Oct 24, 2008

Discipline

10/24/2008 — cori
This morning Bennett and I had a little issue of deception we needed to get straight. He's been trying to play the deception/sneaky card on us quite a bit in the past few weeks and I'd about had it. Of course this morning's issue was minor, but it was the heart issue that mattered most to me. I stopped what I was doing and went to talk to Chuck.

I didn't want to react to the behavior (which my angry outbursts typically do). Those outbursts may curb the number of times such behavior is done in my presence for a short while, but it never gets to the heart of the matter. Chuck was not a part of this morning's scuffle, so he wasn't emotionally involved and could most likely think more clearly than I. I needed a discipline and I needed one fast.

We agreed that he needed a reality based discipline, but in this particular case, that wasn't going to reach his heart and change the sneaky patterns he thinks he's getting away with. We decided to see what the book "Creative Correction" had to offer. We've used this book several times in the past and it has seemed to give us many good ideas. I did't want to just resort to a spanking (which in most cases don't work) or a time out (which also has zero effect). Writing "I will not be sneaky" 100 times would take him all day and give him a hatred for writing. What was I to do?

I looked up 'deception' in the index of this book, it led me to the story of Jacob, Esau and Issac in the Bible. "Perfect" I thought, "I'll sit them all down and read a story to them. That will get their attention." So, that's exactly what I did. They were all dumbfounded by the story, even more so by the consequences Jacob and his Mom (Rachel) had to live with after seemingly 'getting away with it'. Bennett was solemn faced the entire time. This was the first time he didn't argue back with me when I was trying to point out something he did that was wrong. He usually plays the victim quite well and is able to lie the blame at someone else's feet. But this time he saw that deception is like lying with your actions instead of your words. He was heart broken. We finished the story, prayed and went on with our school work for the day as if nothing ever happened. Part of his school today was to blog. I didn't give him a topic. He just blogged what was on his heart. This was it.

I had tears in my eyes as I read it. I saw repentance all over it. As I was reading it, Psalm 51 came to mind. You know, the one where David is so repentant over his sin...so he runs to God. He knows he's at His mercy. That's how I saw Bennett in his blog.

I guess this discipline actually worked (this time). I looked up the definition of discipline and this is what dictionary.com says: Training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior, especially training that produces moral or mental improvement.

I wish I would remember more often that discipline is training. Not hitting. Not berating. Not guilt-tripping. Not embarrassment. Not shaming. Not condemning. Not yelling. Love is what produces change. Anger breeds resentment. Love softens the heart. Love should be at the center of all our discipline, every time. I'm sorry to admit that too often, anger is. Consequences might hurt or be yucky - but the discipline, the training of the heart, doesn't have to be.

Oct 18, 2008

Midnight Madness

10/18/2008 — cori
Chuck was out of town last week. The kids and I have settled into a routine when Daddy's gone and it works pretty good for us. We miss him, definitely...but we also enjoy our special time together. For example, we draw names at the beginning of the week and each kid gets to sleep with me one night of the week. This is the highlight of our time. This is the coveted activity. Tears are shed over the premium spot. Chloe doesn't seem to understand the term 'random', as in "I will put my hand in the hat and randomly chose a piece of paper and open it up and read off the name." She takes it personally when she comes in anything but first.

Not that they haven't gotten enough of me all day long, they want whatever sliver of time is mine at night as well. During 'sleep with mommy' night, not only do you get to sleep in my big, comfy bed, but we cuddle, giggle, talk and read much longer than if I was to just tuck you into your own bed. It's good times.

However, I really also look forward to the last night before Chuck gets home when I get the bed to myself again. It is the one night of the entire week that I can be assured that nobody will be sleep talking or snoring in my ear or sleeping perpendicular to me or kicking me in the ribs.

So, last week, the final night came at last. All the kids were snuggly tucked in their own beds and I was determined to go to bed early. I never sleep well when he is gone and knew that exhaustion was overwhelming me. I eventually fall into a fit-full sleep. When suddenly, I hear someone walking into my room. I bolt upright only to hear Bennett talking to me. "Mom, I can't find Gavin or Chloe. I've looked everywhere for them and I can't find them anywhere."

You can only imagine my 'worst case scenario' brain at work here! First of all, I'm the sole parent, thus protector, currently in the home. One of my children is claiming that two of my children are lost. It's midnight. It's dark. Thus everything is 10x more scarier and reason is the last thing I'm capable of. And he's just told me that one of the things I dread might happen actually happened. How am I supposed to think straight?!

I jump out of bed and grab his hand, turn on all the lights as we walk up stairs. I'm praying fervently the my children are where I left them. I lead Bennett into his room and find Gavin lying peacefully, sound asleep in his bed, the closet light gently illuminating his face. Whew!! Bennett immediately crawls back into bed, rolls over and goes to sleep. He doesn't even wait for me to assure him that his brother is not lost. The kid goes straight to sleep! He just induced one of the greatest all time panic attacks in me and this is how he handles it?! I cover him up, kiss his cheek and run to Chloe's room to check on her. Thank God, she's there and sleeping like a princess.

As I'm walking back down stairs, I'm on the verge of puking on myself. The adrenaline rush has left and my stomach is doing back flips and ending up in my throat. My legs and arms are shaking and my heart is pounding out of my chest. That little stinker, he was just sleep walking and talking. But of all the things he could come tell me in the middle of night - why that and why when Chuck was gone of all times? It will forever be a mystery.

Oct 16, 2008

Visual Imagery

10/16/2008 — cori
Today the kids were informing me of what goes through their minds when they're sick. Not that anyone is currently sick...but we're bunch of hypochondriacs and random talking is all too common around here.

Here's Bennett take: "Mom, whenever I get a bug, I always think of my white blood cells like the Dallas Cowboys and the virus like The Redskins, their evil enemy. It's a tough game, but the Cowboys always beat them. I also like to think of it like a battle and we're the guys in white and we're fighting the guys dressed in black, like the Egyptians or something."

The female version as seen in Chloe's mind: "Mommy, I always think that the white blood cells are like Cinderella and the bug is like the mean step-mother. I don't like her."

Surprisingly, mine and Gavin's mental image was the same: Pac-man.

So now you know...if we're ever sick, you know exactly what we're thinking.

Oct 14, 2008

Talk To Me

10/14/2008 — cori
I am normally the recipient of many interesting conversations throughout the day...mainly from my children. They are full of random thoughts and ideas. I cannot even recount the numerous conversations we've had about super powers, The Force, Tony Romo, and books we've read. The fun thing about all our little talks is that you never know what you're going to be talking about next. It's a wild ride. Sometimes we talk about deep issues such as "if God already defeated satan, why isn't satan dead?". Other times we have deep scientific discussions about why certain molecules attract to certain things and how (like I have any idea about anything in this line of questioning). Often, Gavin drills us about colleges. Yes...he is only 9, but it's never to early to start planning your future. Thankfully, today's conversations were a bit of a respite from anything too 'heady' for me. Lot's of what was said at me didn't even require a word of response - just a smile and nod. Here's a sampling of today's discussions:

Bennett: "If I had 4 arms, there's nothing else I'd ever need." Me too, Buddy...me too.

Chloe: "Mommy, you look pretty today even though you don't have earrings on." I'm glad you qualified that one.

Gavin: "Mom, did you know that if the human population died out, the insect population would remain the same and not be too badly affected. But, if the insect population died out the human population would die out very shortly afterwards." Have you been watching Animal Planet again? This was just one of the many random, science thoughts he threw at me today. Actually, this was the only one I could remember the wording to. He also told me something about the problem with the speed of light...but try as I may, I just can't remember the 'punch line'.

Bennett: "If I had The Force then the family would be protected very well."
Chloe: "If I had The Force, I'd force you to play princesses with me."
Bennett: "But the problem with that would be that you have to have a weak mind in order for The Force to work. And I have anything but a weak mind. So, it wouldn't work." Bennett sounds like he has a few too connections to the mob in this conversation.

Oct 7, 2008

I'm an Idiot

10/07/2008 — cori
This wouldn't be the first time I've made such a confession. And it's pretty obvious to those around me on a daily basis. Let me just explain why this is an accurate statement.

I'm by myself in the car running errands today while the kids are at a science class. The weather is gorgeous, the alone time, wonderful. I even remembered to bring my very own snack. I enjoyed my scrumptious apple. But I found myself with a dilemma...what was I to do with my half eaten apple? I wasn't about to lay that sticky thing anywhere in the car. Then a childhood thought came flittering into my adult memory. Remember when Dad was done with his apple...what did he used to do? That's right, he would throw it out the window to 'feed the birds'. Thanks, Dad, for helping me come to a solution that will not only benefit me, but the sweet, hungry birds as well.

Knowing that the other drivers on the road would not be very understanding of my immediate need to feed the birds, I held on to my apple until I was on a lonely stretch of farm to market road. Upon suddenly finding myself as the only motor vehicle on the road, I deemed now would be the perfect time to 'feed the birds'. I was going for sly, quick, and discreet in my methodology. I didn't have a lot of time to think. So here's what I did:

I quickly rolled down the window with the push of a button. I glanced in both directions and confirmed there were no cars or pedestrians to witness my upcoming bird feeding escapade. I reared my right arm back, the one holding the apple. And like a seasoned baseball player, I let that sucker go....right into the window frame of my car!!

The apple bounced back and hit me, somewhere, I can't remember exactly since I was too busy being in shock that I had a space wide enough to practically throw my self through and yet apparently couldn't even throw a teensy tiny apple through. The apple came bouncing off me and landed on the floor. My right hand bent completely backwards causing me immense pain and suffering. The ONLY thought going thru my head at this time was: STUPID, STUPID, STUPID - HOW COULD YOU BE SO STUPID, CORI?! All the while trying to drive nonchalantly with my left hand.

I wasn't about to let this apple beat me. I look around to make sure there will be no witnesses and I go for a second attempt. This time, I double check all my coordinates. Window completely down - check. Apple in hand - check. Eyes on the road - check. Other hand on steering wheel - check. Ready, aim, throw! Mission accomplished. I saw it land safely on a nice patch of gravel/grass on the side of the road. I'm sure the birds appreciate all the trouble I went through.

It was either that, or wait till I got to their science class in 2 minutes and walk in to find a trash can - but then I would have been holding that sticky thing much longer...that just didn't seem quite as convenient to me as feeding the birds. I feel like I've done my 'good deed' for the day. Too bad I had to be so secretive about the whole thing.

Oct 4, 2008

Time With My Kids

10/04/2008 — cori
Yesterday I had some wonderful time with each child. In the morning, while doing school, Bennett tells me, "Mom I really love the way we do school. But I think I love the weekends even more." I confided that, "I like taking a break on the weekends too, Honey." Then he went off to do his blog. I have no parameters on his blog. I just want him to enjoy the writing process and learn how to use the keyboard. I don't correct spelling, grammar or anything. I just enjoy watching his brain and seeing how he is processing all that he is learning. I also don't usually give him topics to write about. But yesterday he was so excited to write his blog and couldn't wait to show me when he was done. This is it. Of course my heart was instantly filled with love that this child lavishes upon me every chance he gets. I'm constantly overwhelmed by his tender heart and capacity to show love at such a young age. I'm not surprised by it, because he is identical to my husband in this manner. So I knew one of our children would inherit this beautiful trait. But I'm forever thanking God for showing me love through Bennett. If it's not a sweet note, it's a random foot massage or he's telling me, "Go sit down and take a break Mom, you look a little tired." He can't start his day without cuddling me first. His love language is definitely physical touch. It's a beautiful thing to watch unfold...especially being on the receiving end of it!

Yesterday, Gavin and I were out running some errands together. He has such a servant's heart. He rarely complains when asked to do anything. He lives by patterns and routine. That's where he's most comfortable. There is also never a time when he's not reading or pondering life's questions. As we're driving in the car he tells me his thoughts, "Mom, I've come to realize that things lay dormant in my brain until the time comes when I need to use that information again." Honey, I couldn't have said it better myself. That's so cool that you have been able to deduce that information was the only intelligent enough response I could come up with to answer him. He then proceeded to give me examples of how this has occurred in his own life. I'm filled with awe at the memory and thought processes God gave him. He is constantly filled with wonder by how things work and rarely a day goes by where he's not impressed with God's creativity for thinking this or that up. The serenity of mind and thought that he lives by goes well beyond his 9 little years on this world. He also has one of his Daddy's amazing character traits: humility. In all his 'smartness' he doesn't brag. He learns because he yearns to, because he loves it, because it's who he is. And in gathering information in his head, the first thing he likes to do with it is share it with all of us - that just makes him happy. Take his piano class for instance...this is his first semester taking piano. He's really good at it because of his amazing skills at memorization and his high personal discipline level. He asks Bennett if he would like to learn what he's learning and Bennett jumps at the chance. So, here he is learning and teaching what he's learning at the same time - not bragging, not lording it over his younger brother, but sharing what he knows so it can bring joy to someone else. That is simply God at work in his little life.

And lastly, I even was blessed to spend some one on one time with dear little Chloe. I was making pirogi (a Polish dish that involves dough and cheese) for dinner when Chloe asked if she could help. There really wasn't anything for her to do, but I knew she was just longing to spend time with me any way possible. It certainly wasn't convenient, but I felt like this was important to her. We were a mess - and that is an understatement. There was flour, egg, sticky stuff all over me, the counter and now with Chloe's 'help', the floor and cupboards as well. But oh was she so happy to be contributing towards dinner and doing something important for and with me. At one point I asked her to reach her hand in the bowl and grab out a portion of the flour laden sticky stuff and she said, "But its messy." To which I replied, "Life is messy, Sweetie. And it's more fun that way. Imagine how boring it would be if we always had to stay clean." She was all over that. She actually enjoyed getting dirty after that. Then Daddy came in and saw all the mess. He was a little surprised and said, "That's quite a mess you guys have got going on over there." And before I could explain anything Chloe piped in with, "Daddy, sometimes life is messy and it's okay, right Mom." You got it girlfriend!

Oct 2, 2008

Who Are You Today?

10/02/2008 — cori
First thing in the morning  - every morning - Bennett NEEDS to know who Gavin is.  This might sound odd since Gavin is always Gavin.  But that would be a wrong assumption.  Gavin is not always Gavin.  On any given day he is one of 100 different super heroes he's invented over the past 9 years of his life.  Bennett is wise to ask this question, actually.  I might have a better grasp on who it is I'm actually dealing with on a day in and day out basis if I was smart enough to say with my opening breath, "Good Morning Sweetie, who are you today?"  The day might just go a little smoother.

But it's so funny how Bennett asks it with such anticipation.  He literally can't start his day without knowing who Gavin is and then he can pick his own super hero of choice.  I guess age gives way to preference - must be another one of Gavin's rules.  Not only does he have a million homemade superheroes, he also has rules of herodom and rules governing who can save the day with whom and when you may and may not be said superhero.  I have no clue how he keeps it all straight in his head.  That would take up way too much hard drive space in my little brain.  But I guess developing brains come equipped with some extra special features if they're being used non-stop.

I like to extrapolate things out often times. And I can just imagine the boys into adulthood, still best of friends, but probably not living close by and Bennett waking up every morning texting, emailing or calling his brother, "Hey, who are you today?"

Back when the boys were 5 and 3 all this superhero stuff was darling.  Back when they were calling each other Dick and Bruce ... those were the good old days.  I knew those superheroes.  I thought it was an adorable little phase that all boys go through.  I had no idea it would be lasting this long and they would be taking it to the next level.  I'm beginning to think I have been secretly chosen as some Superhero Training Mom and am secretly being videotaped with live feeds to some mysterious superhero planet.  Gavin might not be making all this stuff up afterall.  The joke's probably on me.  Who am I today anyways?

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