Friday, March 7, 2014

7 Quick Takes: The Humble Edition

Humbled. (#HolyLens, Day 3)

I spent today looking at my world from a slightly different angle.

I've been struggling lately with feeling grouchy at my kids, and they've been struggling with listening and following directions. After a big meltdown last night when I confessed to George that I felt invisible and like no one ever heard anything I said, I decided to do some things differently today.

I sat on the floor a lot.

I realized that much of my day is spent above or beside my children, but not usually below them. I do make an effort to get to eye level when I have something serious to discuss with them, but many of my "regular maintenance" comments fly around above their heads. "Don't forget to put your plate in the sink." "Time to make your bed." "We need to get dressed." "Please get your coat on."

Today, I tried saying everything directly to them, looking into their eyes, either at or below their level.

It sort of worked. The girls listened. They were sweet and compliant and helpful. They were even kinder to each other and did more talking about their feelings to each other and less hitting.

At one point, sitting in the kitchen on the floor with Lucy as she matched up magnetic animals' heads and rear ends, I kept hearing a noise. Kind of a clicking noise. What WAS that? It was driving me crazy.

I finally realized it was the rivets on the back pockets of my jeans- my maternity jeans- the more comfortable of only two pair I have, which means I wear them almost every day.

If I've never before heard the sound of them clicking on the kitchen floor, I haven't been sitting on the kitchen floor very much.

Based on today's results, I'm planning to spend more time there. Clicking rivets be darned.

My new strategy still didn't work with Sam. He had a really tough day. I'm pleased to say that I didn't yell at him one time, not even when he was yelling at me. Beyond that, I'm thinking we'll just try again tomorrow.

Lucy had a to-do list. I had no idea she was keeping a list in her head of "her work," as she called it, until she asked if I could help her write it down.

Here it is:

Lucy's List
  • do alphabet games (this involved arranging letters and numbers in lines on cookie sheets and singing the ABC song)
  • research what a hippo says
  • read Jump Frog, Jump (but not just read it...act it out with a frog puppet and jump off the couch screaming whenever the frog jumps)
  • play "the duck game" (which turned out to be the magnetic Fridge Farm that I hid on top of the refrigerator months ago. How did she even remember that?)

By the end of the day, we did all these things.

(In case you are wondering, a hippopotamus sounds remarkably like a pig...a really, really big pig.)

Nora spent most of the day playing with magnetic letters. She holds up each letter and says, "Na-na-na-na-Sam!" or "Na-na-na-na-ice cream!" with great relish and pride. She's so thrilled about it. I hate to correct her every time (especially because Sam does correct her if he hears her make any mistake, ever), so I always get excited when she picks up an N and says, "Na-na-na-na-Nora!" It feels so great to see her face light up.

(I keep telling Sam to give her a break. She's two. She has plenty of time to figure out the right sounds. At this point, it's just fun for her. He says she'll never learn if he doesn't tell her she's wrong. As the oldest sibling in my family, I know how he feels, but I still feel bad for the girls when he is hard on them for making mistakes. I also feel like I should probably issue blanket apologies to all my younger siblings.)

I'm sorry, guys.

We spent some time before lunch playing the piano and singing songs the kids requested. In the middle of the sing-a-long, there was a knock at the door. It was our friendly neighborhood Jehovah's Witnesses, who always come at the worst possible times. Once, they caught me tandem nursing (and kept on knocking and knocking because they could see I was sitting on the couch right beside the front door). After that, I stopped leaving the blinds open. Another time, they came when I was holding two screaming babies and two poopy cloth diapers. (Sam opened the door that time- I didn't even know he could do that.). After that, we put a childproof doorknob thingy on the door so he couldn't open it. A different time, they came right at the beginning of nap time and rang the bell repeatedly, causing the twins to wake up and cry loudly. Sam was already having a tantrum on the floor in front of the door because he didn't want to nap. (After that one, I took a reader's suggestion and put a sign over the doorbell informing visitors that we were napping.)

Anyway, they don't have the best track record with timing.

Today, the lady looked surprised to see all the children lined up on the piano bench. I told her we had been singing some songs. She ignored this and wanted to talk to me about the papers she had brought to share. She read me John 3:16 from her Bible. (I told her that was a great verse.)

I think she might have preferred me to remain silent and let her evangelize without interruption.

As I stood there, pretending to listen to her, trying to think of how to get rid of her, she suddenly said, "Do you like being a mom?"

The question caught me off guard. This woman, always perfectly dressed and smiley, has seen some things just inside my front door. Usually when she's been here, I haven't showered. She's witnessed toddler tantrums and heard me speaking in my not-quiet-mommy-voice just seconds before she rang the bell. It's not like I could pretend that it's all smiles and rainbows.

"Well, I think we all have our moments," I finally said, "and I know you've seen some of mine. Most of the time, though, yes. I really love being a mom, and I feel blessed to have this time to stay home with my children and nurture and teach them."

She looked satisfied and told me to have a good day. As I closed the door and turned around, all three of my children were beaming at me from the piano bench.


Speaking of humbling, I've been so amazed by how our little photo-a-day project has grown. We have a bunch of people faithfully posting their photos on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. It's inspiring to see how everyone is interpreting the prompts, and I love hearing from people around the country (and some from Canada!) who are participating.

If you haven't joined us yet, it's not too late. Look here for the list of prompts for the first week. I'll have the prompts for next week up here on Sunday so you can plan ahead. Remember to use the hashtag #HolyLens when you post your photos so everyone can find them.

I did a great big list of Lent links earlier this week, and I'm adding to it as new things come my way. If you have a link you'd like me to include (for a resource, a craft, a family activity, an app or a book recommendation), please let me know. I'd love to add it to the list and help promote it.

Thanks, as always, to Jen for hosting this party.
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!