mama? Do you remember when Gurgle was hanging from the attic string?" or... "Mama? Where do you think Gurgle will be tomorrow? I hope he isn't too cold on his way to the North Pole. I hope he tells Santa what a good girl I was today and not how I whined about dinner."

Niece and Nephew's Elf is named Elfie and he's on the simple track that we are.

"Aunt Wife! Elfie has been in the refrigerator for three days!"
WOW, Niece! He must be hoping you are going to make him some cookie dough.
"We bought slice and bakes yesterday!"

It's the magic of the Elf traveling to the mystical Santa that makes him amazing- not what kind of antics he can deliver in the morning. No matter the set-up, it will hold a child's attention for... maybe... two minutes. Maybe.

And it doesn't have to be hard. That's the thing. I have talked to so many friends who don't have the energy for their Elf to make an appearance. I look at my kids and how excited they are every morning to get out of bed and run find Gurgle that I love that little red hatted pointy eared thing a little more every day.

Even Bennie gets in on the action. She runs to where Gurgle was the day before and puts her hands in the air, "Where Gah-Gul?" She then goes to all the other spots where Gurgle has been, repeating the same phrase: "Where Gah-gul?" When she finally finds him- there is a happy dance, a few spins and several jumps before saying "GAH! GUL! GAH! GUL! MAMAMAMAMAMA! GAH! GUL!"

And y'all, Gurgle is not taped to the wall surrounded by army men or upside down in a box of Cheerios. Cheerios are expensive and they go stale when the box is left open. Gurgle has not scribbled all over someone's face or destroyed a room.

Gurgle is hanging from a picture frame. Or hanging from the flue in the fire place. Gurgle sits on snow globes, finds a hook in the pot rack, or is decorating a chandelier with candy canes. Gurgle has his head out of a cabinet or is sitting on Sprite the Fish's tank. Gurgle sits in the Christmas tree or in a stocking.

Gurgle is not complicated.

One time, he even made a summertime appearance. Just one day. He poked his hat and face out of the cabinet above the oven. LMC told all of her friends and it reminded her of the magic of Gurgle and Christmas. Not to mention good behavior.

Occasionally, when I have had an extra glass of wine (read: not this Christmas)- Gurgle gets tangled in a bead spider web in the hallway. Or he pulls out all of LMC's stuffed animals and lines the hallway with them. Gurgle once found a strand of lights and tried to string them on the window. Those days are when I am not pregnant.

If you have an instagram account- #theelfridesanotherday -

Keep it simple. Keep it real. I only judge when it has to be too complicated to make it a reality. Put your average Elf on a plain shelf. Buy yourself some slice and bake cookies. That's why they invented them.