Saturday, April 30, 2011

Living a Bill Cosby Episode

I feel like the last month of my life has been a Bill Cosby episode. He had five kids, we have five kids. They made some stupid choices, ours are doing the same. The only thing that brings me sanity through some of the discipline is to laugh about it, when the kids aren't looking, of course. Let's just say, I am building up my ammunition of blackmail on my children for when they get older. And all I will say when they cry, "MOM! Don't tell that story!" is "Well, you did it. If you didn't want me to tell it, then you shouldn't have done it."

So here goes the last month -

A couple of weeks ago, my 11 year old (almost 12 year old) decided to start bucking the school's authority. She didn't believe them when they asked her to stop talking so much, stop distracting her peers, and not chew gum in school. We warned her that we may pull her out of school if her behavior is impeding other's learning. Her way to solve this? Get worse. She got two detentions for chewing gum, hid a satin pajama top in her backpack and changed at school, then got a teacher conference with five teachers and the counselor in less than two weeks. At home, she kept undermining her older sister's authority and proceeded to climb a windowsill in her little brother's room while three boys turned his dresser into a stairstep to get to the top of a wardrobe. Things are not going well for her.

On to the next child, my 8 year old is doing better, but still has some new things that we crossed in the same time frame as the one above. She chose not to do her homeowork one night and ended up losing TV priveleges for the rest of the week, then used her TVless time to undermine her oldest sister's authority (same situation as the 11 year old) as well as watch her youngest brother and two other boys climb a wardrobe. She didn't think she needed to say anything. She has been doing well at school. However, last week we got a note from the teacher saying that another parent complained about our daughter. She used a pencil to put paper into the child's ear which consquently led to him going to the ER to get it removed. I can say now that one of my children has put another in the ER.

The next one is 7 years old. We thought our sweet little boy was doing great in school because his previous sememster brought raving reviews from his teacher. Well, I was wrong. (I remind you, this is the same time span as the previous two stories.) He brought home his 3rd report card where his teacher stated that he was very difficult this past nine weeks. He was passively aggressive with his teachers, moved alot, and kept distracting his peers. Wow! How did I not know? So, I asked to teacher to contact me daily through a behavior log or email to let me know when I needed to intervene. We got a phone call from the vice principal that he made a mess with water in the bathroom so bad that the janitor had to come clean it up. Then a few days ago, I got another call that he tried to forge my signature on a bad behavior note from Monday. At home, I started seeing the passive aggressiveness too. I told him to do something, and he looked straight at me and said, "I don't want to!" Excuse me?!?! He was also party to the wardrobe climbing in his room.

Then my littlest one is the 6 year old. He is a boy. And I know that boys will be boys. They just need to be redirected alot. But here goes his story too (same time frame also). He started behaving well at school. His bad days are much less frequent, praise God! However, at home he started making some poor choices. He decided to steal gum from our local store and when he was caught with it several days later, he told us he found it on the bus. We didn't realize until two days later that it was a whole pack from the store, not a few peices found on the ground. He gave it to his brother (the story above - so just add this account to his too!). Then they "hid" the other peices they chewed along with all the wrappers. We smelled it on our seven year old's breath right before prayer time. They confessed to the six year old finding it on the bus and sharing it. We thought that was all. They were disciplined and put to bed. The next day came and all was good until bedtime again. We went to say nighttime prayers and our seven year old came downstairs with gum breath AGAIN! Only this time it was a different flavor. We questioned him and found out the six year old stole a 15-pack of gum for his oldest sister and gave it some of it to him... to hide. We found some stashed on both of their bookshelves, underneath one of their pillows, in between the footboard and the covers, chewed gum in between playing cards, stuck to items in their room... It was disgusting. While searching for the last few unnaccounted peices, I found a few more miscellaneous items. Our six year old hid our laundry clorox bleach pens in the pocket of his blanket. While seaching his bookshelf, we found one of his older sister's nice peice of jewely. And the straw that broke the camels back... we found my husband's dress watch that he stole from our dresser. Once we found the last item, we stripped his room of everything, but the mattress and a blanket. We explained that everything he had was given to him as a gift and that he needed to earn them back by not stealing. Upon removing his furniture, we found more gum stuck to the walls, one stuck to the top of his wardrobe and lots of wrappers. Let's just say, he has a very easy time cleaning his room right now.

My oldest daughter has sat back with a look of surprise as each of her younger siblings beats their head against the wall of Biblical values. She has amazed me in her maturity to not join in, but also help when she can. I thank God for at least one sane child at this time.

I also forgot to mention, that my husband has been tdy for alot of this! I can't wait for him to get back.

In closing, I want to preface that I LOVE my kids and I know that they are a huge blessing from the LORD. There are days, maybe even weeks, where they drive me crazy and I think I can't keep up with them. But I know God made them who they are and I have been praying that He will give me wisdom to redirect them in a way that breaks their will, but not their spirit. So, if you ever feel this way, you are not alone. Now I am praying that whatever possessed my children overnight to leave. I want their sweet little personalities back.

I pray that this story has made you laugh as well as let you know we are a real family, with real love, real trials, and a real God who makes all things work together for His good.

In Him,

Monday, April 25, 2011

Spring Break - Our First Cruise

We had the privelege to experience our first cruise this spring break. And it was so much fun! We started off by leaving for our twelve hour drive to Barcelona, Spain at 9 pm and putting the kids to bed in the van. They did a great job getting some sleep. We were able to drive for five hours before our first potty break and then another five before our second potty break and breakfast. We got to Spain early enough to do a little sight seeing, but then made our way to the ship.

We were able to see Casablanca, Agidir, the Canary Islands, Madiera, and Malaga while on our nine day cruise. A part of me felt guilty for spending money to take our family on the cruise. However, during one of my quiet times on the ship, I felt like God was saying to me, "Let me bless you! Let me show you my creation that I made for you. I gave you the finances to be able to see this. Don't ruin this moment by worrying about the cost." Boy, was I humbled by that thought - God wants to bless me and show me His creation. Once I settled that thought, I thoroughly enjoyed the breaktaking sights and seeing other cultures.

Besides all the sightseeing, the cruiselines had so many fun activities to choose from. I took line dancing lessons. Mike and I learned how to salsa dance. Bryan and I were able to participate in a family game. The kids LOVED the kids' place. We enjoyed the fantanstic shows that they had onboard every night. Mike and I participated in a game of family fued (and lost). Stasia had the freedom to hang out with the teen group and enjoy a 1 am curfew. The kids enjoyed the family scavenger hunt. Then all the food!!! There is so much more we could add to the list.

I have changed my mind about cruises. They are fantastic. We didn't have to worry about where to eat and sleep which is two of our biggest hassles as a large traveling family. I can't wait to go on our next one... though it will be a few years. : ) We still need to recoup from this one.

Thanks, God! Your creation still amazes me.

In Him,