Saturday, November 27, 2010

Discipline, Grasshopper.

I'm sure that reading about how I discipline my children is not what you might call entertaining, but I think it helps me to remember what situations I have encountered with my kids and how I have handled them, just in case I need to do it again.

This boy will be the death of me.  Seriously.  This is not the part of parenting that I enjoy - it is actually one of the things I feared when envisioning raising kids.

On Friday I had the children help me tidy the house and vacuum before we hauled in the four Christmas Decoration boxes from the garage.  This is always very exciting for the kids (Girl exclaims "It's Christmas!  It's Christmas!") as they pull things out to play with: Advent calendars, nativity sets (carved wooden and Play Mobile), a wooden train that my dad made, and a Noah's Ark with porcelain animals.  All admittedly cool stuff for kids to play with and I very seriously reminded them of the rules and that they are old enough to be responsible.  Impish nods all around.  Matter settled.

I set aside a few items to glue back together and an hour later with glue gun in hand was miffed that I couldn't find them.  Huh?...............  The kids all seemed very innocent and denied everything, but an hour later Boy Two said "Let's look in our stockings!"  It took me a moment to catch on.  Guess what I found inside?  The missing broken items!  Boy Two's excitement about the stockings was enough to temper my lecture, and I let it go with a warning.  Such a sweet boy, I thought.  I love him.

Cut to this morning.

The kids awoke an hour before I got out of bed and were playing fairly well downstairs when I came down to make breakfast.  After we finished eating Boy Two brought me a giraffe from the Noah's Ark set (the one they knew not to touch) that was suffering from a severed leg.  Now, I personally don't have any emotional ties to this Noah's Ark set but please.  The set survived through my kids' toddler years unscathed and suffered the loss of an elephant trunk last Christmas, and now this?

All children vehemently denied any knowledge of the alleged injury, the murky circumstances surrounding it, or the location of the limb in question.  After taking several turns around the living room with a drifting gaze that constituted a search of the premises, the kids made it clear that it didn't really matter.  It didn't really matter to me, either, but I realized that I needed to get them to care.  After all, they had broken something that wasn't theirs, that belonged to someone else, and now were hoarding the secret to the whereabouts of the missing leg so it couldn't even be fixed.  Drat.  I have to do something about this.

I put on my disappointed/upset/angry mother face and took a toy from each of them, explaining that they had taken something from me and this was part of the restitution (especially since there was a glaring lack of remorse or repentance on the part of the kids.  Whose kids are those, anyway?).  Then, until they could come forth and tell me the truth of what happened and/or where the MIA leg was, they were all sent to their rooms for the day.  It was 9am.

On the upside, my husband and I had a very quiet, relaxing day to ourselves.  I did bring the children their lunch in their rooms and supplied them with juice as necessary, but I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn't being too hard on them, that this was a lesson that they needed to learn and this was the only way I knew to do it.  Yet throughout the afternoon the words of Marilla Cuthbert kept repeating in my head: "We can't keep her, liar and thief and you know it, Matthew." 

Boy One and Girl, whom I already guessed to be guiltless, were allowed out around dinner time in hopes that solitary confinement would persuade Boy Two to come clean, but no such luck.

Any ideas on how to get one's children to tell the truth?  It seems that all of the sudden this is becoming a big problem for Boy Two.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

More Teeth

Ever since my second son discovered that he can wiggle his teeth out just like his brother, there seems to have been an undeclared war in our house over who can lose the most teeth.  In the last four days each boy has lost one - good thing Daddy is willing to play the part of dentist.

Boy One, who always seems too afraid to try new things, for some reason doesn't mind a bit when Daddy pulls out the pliers from his toolbox and pulls and twists and yanks those loose teeth out.  I never even hear a peep out of him.  What a pain threshold he has!  Now he has a tooth missing on the top and another one on the bottom: he looks like a jack-o-lantern.

Boy Two has been working on a bottom tooth (the exact same one that his brother just lost) and finally decided this morning that the time had come for its removal.  I had felt the tooth yesterday and knew it wasn't ready yet, but what does Mama know?

Daddy and Boy Two stood in front of the mirror in the bathroom and Daddy used fingers, rags and pliers to try and remove the offending tooth, but for some reason it was a lot harder than he thought it would be.  After much screaming on Boy Two's part and more blood than usual, Daddy managed to drag the tooth out and looked at it.  Whoa!  That tooth still had its root attached!

The root was almost as long as the tooth itself, Boy Two was in a bit more pain than he had anticipated, and Daddy was very remorseful that there really had been a good reason for all that screaming.  I called the dentist just to relieve Daddy's fears that there wouldn't be any undo effects and was reassured.  I taped the tooth up on the calendar like I do with all the others that the kids lose.  It's quite impressive, actually.  Like fangs. 

I guess my kids are brave enough to visit the dentist now.  Sitting in a dentist's chair with a stranger will be child's play compared to extractions at home!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The promised airplane swatch

Waaaay back in August you'll remember that I promised Boy One that I would make him an airplane swatch to dress up his plain black backpack, since he couldn't find a backpack that he liked for school purposes.  I designed it myself from looking at his favorite model, an R.A.F. Mosquito that the British used in the 1940s.

As an afterthought, the propellers probably could have been skipped.  But otherwise, I think it's a descent likeness!

He seems fairly pleased with it.

I embroidered it on a plain piece of stiff cotton broadcloth, then cut it out and stitched around the outline to attach it to the netting pocket.  Like I said, it isn't perfect.  But at least its personal.

As a fun anecdote that has nothing to do with this, Boy One was at school on Monday and brought his tray of hot lunch to the table where he usually sits.  There were four or five other kids from his class already sitting down and as he sat he pronounced, "Let;s pray."  Every kid at the table bowed their head as he prayed for the meal.  His classroom assistant was so excited!  Hope it doesn't get him in trouble down the line!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Picture catch-up

Now that my wonderful husband has finally downloaded the pictures from the camera to the computer, I can show them off!  Or, well, something like that.

Two years ago my mother-in-law gave me her old sewing machine: a Kenmore that is older than I am.  With a very extensive quick tune-up it has been working great for me.  Mostly because I am too intimidated to try out the various plates and feet (foots?) that make for the fun stitches.  I'm sticking with plain old straight-line stitches until I get desperate enough to break out of my comfort zone.

I said all that to say this: I've been experimenting with making aprons.  I begged my mother-in-law to buy me a cute apron book for Christmas last year and since then I've been using up everybody's old fabric scraps.  Yay!

This is where the magic happens.  My mom had a tiny sewing room in our farm house while I was growing up - it was actually just a closet with windows, but it seems huge compared to what I have!  This is the tiny corner of our bedroom, and I'm using, yes, a child's chair pulled up to an end table.  Yee-haw.  I had to move my husband's dresser over two inches in order to make these two items fit, and he noticed at once and was mildly annoyed.  Oops.

So, here are some of the things I've been sewing:

This is actually a child-size apron, as about half of the ones I make are.  They use so much less material!

You can't see it, but the rick-rack on the pockets precisely matches the fabric!

I love how retro this one looks!  I had to use a ton of geometry to make the plans for this one.  Yuck.

More kids aprons.

See the cute mushrooms  and firefly?  Yup.  I made those.

And that cupcake, too.

This one I made for a great friend at church who was getting her first apartment - it might be my favorite apron yet.

See?  Fun, huh?

Thursday, November 4, 2010


I don't remember really celebrating Halloween as a child.  We Trick or Treated once or twice when I was very young, but mostly just stayed home eating pizza, drinking root beer floats, and having as many of the really good candy bars as we wanted.  This was always an extremely acceptable solution: who cared about being in the cold, wet and dark for two hours while gleaning only Tootsie Rolls and Dum Dums, when we could stay warm and dry at home watching movies and eating Milky Way and Reese's? 

This has pretty much been what my husband and I have followed in parenting our own children, except that we bring them to my parent's house for the evening to experience the same food fest. 

My children all dressed up this year: a first, I believe.

Boy One was thrilled to go as Captain Picard from The Next Generation.  The costume was one that his Daddy used to wear - I really had to take it in so it would fit him (it almost would have fit ME).  His daddy also let him borrow a Tribble (it looks like a toupee) that purrs and jiggles and a, um, scanner-thing (that Spok would use on new planets) that lights up and has recorded sounds.  Boy One was very responsible with these "not toys" and very proud to show them off, even though Daddy noted that the props were 'from the Original series' and wouldn't 'go' with the uniform.  Oh, well.

Boy Two loves to dress-up (although you can't tell) as a pirate, but broke his sword before the day even started.  However, are friend Jimmy at church also dressed in pirate fatigues and Boy Two was in awe.

Girl and Mama had matching Mother/Daughter dresses that I made over the last two weeks: not as difficult as I would have thought, but certainly more effort that I had sewn before.  Who knew sleeves would be so hard to fit right?

I was pretty happy with how well they turned out.  Now I can make some more!

That evening we waited at my parent's house to give out candy to neighborhood kids, but none came.  So my dad taught my kids how to Trick or Treat for themselves.  He sent them outside, one at a time, to ring the bell and say 'Trick or Treat'!  Then he would act surprised and let them choose a piece of candy.  This was excessively well received with the kids and they repeated the fun as many times as they could get away with!