Make-A-List Monday – Things I Never Knew I'd Have to Say to My Kids

October 3rd, 2011 | Posted by Bryn in Kids | Make-A-List Monday | Our Crazy Life - (Comments Off on Make-A-List Monday – Things I Never Knew I'd Have to Say to My Kids)

Before I became a parent, I “knew” my kids would always be well-behaved, never fight with each other, and not ask the same questions over and over. And over.

Here’s a list of things I never knew I’d have to tell my kids:

"That wall is not for climbing, Peach."

  1. “Because I said so.” Answering the incessant “why?” from both my big kids.
  2. “We don’t touch our poop, do we?” Changing a two-year-old’s diaper.
  3. “No wrestling at the library.” Peach just really likes to wrestle.
  4. “TT, get your fingers out of your mouth, get your fingers out of your mouth. Don’t bite your fingernails. Also, don’t pick your nose ’cause it’s really, really acky and I just don’t like it.” I made up a song to help him remember.
  5. “You’re four now. I’m not helping you put on your shoes.” And no more sippy cup either. He’s four, people.
  6. “Stop eating things off the floor!” Vanilla is really advanced when it comes to fine motor skills.
  7. “Our kids look homeless today. Sorry.” To my honey, after letting the kids play outside with juice-stained jammies on.
  8. “No more Family Guy!” Had to nip that in the bud once TT started repeating things.
  9. “If you potty on the potty chair, you can have some soda.” Yes I believe in bribery for potty training. It works. Don’t judge me…
  10. “You have to wear pants when you play outside. It’s the rule.” That is the rule. No pants, no going outside.
What are some things you never knew you’d say to your kids?

Make-A-List Monday – Parenting Realizations

July 25th, 2011 | Posted by Bryn in Make-A-List Monday - (Comments Off on Make-A-List Monday – Parenting Realizations)

I’m starting a new series today called Make-A-List Monday. On Mondays, I usually try to make to-do lists of things to get done throughout the week, but these will just be random lists of things that come into my head.

A play-doh flower made for me by my three-year-old last Valentine's Day

Today I made a list of realizations I’ve had since becoming a mother.

  1. I have a real fear of swimming pools, the strings used to pull up mini-blinds, and bumpers on cribs.
  2. When I order food at a restaurant, I always think about what I can eat one-handed.
  3. My threshold to handle anything gross has gone up 100%
  4. My capacity to love has gone up 300% (for my three manaics!)
  5. I (lovingly) call my children maniacs because they have so much energy and are easily amused. We are constantly laughing.
  6. The sweetest things in life are open mouth baby kisses, handfuls of dandelions, and home made art projects, made by loving little hands.
  7. Toys that make noises are an effective way to torture parents.
  8. Name brand clothes really do hold up longer.
  9. I’m so grateful for shopping carts shaped like race cars.
  10. I love my mini-van.
  11. I would much rather shop at Carter’s or Gymboree than Hollister or Express.
  12. I am a more confident person in all aspects of life, and I’m getting better at decision-making. I have to. I’m the mommy.
  13. God is in control, and “my” kids are just borrowed from Him. He loves them even more than I do. How amazing is that?
This list could go on and on. What have you realized about yourself since you became a parent?

It's all about R-E-S-P-E-C-T

June 9th, 2011 | Posted by Bryn in Kids - (Comments Off on It's all about R-E-S-P-E-C-T)

The part of parenting that I know is necessary, but that I definitely don’t enjoy, is discipline. Some days I feel like the majority of my interactions with my kids involve breaking up fights and telling them to “knock it off” or “go stand in the corner” (our version of time-out).

Most days, though, my kids play well together and we all have a lot of fun. I really don’t have a lot to complain about when it comes to my kids’ behavior.

Lately I’ve been trying something new. When I’m talking about my kids to other adults and I know they’re listening, I’m always very complimentary about certain skills.

"Go stand in the corner!"

Like I’ll say, “TT is really great at helping me with his sisters. He’s getting to be such a big boy.”

Or “Peach always listens to me. She’s a good listener.” Then later on, TT will ask if he’s a good listener too. And I get to say, “Yes, of course you’re a good listener too. I love it when you listen.”

It’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more I talk about them having good behavior, the more I see it in action. Try it out, and let me know if it works.

We talk a lot about respect in our house. Respect for all adults, for each other, for God, even for their toys (I don’t want them turning into Sid from Toy Story). Every time I treat them respect, look them in the eye and talk to them, I see it coming out of them as well. I must be an example of respect and patience for my children.

Do you have any other tips on getting kids to be respectful?

You're Gonna Miss This

June 6th, 2011 | Posted by Bryn in Kids - (Comments Off on You're Gonna Miss This)

When I was in college I was a big country music fan, and I still really enjoy country songs because they all seem to tell a story. One of my favorites came out a few years ago – “You’re Gonna Miss This” by Trace Adkins.

You’re gonna miss this
You’re gonna want this back
You’re gonna wish these days
Hadn’t gone by so fast

These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you’re gonna miss this 

When we first got married, we had a little one bedroom apartment with the shag carpet. I’d get home from class and prepare crappy simple suppers because at 21, I didn’t know how to cook at all. We prayed before our meals, and dreamed about what it’d be like to own a house, get three dogs (NOT my idea), and have 10 children. Yes. Ten.

Six years later, here we are, proud parents of three children so far [and zero dogs.]:

TT

TT – The Bashful Boy

TT is our oldest, a shy three and a half year old boy who loves race cars, four wheelers, his little sisters and just being outside. He was the only kid who cried on the first day of preschool because he wanted to be home with his mom. 🙂 TT already has an attitude and a good sense of humor. He’s “TT” because when Peach was 14 months old, she started calling him that. His name doesn’t even have a T in it.

Peach

Peach – The Wild Card

Peach, our two year old princess, is our wild card. She gives the most hilarious dirty looks, the biggest smiles, and has been feisty since she was born. She started climbing furniture before she even learned how to walk. We’re going to be in trouble when she’s a teenager. She’s “Peach” because that’s the only princess her dad could think of… thank you Nintendo.

Vanilla

Vanilla – The Mellow Miss

Vanilla, our youngest daughter, is just five months old, but she’s already laid back and sweet. She really gets a kick out of her older brother and sister, and she goes with the flow really well. She’s “Vanilla” because that’s what her brother named her when I was 20 weeks along.

Someday, I’m going to look back on these days – when I had three children under the age of four, and these are going to be the “good ol’ days” – as my mom would say. Although I’m almost sure I won’t miss the tantrums, whining, funky diapers, telling them to “knock it off” 50 times a day, etc… there are some things I KNOW I’ll miss when they’re gone.

  1. Movies and a picnic with popcorn on the living room floor
  2. Watching our parents form relationships with each of our kids as individuals
  3. Solos in the van to the chorus to “Love Will Hold Us Together”
  4. Their faces and laughter when we blow bubbles outside (what is it with kids and bubbles?)
  5. When TT asks if I’ll lay down for a nap with him
  6. Random kisses on the shoulder, leg, or wherever Peach can reach in that moment
  7. The way Vanilla looks at my eyes and not my mouth to see if I’m smiling
Okay, this list could go on for pages and pages, but the point is – I better enjoy these moments while I can. Pretty soon TT is going to be embarrassed to give me a hug when I drop him off at school. And Peach is eventually going to think singing in the van with her mom is lame. And Vanilla will be crawling, then walking around and climbing the walls with the other two maniacs all too soon. I’m cherishing today.

“Children have neither past nor future;
they enjoy the present, which very few of us do.”
Jean de la Bruyere

…and I forgot!

May 24th, 2011 | Posted by Bryn in Kids - (Comments Off on …and I forgot!)

When I was a little kid, my mom had little notes and drawings we had made hanging on the inside of her cherry kitchen cabinets. I remember she had cut out a little poem from a newspaper that read:

“On Judgment Day, if God should say,
‘Did you clean your house today?’

I will say, ‘I did not,
I played with my children, and I forgot.'”

It still hangs in that same cabinet today, and I try to look at it almost every time I’m there. I have no idea who wrote it, but I’ll give credit if someone can tell me who did.

I always remember this little poem so I can keep my priorities straight. Our home will never be the perfect, put-together house that I would like. But I do cherish my children. Don’t get me wrong, I have days when I wake up in the morning and wonder how I will ever get through the day with three kids under the age of four. I lose my cool on occasion quite often, and I pray for patience all the time… I just want to have patience right now.

For now, I can only concentrate on the actual cleanliness of my house (You know, clean, but messy). Of course my house is going to be messy. As soon as I get one thing put away, the kids have already dragged out three other things… in a never-ending cycle.

I have quite a few friends – those Type A personalities – whose children’s toy rooms are decorated and organized absolutely perfectly. Anytime we visit their houses, I come home and think, why can’t I do that? Why can’t I be more organized?

And why can’t I? I’m not that person. I’m not naturally organized. And it doesn’t drive me all that crazy to have the kids’ toys everywhere. At the end of the day, seeing the toys strewn about the living room makes me realize how blessed I am to be able to stay home and just play with my children.

Playing together can be such a good learning tool. I always try to make everything seem like play for my children – even going to the grocery store. Kids like it when you just talk to them, and listen to their stories. My three-year-old loves going to the grocery store because he knows it means he gets to pick things out and talk to his mom the whole time.

My own mother did this… I can remember “helping” her bake and cook, and looking back, I realize that it probably took her ten times longer to get things done when we helped. She really has a way of making people, children in particular, feel special. I really hope I’ve inherited that skill at least a little so my kids can grow up knowing that they are a real priority in my life.

So, YES – I played with my children today, and forgot to straighten up my house. I think God will understand.