Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sensitive Children.....???

I couldn't believe my ears. Well, actually, I guess I could, but I didn't WANT to believe what I was hearing.

There I was. In Wal-Mart. I was trying to see over two moms talking, who were standing in front of the vitamins I was needing to get to. They were talking about disciplining their children. One of the moms was saying she had just spanked her child for some behavior he had exhibited that was less than acceptable. And then the other said it. Words that almost made me come out of my skin.

"I have a hard time disciplining my son. He's just soooooo sensitive."

Let me tell you what I REALLY heard. "I won't discipline my son because he is a master at using his emotions to manipulate me into not dealing with the issues I should have the backbone to deal with." PERIOD.

Sensitive? PLEASE. They are children, not baby shampoo. True sensitivity is a blessing, not a crutch. I know, I know. Some kids are more emotional than others. Some don't need the same type of stern discipline that others require. But GIVE ME A BREAK. As if "sensitive" children shouldn't be disciplined because he can make his lip quiver just at the right time?

Don't get me wrong. I understand that not every child is the same. I hardly ever was spanked. A good sit-down talk was usually all I had to have to get my tail in line. Then along came my sister. She broke every parenting theory to pieces. So, I get it. They aren't all tough guys. But the thing is, children are SMART. And even "good" kids know how to manipulate their way into their parents' hearts and minds and get what they want.

So how do you deal with a "sensitive" child?
1. Before you threaten discipline, be SURE you can follow through.
2. Know your child. This does NOT mean cater to your child. It means know their bend/tendencies BEFORE a situation arises that requires discipline.
3. Have very clear cause and effects spelled out ahead of time.
4. Purpose ahead of time to not give in to the emotions of the moment. Wait until your head is clear and your heart is settled before approaching discipline. The quivering chin will make you cave if you don't keep your purpose in front of you.
5. Remember that even "sweet" children are children. They have to be trained. Period.

As I was listening to this lady make excuses for her poor decisions, I thought, "Yep. And one day you'll have this child in some youth pastor's office, demanding we fix him because he's finally ran into something he can't manipulate anymore!" Parents, the word "discipline" means training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character.

Welp... Seems there's no exception. We have a job to do, regardless of our little charge's personality. Man up and do it!

Monday, July 19, 2010

For all my STAY AT HOME MOM friends.

Just had you on my mind this morning.

Well, actually it's because I spent a little (not nearly enough) time with my friend Jennifer at a birthday party our kids were at the other day, and I just wanted to hug her (and bite her little chubby baby). She had said something like, "You took a break from blogging but all of us moms at home still needed a pick me up!"

Yes, we do need pick-me-ups. ANY mom's job is endless. (Working moms, please don't blast me.) But since I was a SAHM with Abi, and will be when baby #2 arrives (we're working on this), Home Mommies are close to my heart.

Stay-at-home Moms, there are those of us who understand.

There are moms on this planet who understand:
...what it's like to have the theme song from Elmo's World stuck in your head for weeks at a time, and to catch yourself whistling it while folding clothes, only to shrug your shoulders and start whistling it again because you don't know any current songs.
...that at some point in the day, you think "What's the use?" when it comes to cleaning up playroom toys, so you throw in the white flag of surrender. Every day.
...how it feels to exist off of a diet of leftover pizza crusts, PBJ sandwich crusts, and non-soggy goldfish crumbs that were left of the high chair tray.
...that vacuuming is a distinct art. It has to be scheduled around naptimes, lunchtimes, and all-in-all, childhood in general.
...that chunks of your life will disappear somewhere between 7AM and 4PM, and you will never, ever know what you did during those hours. Ever.

There are those of us who have spent our days:
...answering questions like, "Can I go outside now? Now? How about NOW?" all. day. long.
...really and truly envying Dora the Explorer because at least she gets to GO SOMEWHERE!
...wiping noses that pour like waterhoses, administering enough Tylenol to cool off an atomic bomb, and carrying Orajel in our mom-jeans pocket.
...sitting in a kiddie pool that doesn't even cover our thighs (which, incidentally are much larger than they used to be) and then telling people we went swimming in our "pool".

Be encouraged, Mommies. There are people in this world who:
...count the minutes until naptimes, every single day.
...actually feed their kids Pizza Rolls more than once a week and still turn out kids that are healthy.
...cannot wait until the next library story time for the sole purpose that we don't have to be the ones reading the book for a change.

You're not the only one who:
...sometimes thinks, "What did I get myself into?"
...thinks if something happened to your mom, you'd end up in an insane asylum.
...sometimes cries at how exhausted and OVER IT you are, only to get a totally different child up from naptime than the one you put down, thus everything changing.
...imagines a vacation away from Little Precious of the Century, but can't get past the fact that you just
can't be gone from them that long and breathe.

You are totally normal for:
...knowing that a spanking is completely in order, yet feeling like a piece of poop for doing it.
...feeling like your skin will literally crawl off of you if you're touched one more time.
...counting how many years there are until graduation, and instead of crying because it's so far away, crying because it's not as many as you thought.
...inventing fun games like, "Let's see who can be quiet the longest," which is code for "If you talk again, my ears will explode."

Because after all the frustration, all the work, all the skinned knees, fussy eaters, and non-sleeping children have moved on, we will miss these days.

Moms, what's going on inside your house is making an eternal difference. And you're the cornerstone.

We are mighty. We are tired. We are stretched. We are loved.

We are blessed.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Just in case you wonder what STUPID looks like...

...then, here it is. Please watch this, but have a trashcan ready because you'll most certainly want to puke after watching.


Dear Mrs. Superintendent... YOU DON'T KNOW ME! My first reaction is God help the person who gives my first grader a condom. My next thought is that if I found a condom in my child's backpack at ANY age and I knew it came from school, I'd be on the nightly news with an inmate number under my headshot.

But really, we can scream all we want at the people on the other side of this video. The bottom line is, government is a reflection of the people. Period. Those babies are being educated on how to put a condom on because we the people have allowed it.

Not too long ago, a 10 year old delivered a baby in Atlanta. She was not raped. Locally, a 5th grade girl gave birth. It's nothing anymore to see girls who look like they are still playing with Bratz dolls walking around the mall bursting with child, while they are putting on glittery Hello Kitty lipgloss. It is VERY evident that the problem is a problem of cataclysmic proportions, and I've had enough.

I've had ENOUGH of people dressing their daughters up like mini-prostitutes and then raking every teenage boy who looks at her over the coals. I'm ANGRY that dolls look less and less like toys and more and more like replicas of the deceived young women at Hugh Hefner's side. I'm DONE with parents buying their children whatever new novelty the child wants just to keep them out of their hair in the evenings,and meanwhile the child is locked up in their room at the age of 8 on their laptop or iPhone, seeing who knows what. I'm SO TIRED of parents taking the easy way out and letting their boys follow the crowd with the words they speak and the ways they see women, since Daddy has a Sports Illustrated swimsuit calendar in his garage. I'm OVER IT with moms who are in their 30s but think they're still in their 20s, dressing and acting like they're in their teenage years, and treating their teenage daughter like a confidant and friend. I want to SCREAM when parents let their kids participate in whatever the heck they choose to, packing their week full of all sorts of activities and clubs, yet leave zero time for church together and then bring their kids to our church and demand we fix them! THIS VIDEO BROKE THE CAMEL'S BACK IN ME, PEOPLE!

*clearing my throat and regaining my composure*

We are only talking about our girls' virginity here, parents. We're only talking about the virtue of our sons' integrity. That's all.

But by all means, let's get angry at the teachers who will be passing out the condoms. Let's rant and rave at how the school systems are yet again failing our kids. Blah, blah, blah. Here's the deal. Those school officials and teachers are doing what they deem necessary to stop the pandemic problem of crappy parenting. Am I saying it's okay to provide sex ed for our littlest ones, complete with condoms provided? ABSOLUTELY NOT. But what I AM saying is that everyday, school officials and teachers are put in the impossible position of having to straighten out or tolerate the messes that WE as parents make. They are not the answer, nor do they HAVE the answer to our children's problems. Their answer is throw a condom at them. WE, as Christian, sane, and somewhat intelligent people, are their PARENTS. It's OUR job to educate our children about sex from an early age. It's OUR job to teach them to discern between the kids they should hang out with and the ones they shouldn't. It's OUR job to model integrity and virtue in front of them in our relationships and marriages. It's OUR job to show them Biblical principles and how to live out God's word in our every day lives. So when we don't do our job, the world has to step in with their version of the solution.

And condoms are given to first graders.

It's time to step it up, moms and dads. For real.

Bottom line is if we are doing our jobs and following Biblical principles with parenting our kids... if we keep our eyes opened to what is actually going on in our kids' lives and get our heads out of our laptops... we won't have to be afraid of the big scary nurse at school that's trying to shove condoms in our kids' backpacks without our knowledge or consent. Instead, we will have children who are open with us, who ask US the questions because they know we have the answers and we're willing to share them.

And on a side note... ever thought about actually getting involved in your child's school so that you can be aware at a ground level what's going on? Just sayin'.

Will we never, ever be caught off guard with our kids? Of course we will. Will we always have children who stay on the straight-and-narrow? Nope. They live in a real world. God did everything right with Adam and Eve but they still failed. But one thing's for sure. You CAN be sure YOUR child isn't one of those children learning a skewed version of sex from a school nurse with a condom and a cucumber.


Monday, July 12, 2010

ANYTHING But Typical.

I have never, ever, ever been satisfied with status quo.

Those of you who know me or my family probably just said something like, "Nah, REALLY?" very sarcastically.

Seriously. When I look at my life, my family, my beliefs, sometimes I feel like I wear a sign that screams "ANTI-NORMAL." Maybe it's from growing up with hundreds of pairs of eyes watching my every move as a preacher's kid. Maybe it's the result of the union of the two gene pools that made me. Maybe it's a little bit of my own stubbornness and individuality. Whatever it is, I've always felt like "the lady in red, when everybody else is wearing tan." (Remember that show?)

I could read proficiently at three. I began puberty at nine. People thought I was married to my dad when I was 14. (ew!) I was freakishly good at schoolwork, and had absolutely NO desire to participate in sports or anything even remotely sportish. I married at 19 to a man who is twelve-and-a-half years older than me. (Thank GOD. Guys my age were SOOOOOO annoying.) We are both in full-time ministry together at the church where my parents are senior pastors and in full-time ministry, along with my sister and brother in law. It took us a gazillion years to get pregnant. And even my pregnancy with Abi was weird. I didn't know I was pregnant until I was almost nine weeks along, had NO sickness, never felt better in my life up to that point, and actually lost weight the entire pregnancy.

Then came Abi.

My little Abi... green-eyed, brown haired, angelically faced Abi. From the minute this little wild-haired bundle of pink entered the world, she has stood out from the crowd too. Every. Where. She. Goes.

She's a little bit spicy and a little bit sweet with a tad of sour mixed in there from time to time. She defies all fashion codes, puts Jesus first in front of her friends with no shame, and never meets a stranger. She is the quickest child I know in putting her thoughts into words, super-sensitive to the needs of others, but extremely picky with who she loves on.

She gave her bottle up on her own. She gave up her pacifier (which she had a deep and passionate love affair with) on her own. One day, after I had literally tried every method I knew to potty train this child and finally gave up, convinced that underneath her graduation gown there'd be a Pooh Pull-up, she looked at me and said, "I'm not going to use pull-ups anymore. I'll use the potty from now on." And that was that. As in no accidents, not even at night.

Abi has a strong prophetic gift (don't wig out on me... it's true. Maybe in another blog I will tell you some of her "words" and "premonitions" that she's had that will give you goosebumps.)She's seen angels, held one-on-one conversations with God, and has such a deep-rooted love for her Jesus, it will humble you to your core.

And her thought processes... MAN are they way beyond her years! Just the other day she asked me, "How do you find the person you're supposed to marry." And if that wasn't enough, she then asked, "How do you know you love someone like that?" ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? YOU'RE SIX! You're supposed to be asking what time Dora comes on, aren't you?

See, we've known from pregnancy that we were dealing with an extraordinary child. Alot of my friends have boys. And when their kids were jumping off the tops of the kitchen cabinets, my friends would look at Abi reading a book and say, "You've got it made." My response is, "Mine is a whole other kind of challenge. It's mental, 24/7/365."

Abi isn't typical. Her track record is one of not bending to peer pressure to pick on other kids. She has shown that she doesn't hesitate to pray for a friend in her public school. She couldn't care less if 99 kids wear purple leggings if her mood is yellow ones. Now, I know, I know. Childhood and adolesence has much power as far as friends and succumbing to society's way. But I have purposed in this mother's heart of mine that I WILL NOT EXPECT turbulence, years of pain, or the snares of life to trip her up. Believe me, I know PLENTY of kids who haven't fallen into rebellion in the armpit years.

I'm her mom. Her biggest fan. Her greatest source of hope. So what I WILL exepct is for this pattern of being anything but typical to hold true throughout her life. I will EXPECT good attitude. I will EXPECT her to soar. I will EXPECT her to gravitate to good friends and good guys. I will EXPECT her to challenge the system and go with her gut.

Because if I expect her to be the "typical" teenager, she will be.

I think I'm gonna expect her to redfine typical. Yeah. That's what I'm gonna expect. ;-)