Friday, March 27, 2009

Lord, I am thankful for messy hands

A few nights ago was "bath night." It is often a struggle giving the girls a bath, because they freak out when I wash their hair, so it doesn't happen as often as it should. Actually, before Tuesday night's bath I can't remember the last time they had one. It was probably when my parents were here a few weeks ago. Does that make me a bad mother? I hope not. They're generally pretty clean because we usually don't let them jump in mud puddles or garbage and I have a system for cleaning the house each week. That and they're related to Bill who's a pretty clean guy so maybe they inherited it. I told my friend with 4 kids that if we ever had a boy I think he'd be pretty clean like Bill. To which she replied, "good luck with that." I think the "clean" days in this house are numbered.

Anyway...during the bath and afterward Amelia just wouldn't cooperate. From splashing and drinking the bathwater, to wiggling uncontrollably while getting dressed, to fighting getting her teeth brushed (I actually had to pin down her arms so I could brush her teeth). Sometimes when the girls are obstinate like this it can make me so angry and I can get really harsh with them. But on bath night, all I could do was smile and thank God that I even have children. I know many years from now I will wish I could still help them with the daily tasks, and many more years after that I will wish they even lived in the same house as me. It's very hard for me to remember this sometimes, when the chore list gets longer with each day and my day isn't going the way I want it. Then it sets that I'm just making it harder on myself because I'm acting selfishly. 

Please Lord, remind me of this feeling of thankfulness. Thank you for giving me a family to care for and dirt on the floor to sweep up. 

I love this poem, my friend Melody posted it on her blog a while ago and it's too good not to pass on.
I heard my Mom say as she scrubbed today,
"I'm thankful for brushes and brooms,
I'm glad to clean my cozy house
That's filled with cheerful rooms."
I heard my Mom say at the washing machine,
"I'm thankful for dirty clothes.
I'm glad that I have a healthy child
Who can play each day he grows."
I heard my Mom say at the sink tonight,
"I'm thankful for dirty dishes.
I'm glad we filled our plates with food
Instead of empty wishes.:
I heard Mom say in her prayers tonight,
"I'm thankful for problems today.
If life never got a little bit rough,
I might forget to pray."
~V. Gilbert Beers
"Precious Moments"

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

After dinner last night the girls did some watercoloring. Caley thought it was more fun to color her hands, so her art time was quickly over. She, of course, protested and I said "Only babies do that Caley, are you a baby? Babies don't get to do big girl things" while washing her hands. Bill was standing next to us and added, "Caley, if you're a baby you have to wear diapers and sleep in a crib and have a binky. Do you want to do that?" 

And she enthusiastically said, "YES!!"

Reverse psychology--FAIL. 

Sunday, March 22, 2009

My first half!

Today I ran the Mercer Island Half Marathon. The various races (5k, 10k, kids dash, and half marathon) benefitted the awareness and prevention of colon cancer. I started running after Amelia was born and honestly never thought I'd be able to do this! I had heard the course was hilly, so I was fully expecting to crash and burn, even though I've been training a lot. The hills were more rolling and gradual which made it easier than I thought, but there were a few bigger ones that were challenging. There were water stations every mile or so and halfway through I had a Clif gel shot (which I don't recommend as a snack but only if you're doing a lot of activity and need a boost, it wasn't gourmet). The course was along Mercer Way, so it was fairly scenic. The only scary part was a disrespectful driver who was driving on the course behind people and wouldn't stop and turn around. I am very thankful no one was hurt. It just shows that even in official races I need to be aware of my surroundings when I'm running. I finished in about 2 hours and 20 minutes (official results here), which is what I expected since my pace is about 10-11 min/mile.

Bill and the kids came to the finish line and cheered me on. In these pictures I look a little funny because I got kind of emotional when I saw them on the sidelines. I'm so thankful to have a supportive family!

I hope this isn't my last half marathon, but I'm going to take it easy this week and recuperate for a few days.

Friday, March 20, 2009

I just had to share this video of Sarah Palin on the topic of Special Olympics. I especially loved what she said about when her son, Trig, was born:

"It was like an hourglass turned upside down; my heart filled up with love, and my mind emptied itself of all the different worries and fears and concerns that I had..."

By the way, I researched about this because there was so concern that Palin cut funding 
in her state for Special Olympics, but that is misleading. Read about it here.

Saturday, March 07, 2009


I went to grad school for early childhood special education. In that program I worked in two preschools in several different capacities, in the general classroom as an assistant, as a research assistant administering tests and videotaping test sessions, and one-on-one in the autism classroom doing ABA therapy, mostly using discrete trials. Once a quarter my practicum advisor observed my work and part of her observation was making sure I had a 3-to-1 ratio of positive comments to neutral or negative demands and directions. Basically in my interactions with the children, I had to constantly be praising and encouraging the child. Neutral comments basically counted as negative ones. These included placing demands on the child and really has nothing to do with the tone of voice. It seems easy, but it's not! 

The ratio of 3-to-1 is because a negative experience stands out more than a positive experience. Think of your relationships, do you remember the negatives easier than the positives? 

I was thinking about how this applies to my life now as a parent. I have a feeling if my practicum advisor were to observe me on a normal day at home, my ratio would be embarassing! For much of the day I'm directing Caley and Amelia's behavior (neutral- "Come eat your lunch", "Get your blanket for bed", "Go to sleep") or flat out rebuking them when they do something wrong (negative- "Don't take your sister's toys"). And I know I'm not praising them three times more than negative or neutral interactions. Children remember the bad times far easier than the good times. I'm not saying it's not okay to tell your kids what to do in the normal course of the day, but I feel like I don't make a concerted effort to outnumber the neutral/negatives with positive interactions. 

Lately I've been trying to be more conscious of noticing when Caley (usually) does something nice. She is so nice when I give her milk, she almost always says "Thank you." I try to say "Thanks for saying thanks Caley!" When they're just playing and I'm able to get some work done or just take a break, I have been trying to remember to say thanks or "I like the way you two are playing." This seems silly that I should even need to make a concerted effort to recognize the little things they do, but it's the truth. Many of the frustrations I may have with my kids and every day life are because I'm sinful, lazy and selfish. I want things to be my way or no way. I want my kids to read my mind and obey immediately. I am acting like a child. I can see God's hand in this. Lately I have had to go to Caley and ask for forgiveness for being too harsh or impatient. She sees my admission of sin and asking of forgiveness and hopefully will learn to do the same.

With God's grace, and thankfully he has an abundance of it, it won't always be this way. With grace, prayer and practice, praising my children will hopefully be more natural and the ratio will be three-to-zero. 

Monday, March 02, 2009

I just can't figure this kid out

It seems like no matter where I move Amelia's crib, she outsmarts me. Her crib is along the wall next to Caley's room. Often she will spit her binky out at night and when she wakes to get milk in the early hours I have to move her crib to find it. Her crib never seems to stay in one place. Sometimes it'll be too close to the light switch and she'll turn her light on in the middle of the night. Sometimes I'll get her from bed and she'll have moved the dirty laundry from her laundry basket around her crib. One time I checked on her and she was putting on clothes from her laundry basket. Today I moved her crib further from the light switch and she could reach the decorative wooden safety pin on her wall. I got her from naptime and she was holding it saying "uh-oh, uh-oh." When she doesn't get things from around the outside of her crib, she sometimes manages to get stuck between the rungs or partly climb out of it. This kid is a genius. Maybe not, but she seems like it because when Caley was her age she was just learning to walk, so crib shenanigans were unknown to me. Maybe I could put a fitted sheet over the top of the crib as a tent. Maybe I could wrap the rungs with Saranwrap. Maybe I could make her sleep in a straitjacket. Maybe it's time to move her out of the crib. But that would mean admitting she's not a baby anymore.