Tuesday, January 31, 2012

If you give a boy a rope . . . .

He will try to "put it away" by tying 2 doors together.

When you explain to him that someone (namely his younger sister) will get hurt, he will play jump rope with it.

When you tell him no jumping in the house, he will swing it around over his head . . . . which is sort of okay since nearly everyone else is shorter than him.

But he will grow tired of that game and begin whipping with it.

Yes, this child has been thoroughly entertained by a bit of rope.  (He has also learned quite a bit about keeping it wrapped up and using the correct knot).

Thanks, Daddy.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Too Tired to think of a Title

As most evenings go, I updated Caskey on all the highs and the lows of the day.  I told him about the trials and triumphs of each child.  I told him, "They were good today".  I then went on at length about all the things Eleanor seems to be learning.  She really is getting good at communicating despite her lack of words; she points, and goes and gets things to communicate her wants and needs.  She adores playing with her siblings.  ADORES.  I had been doing fittings of superhero capes with the older kids and not to be left out, she walked in front of me, turned her back and waited for her turn with her cape.  After I snapped her cape around her neck she ran off for nearly an hour, hiding behind the chair, playing Legos.    She has tried to leave the house recently, 1 more inch and she will be able to open the front door and really leave.  I went on and on about what a good girl she is and what a good job she is doing growing.

Bedtime came and it took 3 tries to get her to sleep.  She slept for 90 minutes and woke up.  After another 90 minutes of trying to get her to sleep Caskey went for a long drive and she finally fell asleep in the car.  She thankfully transferred to her bed and slept for another hour.  I nursed her after that and managed to get her back to sleep for another hour.  It was a rough night, followed by a morning of having 4 other children that needed assistance.

I should have knocked on wood last night after I sung her praises.


**In all fairness Eleanor has a cold and slight fever.  She wasn't just being stubborn, she truly felt bad and couldn't get comfortably to sleep.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

1%


This is the 1%. This is

At least 50% of the time the children are screaming, crying, fighting, bargaining, whining, ignoring, and destroying.

Another 30% of the time they are sleeping.

At least 19% of the time they are at school, presumably being wonderful and smart for someone else. But I don't get to witness those wonderful moments.

But 1% of the time they are wonderful and sweet
- when the 3 year old does the sign of the cross mostly right at church without anyone's prompting.
- when the 7 year old says "Mom, I'm sorry you aren't feeling well."
- when the nearly 9 year old helps the baby walk down the stairs.
- when the 5 year old unveils his puppy-dog eyes and asks for a squishy hug.

I photograph and blog about the 1% because time will take the other 99% away and all I will be left with is that 1%. That 1% is what ensures our species will live on.

Jonah and the Whale

Today's reading was the story of Jonah and the Whale.  Fr. Tim's homily was wonderful.  It was accessible to the adults in the audience and the children.  Fr. Tim explained that Jonah was told to head East and spread the word of God, instead he headed West.  He was swallowed by a big fish and spect 3 days in the fish's stomach (like the 3 days Jesus spent in the tomb).  He spent those 3 days reflecting on the task that God gave to him.  When he was spit out of the fish's stomach he decided to head East as God had directed.  The whole reading is about second chances.  God gave Jonah a second chance.

We had a second chance in church today and the children were angels.  Well, not perfect, but certainly better than last time.  They followed along in the book.  They folded their hands and sat quietly.  Eleanor was content to suck her thumb even though it was passed her bedtime.  Evidence of the fact that they were well behaved is that I was actually able to listen and comprehend today's homily.  It was pleasant.

As we left church and stayed after for a donut (to reward the children's good behavior) several people approached me and told me how well behaved the children were.  A few people told me they remembered when the oldest child was born.  They told me they have loved watching our family grow and we have a wonderful family.  It was such a stark contrast from the last time we were at church.

I guess we got a second chance too.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Church Ramblings

[unedited]

Dear Stranger at Church (well, not really.  I know who you are.  I know your parents.  I remember when you were a young child.  I used to volunteer with your mother and have spoken to your father about business.  I know you.  But for the harmony of our church community I will just call you 'stranger'.),

I'm sorry that my children were badly behaved at church.  I am sorry that you could not 'be quietly with God'.  I truly am.  I didn't have such a great church experience today either.  You see, my children were badly behaved.  Normally when this happens they are lectured, they do penance (praying after church or apologizing to father, whatever is appropriate) and we try again next week.  You see I am TEACHING my children to be followers of God.  I have a broad range of children from 1 to nearly 9 years old.  Some of these children understand what that means better than others.  Some of them just think its cool to race matchbox cars under the pew.  But one day I hope they are true followers of God and concerned about 'being with God' during Mass, as you were today.  But I hope my children are not rude to a young mother doing her best with 5 children in an hour long Mass.

What you don't know, stranger, is the effort it took to get 5 children to church sort-of on time.  The quest started last night around 10 pm when the first child woke up with nightmares.  He had to sleep with me the rest of the night.  Then the baby also had nightmares or just needed me at 12:30, 3, 5 and 7 am.  Then I had to take a shower while simultaneously dressing 5 children in church appropriate clothing, explaining to them what church appropriate clothing is and sometimes even arguing with them.  Then I directed the older children to clean the kitchen because the trashed look isn't in right now - it never did get clean and I ended up having to sweep the floor before we left.  Then we had to get our quiet activities for church.  No one understands why I won't allow balls at church.  Tears.

We got to church, late, because of the aforementioned issues.  The children got out of the car and for reasons I am still unclear on ran screaming across the parking lot away from the church.  At the time I though they were chasing a rolling ball (which is why balls are not allowed at church), but honestly I don't know and I am too upset to find out.

Thankfully my mother and step-dad were at church.  Truly.  Thank You God!  So now the playing field was a little more even 3:5 as opposed to 1:5 like it was all morning.  Lainy Ann settles into her book and lists, Connor starts reading as well.  Eleanor starts fussing.  She is tired, but the only thing that is interesting is throwing my expensive cell phone or running down the aisle.  Alexander and William play okay together for about 5 minutes.

The kids were noisy today.  I get that.  Some of them were rude and disrespectful.  I am TEACHING them.  Sometimes that means *I* am talking to them and explaining to them what the colors mean and the statues and certain words.  Sometimes they are perfect angels in church and they get a donut afterward.  Today was not that day.

Today you decided to tell me about how WE ruined your church experience today.  I'm sorry.  I truly am.  But I want you to know how you ruined our day.  The children will be punished for the rest of the day because of their behavior, yes, but also because you felt it was very important to tell me my kids were badly behaved (like somehow I did not know that).  We will not be having fun today as a family and enjoying the Sabbath as it is intended.  Instead we will be doing chores, having punishments doled out and I will likely fight with my husband because I am upset.  I am upset, embarrassed frustrated and sad.  I know if I don't take my kids to church then this won't ever happen again.  But that is not what I want for my children.

I wish you understood how hard it is for me to every single Sunday get up early, dress the children and TEACH them.  It would be so much easier to sit in our pajamas and watch cartoons.  But we made the tough decision to raise our children in the church.  It would be nice if you supported that decision as well and supported us as part of the community - AS THE HOMILY SAID TODAY - but maybe you couldn't hear that because of my noisy children.

Good luck at college when you go back next week.  Enjoy a peaceful church experience at college where there are no children to bother you.  I pray that no one ever makes you question your faith or your parenting choices when you take your family to church.  Because I can tell you, it doesn't feel good.

Sincerely,
Me
Mother of 5

P.S.  I felt the need to update this after my husband took the 3 boys to a second service today because of their bad behavior at the first service.  Yes, we subjected more people to our horribly behaved children.  Oh, but I didn't tell you how that service went.  The children were children, a little noisy and some chattering as the 3 year old tried to follow along in the missal.  But after that Mass a father approached my husband and said, "I too have 3 sons, so I understand how hard it is to sit through Mass with 3 boys.  Your boys did an excellent job."  Thank you, anonymous stranger (truly, I have no idea who the second stranger was).  Thank you for reminding us that we are doing the right thing by taking our children to church every Sunday.  Because the end is necessary for the mean.  Yes, sometimes the kids will be disruptive, but isn't it worth it at the end if we have 5 faithful young adults?