Midterm exams for moms

Have you ever had one of those nightmares where you’re in college and it’s exam time, but you just realized you’re enrolled in a class you forgot to attend the whole semester?  And now you have to take the exam and you are SO unprepared?  It’s a horrible dream.  I always wake up with a tight chest and lingering anxiety.

See this kid?

He is my oldest.  He just turned eight a couple weeks ago, and this weekend he will be baptized.  And I’ve got that same nightmare feeling.  It’s like this is the big test of my motherhood, and I do not feel ready.  My time for preparing him to make major covenants and lead a life of free agency is over.  (I know this is a little exaggerated and melodramatic, but hello?  Eight already?  Gah.)

And remember how I said before that I think Satan gets a free 90-day trial before their baptism? I’m sure of it.  He and I have been at odds lately. (Grant and I, not Satan and I.  Maybe.) At odds.  He has been pushing all my buttons, and I’ve felt angry and exasperated and thoroughly convinced that I have somehow failed at preparing him for this major event in his life.  Oh, he knows lots and lots of things about the gospel of Jesus Christ, the promises he’ll be making, and what it all means.  But he’s still just a punk little kid who makes me want to put him in time-out until he’s 18.  Evidence:

“I think this family is dumb.  I think your dumb too.  I wish this family didn’t even exist.  Hate, Grant” (Note he penned on a paper towel and then handed me a couple nights ago at bedtime.  Why so angry? Because he didn’t get ice cream after throwing water on his brother.  Right after our “Love at Home” family home evening lesson.)

So I guess I just have to really count on the Holy Ghost to take it from here?  Either that or the ethereal hope that when he gets older, he’ll like me again and his heart will be flooded with all the things I taught him over the years and he’ll turn out all great and stuff.  Oh boy, Holy Ghost, work your magic.  Some of you experienced mothers out there better tell me that this is going to be just fine.

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Public speaking, Primary, and talking body parts

I’m pretty sure four-year-olds are bipolar by nature.  Maybe it’s just Clark, but I need to believe it’s some universal trait that all children have and will soon outgrow.  This past weekend, my niece got baptised (In the LDS church, children are baptised at age 8), and she wanted her cousins to be a part of the program.  Grant gave the opening prayer, and Clark volunteered to give a talk.  I know what you’re thinking because it’s the same thing I was thinking:  Are you kidding me?  Are 4-year-olds even allowed to speak at baptisms?  He’s never even been baptised himself, for crying out loud.  This has the potential for disaster and great shame. But, his aunt insisted that if he wanted to do it, they would love to let him.

He took his assignment very seriously, and he did me proud.  He stood up there with great reverence and dignity, and delivered his little one-page sermon.  The bishop attending said it was the best baptism talk he’d ever heard in his life.  For posterity’s sake, and to get a glimpse of my mischievous and adorable boy, I give you Clark:  (The audible groan in the background is Grant reacting to errors in his computer game.)

Then this same kid was a headache at church the very next day.  I’m the Primary President (don’t choke), and I could not get him to stay in or near his seat yesterday.  He was wandering the room, playing with the chalkboard, hiding behind the media cart, etc.  After several failed attempts to redirect him, I went and got Matt and directed that Clark needed to finish out the rest of the meeting in a time-out (empty) room.

Later that night, Matt and I tried to talk to him about what happened at church.  His excuse was that “Primary was just so boring.”  Gee, thanks, kid.  It’s good to know that I’m up there doing that whole ridiculous song and dance for a good reason. Matt asked, “What’s more boring? Primary? or the time-out room?”  He thought for almost a whole second and replied, “They’re both the same boring.”   “Okay,” Matt said, “next week, we’ll just go sit in the time-out room the whole time then.”

“Nooooo!”

“But you said they’re both boring.  Where would you rather be?  In Primary? or in the time-out room?”

“Let me ask my hand.”  Matt and I look at each other, with unseen but understood question marks above our heads.

He then held his hand up to his ear and made this little squeaky voice sound as if his hand were telling him a secret.  “My hand chooses Primary.  Let me ask my other hand.”  More squeaking, and another vote for Primary.

“Now let me ask my foot.”  Squeakity, squeak, squeak.  “Primary.”

Another foot, belly, legs, arms … you know where this is going don’t you?

“Let me see what my bum says.”  It’s hard to squeak when you’re cracking yourself up.  I promise that pun was not intended.

Then he reaches for his front netherparts.  Matt interrupts, “No. Clark.  Just no.  You’re not going to talk to your p****!”  (I’m not afraid to say or type the word, but I don’t want this post to show up in Google for the wrong kind of search if you know what I mean.)

“No I wasn’t saying that.  What’s these called again?” (pointing below.)

Blink. Blink.  “Testicles?”

“Yep. Testicles.  Let me ask them.”  More squeaking secret code, and again the same conclusion.

I was crying by now, but trying as hard as I could to NOT act like this was hilarious, because  I shoud not encourage this kind of conversation, right?  All moms have moments like this when we observe our children (I’m trying to convince myself.  How am I doing?), where our feelings are a combination of shock, humor, wonder, and a teensy-weensy bit of pride for how clever and imaginative they are.

So anyway, the decision was unanimous.  Clark’s body wants to go to Primary next week.  Netherparts and all.

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