Someone in this family is going to jail.

So far I have counted three legal infractions today.

We went Wal-Mart (that in itself should be a misdemeanor).  Clark wailed in the parking lot and said he did NOT want to go in.  His heart was set on Sam’s Club and free sample handouts, but my membership expired, so we went to Wal-Mart instead.  He wasn’t happy.  He refused to get out of the van.  I explained to him that if I left him in the van, someone would call the police, and they would come get him and take mommy to jail and he would have to live with another family.  He thought about that for a minute with a scowl on his face.  I’m not sure what his real preference is, but perhaps for the sake of not hurting my feelings, he hopped out of the van and surrendered to our shopping trip.

While I was checking out, he and Natalie somehow managed to get about 5 toy cell phones in their possession and run with them over to the blasted arcade section in front of the check-out area.  I finally wrangled them back and returned all the merchandise to its appropriately unpurchased position.

When I got home, I unloaded the van.  As I was putting the groceries in the kitchen, Natalie kept digging in her pocket.  “I have lipstick,” she grinned.  “What lipstick?”  I was trying to think what she might have dug out of my backpack or van.  She proudly showed me her treasure.

DSCF2080“Hey, where did you get that?!”

She smiled again, “At the store.”

“Natalie….(remember that grumpy sighing I told you about yesterday?)… that’s STEALING.”  I went on to explain to her in terms that she understood that she was a robber.  (She always asks me, “what if there’s a robber?,” and I say, “He’ll go to jail,” and she says, “I’ll punch him in the nose.”)  I’m not sure whether she was more afraid of jail or a punch in the nose,  but she got a little remorseful and said, “I’m sorry mommy.”  I asked her what we should do and she said, “take it back to the store.”   To be honest it feels like torture to return to Wal-mart again with my children, but it must be done.

All that criminal behavior for this little gem:

DSCF2082Yes, it does say “Oooh La La Bubble Gum Lip Gloss.”  What can I say?  Natalie’s got impeccable class.

Grant is my smoochie kid.  He is super cuddly and lovey-dovey.  Not being much of the affectionate type myself, I’m often annoyed with his abundant loving.  (I know, that’s not very nice of me, but I am.)  So today, Clark and Grant were playing tag and I hear Clark say the classic line of obnoxious childhood, “You missed me.  You missed me.  Now you have to kiss me,” which of course Grant takes literally and chases Clark around the house for 30 minutes trying to smooch his face off.  I reminded him of my tramautic childhood experience of being chased by a kissy boy around the playground in kindergarten.  I also repeated my sage warning that boys who kiss people who don’t want to be kissed can go to jail.

So, I’m sure you’re all proud of me for raising a band of 3 pint-sized hoodlums.  Maybe our family can just become a small gang of toddler thugs.  Yesterday I cut off the bottom of sweatpants to make shorts for the boys and I used the discarded pieces as hats.  How do Clark and I look?

DSCF2075Maybe our gang can be called the Jailbound Jesters.  Send me chocolate when we’re all in the slammer.

(Final plea to go vote for my blog at MMB by tomorrow…. look on my sidebar for the link.)

True confessions of a 6-year-old mind. Beware.

ezpicknsYou know how some kids pick their nose and eat their boogers?  (I’m afraid Natalie might be one of those kids.)  Not Grant!  No way.  Never in a million years would he do that because it’s disgusting.  Instead, Grant likes to wipe his boogers on furniture, car windows, carpet… whatever’s handy.

I recently discovered that the side of his bed looks like this:

dscf2022No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you.  It really IS that gross.  So now, his bed has been equipped with this:

dscf2023And if that isn’t bad enough, there have been other totally unacceptable infractions of the no-booger-wiping rule.  The lastest was so dire that I did what any good mother would do and forced my child to make a public, internet-based confession.

Did you see all that heartfelt remorse?  The sorrow?  The wailing?  Um, yeah.  Well, Clark and Natalie were jealous about Grant’s debut on the big screen, so the climbing, whining and button-pushing resulted in this:

I know, I know, you are SO impressed.  Feel free to send an Academy Award, or Xanax, whichever seems more appropriate.

Mourning, money and the wonder of window markers

dscf2000 This weekend we had a death in the family.  Clark threw Grant’s beloved St. Bernard Webkin, affectionately called “Giblets” on top of the fireplace.  His paws and half his face melted off.  May he rest in peace in the office trash can.  This was a tragedy beyond Grant’s capacity to endure.  He cried and cried.  He’d settle down for a little while and then the memory of his loss would bring another round of tears and sorrow.  When he came into the office and saw Giblets languishing in his garbage grave, he flung himself upon my lap and sobbed.dscf1999 (That lovely lap is clothed in Frosty the Snowman pajamas.  Don’t judge.  It was snowing.)  Finally we determined that Clark will do chores to earn money and buy Grant a new Webkin.  Grant, who is anxious, and also aware that Clark’s not the most industrious kid in the world, volunteered to help out with the chores to expedite the savings.

In the van on the way home from preschool yesterday, the boys discussed their money-making plans and were trying to guess how long it would take them to earn the money and how many Webkinz they would be able to purchase with their jackpot.  Clark declared, “Mom, I’m going to work and work and work all day.”

“That’ll be great, Clark.”

So I wrote up a handful of chores on the living room window with these fancy new Crayola Window markers I purchased as a late-conference distraction.  While Natalie happily scribbled on the window (and surrounding window frame and wall), the boys wrote their names next to the chore they wanted to undertake first.  Clark chose “clean off table.”

dscf2002Well, it only took about 5 minutes before he changed his mind and declared that it was the most boring job in the world and he didn’t want to do it.  He moaned and wailed and insisted that he should be able to choose another chore because he didn’t like that one.  (This has been a pattern lately.  I refer you back to the Angry Mom sign.)  I said, “Sorry buddy, you need to finish that one before you can start another one.”  He wanted me to do it.  I told him that if I finished the job then I would earn the money.  He whined some more about how he really wanted the money, and finally declared his true intent:  “I want you to do the work and I get the money.”

Um.

Nope.

Wasn’t it Elder Oaks who talked about entitlement?  How we somehow think we deserve things, but aren’t willing to labor for them?  I’m probably stretching his context, but I was not giving in.  I taught high school and I know what entitlement looks like when it grows up.

After much wailing, and a broken record stuck on phrases beginning with the words, “But I don’t waaaaaaaant to…,” Clark decided it would be easier to do his chore.  (Incidentally, I decided it would be easier to move to a desert island.)  Then for a short while, they both worked quite peacefully and even Natalie got in on the action with some Lysol wipes.

dscf2001And for anyone keeping track, there is now $1.25 in the Webkinz fund.  (Yeah, I don’t really care about minimum wage laws.)

In other news, before 7:30 this morning, sweet little Clark who is FOUR AND A HALF years old pooped in his nighttime diaper (nothing brings on more morning rage for me) and Natalie removed her diaper and peed on the living room floor.  There may be another death in the family by the end of the day.

The “art” of smiling through gritted teeth

sc0037caacWhen you send a child to kindergarten, you simply have to accept that a once-private life has now gone public.  Anything the child says or does may now be held against you (and filed away in a a kindergarten teacher’s mind, probably to judge you for the rest of your life).

President Spencer W. Kimball said: “When children go off to school or to play with their friends, parents cannot be totally sure of what the children are learning. But if parents take time at home each evening to explain the gospel program to their children, it will replace the negative things they may learn during the day.”

Let me set the scene for you.  Today at the dinner table, Grant proudly showed Matt and me the drawings he did this week at his art-center table at school.

artwork1Me:  “Um, wow, Grant.  Is that you covering your ears when Natalie’s crying?”

Grant:  “Nope.  Not Natalie.  It’s my friend Josh.  He drawed a picture of me going pee-pee and I hated it.”

Me:  “Okay….?”

Matt piped up, “That looks like me right now with Clark.”  (Imagine in the background the wails of Clark in time-out.”

Me:  “What else did you draw?”

artwork2Grant smiles.

Me:  “Uh, are those guns?”

Grant: “Nope, they’re swords.”

Matt:  “I don’t think mom likes that one, Grant.”

Me:  “Remember scriptures this week where we read about the 10 commandments and one of them is Thou shalt not kill?”

Grant: (sheepishly)  “Oh yeah, sorry about that.  Here, this one will cheer you up.”

artwork3Me:  “Yep, that sure is cheery.”  (looking at Matt with raised eyebrows.)

Grant:  “Yeah, it’s me running away from a leopard.”

Curtain closes as Grant grins proudly and mom shakes head silently and plans next family home evening in her mind.

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Reminder:  As of April 1, this blog will be hosted solely at http://www.diapersanddivinity.com (”wordpress” will no longer appear in the URL).  When that change takes place, the old feed will be reset and you will need to go there yourself and subscribe again (for the LAST time, I promise).  Any previous RSS feed will no longer work.

Lost teeth and lost time

I hope you will indulge me in occasionally re-posting an entry that was lost when my blog went down (TDBD).  It allows me to re-create my archives little by little over time.  This was originally posted August 17, 2008.

dscf14251 So my oldest child, Grant, just lost his first tooth and I’m thinking to myself, “It wasn’t that long ago that he got his first tooth!  And he’s already losing them?!”  Other moms (the ones who had toddlers and preschoolers a long time ago and actually lived to talk about it) always say, “they grow so fast.  Enjoy it while you can,” and you know how inside you say stuff like “yah, whatever…  I’ve already planned in detail the first 3 weeks of activities once my youngest gets into school, and don’t even get me started on retirement…”?

Well, this tooth thing has made me think that maybe I do want time to slow down a little.  I mean, come on, kids are just never as cute once those big ol’ crooked horse teeth start growing in.  And now he’s starting kindergarten in a few weeks, and even though I’m thrilled about the tiny dose of “freedom” it might offer me, I dread the influence of “bad kids” and elementary school Darwinism once he’s out of my watchful eye.

I find comfort in the scripture in Ecclesiastes that says, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”  Then it talks about things like dancing, crying, etc., but I think that it really does mean every thing, like losing teeth, going to kindergarten, and retiring.  I can’t help but think that God wants me to take in each season and actually live it through, the same way I must live each season of the year . . . I can’t just skip ahead or pause or rewind the calendar.  So, I’ll just start to enjoy the toothless years in one child and the teething years in another and just take the moments as they come.  (But, seriously, don’t you think God must laugh a little when he puts those ugly big adult teeth in little kids’ mouths?)

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Reminder:  As of April 1, this blog will be hosted solely at http://www.diapersanddivinity.com (”wordpress” will no longer appear in the URL).  When that change takes place, the old feed will be reset and you will need to go there yourself and subscribe again (for the LAST time, I promise).  Any previous RSS feed will no longer work.

A child’s prayer

First things first.  I cannot express the joy I felt as I saw your comments pouring into my inbox beginning yesterday.  I was so relieved that you actually found me.  A huge shout out to my little brother Steve, the expert in all things I choose to ignore.  (I dare you to read his blog… I have no idea what he’s talking about.)  Anyway, while I whined to him on the phone yesterday about my whole mess, he said, “Oh, I can fix that,” and within a few hours he did some kind of RSS feed forwarding trick that I believe somehow made my new blog show up in all your Readers and other feeds as if it were still coming from my old blog.  He’s a freaking genius.  Does anyone out there have any single sisters in Utah looking for the quiet and brilliant type (wink, wink)?  Moving on now . . .

n1002210788_53969_8404Have you ever noticed how powerful a child’s prayer is?  My kids often blow me away with the goodness of their prayers.  Especially Grant, my kindergartener.

Elder James E. Faust said,

“What is a prayer?  … We sing, ‘Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire, Uttered or unexpressed.’ Sincere prayers come from the heart.”

Well, Grant has prayed fish back to life, rain to stop, and the recovery of his lost brother at the mall.  I’m positive he’s the sole reason my parents were not robbed on their mission in South Africa because Grant prayed EVERY day, “Please don’t let the bad man steal Grandma and Grandpa’s stuff.”  If our family is driving down the road in a snowstorm and cars are sliding off the road all around us, we know we should ask Grant to pray.  He usually thinks of it first, though.  He’s good.

Unfortunately, he’s also sincere.  There are occasionally the meal prayers that say, “Please bless the dinner that it won’t be gross.”  Ha ha, very funny. Or “Bless Natalie that she won’t play with my toys.”  What a sweet little selfish guy.

So, this has not been my finest mothering week.  When my blog went down on Wednesday– the sad event that shall henceforth be called TDBD (The Day the Blog Died)– I spent the majority of the next two days either at the computer or thinking about the computer.  My children were not the recipients of much deserved attention from me, and the attention they did get was mostly grumpy and distracted.  I was frustrated.  I claimed the kids were naughtier than usual, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what the real problem was.  Nevertheless, this is Grant’s dinner prayer one of those nights:

“Thank you for this wonderful day.  Sorry Clark and me made some sins.  Please help us.  And please bless the food.  Amen.”

Aaagh.  I hate it when they’re better than me!  So then I reflected (who are we kidding? It was a guilt trip) about my own behavior, and last night when I put them all to bed,  I apologized.  I explained to them that my blog got broken and erased and that’s why I was so grumpy and spent way too much time at the computer.  Rather than begrudge my obvious failings, they were earnestly concerned about my blog and began asking many questions about how my blog “got disappeared.”  Grant had many theories.  This one was my favorite:  “I know.  I know what happened.  Maybe your blog was just tired, and it got so tired that it just went to sleep, and while it was asleep the computer just started re’rasing it.”  Then he offered to say a prayer about it and told me that “you and daddy should probably say a prayer about that blog too.”

If I were really a smart woman, I would have consulted Grant before we even began the backing-up-data process.  My children are my prayer mentors.  And I’m learning that simply by virtue of the fact that I am babysitting their little souls for God, He wants me to talk to Him about them more often.  This quote by Elder Holland inspires me every time I read it:

“Be believing. Keep loving and keep testifying. Keep praying. Those prayers will be heard and answered in the most unexpected hour. God will send aid to no one more readily than He will send it to a child—and to the parent of a child.”

I need to learn to put as much faith in my own prayers as I do in Grant’s.  But if anyone needs any miracles or anything, let me know and I’ll pass it along to him . . . just in case.

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Forgive me as I include this announcement at the bottom of all my posts for the next little while. Thanks to TDBD, there have been a few technology-related changes around here.  To my readers who subscribe to this blog through any kind of RSS feed, including Google Reader:  As of April 1, (no, this is not a joke), this blog will be hosted solely at http://www.diapersanddivinity.com (wordpress will no longer appear in the URL).  When that change takes place, the old feed will be reset and you will need to go there yourself and subscribe again (for the LAST time, I promise.)  May this be the end of the transition….