Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Drill

 

Yesterday I took the three kids to the neighborhood pool while Dusty stayed back to fire up the grill.  The little peeps have been sick around here (actually me too!) and I decided that a little time in the sun and pool would do all of our spirits some good.  We loaded up the stroller, trekked across the busy street, came into the pool and began unloading everything.  Yes, everything. Sunscreen, towels, dive rings, torpedoes, goggles, the puddle jumper, the baby floaty, a few little squid for Scout to chew on... then I proceeded to spray everyone down.

"Does anyone need to go potty?"

With a resounding NO! the older two were off to the baby pool (of which we were parked right by) while I got S ready.

Once dressed the biggies were thrilled to get in the big pool. I made small-talk with a few neighbors I didn't know, played games with the kids, and watched them jump off the edge.  All for about 10 minutes.  Then the not-so-surprising... "I have to go pee-pee."

Sure enough it was Faith Clare. Have you ever had that moment in the pool when you really want to be like "just pee in here!" but can't say it out loud and really don't want to tell your recently-potty-trained child to go in the public pool.  Oooohh, so tempting. I'm thinking "seriously, all the kids here do it!!" but the words just can't escape my lips.

Now... the dilemma. Deacon is fairly easy because he can get out or wait for me on the steps.  But Scout... what do I do with a wet slippery baby when trying to help my 2-year-old get on a nasty pool potty.

This conversation came up this morning with a friend at church and we had to muffle our screams of laughter as we described going to the bathroom with many small children.

Here is my norm. It might be at a Buc-ee's gas station stop on our way to Dallas or San Antonio.  It might be in the bathroom at a Rudy's in College Station.  Or just right here in our own little Chick-fil-a... But wherever it happens, it's always without daddy.

Someone has to go potty. Or more likely one has to go and the other decides he/she needs to go to. I take my two walking children and my infant on my hit towards the potties.  Usually I will hear "I DON'T want to go in the girls!" from Deacon, which then gets one of several responses: "You can't go in there by yourself because I don't know who is in there.", or "Daddy says the boys bathrooms are nasty and you need to come with me.", or "You aren't quite big enough to go alone."  Sometimes you can insert *objection* but either way he follows us into the girls.

We often have to pick a stall that is big enough for all of us but many times even those don't have the changer tables for the babies.  Yes, I am that mother that will actually strap my baby TIGHT to that thing just so I have two free hands.  But, in this example we are assuming there is no changer.

We go into the stall and close the door.  The older two proceed to fight about who has to go worse and Deacon usually wins the battle because he is... well... faster.  He goes without much of an incident.  Then it is Faith Clare's turn and this is where it starts to get tricky.  Remember, I have a squirmy, fussing 9-month-old in one arm.  With the free hand I am putting paper down on the generally-not-so-clean potty.  Usually a piece or two falls in, gets wet, or falls on the ground so this is a repeat process.

Finally the paper is in place.  In one arm the squirmy baby, the other arm I am hoisting my 2-year-old up to place her on.  I usually have to say more than once, and loudly, "stop touching the potty!!!" while she is waiting to go.  Yes, wiping is actually okay and besides the occasional bumping of Faith Clare with Scout and both end up screaming, we usually manage the task alright.

Whew! Finally get her down and flush.  Then... the joys.  Yes, mommy often has to go.

Sooo, where exactly do you hold the baby? How do you unzip jeans with one hand, gets them down, hover without touching, get paper and wipe? Challenging... kinda like brain surgery and an obstacle course all at once.

And then all the ridiculous questions that I have to answer with two children watching and the third in arms.  No, mommy doesn't need to go poo-poo.  No, mommy doesn't need help.  Yes, mommy is a big girl and can do it alone.  No, you can't watch.  No, Scout can't play on the floor.  Yes, you have to wash your hands.  No, mommy doesn't pee-pee or poo-poo in her undies.  

Lately I have been excusing Deacon just for the simple fact that I'm tired of an audience and honestly, I know he can't wait to get out of there as well.

Seriously... all this just to go to the potty?!  And how many times is it GO. EAT. REPEAT.

Not easy but I guess it's just what us moms do.  If you have been there, you know the drill.  If you haven't... well, wait for the joy to begin.  Nothing is ever dull with little ones.  In fact, when not in the midst of it, it's rather hilarious! Just us motioning this morning how it all has to be done... awesome!

And so yesterday... yep, I did the unthinkable and asked a neighbor I didn't know but had been chatting it up with (and who dropped that she worked in a daycare) to hold Scout for a minute while the rest of us made our way to the potty.

Some days I wonder how people ever do this alone!

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."- Romans 15:13

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Child-like

I've been thinking about babies this past week.  I've thought about the sweet blessing of innocence. I've thought about the struggles and frustration.  The ways that the Lord chooses to bless us and bring us joy. The heartache and pain and how He expects us to rely solely on Him. How He asks us to come to Him with faith like a child and how He loves us like the one and only in the world.

I look at the sweet faces of my children, three that are here and that I'm trying to raise with a legacy of Christ, and one looking into His striking face, and wonder sometimes, "WHERE DID THEY COME FROM????" They are crazy and volatile. I mean, I have kids with personality, let me tell ya. Happy and then screaming. Playing and then in a puddle of tears. "I chose this??" I think when they are fighting constantly and S is screaming at the top of his lungs. "WHO do these children belong to?" I ask when they scream at the grocery store for tortillas, to look at the lobsters in the tank, and for samples of deli ham.  These kids are so spoiled... they don't act grateful for anything... they are just mean to each other... THEY HAVE IT OUT FOR ME!

And then, just like *that*, the tables turn and I see how babyish and child-like I can be... ungrateful, screaming, mean... Sweet smiles and laughter can turn into fits of frustration in a matter of seconds. Honestly, if I could lay on the floor, face-down in a pile of slobber and pound my legs on the ground like my recently-turned 9-month-old does, well, I probably would.  I often say things that my 2-year-old and 5-year-old say like "that's not fair!", or "I waaaaant it!"but just in a more grown-up way. I'm sure the Lord glaces at me in my fits of comparison and says "Who does this child belong to?"

All the ugliness that I see in them, that I try to correct, to consequence, to discuss, and to work on, suddenly comes back straight on my head.  Do they see all those behaviors from me regularly? I sure hope not, and I don't think so.  But, what is the difference between them doing it to me in a grocery store and me doing it to God at a gathering of neighbors? My child's behavior, whether it should or not, directly reflects on me when we are surrounded by people that don't know us intimately.  My behavior, whether it should or not, directly reflects on the Lord when I profess to be a Christian.  Why do you think that people say all the time that Christians are such hypocrites? It's because we say and expect one thing and yet often act in a way that contradicts those same beliefs. It's just ugly. And yet... we are sinners.

"I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. ...So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin." Romans 7:15, 25b

Just like our children that we continue to instruct and love through the chaos, embarrassment, questions and tantrums, God does all the same things for us.  We are sinners, plain and simple.  And isn't it funny that some lessons we have to teach to our children over and over and over are the same ones that God continues to work on with us as well.  Patience. Fear. Trust. Discipline. Contentment. ...I mean, not that those are mine or anything! ahem. Just examples.
I just love how, when I get so frustrated with them, God can open my eyes to see the truth. We all have ways to improve, things to work on, areas to grow.

Love and grace definitely have their place among the discipline and correction.  We get grace from Him, just as we give to our children (or are supposed to), and all the while He tells us that in many ways we need to grow up.  I know that I sure do and I'll take the not-so-gentle-nudging.

Faith like a child... not acting childish... and a spiritual maturity that can only come through an intimate relationship with Him. While I expect my children to act "mature" in certain arenas in life, I am also understanding that I need to lead by example. 

"Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil." Hebrews 5:13-14

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