For a learning activity and plain activity, I took the boys outside and drew shapes all over our driveway. We then played games of yelling out a shape and everyone running to the right shape. (I had drawn three of each so that Will, Drew, and I always had a shape to jump onto.) I then let Will call out shapes that we had to jump to. He seemed to really enjoy it. Afterwards, I made a hop-scotch with chalk. We then played in the sand box and rode little cars around. Even Luke got to ride up and down the driveway on a little car, with Mommy’s assistance. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.
My boys don’t like to sleep. They awaken at 6:45 a.m. and don’t fall asleep until 10:00 p.m. They awaken, singing, yelling, stomping, and throwing things. They fall asleep, yelling at each other to stop talking. It is really kind of amusing, except for the fact that the attitudes aren’t right and they are disobeying us at the bed time. The crazy thing is that the boys then complain that they are tired and they are grumpy. If only they would sleep more!
I gave all three boys hair cuts last night. It was quite the challenge as the entire time I was cutting their hair, Drew was crying, wiping his face, and moving his head from side-to-side. Luke was moving all around, batting the scissors away, and sucking on the sink. Will was brushing his hair away and moving a bit, but he was the easiest. It’s quite the challenge to have decent hair cuts when you are cutting “moving targets.”
Yesterday, I took the boys outside like normal to run off their energy. At least, I thought they were going to do the running, but things turned out a a little differently… I had all three boys riding on their little cars. I pushed Luke and helped hold him on. Will decided to take off to the neighbors’ in his car. I told him to stop, but he thought it sounded fun to have Mommy chase after him. (I think the boys decided that going outside was to have Mommy run off her “energy.”) When my stern call for Will to turn around was ignored, I knew that I had to quickly retrieve my son. Sometimes, I have refused to get him so as to not look like the fool but have found that my son becomes even harder to retrieve. He knows he gets double trouble if he doesn’t come when he’s called and if we have to go after him. Anyway, he was in “double trouble.” The challenge was that I had to grab Luke from his car and then run up the sidewalk after Will. Luke thought it was great. He was being bounced around as he ran. If it wasn’t for the fact that I was the Mommy, I think I would have been chuckling just like my neighbor lady. She tells me that in her generation kids weren’t so bad as they are today. As I was running after my son, while he was laughing and the son in my arms was laughing and my neighbor was laughing, I was wishing that I had short-term memory loss. My attempts to tire the boys only seem to succeed in tiring me out. Boy do I wish that someone would put me down for a nap. 🙂
I think it is hard for people to relate to others who are experiencing different circumstances when it comes to parenting children. I find it easy to be patient with my children when they are fairly obedient, meaning you might have to explain something a few times, even discipline for direct disobedience a few times, clean up some accidental spills, and watch hyper boys be silly. It is much different though when I am dealing with these repeated situations:
1. having a child throw a temper tantrum because you won’t give them candy they want in the store… a child who is completely out of control and is fixated on something. i have talked with other parents of strong-willed children, and they have commented on the difference between their more compliant children from the strong-willed ones. a really strong-willed child cannot be distracted from something easily. they become fixated on a certain desire and emotional response and have a very difficult time unwinding from that. for my child who is like this, i find that putting him in a room by himself until he unwinds helps. sometimes, that creates more problems because he is so mad, he will deliberately get into stuff and create huge messes to vent his anger. it is better than him trying to hit and yell and throw things at people though because he is so angry.
2. having to discipline more than half a dozen separate times for deliberate disobedience and defiance (as parents we know the difference between deliberate or a child just not knowing). you begin to get angry because you feel completely helpless or at a loss to know what to do when you cannot get your child to obey you. remember, the strong-willed child is not easily distracted from getting their own way. besides, the child has to at some point, learn how to obey a command — not just be distracted from disobeying. in that case, have we really dealt with the heart issue? it depends of course on the situation and how often, etc…
3. having a child bite a sibling and scream hateful things in anger — not just once in a while but often (a few times a day at least)
4. having children deliberately (again we know the difference between just being curious, an accident, and on purpose make a huge mess just to be naughty) make a huge mess: such as, dumping all your soap all over the place, emptying shampoos all over the place, unrolling whole rolls of toilet paper and paper towels and kleenex and wet wipes, destroying a plant and then smearing dirt all over the carpet and furniture, ripping pages from books, pulling decorations down and braking when able, pulling pictures off the walls and tearing the pictures and backings, playing with dirty diapers, emptying clothes drawers and then peeing on the clean clothes, emptying Desitin and then smearing it all over rocking chairs and furniture, pouring shampoo all over the washing machine and floor, etc… just to name a few of their messes. (this has all happened within the confines of the bathroom while they were supposed to be going potty, during nap times, or while i was taking care of laundry while they were supposed to be playing and were locked in the family room.) in other words, it was for limited times and still within confined space that this happened, but some children will think of anything for any period of time.
5. i put my sons in their rooms for quiet time or nap time and have to keep checking on them until they’ve fallen asleep, because they are often getting into stuff that they do know they are not to get into. they were clearly told many times and know. their responses make that obvious when you enter the room…
I talked with a couple this past Sunday who were sharing that they had three boys who were not too bad, but then they adopted a daughter. She doesn’t seem to understand or care about consequences. She changed their ideas on parenting. They thought they had the answers until she came along. I think it is so easy for the parents to be blamed for bad behavior when it isn’t necessarily their fault. It can just as easily be parents blaming the children solely too. It comes down to it takes a lot more patience, grace, forgiveness, forbearance, love, etc… to deal with the strong-willed child. The parents of such a child need extra prayers, encouragement, and support. It is hard enough to deal with a challenging child but even harder when the parents are trying so hard to do a good job but are getting criticism or judgment from people who don’t understand. There will be people who will think that the parents aren’t strict enough or people who will think the parents are too strict and not loving enough. Unless, a person has walked in someone else’ shoes, they haven’t… As a friend of mine said, and I totally agree, “I knew all about parenting until I became one.” Our children aren’t “cookie cutter shapes.” What works for some people and their children won’t or doesn’t work for ours necessarily. or maybe works for one child but not another of our children. You can have the same set of parents turn out very different children. Does that mean the parents were a disaster in parenting, or that each child ultimately must make his or her own decisions?…
Someday, I will probably look back at these days and hardly remember how challenging they are now. I may have people asking me how in the world, I managed and turned out such great kids. I hope that I recall then with much humility that it was only by God’s grace and that I didn’t “turn out” anyone — only God did. He managed to use an imperfect vessel…
Even now, when people compliment me on the kids, I feel very humbled and share that it isn’t always this way (good behavior), but that we do try to work on consistency, heart attitudes, and spending special time with the kids. Do I have all the answers? Absolutely not! I am learning and trying to learn and apply more what it means to rely on God’s strength and walk in His grace for my day. I need it so very much! My kids have a way of “taking me to the end of my rope,” and that’s when we need to be hanging onto God (all the time).
Pray for plenty of opportunities to show love to our boys and that they will sense and know how much we love them. Thanks for your encouragement in loving our guys.
My day started with nursing the baby, then changing him, changing the older boys, and having Will go potty. Following that, it was getting everyone breakfast and then feeding myself. Keeping the boys in the high chairs with stuff to entertain them while I got a quick shower. They awaken too early to shower normally before they awaken. Then come back down, get the boys down, make a call regarding my dress that needs to be alterred, call about Pre-school stuff (two more calls), call about finding babysitting for two events, call about a hair apt., and try to order blinds. In between these calls, answered a call from a friend. Trying to talk to her, while intercepting children who are fighting. Feeding the baby again, sending the boys outside to play, reviewing rules before they go outside, watching the boys, bringing the boys inside for disobeying a rule, taking them back outside, reminding them again of rules, bringing them again for fighting and biting, still trying to order blinds for the boys’ room (since they broke their old ones), trying to unload dishwasher, constantly checking on boys to see what they are doing, feeding the boys lunch, getting the boys to clean up their toys (that always takes awhile), finally getting the boys upstairs, changing a second round of dirty diapers for the youngest two, getting Will to sit on the potty, reading to Drew, picking up Luke from crib so I can calm him while I read to Will, checking on Drew again, heading back downstairs to feed baby food to Luke, answering the phone regarding information I needed, going back upstairs to check on Will who is crying from trying to climb over the gate and falling, getting Will situated again, going back downstairs to check on Luke who is now asleep, finishing dishes, cleaning my bathroom so it’s ready for company, answering the phone regarding our company bringing veggies tonight, and finally sitting down to type on my blog. Phew…! That doesn’t include a complete list, but that was my constant activity. Constant because I have to be constantly checking on my boys. Luke managed to pull the gate down twice on himself today, get run over by a chair, and fall and bang his head on the mirror. Poor baby! Yes, I was checking on them all a lot, but with little active boys it is a “whirlwind” of activity. If you are laughing because you know exactly what I mean, you probably have children of similar dispositions or activity levels. If you can’t relate, you probably can’t… 🙂 I am getting ready to head upstairs to check on Will again and to have devotions and to review my memory verse for this week so I can quote it to my friend. Then, I may get a nap in. Oh yes, I just realized I had completely forgotten supper so I set some things out to thaw.
Jonathan’s schedule has been busy too. Last night, we went to the store to price toilets and sinks for the kitchen purifier since our boys have broken both items. I am longing to have a working toilet and clean water again to taste. I can’t stand city water!
Well, I tried to really tire our boys out yesterday. I got out a hose that has holes in it, and it made a perfect sprinkler. I also sprayed the boys with the “mist” part of our hose. The boys had fun running through that. I then had them run races in the back yard. Following that, I gave all three boys a ride in their riding car. It was pretty funny and fun! Drew seemed to go down better for his nap. I am trying to think of ways I can really tire my boys so that they don’t get into so much foolishness. 🙂
Tonight, we had fun as a family doing exercises together, playing “Hot Potato,” and then reading by flash light under a makeshift tent on our bed. The boys had fun and so did Mom and Dad! Jonathan and I laughed as we watched our silly boys get easily distracted from playing “Hot Potato” to throwing our “potato” in the air, out the door, and chasing it while falling all over each other. Exercies were just as ridiculous with Luke climbing all over me or planting himself right underneath me so that I couldn’t properly do my exercises to the older boys climbing all over Jonathan as he tried to do push-ups. It really was funny and even funnier if we could have taped it and played it later in FF. These are the times though that really help a family to bond. Laughing together and just having fun together is so important!
We ended our day with reading to the boys on our bed, while they made makeshift tunnels under our covers. Jonathan read by flash light. The boys enjoyed this, but it is crazy trying to get them to sit still. They were tumbling all over us and each other. Silly boys!
Today, we had some more discipline battles with our two oldest boys. Both parents were finding their patience sorely exhausted. Finally, I had a conversation with Will where we talked about the need to obey God, consequences when we disobey and are naughty, etc… Will has heard enough Bible stories that by now, he understands that there is punishment for sin. He kept asking me questions about sin and punishment. He got very serious and wanted to know if he was going to “that bad place.” I said that everyone goes there — yes, him too — if he doesn’t believe in Jesus. I told him that God doesn’t want anyone to go there and that is why Jesus died. It is our sin that brings the punishment. It is God’s love that brings salvation.
We explain the similar parallel to this when he disobeys, fights, lies, etc… that he chooses to be punished/corrected. When he obeys, he chooses rewards and happiness. When he chooses to do wrong, he makes the choice to be corrected in some way. So when we sin, we choose sin’s punishment. God in his love and mercy chose to send Jesus so that we can be saved from that punishment. God’s justice and God’s grace/love/mercy were perfectly fulfilled on the cross. Jesus was punished in our place!
I then told Will that he needed to pray. We had talked earlier about him praying and asking God to help him obey. At that point, Will was not ready to pray. But at this point, he was ready to pray. He prayed, “Dear Jesus, thank you for being my Savior. Thank you I’m your child!” This was his three-year-old way of praying that he was trusting Jesus as his Savior and wanting to be God’s child. (Sometimes, he gets his tenses confused.) I know how Will talks so I know this is what he meant. Whether he truly understood everything, only God knows; but I know that he understood as much as he can at age three 1/2. We then talked about how as God’s children, we need to obey God and do what is right. At this, he finally laid his head down in sweet submission on his pillow and promptly went to sleep! Hallelujah!!! What a job to know that God’s Spirit is at work in Will’s heart and that a heart change did occur!
Yesterday, I decided to let the kids make “constructive messes.” I got out the paint, paper plates, aprons, and sponges. I set the boys up in the kitchen on the stools and let them have fun painting with sponges on construction paper. Later, I got out markers and had them trace alphabet letters for school. They seemed to enjoy these activities, and it helped keep them from making other type of “messes.”