Lost teeth and other things.

We’ve had many tears shed over lost teeth in this house. I don’t know how many teeth have already been pulled, and our girls haven’t even lost a single one yet. Many more lost teeth are yet to come.

We blew it so big on the very first loose tooth we had to deal with as parents. Jack had a pretty loose tooth. It wasn’t ready to be pulled, but because we were total newbies, we absolutely thought that it was. Because we didn’t know enough to know what we didn’t know. And so we fought and we pulled and we tugged and we pushed and we begged and he cried and it was stupid stupid stupid. There may have even been pliers involved. We traumatized all of us with that first loose tooth.

I don’t know if I’ve even tried to pull a tooth since then. We just let them stay there until they come out on their own. Phillip’s dad has pulled plenty and bless him for it. Even our friend Dedee pulled one of Mikey’s teeth a few months back. I won’t do it. I learned my lesson. That was definitely one of our firsts of many parenting fails.

Mikey lost a tooth this evening. It’s been loose for a while. He came in and begged me to pull it. I told him nope and sent him on his way. He came in two minutes later bleeding from the mouth and grinning. I continued to sit on the couch and eat my pizza. With child one, I agonized about that stupid first lost tooth for hours. This tooth didn’t even cause a blip in my day.

When I think about this whole tooth experience, it reminds me of so many other things we’ve learned so far. So many unnecessary battles we have fought. Food battles, sleeping battles, clothes battles, homework battles…the list goes on and on. And believe me, we still continue to fight and pull and tug and push and beg and sometimes they cry and at times it’s stupid stupid stupid.

But I think that maybe with each lost temper and lost battle and even lost tooth, we just become more at ease with all of this. Raising kids is hard enough. Let’s not make it harder than it has to be. Just let the teeth fall where they may. 😉

IMG_5327

 

 

Lightning speed

Our life is speeding past me. Every day when I drop the kids off at school, I swear I just did it 2 hours ago, not 24. Every time I help kids with baths, I know it surely hasn’t been two days (or three) since the last one. Can’t be. And I say “help with bath” because I don’t actually have to do it anymore! Mikey needs no help at all…with bathing that is. The child needs help in other ways. 🙂  And Brittany actually washes her own hair and Katie’s hair. I no longer have to bathe children. And I swear, I had to wash three little nekkid bodies all at the same time like 2 weeks ago. It couldn’t have been years. Impossible.

We are so crazy busy.

But we are also just in a really peaceful place…somehow. I’m not exactly sure how we can be this busy and still have peace. I’m not sure, but I’ll take it.

I started a new job in August. It’s part time. There is NO WAY on earth I could work full time. I have no idea how other parents do it. No clue how they do it. I guess I could do it if I had to. We do what we have to do. This job is a really great opportunity and I feel very fortunate. But it is seriously interfering with my 1-2 load of laundry a day requirement. Staying on top of things has become next to impossible. BUT the world will not stop spinning if I get behind on laundry.

The kids are all doing relatively well in school, considering their parents provide very little assistance or support. Brittany and Mikey are very good about doing their homework without me hounding them. And Brittany, my most helpful child, helps Katie with her homework. Jackson could do better in school, but I’m afraid he inherited more from me than just his cute face.

Phillip cooks basically all of the meals these days. My kids don’t even ask me what’s for dinner anymore. The other day, Brittany said, “Has dad cooked dinner yet?” And I knew that I had arrived.

So we are good. We really are seriously good. And I’m feeling like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop less and less. In fact, I’m not sure a shoe has dropped in a good while now. Shoes certainly get lost regularly, left outside in the rain, and chewed up by the most precious dog ever. But one hasn’t dropped in a while.

I’m thankful. But I kind of wish things would slow down just a little. I cannot wake up tomorrow and have them in college. We’ve got to save first.

Day in Kemah with these two
Day in Kemah with these two
Halloween 2015
Halloween 2015
Chuy's 7th birthday in dog years.
Chuy’s 7th birthday in dog years.
Super Brain Yoga
Super Brain Yoga

10 random things I love other than my husband and kids.

In no particular order…

1. Cream Cheese. It goes all on all of the things. You can put it on almost all things and it makes it instantly better.

2. Bacon. I’m a vegetarian. Sort of. But I eat bacon. Because without bacon, what is the point of life? And like cream cheese, it makes almost all things better.

3. Books. I love getting lost in books. I used to read scary, horrible gruesome stuff, but not so much anymore. I like to read peaceful stuff. I need peace.

4. Coffee.

5. My bed.

6. Slow pace. There are times when everything is on high speed. I need slow as often as I can find it.

7. Easy. Easy food. Easy driving. Easy friendships. Easy conversation. Easy cleanup. Easy hairstyles. Easy makeup. Easy bill pay. Easy shoes. Easy yard work. There are enough hard things in life. Some things just need to be easy.

8. Jesus. I’m no Bible thumper. Not at all. And I’ll be honest, there are MANY things that I’m unsure about, but I feel pretty good about Jesus.

9. Learning. I LOVE knowing next to nothing about something and delving into it hours and hours and hours until I know as much as I care to know. Want some medical research done? Just ask me. I’ll lose lots of sleep over it.

10. My dog. He completes me. The end. ❤

 

The boy and his phone.

So the boy lost his phone for a while, back several months ago. This isn’t a post meant to shame my boy at all. In fact, I had him read this first paragraph and give his okay before publishing it. But he did something stupid…yes, stupid. I can say that without ruining his self esteem. And so he got his phone taken away. We realized that we had been too lax on some things. We had given him a bit too much freedom at too young of an age, without the safeguards we should have had in place. Parenting is a constant learning experience. And we’ve never said that we do it perfectly.

Now I do want to take minute to say that if I had had access to all things internet at the age of 12-18, I would have been FAR stupider than he could even try to be on his worst day. Thankfully, I didn’t have the internet in the palm of my hand until I was probably about 30. Mostly by then I was responsible enough to handle it. Mostly.

But he now has a phone again. He has a nicer phone than I do because I believe he will take better care of it than I would. I drop my phone like it’s some kind of hot potato like 100 times a day. We are working on giving him *some* limited freedom back. But the internet is a very scary place. So since giving him a phone back, we have put some things in place. And because I think it takes a village to navigate these waters, I want to share how we *think* we are *better* protecting him. And I’d welcome any suggestions from those who are walking through this teenage internet landmine with me. *Asterisk because I recognize that we don’t have it all figured out and we never will.

1. We know ALL passwords. If he changes a password or passcode, he must tell us. If we find out that he changed a password without telling us, the phone is ours.

2. We check ALL conversations that we can as often as we can. Through text, fb, instagram, etc. Any time I choose, I take the phone and look through any and all things. We find anything either of his grandmothers wouldn’t approve of, the phone is ours. And as long as any of the kids are living in this house, we will have regular and random phone checks. No arguments.

3. He had to send his friends who he texts with this text before texting anything else, “My parents will be reading my texts. Don’t write anything that you don’t want my parents to read.”

4. He cannot delete or add an app (not on the cloud) without us knowing about it. He can still add apps from the cloud. Not ideal, but at least if he adds something stupid, he can’t get rid of it. AND WE WILL SEE IT! And then…you guessed it, the phone is ours.

5. No Youtube. Youtube is pure evil and I don’t condone any of my kids using it. Think I’m overreacting? Search for something on Youtube that you would in no way shape or form want your kids to see. That should change your mind.

6. No Safari or other internet browser. There’s just no need for a 13 year old boy or girl to have all of the internet in the palm of his/her hand. Nope. No need. We have a protected home computer he can use for his internet browsing.

7. Nobody needs 100% privacy. Everybody needs to answer to somebody. I answer to Phillip and he answers to me. We can check each others’ phones and computers any time we want to. If I don’t get 100% privacy, why would I think my child should? Someday my child will answer to his spouse, but until then he will answer to me and his dad.

8. We will offer him grace. If he looks at/writes something/buys something, etc., that he then realizes was wrong, he can come to us and honestly tell us. I promised him that if he comes to me, on his own free will, and confesses something he has done wrong, that we WILL give him grace. But if we find it on our own, grace goes out the window. We all screw up. We all need grace.

Some of you might think this is too strict. You might be right. But when it comes to the integrity of our child’s name, we can’t be too careful. He could potentially do something so royally stupid at the age of 13 that it could wreck his name for the rest of his life. It’s our responsibility to protect his name, his integrity, and his future relationships as much as we possibly can. And some might think that he shouldn’t have a phone at all. And you might also be right. But like anything, we have to teach life skills to our kids and unfortunately, we live in an age where the internet is readily available and part of our daily lives. They must be taught how to use it, with integrity.

More than anything, we are trying to hammer home with him (and all of our kids) the value of his name, his integrity, and honesty.  We have big plans for the man that he will become. And so we will do our best to protect the man he will be from the teenager that he is now. He’s our first teenager so we are sort of learning as we go with him.

I want to be very honest here and say that if you think your kid will never write/search for/download something you wouldn’t approve of, you are foolish and naive. It will bite you. It will bite your kid. We were foolish. And we will regularly reevaluate this whole thing to *try* to avoid being foolish again. We must be willing to fight for our kids, even if that means fighting against our kids for what we know is best.

Know thyself.

Introspection is something that I think I do reasonably well. It’s not usually fun. And I don’t mean to paint a self loathing picture. I love who I am. I don’t necessarily want to be different than I am. But it’s like there are breaks inside all of us that cause us to be bent certain ways. Those things make us who we are. But those things can bring out good and ugly. I think some of my strongest attributes are also my biggest flaws.

It’s interesting how a fundamental fear of rejection, based on past experiences, can make a person both indifferent to what people think and at the same time, completely terrified of being alone. So will I choose to strive to please or will I choose to not care at all? Both of those responses aren’t healthy. I know my tendencies toward both extremes. And I know why. But knowing why doesn’t always keep my responses healthy.

Unexpected changes and upheaval early in life helped me learn to roll with change. That can be a really good thing. But my ability to roll with change goes beyond that. I desire it. I want change. Always. I feel stuck and trapped when there’s too much sameness. And so living in the same town for my entire life makes me feel uncomfortable and stuck sometimes. But I also know that no matter how many changes occur, once the high of the change is over, I’m ready for more change. I know this. And I know why. But again, knowing why doesn’t always keep my responses healthy. That’s why I paint and redo rooms in my house a lot. It helps me feel less restless. It’s also kind of expensive. :-/

I have pretty good discernment. At least I think I do. I have a very good “creep” radar. But I also have trust issues. Those things come from the same place. And so will I choose to trust people when I know they might hurt me? Love with reckless abandon as I want to be loved? Or will I push them away before they can hurt me? Will I choose to look for good in people or will I immediately see the bad?

We all carry stuff inside us that makes us messy. I’m no more messy than you. You’re no more messy than me. These things make relationships with people so hard. I often feel like I can’t deal with my own mess, let alone anyone else’s mess. And they feel the same way.

I think the only way to really get along in this world is to take a good, long look at who we are as individuals and think about why we are that way. And not necessarily so that we can try to fix it. I really can’t fix the issues that I have. I can’t. I’ve tried. And I really don’t think enough therapy would fix them either. But I can be aware of my tendencies toward destruction and good, based on the breaks that I know that I have. And I can hourly try to choose the response that I know is healthier. I can regularly evaluate why I’m feeling the way I’m feeling or doing the things that I’m doing. This helps me place more reason to my actions and think through a good response and a bad response. I can also ask, and accept, constructive criticism.

It’s all hard stuff. But if I can’t try to know myself and know why I’m the ways that I am, how can I expect anybody else to know me either? And if I really think about what one my greatest fears in life is, it’s to not be fully known. It’s to leave this world with nobody really truly knowing who I am. What a tragedy. What a loss that would be. And not because I’m so super amazing. That’s not it. It’s simply because I’m uniquely created.

We are all created to be fully known. To live in truth, without masks. We can’t live in truth if we don’t even know ourselves.

 

It’s a long #itsmikey post

Earlier today, I read some posts about Mikey from the last several years. Some of them made me a little sad or anxious because I remember how I felt when I wrote some of that stuff. We’ve been through some very hard times with him. There will be more. He will always be a challenge. But for the most part, as I read those old posts, I was just amazed and relieved at how far we’ve come.

So, for me, for our family and friends, here is a little trip down Mikey memory lane. This reminds me why blogging is so important. And I regret that I’ve abandoned blogging for facebook. Just not the same at all.

There was this post when I didn’t think we’d be able to keep him.

When we weren’t sure if/when he’d speak. Just thinking about that now makes me laugh!

Back when I was told he is “significantly delayed” and I wanted to punch her in the neck, but I didn’t.

Back when I had to remove every toy or thing that Mikey could throw from his room.

There was this post after he basically got kicked out of preschool. This was the second preschool I had to pull him from before he was three. After this, he ended up in public school/preschool for kids with disabilities. It was a GREAT experience and helped him so much!

When I was at probably my lowest point with him. Feeling very hopeless.

How he’s 8. We still have some hard moments…even days. But all in all, he’s doing amazing! He’s making all A’s and B’s in school. He’s not on any meds. I realize that is not anybody’s business one way or another. However, I do feel like it’s an accomplishment for all of us that we’ve managed to keep him med free, despite suggestions from many doctors to do otherwise. Can you believe I was told to put him on something for ADHD when he turned four?? Yeah…no. Anyway, he has made the AB honor roll almost (if not every) reporting period for 1st and 2nd grade. Things may get harder for him at some point, but for now, he’s thriving. Just to clarify, I’m not always anti-med, but I’m a firm believer in avoiding them if you can. And so far, we’ve been able to.

He’s turned into quite a math whiz. He can be taught very difficult math and almost immediately pick it up. Aunt Gale taught him some algebra a few months ago and he picked it up right away. I sat down a few days ago and taught him long division in about three minutes. Mikey scored better than 99% of second graders nationally on his STAR math test. Scored at 4.5 grade level. The way he does math in his head is quite amazing. Even the adults in his life can’t always follow his line of reasoning to come to the correct answers that he gets.

He still struggles with controlling his impulses and moods. I think he’ll always struggle with that, but we’ll all do the hard work to continue to teach him. He still is somewhat socially inappropriate. Again, I think that will always be a struggle. And so, we teach. We have “official” diagnoses that we don’t talk much about. We don’t because we don’t really like labels. Also, it’s just Mikey. Who cares what he “has?” Not us. Not right now anyway. We wouldn’t change a thing.

I know I post about him a lot. But guys, he confounds me. Every day, he presents new problems or worries for me to try to figure out. And I’m kind of a problem solver. And not to make my kid sound like a problem necessarily, but… Maybe puzzle is a better word. Anyway, he takes up a lot of my brain.

He also takes up a great deal of my heart. Every struggle to get him, to keep him, to get through to him, to keep him safe, to help him learn and thrive, it’s all been worth it. He is a difficult, beautiful little complicated person. We have come a very long way with him. I can’t wait to see the great things he will continue to do.

Oh and I forgot to mention that he has a cast on his right arm right now. He injured his elbow. There are no visible breaks, but apparently if a kid won’t straighten/bend his elbow, it needs to be treated like a break. This is also the kid who intentionally failed two vision tests when he was five or six because he wanted glasses so… I’ll let you decide if I think he *really* needs that cast or not. 🙂

mikeyblog3verticals

mikeyblog4horizontals

 

 

 

 

Gird up your loins.

Sounds gross, right? Loins. Just the word sounds slimy and unappealing. It’s a really old school phrase that basically means to get your tunic (men) pulled up and out of the way to prepare for a fight. I’m going to compare it to the phrase (ladies) to “Put your big girl panties on.” Roll up your sleeves, crack your knuckles, grit your teeth, and get ready to stand your ground. Take on the day. Take on the problem. Get ready to fight.

I think many of us have some things we need to fight for. Right now, I feel like I need to fight for my kids’ innocence. That is my battle ground right now. That’s a fight I’m not prepared to lose. And I will gird up my loins (do girls have loins) and fight. We’ve been through some rough patches where we had to fight for our marriage. We’ll be there again, I have no doubt. Maybe we need to fight for our health. Maybe we have friendships we need to fight for. Maybe we need to fight for our integrity.

And when it comes to these kind of fights, I think these things are important to remember:

  1. Prayer is seriously a great line of defense. (And I admittedly don’t do enough of it.)
  2. We need a good support system.
  3. Humility is our ally. Pride is our enemy.
  4. When in doubt, just tell the truth.
  5. Limit distractions.

And just for fun, here’s an illustration of how to literally gird up your loins. It’s a good thing guys now have Hanes. This looks complicated.

gird-up-your-loins-2

 

 

This week in some random run on sentences.

New bed for Jack. New sheets with monsters on them that are very cuddly. Spending lots of time with our favorite dog. Reading. Lots and lots of reading. Expanding our writing chops. Vocabulary words. SO thankful for Khan Academy. Learning about pulmonary systems. Crash course of History of the World. Lunch outside. Sunshine. Lots of laughing. Lots of talking. Talking about hard things. Park day. Classes at the college. Student small group. Reading to my boy again. I missed that. It was my favorite. I know he’s safe. He knows he’s loved. We can absolutely do this.

I would take a bullet for him. I’d step in front of a moving train for him. And yes, I’d even homeschool him if I had to. I’d do anything for him.