Romans 5:3-4

Two Good Bits That I have Been Marinating On

Romans 5:3-4  we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.

I’ve been thinking about this verse lately as it relates to parenting children, especially the difficult ones.    So often I am frustrated by this child’s behavior & attitude when really, I should so grateful!    Grateful that this sin isn’t hidden away where it is difficult to see and thus to root out.   Grateful that we are able to work on these issues together- because this tribulation will result in perseverance & hope for BOTH of us!  Isn’t that a wonderful thing?!?!


Psalm 123:3 Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us!  for we are exceedingly filled with contempt.  

When we discern that other people are not growing spiritually and allow that discernment to turn to criticism, we block our fellowship with God.   God never gives us discernment so that we may criticize, but that we may intercede.  -OC


I have been on the receiving end of such criticism, and oh, how it hurts.  I pray that God will show me how and when to intercede and will not allow a spirit of condemnation, superiority and critical thinking to grow in my heart towards others.

I read this amazing post today- this is exactly what we are trying to avoid with our children.     If you are a Christian parent, trying to raise Christian children, then this is a must read.


From this blog:   Letter From a Christian College Student

I recieved this letter from a young lady last week—a Bible college student who grew up in a Christian home and Christian school. I believe it’s the saddest letter I’ve ever read and right on the mark for so detailing the experiences of so many young Christians. I asked her permission to post it. Please read. Her words will greatly challenge you as a parent or pastor:

Dear Pastor Schmidt,

A few years ago, I read your books Hook, Line, and Sinker, Discover Your Destiny, and Life Quest. I found them to be extremely encouraging and instructive. These books showed me that not only do you have a real heart for young people, but you also understand us well. I am writing to ask you to consider writing a book to our parents and youth workers. Let me explain.

I am a junior at a well-known Christian college. I grew up in highly respected “fundamental independent Baptist” churches, and went to excellent Christian schools. My father has been a Christian worker since before I was born. One would think that my testimony would go something like this:

“I was saved when I was about 5 and I had dedicated my life to God and I have been growing a lot and serving Him and now I’m studying to serve Him full time.” But that isn’t my story. Actually, though I did make a profession of faith when I was very young, I didn’t get saved until I was 17. Since I was 12 and now on into college I have struggled with “serious” issues. And I found out when I went to college that I am not the only “good kid” who is or has struggled with or is still struggling with serious stuff. We struggle with issues like eating disorders, depression and suicide, cutting, pornography, gender identity, homosexuality, drugs, drinking, immorality, and the list could go on. We listen to “wild” music, we idolize pop culture’s heroes, we watch dirty sitcoms. We have no discrimination in our entertainment, dress, or any aspect of our lifestyle. Obviously, I’m generalizing our problems—you would not find that every Christian young person from a conservative background struggles with all of these issues, and praise God, some of us do not struggle with any of these issues.

My point is that the problems that are supposed to be bad kid’s problems belong to us too. Unfortunately, our parents and youth workers don’t know that we struggle with these things and they don’t know what to do with us when they find out. Quite frankly, I believe that if you grabbed the average Christian school teacher or youth worker and asked them, “What would you do if you found out that one of the kids you work with was a homosexual?” they wouldn’t know what to say.

My point is not simply that they don’t know what we struggle with or how to deal with it. I think there is a pretty simple reason why “good” kids struggle with such serious stuff. And that there is a solution. At the risk of being blunt, I’m going to be blunt.

Our parents did not spend time teaching us to love God. Our parents put us in Sunday Schools since K4. Our parents took us to church every time the doors opened, and sent us to every youth activity. They made sure we went to good Christian colleges. They had us sing in the choir, help in the nursery, be ushers, go soulwinning. We did teen devotionals, and prayed over every meal. We did everything right. And they made sure that we did.

But they forgot about our hearts. They forgot that the Bible never commanded the church to teach children about God and His ways. That responsibility was laid at the feet of our fathers. Unfortunately, our fathers don’t have time for us. They put us where we are surrounded by the Bible. But they didn’t take time to show us that God was important enough to them to tell us personally about Him. So to us, Christianity has become a religion of externals. Do all the right stuff, and you’re a good Christian. So, some of us walk away from church. Some of us stay in church and fill a pew. Many of us struggle with stuff that our parents have no idea about because they hardly know us.

I think these problems stem from first, our detachment from our parents, and second from our misunderstandings about the essence of Christianity—a relationship, not a list of rules. I worry that many young people like me are not even saved because of their misunderstandings about Christianity.

I know that this has not been a well articulated treatise, but it comes from my heart. If you are able to help us and our families, we would be so grateful. I realize that probably, there is no way to fix the fact that kids my age are detached from our parents or to straighten out the crazy stuff that we struggle with. The alienation is fixed, the scars are permanent. I know our situation is not hopeless. God is at work in my life and my generation, among those of us who have struggled and are struggling. But maybe our younger siblings can have some help that we never had. Maybe you can write a book for our parents that will grab their attention and help them see that this is serious—that their kids need them, desperately.

I guess I’ve run out of things to say. I must say I’m a little hesitant to share my name with you because that attaches me with my parents, who are, by the way, good people. Thanks for everything you have already done to help Christian teens and their families. I’m eager to see what else God will do through you.


(Name Removed to Protect Anonymity)

All I could say when I read this letter was, “WOW! She nailed it!” This is the battle I’ve been fighting for twenty one years. I’m planning to write a couple of follow up articles to this letter, but for now, let this insightful young lady’s words sink in, and let God help you evaluate your own parenting and influence.

Are we teaching kids to simply appear and act right? Or are we teaching them to LOVE God and KNOW Him personally?

What are your thoughts?

Training Babies to Sleep

Since this blog is mostly written for my own purposes- as a sort of journal and scrapbook for my own enjoyment AND as something to pass down to the children later in life, I’ve occasionally included posts on favorite recipes, family heirlooms, etc.  I’ve been asked many times what it is I do to train my babies to sleep so early.     I’ve posted on sleep before but wanted to add this as well.  It’s a combination of an email I sent to a friend who’s having difficulty getting her baby to sleep and a post I wrote on a parenting message board.

(“L” is the person I was responding to)
Like L. sleep is a hill I’m willing to die on with my babies. I consider it as equally important as good nutrition for my babies. I feel about sleep the way some women feel about breastfeeding. grin FTR, I do nurse.

Lyra is doing really well. She’s 9 weeks old now. We typically do a dream feed around 10:30 or 11:00pm and she sleeps until around 4:00ish. Then another nursing around 6:30am and she’ll sleep until somewhere between 9:00-10:00am.

I have a friend I’m helping with sleep issues. Here’s the email I sent her this weekend on what we do for sleep.

Some of the different ways we get Lyra to sleep are:
Holding her on our shoulder (she loves this!)
Baby Chair

I use some combination of these every day- today she has slept in her bassinette, car, stroller, baby chair, on my shoulder and nursing. Some are with motion, some without, some with holding, some without, feeding and without, etc. She’s never learning to rely on any ONE method to fall asleep so essentially she IS learning to self-soothe all along.

That really is the key- the avoidance of relying on any one method to get her to sleep. Your repertoire of getting her to sleep should include a few non-motion sleeps… Does this make sense?

2 weeks ago, or maybe it was 3 weeks ago, she started regularly sleeping from around 11pm-4am ish. She typically falls asleep around 8pm. Around 10:30ish we change her diaper, nurse her and then give her a bottle if the nursing wasn’t enough. No talking or interacting- I call this a “dream” feed. Then she is usually good until 4 or 4:30ish. I try to nurse her again around 6:30 or 6:45 because I have to get in the shower at 7:10am. After that nursing she’ll sleep in my bed until somewhere between 9:00-10:00am.

And then, in reply to another email she sent me…

I think you are right about doing these things “all along”. We strive to do this from the day we bring her home so it is a natural way of living to the baby.

We also follow the same sleep, feed, play cycle and the 45 minute “rule” for young babies. Around 3 or 4 months it starts stretching out to a 2 hour schedule. Awake 2 hours, asleep 2 hours, all day long until bedtime.

I would say that the only thing I do differently than L.  is that around 5 or 6 months, as they start getting more “cluey” as L.  says, I just stay home during nap time. This is not a big deal to me as I am a homebody. And it’s not been that difficult to schedule appointments around naptimes, etc. When it comes to church, we would simply switch to the evening service instead of the morning one (we are not going right now per Kip’s wishes BUT he has said when Lyra is older we can possibly start going back if we can find a church with an evening service.)

Parenting Books & My Thoughts On the Subject

A question from a friend and my response:


Ages ago you sent me this question:  That reminds me, I was talking to a friend that has a 9 month old little girl and she was telling me how she wanted to raise her girl with discipline, respect yet still have a sense of self and identity and I told her my friend Kelly knows all about that!  I thought you might know some good books to recommend to her.

I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to respond.  I’ve actually been thinking about it and pondering what I wanted to say.

First- Here’s a list of my favorite books/authors. As with all things, chew the meat and spit out the bones. I would not say that I follow any one book/method/author completely.  It’s important to keep in mind that each family is different and it only causes difficulty to try to emulate another family exactly.

1.  Raising Godly Tomatoes:  LOVE the book, love the website, love the forum.

2.  To Train Up a Child: The second book I read about child training and still one of the best. Their website is:

I would highly recommend ordering a copy of their book.  BUT- don’t miss out on the website- there are TONS of good parenting articles on there- lots of good meat.

*A word of caution: The Pearls speak VERY bluntly.  They are easy to misinterpret so read carefully- don’t miss the JOY these parents have in their children.   Now, personally, I think their theology is a little off sometimes but I just ignore that part and read the parenting stuff because the parenting stuff is GOOD.

A few of my favorite Pearl quotes:

“Rules and principles make good fences for a family, but not good glue.  Joy is the best family glue on the market. A carnal family with joy will produce better kids than a “spiritual” family with tight-lipped, rigid , or stern-browed legalism.  It doesn’t have to be either/or.  The absolute best approach is joyful, disciplined spirituality founded on the solid principles of the Word of God and separation from the world.”  -From Michael Pearl’s article “Training in Joy”

“I rule benevolently.  Love and respect are my primary tools of persuasion.  I lead, not command from a distant bunker.

“Parent, above all, you must cultivate that kind of relationship with your child.  It is painful to sin against your best buddy.”

“Check yourself for balance by asking the question, ‘Do my children view me as a stern and severe disciplinarian or as a cheerful and wonderful companion and guide?’ Your judgments and punishments should be lost in the many hours of happy communion.”

3. Author: John Rosemond- anything by him.  I’ve read several of his books and liked them.  He really gave me a good sense of the parents right and duty to a biblical authority over our children.  I like his no-nonsense approach to parenting. I do NOT agree with his ideas on supervision- he is very much into the 1950′s “send them outside to play and don’t come back until suppertime” type of mentality.  I just skip over that because I think it is nonsense.

4. Under Loving Command: This little pamphlet is a GEM.   Don’t miss it- spend the $1.50- it’s worth it!

5.  Child Wise Chat: This blog is really excellent on getting the foundations down.

NOW, my thoughts on raising children “with discipline, respect yet still have a sense of self and identity”….

My VERY unpopular opinion but I think the KEY to raising disciplined and respectful children with a sense of self and identity is… keep them away from other children! Ha!  I know that is contrary to what all the “experts” say.

Does this mean my kids are living in isolation and that we never allow them to see any other children? No, of course not.  What it does mean is that we are very, very choosy about who we play with and what activities the children participate in.

We have a FEW other families that we get together with occasionally- I try to have a playdate or field trip once a week.

I want my kids to be free from the pressures of their peers to conform to whatever the “cool” thing is.  I want them to be free to explore their own interests and their own gifts without worrying about what everyone else is doing.  Not only that, I don’t want them picking up the popular attitudes of today. I do not think it is cool to have a sassy mouthed 3 year old and it is *mind-blowing* to me that most people seem to think it is cute yet don’t get the association between a sassy 3yo and an out-of-control, mouthy, disrespectful teenager.   What’s cute at 3yo suddenly isn’t so cute in a 13yo.  But by that time it’s mostly to late to change.   Similarly, we’ve got 2 year olds dressing like street walkers and it’s “cute” yet these same parents are positively aghast when their 12yo wants to wear the same thing.    With boys, there is either a lot of encouragement or excusing of aggressive behavior- “oh, well, he’s only 2yo.”  or “he’s SUCH a boy!”.  They don’t “grow out of it” and it’s not “just a phase”.  You have to TEACH and TRAIN them or you have aggressive teenagers.   Tasers in school, anyone???   Clearly it’s a problem in our society.   The fact that police officers even see a need for tasers in school should be a clue that something is wrong with our children.   Silliness is also a problem, especially in boys, it seems.  (And we are struggling with this with Nathan right now).  I’m not saying we should never have a silly or fun moment- but it goes to far- it’s a form of refusing to take responsibility and often, of refusing obedience.

So many parents these days are on the highest alert when it comes to their child’s physical safety.  But, time and time again I see parents who give little or no thought to their child’s MENTAL safety. We want to guard very carefully what our kids are listening to, seeing & learning.  A part of that is limiting television (although we do watch some Noggin and PBS but no Disney Channel) but we also need to be concerned with what they are exposed to by other children.  Listen, as Sarah well knows, my kids aren’t perfect by any stretch.  But here’s the thing- generally speaking (there are some rare exceptions) kids don’t influence each other for the good.  So if my son struggles with whining and my friend’s son struggles with being a bully- what happens when they play together???  My son comes home having picked up some bullying tactics and her son goes home having learned a whole new level of  whining.    Again, we DO see other kids on occasion- but I am careful about who we socialize with.   Young children are little sponges, soaking up every experience, always watching and learning and gathering bits and pieces to incorporate into their own life.  So I am very careful about WHAT they are learning by monitoring WHO we are playing with and keeping a good eye on them while we are playing.  We don’t do drop off playdates, ever.  Period.  (As an aside, you probably know that of the number of kids who are sexually molested, 93% of those are molested by someone they know.  BUT- and this was shocking to me- did you know that of those kids molested by someone they know, 40% of them are molested by OTHER CHILDREN who are older or larger?  Yet another reason we don’t do unsupervised playdates.)

In addition- as you will see once baby gets older- it is VERY, VERY difficult to discipline your children out in public.   And young children needs lots of teaching and training to learn the proper way to behave and discipline for when they refuse.   For this reason, we are careful about how much time we spend outside of the home.  I really can’t teach and train effectively out in public.   If my 2yo has a throw down fit in the middle of the store, I’m pretty well stuck.   If she does it at home, well, I am more free to deal with it.  And that doesn’t always mean a spanking.  It might just mean OUTLASTING.  Her world comes to a screeching STOP until she does what she’s been told to do.  Until then, we sit right there and work through the issue. I  give the command to pick up the block (or whatever), she refuses and has a throw down fit.  I stand her up again, give the command, she refuses, etc.  And we keep at it until she chooses to obey.  IT’S NOT ABOUT THE BLOCK, it’s about:
1. She understands the command
2. She is capable of doing what’s been asked
3. She is refusing to obey

She needs to learn that she MUST obey Mommy and that is hard to do if you are out of the house, running around town with her all day.

If I can’t get her to obey at home and pick up a block when asked, then how can I be sure she’ll obey when it’s really important?   For example, in a busy parking lot?

So I minimize the amount of time we are out of the house. I have a sitter that comes once a week for 3 or 4  hours.  I go out to lunch, read my paper and have a personal moment.  After that, I try to get all my errands done during that time so that I am not dragging the children out multiple times a week.

They do go out twice a week for Tae Kwon Do lessons and once a week for our playdate.   If Kip or I go out in the evening or on the weekend to run an errand- frequently he’ll take one kid or I’ll take one.   So they get out a bit then plus it’s 1 + 1 time.   We go for walks and visit with neighbors often.   I don’t want to give the impression that we’re completely isolated- we’re just very careful about outside influences.

Sarah- I’m sure that is a MUCH longer response than you expected.  Sorry if I was a bit wordy… as you know, it is a topic that is near & dear to my heart.

Hope you are doing well and enjoying the holidays!

Love, Kelly


Sometimes I forget the good ideas I used to have, only to rediscover them years later and say to myself “Why did I stop doing that???”   Staging is one of those things I used to do when Mary and Nathan were little that somehow fell away over the years.

What is staging??? Staging is taking a few minutes to set out something “new” for the kids to play with when they get up.   By “new” I mean something that has been put away in the toy closet for a while.   I try to do this in the evenings after they’ve gone to bed and it seriously only takes about 2 minutes.  I pull something out they haven’t seen for a while (a tub of Legos, the Castle set, etc.) and set it out for them to discover in the morning. I can be guaranteed a good hour or more of quiet playing when I do this.

Mary-   June 18, 2009

Because I’ve been doing a lot of planning for the upcoming school year, we’ve been spending a lot of time up in the school room lately.   The other night I set some things out for each of them to discover that I thought would interest them.

Nathan has been really into books lately so I set out this selection for him to discover on the floor- 3 books on houses and building, 2 books on space and 2 books on Indians.  All things he has been interested in recently.

This little mushroom playhouse for Savvy- she loves to sit at the desk like a “big girl”.

Mary loves to draw and has recently been loving this Usborne “What Shall I Draw?” book that I picked up for her at a used homeschool bookstore.   This book along with a pad of paper and some colored pencils will keep her occupied for hours.

Children and chores

Working Children

(My thoughts on the value of teaching and training your children to work around the home.   The question in red below was posted on a parenting forum that I frequent.   There was a back-and-forth discussion to this question- I’ve cut and pasted some of my responses below.   Please forgive any choppiness to my reply- I didn’t want to rewrite the entire thing and it would have been to long if I had posted the entire give-and-take.

Question:  “I’ve heard very differing opinions on this. Some moms feel guilty for making their children do much so the children only do the most basic of chores and the mom does everything else. Other families have the philosophy that the children are to “work us out of a job” and gradually take over running the house. I think I lean more towards feeling guilty so I don’t require much from my children…Should we worry about our children becoming resentful if we require them to do too much?”

My Answer:

You know, my Mom felt “guilty” about asking us kids to help out. She felt like being a SAHM and running the household was “her job” and that school was us kids “job”.

The result? Although my mother can sew quite well, grew the largest garden in our county (not an exaggeration) and canned all her own vegetables, cross-stitched samplers, etc. my sister and I know how to do NONE of this stuff.

I was an ADULT (actually it was only a few years ago!) before I learned that Downy was a fabric softener! I thought it was for washing your delicates! So for years and years I washed all our delicates in Downy. eek

I was an adult before I learned how to make my own pie crust or learned how to can. Both times my mother came once to show me and I had to try to take copious notes to help me remember what she said/what to do because she lives 2 hours away. So it’s not as if I had a little trouble getting the crust right or something with the canning process that she could just pop back over and give me a few corrections.

I could go on and on about all the things that I’ve had to learn as an adult that I wished I’d learned as a kid. My Mother didn’t teach us how to cook or how to do laundry or any of those things. Very little was required of us beyond vacuuming, dusting and picking up the dinner dishes.  (This is no slam on my Mom- she had a lot on her plate- Dad was gone flying, the gardening,  us three kids, taking care of three mentally disabled men for the state- she had a long list of things to do each day and was short on time)

I really want my daughters to enter into adulthood CAPABLE AND CONFIDENT that they know how to run a household. I’d like for them to sew and know how to can. Be experienced at menu planning, grocery shopping and cooking. (I can do all those things very well now but it took me years to get here.)

So, to me, it’s not something that I’ll feel guilty about AT ALL. On the contrary, I’d feel guilty if I DIDN’T take the time to teach and train my daughters how to do these things! My goal is for them to NOT enter marriage feeling like they are starting at square 1, you know? It’s not about “working myself out of a job” so much as teaching and training them to run a household so that they are able to do so very capably when they have their own home. I can’t see that I’d ever be sitting on the couch eating bon bons while my daughters slave over the house. I envision more working along side them, helping them to get that pie crust just right, how to season a roast just so, good organizational techniques, etc.

(Not to leave Nathan out- he’ll learn too but we are mostly focused on him working with his Dad at our family business and learning how to properly run the business.)

I suppose, like all things, it’s a bit of a heart issue? Are you turning over laundry and other housework out of laziness? Are you just going to be sitting on the couch watching soap operas and drinking a Mt. Dew while your kids slave away running the entire house because you’re to lazy to get up? NO- OF COURSE NOT! You’re heart is to train them to do these jobs so that they will be comfortable doing them when they have their own home! I’m always annoyed at these women who fawn over every little thing their kid does with excessive praise- I remember watching the Duggar episode where they were building their house and all the kids age 7 and up had their own cordless drills. I remember thinking- now THAT is self-esteem! Feeling confident and capable because you actually KNOW how to do something and your parents TRUST and BELIEVE that you can do a good job. It’s like Mike Pearl talks about in his article “Jumping Ship”- the importance of making your kids feel like you are all in this together, they’re part of a team and their contributions are VITAL for the success of the family.

For some reason I get the feeling that you think you shouldn’t require the children to do work unless you are working every single second of the day and are stretched to the limit- but see, to me, then the goal of having them do some work is to help you out vs. the goal of training them how to manage a household. Two different things. (not that there is anything wrong with kids helping out a stressed out parent either!)
I’m not running around exercising, doing projects or organizing all the-live-long-day either. It’s really not the point though. The point is to train your children to be able to run a household competently. I have quiet time every day for 1-2 hours. I read or nap or putz on the computer. Every single solitary minute of my day isn’t spent working. But then, you know, when I had a “real job”, I didn’t spend every single second working either. There were down times- bathroom and lunch breaks, chit-chat with a co-worker, etc. Why should it be any different just because we are working from home?

A guest posting…

This excellent post is by Chautona over at Paradoxology.   She very graciously allowed me to post it here.   I have my own little anecdote at the end.   (I bolded certain parts of the text.)

Do Parents a Favor~

There is nothing (ok, so there is probably something but it feels, at this particular moment as though there is nothing)  more insulting than to hear, “It must be nice to have easy kids.”

Let me give you a news flash.  I’ve never seen an “easy” kid. Even those who don’t challenge you directly, have their own quirks and problems that result in much work on the part of parents.  Just take note, right now, there are no “easy kids”.   There might be kids who pull wool over their parents’ eyes, kids who are hard for a time and then easy, kids who are easy for a time and then hard, but every person at some point in their life, must confront their own sinfulness and conquer it and it’s the job of parents to do their part.

But back to insults.  There is nothing more frustrating to a parent who has put hundreds or thousands of hours investing in their child, working through character flaws, training in obedience and godliness, only to have that effort tossed in the garbage with a thoughtless, “it must be nice to have easy kids.”

I’ve heard it, and I have friends who have heard it and I guarantee, we all have shortened tongues from where we’ve bitten the ends off trying not to make snarky retorts to the inaccurate and annoying comments of people who have no clue what we go through to “produce” those “easy kids.”

  • I’ve put a child’s entire birthday cake/meal back on the shelves and left the store with nothing for a bad attitude.
  • A friend has crawled in between bouts of vomiting to deal with a child who refused to obey before crawling back to that toilet.
  • Everyone of my babies (except the eldest obviously) has been put down mid-feeding while I dealt with an errant child who thought they could get away with murder while mom was latched to the infant.
  • I’ve held fake conversations on the phone, for hours, in order to train my children that it doesn’t matter WHAT I am doing,  I will stop any conversation and deal with misbehavior.
  • I’ve dragged sobbing children back to stores and made them return stolen items, pay for said items, and leave without said items.
  • I’ve spent four hours, at a friend’s house, working with a stubborn toddler, until she obeyed.  During pregnancy, while contracting, and wanting nothing but a long nap… for all of us!
  • I have a friend who has spent twice that time doing the same thing with her “easy kid”.

I could go on for hours, but the fact is, I don’t  have to prove to anyone that my kid is just as sinful as the next.  That really isn’t even my point.  My point is that when I say, “My kid wouldn’t ever try that in my home,” it isn’t because he wouldn’t have at one point.  It is because I worked hard, every day of their lives, from the day they were born until they leaned that mom and dad’s word was like the law of the Medes and the Persians.  It will not waver.  Yes I failed.  Often.  I will tell you, however, that I succeeded often enough to make a lasting impression.

Why do people recognize all the work that goes into an exquisite painting, a masterfully played sonata, or a hand stitched quilt but if a child is well behaved, it must be because  he’s “easy”.  Why do people think that “good kids” just “happen” to run in families?  Wouldn’t it make more sense that they’d be sprinkled a bit more evenly through the population?

Do hard working moms everywhere a favor.  Next time you see a well behaved child, make a positive comment about the child or their behavior.  Please don’t tell the mom how nice it must be to have an “easy child”.  It would truly be kinder if you slapped her in the face.

It’s me again….I remember once when Nathan was at the cardiologist for his 2 year (I think) checkup- the cardiologist kept going on and on about how good Nathan was, how he just couldn’t believe that we could have a 2yo that would lie still for an echocardiogram and an EKG without having to be put to sleep, yada yada yada.

So, I said- “thanks, we work really hard at teaching good behavior at home”.

The cardio looked at me and said “oh no, you can’t teach them good behavior this young. He’s just a naturally easy child.” eek eek

My word did I just have to restrain myself.

“Listening” vs. “Obeying”, Thanksgiving Craftiness and a Busy Box

I’ve been sitting on this little gem of a post for a while now just waiting until I get annoyed enough to post.  Today’s the day!

One of my biggest PET PEEVES is when I hear parents say that their child isn’t “listening”. I’ve got a news flash- he hears you JUST fine.  What your child is doing is NOT OBEYING.

He HEARS what you are telling him he just doesn’t WANT to do it so HE’S IGNORING YOU.

It is beyond outrageous to hear someone say “She’s only three, I can’t expect her to listen to me.” Whaaaa?   (Thanks, Sarah C.!)   Does she “listen” to you when you say “Let’s go get icecream”?  Can she “hear” you when you say “Let’s go to the toy store”?  Is she able to obey those times?  If you say “Susy- go get in your carseat- we’re going to get icecream!” does she run to the car and get in her seat?    Common sense would dictate that if the child can “hear” the good things and can choose to obey when it benefits her, that she can “hear” you the rest of the time as well.   She has the ability to obey, she is choosing not to. Either these people have a child who is seriously cognitively delayed or my children are brilliant.   Because you know what, my 15 month old is able to obey.  I can give her a command and she knows EXACTLY what she is being told to do/not do.   Sometimes she obeys and sometimes she doesn’t.  We’re working on that.  But it’s certainly not a question of “does she understand”.   She understands juuuuust fine.

Another bit of common sense:  Seriously, if you can’t get your three year old to obey, what are you going to do when she’s fifteen?  Do you think they just arbitrarily decide to obey at a certain age?  Are you counting on being able to reason with them as they get older?  What if the child doesn’t like you reasoning?  Then what do you do?

Honestly, this is just baffling to me.    Why would you not just teach them to be obedient at a young age?

Thanksgiving Craftiness

In an earlier post I mentioned planning for the holidays.   Yesterday we did one of the Thanksgiving crafts I had picked out for us to do back in September.    Using some cardstock and $1 ink pads from AC Moore, the kids used their fingerprints and thumbprints to make these cute Thanksgiving Turkeys.  We made cards that we are mailing to grandparents and some elderly relatives that live in Virginia and New  York.  We also made place cards for the Thanskgiving table.    Here’s some pictures of our handiwork:

Kip traced the kids hands and then they did the coloring to make handprint turkeys.

Mary made these handprint turkeys all by herself.

Busy Box

I mentioned in yesterday’s post about Savannah’s Busy Box.  Here it is.

A 10cent pencil box that I got from Wal-Mart on clearance.  Filled with odds and ends that we’ve picked up.

A tin that the covers pops on and off, film canisters, a change purse that snaps open, a little zippered bag, a bottle with a cap that twists on and off, two scoops, the hard plastic thing from the inside of a tape roll, straws bent into triangle, a flexi-mouse, a block with a jingle bell in it, a piece of ribbon, and a yellow coin keeper.   This is enough stuff to keep her busy for quite a while.  Opening and closing things.   Hiding the ribbon or the block inside of the different containers and she looks for them, etc.

Cranky McCrankyPants

See this precious one? Oh, but has she been a CRANK lately.

I’m remembering why I always say that the age from 12 months- 24 months is THE most difficult age. She threw a flat out, screaming, FURIOUS fit the other day.

However. I am determined to conquer this defiance NOW rather than later.

With Mary, we met the fits head on at around this age and conquered them. It was a trying several months but after that she was, and continues to be, just a dream.

With Nathan, we let it go. When he was 15 months old- 22 months old we were in the process of selling our house and all the work that that entails, buying a new house and completely renovating it, moving into new house and having a miscarriage. It was a horrible, horrible time. The worst time of my life. And I let things slide discipline-wise with Nathan. It wasn’t his fault and I should have done better.   I got in the habit of avoiding things that I knew would make him angry and trying to distract him or appease him when he did throw a fit just because I thought I had other more important, pressing things to do than stop and address his fit.   I should have realized that the other things were not as important as training, disciplining and teaching him properly. Somehow I lost focus of what was truly important and oh, how we have paid for it. Not just us, but Nathan too. By the time he was 2yo the pattern of disobedience was set. It was to late to turn things around easily.  We have had to work SO hard to turn things around with him. It’s been a hundred times more difficult than it was with Mary. We let his disobedience grow and become ingrained. He developed the habit of defiance. And it has been much, much more difficult to root it out of him. And it’s been hard for him too- it’s been and continues to be such a difficult lesson for him. Last Thanksgiving was the turning point for us and great strides have been made this year. But it’s been very hard work and not something that I wish for Savannah to have to endure needlessly.

So- the work has begun. She MUST learn to obey. It is a cruelty to her to allow her to grow in disobedience, to let it become ingrained in her habits and personality and to then try to root it out once it is deeply entrenched. I cannot allow this to happen to her- she is too precious to me.

*If she is old enough to throw a screaming, furious fit she is old enough to obey cheerfully.

*If she is old enough to look at me in the eye when I tell her “no” and to do it anyway, with that knowing gleam in her eye, she is old enough to obey.

*If she is old enough to be angry because I told her “no”,  then she is old enough to understand “no” and to obey “no”.

My goal for her is to be a happy, cheerful, content little girl and I intend to do what I can to help her grow in that area.

Savannah on Sunday, 11/9/08

Here she is this afternoon.   She’s pulled Mary’s new coloring book down from the craft table and is inspecting it.

She found a crayon and thinks she might try out this coloring thing like the big kids do.

Clearly, Daddy’s work boots are the perfect place to store crayons.  Later on Kip found a whole box full of crayons in his boot.

The next few months will be a lot of hard work but she’s worth it, don’t you think?

Who “wears the pants” in your family?

Jess at Making Home has written a fabulous post entitled

“When the person that “wears the pants” in the family is a size 2T”.

Here’s a few excerpts to encourage you to head over to her blog and read what she has to say:

What concerns me is that I see too many children raised in Christian families who are not taught and expected to obey. They are allowed to dishonor their parents with their yelling, tantrums, and emotional displays. They are allowed to intentionally and brazenly disobey their parents, without repercussions of any kind. They are encouraged in selfishness and materialism by parents who don’t set limits and stand by them. They are outright rude to siblings, guests and adults, and it goes uncorrected.

We have less children than any generation before us, and more parenting advice at our fingertips, and yet we parent them worse.

What does matter, biblically speaking, is that you train your child in the way he should go. What does matter, biblically speaking, is that you teach your child to obey you (his/her parents) in everything. What does matter, biblically speaking, is that foolishness is driven out from your child’s heart and is replaced with a fear of God and an understanding of what the Lord has done for us, and for this world.