what is a squiggle?

According to fifth-grade teacher Mrs. Hill, a squiggle is a beginning point, a small, wiggly line on a page with the potential to become something more--a brilliantly drawn fifth-grade picture!

A beginning point. A silly phrase from my preschooler, my teenager rolling his eyes, or my kindergartner deleting my entire 3rd chapter...

Friday, April 5, 2013

Am I Smarter Than My Six-Year Old?

With the warmth having returned to my desert home in full force, we've been prepping for scorpion season.  Last weekend we sprayed outside and inside the house and recapped our safety rules with the kids:

  • Always wear shoes outside
  • Check your shoes and clothes before putting them on (especially our eighteen-year old whose clothes live on the floor)
  • Be careful
  • And if you do cross paths with a scorpion, follow your oldest brother's example: scream like a girl and jump behind the couch to safety.  No, not really.  Don't touch it and get someone older to come take care of it.

My kindergartner is very afraid of bugs and is always very grave and serious when we discuss scorpions, black widows and other dangerous pests.  He's also my thinker.  Which combination lead to our conversation as I walked him to school a few days ago.

Just before noon, the day was still somewhat cool with an intermittent breeze flitting by.  I held my son's hand as we walked and felt like a really great mom.  How nice to have some one-on-one time with the boy.

Then he turned to me and asked, "Why did Jesus create scorpions?"

And I, in my amazing motherly wisdom, replied, "Um.  I'm not sure."  Looooong pause.  "Maybe he thought they looked cool?"

My son gave me an
is-that-really-the-best-you-can-do? look and let his gaze drop to his shoes.  After watching the dust kick up around his feet for a few steps he said, "I think I know why."

Curious, I asked him what he thought.

"I think when Jesus created them, they were good, but Satan made them turn bad."

Wow.  Such wisdom from one so young.  That simple phrase taught me so much.  My son not only understood that Jesus is Good and Satan is Evil, but he understood that Satan, by influencing the fall changed the nature of things.  Creatures that once lived in peace and harmony were now at odds with each other.  And by considering the nature of scorpions, he reminded me that I should do the same.  I should remember that the Lord is in every aspect of life, and I should look for evidences of such.

Am I smarter than my six-year old?

Not always.

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Big Bad Mommy Wolf

If I had a dollar for every time my three year old has told me "Mommy your mean" in the last two days, I'd have, well, a whole lot of dollars.

I'm mean because it's not time for snack yet.  He calls me mean for not letting him have another Popsicle.  Or because I told him he couldn't have more snack after he'd already had a Popsicle, sour patch kids, and fruit snacks.

I'm mean because HE pooped in his pants and lost his reward.

I'm mean because it's getting dark, and  I tell him to come inside for dinner.  And because I make him hold my hand when we're crossing the street or walking through a parking lot.

The list of my evil doings goes on.

None of my other children ever called me mean.  They've never said they hate me or any such thing.  In fact, I like to believe that my older children live in fear of upsetting me.  But not this three year old.  He pushes me to the count of three then comes running, giggling and grinning, just before I finish counting.  He's like Nemo, defiantly swimming out to touch the boat, watching to make sure I see what he's doing just before he does it.

This kid will do the opposite of what I tell him while smiling mischievously, but then, when he faces the consequences of a time out, the tears quickly pool in his eyes and he says, "sorry Mommy."

Despite his tantrums and his flinging of the "mean" word though, he either loves me or really likes to torture me.  I'm the only one he'll let get his pajamas on or brush his teeth.  Only Mommy can take him potty or get him dressed.  No one else can put him in his crib and cover him up.

And as I ponder this, I suddenly understand why my youngest brother seemed to get away with murder in our home.  He got to stay up late, eat whatever he wanted when he wanted...he pretty much did as he pleased.

By the time he came along, the Big Bad Mommy Wolf was too tired to fight those battles.

I know how she feels.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Movie Night

Most weekends my husband and I like to unwind by watching a movie.  Unfortunately, sometimes a crazy, hectic day leaves us with little viewing time.  On such nights we usually manage to fit in one of our favorite Star Trek episodes before exhaustion knocks us out.

Such was the case last weekend when a late work day for my husband  made us push back our dinner date with our almost eighteen year-old son.  Which, of course, meant by the time we got home and got all of the kids to bed, the time was pushing toward ten thirty.

But we felt the need to relax and do nothing before we could settle down to sleep, so we determined to watch an episode of Star Trek the Next Generation.

Well, that was our intent.

We turned on the TV and the blue-ray player to access Netflix.  However, our daughter had left a movie in the player.  Barbie, and a whole lot of pink filled the screen:  Barbie and the Fairy Secret.  I jokingly leaned over and asked my husband if he wanted to watch it.

He must have been pretty tired, since he said he'd give it ten minutes, and if he was completely sickened we'd have to turn it off.

So we let the movie play.

And surprisingly  after ten minutes we found ourselves laughing.  Admittedly, sometimes because the movie was pathetically cheesy, but at other times because it was genuinely funny.  (Ken's tiny pink clip-on wings were quite hilarious )  So we kept watching.  Fortunately, we were too tired to be annoyed at the rapid reversal of feelings between Barbie and her worst enemy at the end.

When our eight year-old came out to use the bathroom, my husband quickly snatched up the remote and paused the movie, not wanting to be caught watching it.  But by the next morning, all of our kids knew the truth.  Mom and Dad had watched the Barbie movie.

Not only that, but Dad was quoting it.  More than once.

And so was our eighteen year-old.  Apparently he'd watched it, too.

This weekend, I'm hoping for a movie with a little more substance.  Hotel Transylvania is waiting on the bookshelf.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Firsts, Lasts and Inbetweens

I'm not a crier.  Except for the mad years of high school drama, I never have been.  I didn't cry when my oldest child started kindergarten.  Nor did I shed tears when he graduated from elementary and moved on to high school.

But...If I were to be a crier, this would be the year to do it.

2013 holds a frightening number of firsts, lasts and inbetweens.

Firsts: My oldest graduates from high school and Seminary in May.  He leaves for his mission sometime in July or August.  We're taking our first (and probably last) full family vacation to Disneyland in June. We'll spend our first Christmas without a member of our family (but at least we'll get to talk to him!) And for the first time ever, I have no kids in nursery and no kids who I'm counting the hours until their old enough for nursery.

Lasts: Today I went to my last "muffins with mom" with my eighth grader.  This is my last year of having four kids in primary.  In May I will disassemble the crib and assemble the toddler bed for the last time.

Inbetweens: My husband will baptize my fifth child in April.  My third child graduates from elementary school in May and will be old enough to attend the church dances in August.  My youngest daughter enters Young Women's in September.

The lists could go on.  But I'm not teary eyed as I contemplate these events.  Maybe because they are still out there, waiting to happen (except for the muffins.  And I didn't even blink back tears when my eighth grade son voluntarily gave me a hug in the middle of the crowded cafeteria.).

I have a feeling though, that the tears will catch me when I least expect it.  I got a hint of them during my oldest son's last drama performance when they called the seniors out and had them do an extra bow to the audience.  I'm sure my watery eyes as I watched him on stage were merely the result of my allergies and all of the perfume and cologne wafting from the teenage boys and girls.  Who cries at the ending of "Get Smart" anyway?

In the mean time, I'll be sure to keep a supply of tissues handy.