Tuesday, January 31, 2006

A Different Kind of Doctor's Visit

I took my oldest son for a check-up today. All I could remember was carrying him into those little exam rooms as a baby, and consoling his angry scream after a shot. And I can remember when he had to use the stairs to get up on the table. So doesn't he seem almost too big now to be seeing a pediatrician? Is it really normal for an eleven-year-old to weigh more than I did when I got married? Is it right that he is only three inches from being as tall as me? Is he really big enough to get checked out by the doctor without me in the room (his choice, not something the doctor or I pushed for)? When did I become secondary in the conversation about his health? Is it normal that it bothers me that he doesn't flinch, much less cry when he gets a shot? When does he start having to pay the bill?

It's That Simple!

I have been wrestling with the need in my boys' lives for men who influence them. I was praying for mentors who would meet with them once every week or two, study the Bible with them, help them work through anger and adolescence. I was sure this was such a huge committment for someone I could trust,that I didn't know how I would ever find the male influence they needed.

Last night I made a call to a friend. I was frustrated because my oldest son was frustrated and I just couldn't seem to help him. I was trying to talk to a wall. My friend was busy, but her husband asked what was going on. (Guess the desperation in my voice gave it away!) So I explained and got the much needed "you're doing fine." Then he asked to speak to my son. I left my son alone to talk to this man he trusts, respects, and loves. After the conversation, I had a different child. I have resisted the urge to find out what in the world was said. But whatever it was, it worked!

The lesson I learned from this is that mentoring comes in different kinds of packages. Perhaps boys without a father, and girls without a mother, can get some of thier needed fathering or mothering just from a friend who takes a few minutes to check on them by phone. Perhaps sometimes all they need is the voice of a leader, calming their frustrations. Maybe sometimes it really is that simple.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Never a Dull Moment!

Well, now that it is unfounded, I can confess that we have just had a bit of a pinworm scare here. I now know more than I ever wanted to about the little critters, and have performed duties as medical mom that I never dreamed I'd have to perform (nor did I want to!).

So here's the skinny on avoiding pinworms:
1) If your child plays in the dirt much, teach them to wash their hands really well and to use a nail brush.
2) Keep fingernails short. Yes, there is a medically necessary reasong for this;it is no longer just a fun sort of torture I can inflict on the kids. (And I can't wait to say for the first time, "You don't want to get pinworms, do you?"
3) Teaching sanitary bathroom habits is a must, even if it takes a little time, embarrasses them, or insults their emerging I'm-a-big-boy syndrome.
4) Washing hands is more than just a way to delay supper time so you can watch starving kids squirm.

While treating pinworms is a little less complicated than treating lice, it is still a pain, so prevention really is worth the effort. Sorry kids! Drill Sergeant Mommy rules again! You will have no peace!

Friday, January 27, 2006

Can Anyone Explain to Me . . .

. . . where the silverware goes? When I moved into this house, I had a full set. MORE than a full set. Then about a year ago, we noticed we were running low on forks. So my dad bought TWO sets of cheapo Walmart silverware. I also bought the boys the disposable kind, so they could "accidently" throw it away all they wanted. But now, I have no spoons! Where do they go?

I'm thinking of buying myself my OWN set of silverware. I would put it on a very high shelf in one of the upper cabinets. I would wash each piece after I use it and put it away. And the boys . . . they could eat with their fingers!

Meanwhile, I sit here wondering where my spoons have gone. Hmmmmm . . . maybe they ran away to find the forks!

Lots of Blankets!

Tonight I get to sleep under lots of blankets! I'm so thrilled! It has been unseasonably warm here this winter, and I've done nothing but complain. It's not that I like cold weather, it's just that 80 degrees and shorts in January--well, my body doesn't know what to think. I rather like having a few months of the year when I crave chili, hot cocoa, and snuggling up on the couch under blankets with the boys. Now I haven't missed scraping ice off the windshield, or having to figure out which plants to cover, or having cold feet! And I'm kind of worried about the size and number of the bugs we'll have this summer. But for tonight . . . I get my blankets! I might even turn up the heat a little!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Do I Know the Boy or What?

A couple of years ago, Josh and I made an agreement. He was in Cub Scouts, learning "manly" things. I wanted him to stay in scouts, so I struck up a deal. He would stay in Cub Scouts all the way through to Webelos, then I would let HIM decide if he wanted to continue on into Boy Scouts. (For those of you who like me know zip about boy scouting, Cub Scouts is the elementary level, Boy Scouts is the middle and high school level. They are totally different groups!) Well when he entered Webelos, we started talking about whether he was going to go on, and he was very reticent to continue. I decided I needed to stick to my agreement and let him make his own decision. But I hoped he would choose to continue in the end.

Every now and then, I'd point out some benefit to him. He'd be with lots of his friends. He'd be with men he really enjoys being around. He'd get to camp and get away from mom. He'd have a measure of independence. Still, he wasn't sold, after all, it meant camping, and camping means no TV, no home, no CD player, etc. But I LEFT HIM ALONE!!! I stressed over and over that it was HIS decision. I would point out the benefits as I saw them, but he got to choose.

He now has one month until he "crosses over." So I asked him tonight if he was at least thinking about going through the crossing over. The response? "I think I'll try it for a while. . . . But I'm not gonna make an agreement about how long!" That's OK with me. I'm thrilled that he's going to try it. And I didn't make him! Hmmmmm . . . now how to not pursuade him to attempt Eagle Scout!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Sleepover Success

Well, I survived the boys' sleepover! I realized last night about 11:30 pm that I had planned on having a garage sale this morning, but at about the same time needed to be fixing breakfast for six hungry boys. Hmmmm . . . what to do. I didn't want to abandon the garage sale idea since I can't find the floor in my garage, and had two heighbors doing it with me. So I just started a little late. And we did fine. The boys all seemed to have a great time. And none of them greeted their parents with a "hey, when do we eat?" (that I know of). Oddly, they were already up when I got up very early this morning. I asked how long they slept, but didn't really get a time. They did tell me they watched two more movies after I went to bed (at 1:00 am), sooooo . . . I would think the answer is not very much. Everybody is in bed now, and I'm heading there myself. Can't wait to feel the sheets! So goodnight!

Friday, January 20, 2006

A Boys' Sleepover

This week I claim temporaray insanity. Off the cuff (the way I do nearly everything!) I invited three twelve-year-old boys to spend the night tonight. It has been interesting. A couple of them came home with us after chess club. We weren't in the car five minutes before they were having arm and leg farting competitions (sorry if this sounds crude-once your boys hit a certain age, you learn to be discerning in your battles for manners!). They have been inside, outside, played Playstation, and are now watching a movie--all this and we're only in hour three of the event! The big mistake I made was to underestimate how much food I needed to prepare for this gang of hungry stomachs! Uuuugggghhhh! The taco fixings went way too fast, and now I'm scrambling to compensate without decimating my grocery budget for the month. But . . . I am learning that hospitality isn't just for ladies' Bible studies. I am trying to make these great boys feel welcomed in my home. Now . . . what else do I have to eat?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Dem Bones, Dem Bones

Today the boys had a test on the locations of all the major bones. I have neglected a lot of rote memory work until recently, especially with my oldest son, so I was expecting a lot of protests. Instead they have studied like crazy for it! Why, you ask? Instead of giving them a paper test, I let them use notecards and tape, sticking the bone names all over each other! It was really fun (and funny!). Could you see a room full of kids sticking "humerous" and "phalanges" all over? I LOVE homeschooling!

Monday, January 09, 2006

What I Learned Today About Legos

  • The number on the front of the box is not really an age recommendation. It is the frustration level of the set you are putting together.

  • The real value of Legos is in their interchangeable parts. When you lose a piece . . . or two . . . or fifteen . . . you can go to the stash of parts from other sets to replace them!

  • The sets that have 985 pieces are really for grown-ups who never grew up.

  • They work better with a bottle of Super-Glue.

  • When you start feeling like making the Mellinium Falcon fly for real . . . it's time to put it away.

  • The $100 sets are not really better than the $15 sets. They will just take longer to build, result in more missing pieces, and create greater frustration.

  • They reproduce in all parts of the house.

  • They are more entertaining without directions.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The High Cost of Being Cool

I discovered the high cost of being cool in my kids' eyes today. As I woke them today, earlier than we have seen since Thanksgiving, Josh and Stephen began tussling with each other. Just as I started to say, "Cut it out! Someone's going to get hurt!" Stephen's head was used by Josh as a battering ram-right into my nose! It hurt so bad I couldn't even get mad. As I lay on the bed trying to see through the paralyzing pain, I felt a trickly coming from my left nostril--that's right, I had a bloody nose! Now, being a girl, I can't recall ever having a bloody nose. Sorry, girls just don't fight like that. I can recall scratches (thanks Rob!). And I know I had bruises and skinned knees. But no bloody noses. Today, I got my first. The weird thing? My boys thought it was very cool! Needless to say, I've decided that I just want to be plain old boring. Hmmmm . . . I wonder if there was a connectin between my nose injury and us starting back to school today.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year From the Bakers!

Only two more days for us until we return to "routine." Uuuuuggghhh!

It's all a Matter of Perspective

Happy New Year! Well I learned a great lesson tonight. I made plans to go to a friend's house for New Year's Eve tonight. I was looking forward to grown up company, games, playmates for the boys, and ringing in the New Year with people! But when I got there, my friend's daughter wasn't feeling well, and wasn't looking so good. My friend was so busy getting ready for company she didn't really stop to check it all our until I insisted. When she did, she realized that something was really wrong--it turns out the little girl was having a serious alergic reaction to cashews.

So they took off for the ER, the other family decided to stay home, and once again it was just the boys and I. We stayed at my friend's house so we could watch the ball drop, then went home. I felt pretty sorry for myself. It was nice to watch tne televised New Year's stuff, but we didn't get to do the hot chocolate, the games, the fireworks, all the fun we normally do. And we didn't get to have New Year's with other people either.

My friend just called me a few minutes ago. She told me that once again God used me to save her daugher's life. (I was there when the little girl had her first asthma attack and recognized that it needed emergency care.) She said that if I hadn't insisted that she check her out, her daughter would have curled up in the chair and looked like she was asleep. She told me that when they got to the hospital, her daughter's tongue was swelling, and she was red from head to toe. The kicker? I had originally planned to do something else, but my plans changed early this afternoon. I was right where God wanted me for a purpose.

Suddenly there was a new twist on this New Year's Eve. I'm thinking it's going to be an amazing year!