Welcome to the peanut gallery! Upon entering I ask you to please keep an open mind since everyone else in the family does. I believe it’s a prerequisite to staying sane in my family. Just ask my boys! An open mind to them means in one ear and out the other… its open and all is well. To me, the well is a very deep subject!
I love my kids. Boy, they keep me going, but I’ve learned to keep them going too. Why should children be the only ones being entertained? We pay the bills so I think we as the adults are entitled to some of the fun! Oh, I love when one of them says “I’m thirsty! What’s to drink?” I smirk and say, " Okay we have sink water, dish water, toilet water, flavored water, and look it rained so now we have puddle water… all free of charge! Hey, if it snows we can grab some snow and make slushies!" The big word in my house now is “MOM!” We adopted a baby boy and boy you should have seen the look in a proud Momma’s eye when I heard his first word, “Mom”. Now why didn’t the other four that I gave birth to do that? I discovered why after listening to my teens holler “Mom, I need”, “Mom can you get,” “Mom what’s to eat?” “Mom, Mom, Mom!” Isn’t there anyone else in this house? Something seems wrong with this picture. Oh, my little son, Noah, certainly melts my heart, but boy can he belt out the longest Mom I’ve ever heard. It’s become a game now to the point of him saying “Mom” and me saying “what?” Then he smiles and does it again and again and again! So I began saying “Noah? Noah! Noah….” He just turns his head to the side and gives me the strangest look.
Noah learns fast. Yup my teens taught him a few choice words. Don’t you ever wonder why the little ones pick up the words and phrases you really don’t want them saying? It’s like there is a red light attached to words and they have this instinct on how to get your attention. My three teenaged boys thought it would be funny to get him to say loud mouth bass, loud mouth bush, and then they saw this man covered in hair at a public swimming pool so they said “Look Noah there is a man bear pig.” Sure enough Noah announces the man bear pig and laughs along with the teens. Since it’s so funny once is never enough. However, you want to crawl under a rock when he begins shouting bullshit and oh crap. What gets me though is the sweetest smile after he says this stuff. So since then he’s learned to say “not nice.” because of mommy’s repetition. Now if the teens aren’t helpful enough there is always Daddy and what comes out of his mouth. My husband announces “I passed gas… it stinks.” So we have a little me walking around announcing how he’s passed gas and it stinks. Then when someone comes over he announces when they pass gas with stinks and a P. U. behind that!
Did you ever notice how being out in public just seems like the perfect place for kids to make you so proud? It’s the perfect place to discuss anatomy like boobies as they point to a woman who is definitely endowed. It’s also the perfect place to throw a tantrum, but as a parent you have to learn to throw a tantrum back at them. “I want a new house, a new car, and sons who help out because they love me!” Maybe I should try “I want daddy to change all your dirty diapers!” Can you imagine watching a woman jumping up and down in the store demanding these things while her two year old screams for a toy? Ah… the joys of parenthood!
I’ve been doing some research on better ways of raising my teens. It’s amazing how turning 18 means they are grown up but they still need your money, but not your house rules. My eighteen year old announced recently “I’m 18, and you can’t make me…” Then he later made the mistake of asking for a ride and I responded, “I’m 42 and you can’t make me!” The best phrase I’ve learned to stop them in their tracks is “I love you too much to argue.” Those words stop the speeding train that whirls around in their minds, and they get this amazingly puzzled look on their cute teenaged faces. I’m sure they wonder what Mom is going to come up with next. They come home from school and here I am announcing how happy I am that I learned something new today. I’ve learned that the more chores I give my children, the more they gain self esteem. All my kids get is steamed saying they don’t have time for chores. So I just say “It’s okay I can see you are upset, so we will talk about this when you feel better.” Then I throw in, “I love you too much to argue.” If you have teens, you should try this sometime!
As I grew up, we didn’t have cell phones or computers. Today the kids are walking around with gizmos and gadgets I could only have dreamed of as a child. However, my mother’s words have come back to haunt me. Mothers just have a way of cursing you by saying “I hope one day you grow up and have a kid just like YOU!” I remember telling my mom I'm sixteen and I’d like a phone. So guess what happened in my house to come back and haunt me? My thirteen year old son announced he would like a cell phone, and all the other kids have one. Isn’t it amazing how kids use this tactic? This is when I can’t help but to laugh thinking these other kids don’t have YOUR mom. I can remember my own mom telling me, “But she’s not YOU!” So I get all excited thinking NOW I can use my mom’s words and her philosophy. So I tell my son, “Boy, wouldn’t you look great with a cell phone in your pocket? Ah, to be like all the other kids!” So here I am reminding my kids they are NOT like other kids and we work hard for what we have. Mention work and they are changing the subject.
Talking about phones, I remember days when the phone rang, and I felt like NASCAR lights turned green for them to misbehave. Full speed ahead they chased, screamed, and whined. It never failed, there tied to a phone I waved my arms and gave silent warnings while trying to understand what the caller wanted. I think the kids waited for me to pull out a flag or a yellow dish towel in my case. Perfect time to have some sibling rivalry issues when Mom is on the phone! Oh my kids knew when to act up and when to stop. Counting worked like a charm for the little ones. The older they became, the more my math skills increased from whole numbers to fractions.
One day my now estranged husband and I attended a conference. We informed the kids that if they wanted to beat the tar out of each other they’d have to take it outside. I remember one of them saying “What are you crazy?” Smiling, we informed them to holler in for band aids if you need one. Seems like kids just don’t want to do what you give them permission to do. They wait like vultures for you to say “don’t do that” and then they are right on it. One time I thought it’s a shame my son listened to me. It’s those times the kids will never let you forget. They have the memory of an elephant when it all goes wrong. My oldest son zoomed out the door and slid partially down the deck railing which leaned to the left. I could see it moving as he placed his butt on it, and I hollered “Use the stairs!” Now it had snowed so when he took two steps he fell and landed face first on a rock which took out his front teeth. We ended up at the dentist getting stitches all because he actually listened to me! I thanked God his permanent teeth laid beneath his gums.
I love when I go into a store and people say “Are they ALL yours?” Having five children, I heard this quite often. So many times I would have loved to say “Well actually we rented this one!” I remember when my husband and I decided to adopt a baby with Down syndrome and people asked “Why a child with Down syndrome?” I felt the real question is why not? Someone needs to do it. I’m not looking forward to an empty nest at all. It’s just been too much fun at the peanut gallery that I call home. I can’t wait till we have grandchildren and I can beg and plead to borrow the grandkids. I wonder what kind of faces my grown children will make then. So many times I told my kids “Oh, I can’t wait till I come to YOUR house and jump on your beds, and make a mess.” Yep, it’s going to be SO much fun as they try to explain to their spouses what’s wrong with their mother. "She's jumping on the bed with our kids... what's wrong with her?" I have a lot of time though, so this could work to my advantage with strategically planning how I’m going to have fun with my grown children as I spoil the grandkids.
The biggest decision of our lives involves deciding if our three year old son should have open heart surgery or catherization using a coil and an umbrella shaped device. It's weighed heavily upon our hearts and minds. I think even during hard times you need to find the humor. Here's one thing I've noticed about all the hospital trips and doctor appointments-- "I" get the bill. Now here is something to think about, whose blood do they test? Don't you think they should be paying YOU to take the precious blood you've worked so hard at making? Even as I think back to the days I gave birth, I wondered WHO provided the entertainment for the doctors and nurses? I had been the one hollering at the doctor giving birth to my first baby, "Hey get your hands out of there I'm trying to push this kid out, and you're pushing it back in!"
Today with temperatures in the thirties, we ventured out to attend an Easter egg hunt with our three year old son, Noah. Bundled up, my poor little guy jumps up and down not quite understanding there is a five minute wait to pick up the egg that is about five inches from his shoe. The square area is taped off with yellow caution tape. Kids from the ages of two to three eagerly await the signal to speed into the candy and plastic covered area. When the signal is given, my son takes about five steps picks up an egg and throws it. I'm trying to help him saying and pointing to a small basket, "In the basket, Noah... in the basket." After several attempts, a nice lady approaches us and remarks, "He's got a great arm." Noah's pitching eggs and another little boy grabs every egg I point out to Noah. Yet this was not the highlight of our day. I spotted a few ducks down below a small bridge. Now my husband, quacking like a duck, attracts these adorable white ducks to come over to us. I pulled out a fortune cookie, and Noah and I feed these inquisitive creatures. My little guy is happy as a duck, until we go to say goodbye. Then the tantrum begins, tears fall and mommy pulls out the last fortune cookie. An amazing thing happened, he calmed right down till we had to leave again. So I explained to my son that the duckies needed to go inside. Once given chocolate in the van, his smile reappeared.
Every day brings a new chapter and one more adventure, so check back to see the update. I hope you enjoyed your visit to the peanut gallery.
Since writing the above article, my husband and I seperated. It is very unfortunate for the child I am raising on my own now for the past two years. I realized that lying, manipulation, and abuse is not acceptable behavior nor a good example for ANY child. I would encourage anyone facing emotional or physical abuse to remember this sets the stage for your child as an example, so think about the snowballing effect it can have on your child.
The adventures of Noah and I have changed drastically, but the love remains strong. I've felt people do not honor their commitments or keep their promises in this day and age, which I find to be very sad at this point in my life. It seems like a very self centered world that we live in. My mother is dying of COPD as I write this, but if there is one thing I can say it is to never lose your sense of humor no matter what obstacles you face in your life time. Always try to remember the things that bring a smile to your face, and remember the little things we all often take for granted. God bless!