This and That

Archive for September 2011

My son is the best staller. He has truly perfected it into an art form and I think a book needs to be written about his methods and tactics. The two times he stalls the most is at 1pm and 8pm: his nap time and his bed time. If given the opportunity he can drag out getting ready for bed for a good twenty to thirty minutes. It is extremely frustrating for hubby and I, but if I take a step back and see if from an outsiders view I must say I have to admire his persistent and determination.

Here is the list of the usual sequence of stalling tactics for nap or bed time:

Me: “Isaac it’s bed time.”

Him: “NO!” Stall tactic -tears, running away, and throwing himself on the couch or floor.

Me: “Yep. Come on. Do you have to go potty before bed?”

Him: “NO, I don’t want to go potty!” Stall tactic -tears, completely working himself up into a fit, running away, and throwing himself on the couch or floor again.

Me: “Okay you don’t have to go I was just asking a question. Let’s go read stories.”

Him: Sigh…”Okay.” Stall tactic -Walking at the slowest pace possible (a snail could beat him to the room), dragging his feet, and sighing the whole way

Me: “What books do you want to read?”

Him: Ignoring me and becoming increasingly focused on some toy he hasn’t played with in months. Stall tactic -dragging out time by ignoring me.

Me: “Isaac you have two choices: you can tell me what story you want to read or you can just go to bed. What do you want to do?”

Him: “Read a story.” He gets up and stands in front of his book shelf contemplating what book to read. Stall tactic -taking a huge amount of time picking the book, he will pick the the Curious George book because he ALWAYS picks that one.

Me: “Okay let’s pray.”

Him: ” Dear God, thank you for my family…hdfljasdflk jalfnawlejfaufasjflasnfaksljdflakjsfluasdfouasdof.” Stall tactic -the mumbling prayer could go on for hours if not stopped.

Me: ” Let’s get into bed.”

He SLOWLY moves to his bunk bed ladder, climbs up, and sits in bed. Stall tactic sitting in bed instead of just laying down and getting under his blanket

Me: “Lay down. Goodnight I love you.”

Him: ” I have to go potty.”

Need I say more.

Oh and don’t thing it stops here. The stalling continues after the potty, getting back in bed, singing the right song, hugs and kisses in the right order, saying I love you the right amount of times, on and on and on.

My son is the King of Stalling! Let us all bow down.

One of the lessons from Jesus is not to judge people. Matthew 7:1 says ““Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” The gospel of Jesus is about love; loving God, loving your family and friends, and loving your enemies. With love there is no room for judgement. I am a Christian, I love God, I love my family and friends, I try to love my enemies, but I judge others all the time.

I have always known I had this problem but it slapped me in the face this morning. The boys and I do a bible study once a week at a local church. The bible study is not affiliated with the church and members of the bible study come from all backgrounds and church denominations. The church we meet at is one of the largest and most influential in Orange County, maybe the country. Needless to say it’s a very rich church and it’s congregation is very wealthy.

This bible study seems to have a lot more wealthy women in it than any other studies I have been too and it is here, in this place, with these women that my judgements are coming out.

1. I make the judgement these wealthy women all go to this wealthy church.

2. I make the judgement that these women who wear expensive clothes, jewelry, and are dressed extermely hip can’t possibly, really love Jesus.

3. I make the judgement that women who get Botox, boob jobs, and nose jobs, can’t love Jesus.

4. I make the judgement that these women are here for the social aspect of the bible study; they don’t really read the bible or do the homework.

It’s only the third meeting and this morning I started to regret signing up for it. I was already composing an email in my head to my old bible study group (that meets in another city and church) about how much I missed them, how all this Botox and all the diamonds are completely distracting to the Word of God. I went on to say (in my head) none of these women are genuine believers and this whole study was fake.

I did go to the study and sat down ready to play on my phone during the lecture when the leader started speaking about being filled with the Holy Spirit and how the fruit of the Spirit is love. Love. SLAP! I believe the Holy Spirit slapped me in the face and called me a judger. Love is the main calling of our gospel. I know this and yet I was sitting in judgement of these women and completely not loving them because they have more money than I do, because they have made different financial choices then I would, because, because, because…the list could go on and on.

Ouch! I am judging these women, women I don’t even know. Then the Holy Spirit revealed even more darkness in my heart: I judge rich people in general very harshly. This is so eye opening to me because I am the first to tell anyone that God doesn’t call money a curse; it’s what we do with the money each individual is given that matters. Yet, I automatically assume rich people can’t really love Jesus because they are too busy loving their money. This is so untrue and I am disgusted at this revelation into my heart. Awful! Horrible! So wicked of me!

So I want to apologize to all the women at my bible study and to all the rich Jesus-loving people in the world. I am so sorry I have wrongly judged you. I am so ashamed at my thoughts and behavior. I pray you will forgive me! Lord, please forgive me.

“You will be judged according to your conduct and your actions, declares the Sovereign LORD.’” Ezekiel 24:14b

Today I want to write about my love: my hubby! I felt like writing about him today for no particular reason, no holiday, or special occasion; only because I love him so much. He is sincerely my best friend and soul mate. He is the most supportive, loving, caring, fun person I know. God put him on this earth just for me and orchestrated our meeting at just the right time.

Here’s a brief synopsis of God’s timing and our story:

1. Hubby and I grew up about a ten minute walk from each other – but never met.

2. We went to the same junior high school -but never met.

3. We attended the same bar mitzvah for a mutual friend -but never met.

4. Hubby and I had the same friends – but never met.

5. We went to high school for one year together – but never met.

6. We went to college together our last two years  -and this was the time!

God planned for us to meet our last semester in school at a BBQ.

Isn’t that amazing?! All those connections, all those thousands of times we could have and should have met and we didn’t.

God knew the perfect time for us to meet!

I love God’s timing!

And now here we are: seven years and two baby boys later and my hubby is still my one true LOVE!

Love you babe!!!

I have never wanted to play favorites with my boys but if I am going to be honest I do a little, isn’t that awful? It’s not because I love one son more than the other, it’s really because of their ages. My older son is in the middle of the “trying threes” stage and let me tell you, he is definitely trying me…every minute of every day. My youngest son is not a baby anymore but not in the “terrible twos”, so he can’t really talk or talk back; just smiles and does what I say. It’s a glorious age. So I do, I favor my youngest son right now but mainly because I don’t have to discipline him yet. I know once he turns two the tables will turn.

I do feel guilty about it though. That I am somehow cheating my older son out of love or that he feels neglected or not as special. Though when I really think about it I know this isn’t true, my older son gets plenty of love, praise, and affection; it’s just my fear and I think my guilt is a good sign that I would never allow myself to play favorites for real.

I know parents who play favorites and it is not because of an age or stage difference in their kids. The parents have a favorite child and you can just tell; in their actions towards the kids, their words, their facial expressions. How does this happen? Why don’t the parents recognize what is happening and stop it? I’m sure it starts out as very innocent, one child’s personality is more like the parent’s and they naturally gravitate towards each other. But don’t they see what they are doing to the other child? The child being ignored, left out,not equally loved.

A friend of mine once said that she is saving up money for her kids; not for college but for their therapist bill. Her point was no matter what she did or did not do somehow it would screw up her kids. It’s a very true statement. Most of our parents did the best they could raising us and yet we all have emotional issues because of them.

Playing favorites is not doing the best you can as a parent; it’s being selfish. The parent doesn’t want to work at having a meaningful connection with the un-favored child. It’s easier to focus on the child they already have a lot in common with.

Another interesting observation I have made is most favored children are girls. Why is that?  Are girls more favored because they are easier to raise? They are less rambunctious, less physical, less rowdy so they get the attention? Or is it because women are mainly the care givers and it’s a female preference?

Unfortunately playing favorites doesn’t end in childhood; I know adults that still get the raw end of the deal when it comes to their parents. They have to work through high school and college to pay for school while the other sibling gets a free ride. They have to work, earn, and pay for everything while the other kid gets free clothes, free electronics, and free food. It’s so unfair and it makes me so mad.

Can’t parents see what they are doing to their child, no matter their age?

In the end it’s the parents who are missing out. Missing out on the love and joy that the other child would bring them and the entire family if given the attention they deserved.

So this post is just a reminder to me and a warning, a warning, to never play favorites.

My son is three and has become much more aware of certain things. Mainly of me and how I am different from everyone else in the family. I didn’t realize he would start recognizing the differences already, but he has and now we have started to have conversations about what people have penises and what people don’t. Ugg!

So I guess it’s time to close the bathroom door and no more quick wardrobe changes in full view either. To be honest I am annoyed. Keeping the door open is important to me as a parent; to be able to hear what is going on even though I am in a different room. I feel this is especially important having two boys. I leave the room for one minute and something crashes, someone is crying, and someone else is hiding. Closing that door is going to extremely limit my ability to intervene verbally and it slows down my response time to get to the scene of the crime. Sure it’s just opening a door but in these situations every second counts!

Did your kids start asking questions and noticing differences this young?

I’m truly annoyed.

I live in the OC. I love the OC. I have tried to move out of the OC and have always hated and regretted leaving. I love the weather; the glorious, lovely, sunshine filled weather. I love all that is available to us here: beach, mountains, swimming, hiking, biking, kayaking, and more.

What I don’t love about the OC is the fake. I don’t love the identity the OC has taken on in the last ten years or so, ever since those stupid shows came on and now reality is imitating art. The OC didn’t used to be like this. Full of plastic women who can’t show real expression due to the Botox. People who are obsessed with money and possessions. Young girls who know more about sex than I do and wear clothes that barely cover their bodies.

I miss the OC I grew up in. When the OC was just known for being a great surf destination. When people were genuine, authentic, and real. When the focus was the family and values. When kids were just kids.

I love the OC but I hate the OC.

I miss the OC.

For me the term allowance conjures up the long list of chores I had to do around the house in order to earn money. Cleaning my room, making my bed, dusting, and weeding the garden were the main ones I can remember. Every weekend if I did all these tasks I would get one dollar, which eventually grew to two dollars, then three, final up to five dollars; that is until I was a teenage and was expected to get a job. Of course for kids the point of an allowance to to teach responsibility, family team work, and that money doesn’t grow on trees; it has to be earned by doing work.

But allowances are not just for kids anymore. Allowances are a great tool for us adults when trying to control our spending. When hubby and I were trying to figure out a budget we first had to determine where all our money was going…because it wasn’t going in the bank. We calculated that in a single month we were spending one hundred dollars on Starbucks coffee. One hundred dollars!! That was both of us going three times a week. Crazy! We cut back on a lot of stuff, entertainment, eating out, clothes shopping, and mainly trips to Target. Target is an evil place! So after all the cutting back and we had set the budget the feeling of sadness swept over us. We missed our Starbucks, eating lunch with friends, buying a little special treat for ourselves. So we gave ourselves an allowance.

Now the amount allocated for the allowance is key. You should not be able to got out to dinner on your monthly allowance or buy a new pair of jeans or play a round of golf ; there are other categorizes in your budget that you need to save and account for these things. An allowance should be able to get you one, maybe two cups of Starbucks coffee a month or buy lunch with co-workers once, twice if you went to Del Taco. Hubby and I each get ten dollars every two weeks to do what we want.

I know an allowance might seem childish or old school but it really helps keep us on budget. When you don’t feel deprived you are less likely to overspend and more likely to stick to your budget each month.

Try it! It will work!!