Jul 31, 2005

The Slide of Death

7/31/2005 — cori

It was a wonderful, oven-hot, red-ozone alert day that you just love to send your children out to play in. :) That's why we thought it would be the perfect day to go to the local water-park. But we stayed nice and cool while waiting in the mile long lines for 30 second slide rides. On one slide that I took Bennett on, we ended up getting turned around backwards in a two seater tube and had to go down the entire dark slide backwards. I just knew the end of my life was close at hand.

I freak out going down big slides anyways from an accident I had at Wet-N-Wild like 16 years ago (where I received a neck injury). First of all, I get Bennett situated in the 'front- hole' of the 2 seater tube and finally get myself in position behind him. I find out a little to late that Bennett is really a little too small for this slide since he's practically falling thru the hole in front of me. So, I'm trying to prop him up with my legs while screaming for him to "HOLD ON TIGHT!!!".

We hadn't even descended into the 'black hole' for the first 3 seconds when I realize we have a problem. Our tube is not going, yet we are on a slope. Bennett & I together obviously don't weigh enough to make the inner tube glide smoothly down it's course like the hundreds of others before us. Right as we begin our descent, we start a weird kind of bouncing - not part of the 'fun' promised us on this thrill seeking ride.

My first thought was that maybe Bennett got his leg caught under the tube and its being bent backwards as we're trying to slide, making us have a jerking motion. It was almost as if no water was going under us. Oh boy, what's a mom to do? With lightening speed, I yank my boy into my lap and notice that the front of the tube is now off the slide and the weight of Bennett and I on the back half of the tube is dramatically effecting the course of our 'slide fun'. So, we are in the pitch blackness of this fun water ride, hundreds of feet up in the air, suspended only by the tiny metal beams supporting this mammoth plastic structure that is promised to bring us much water excitement - only instead, I am falling backwards, in the dark, with my 3 year old on my lap, and know that sudden death is only a millisecond away.

When I opened my eyes and stopped screaming, we were actually at the bottom of the ride and no one seemed to care that we were backwards and that I was shaking like a leaf. It took every ounce of strength I had left in me to catapult him over the side in order to reach solid ground. At which point he declares in a rather shaky voice, "That was fun, Mom. Let's do that again!" Poor Bennett - his first experience on a 'big-people' slide and it had to be with me and end up like this. I have totally thwarted his definition of 'normal'. He didn't know it wasn't supposed to be like that and that the adult doesn't normally end up crying at the end of the ride.

Jul 29, 2005

The Ultimate in Efficiency

7/29/2005 — cori

I am a proud parent. This is a great day. My child has successfully learned a trait I deem of utmost importance - He has demonstrated to me the understanding of efficiency. I did not know which of our little off-spring might inherit this desired skill. But it is a mystery no more.

With all humility, I would like to introduce my newest little protege in efficiency....my son, Bennett. It has come to my attention that he understands this concept more clearly than I had previously thought.

Here is how I first became aware of this gene in his life. I was folding the laundry, as I do every Monday and stacking it neatly on the bed. When it strikes me, "Hmmm, Bennett only has 3 pair of underwear in here...I wonder why?" I then determine to do a little research before jumping the gun and prematurely expecting other efficient tasks from him. I watch him closely as he places his clothes in the hamper. Yes, all clothes make it to the hamper, except for the underwear. Is he purposely ignoring his parents' directive of cleanliness or does he have some other agenda we are unaware of.

My questions are answered as I watch him change for bed after bath-time one night. He takes the previously worn underwear and.....ready for this most efficient action?.....turns them inside out and wears them again the next day. The thought process is there. It might need a little tweaking, but I believe he will eventually become a full functioning efficient adult. Could a parent be any prouder? I think not!

Jul 22, 2005

Pee on a Shark

7/22/2005 — cori

Whenever I'm driving in the van with all the children in tow, I'm never at want for conversation pieces. Often times, the boys insist on showing me a picture from a book that they're looking at 3 rows back. I've become quite adept at driving forward while looking backward.

Gavin LOVES scientifc and factual books. That would explain why he's in the backseat reading a school book all about sharks EVERYtime we're in the van. Also, EVERYtime we're in the van, he loves to help fulfill my continuing education requirements by reciting "interesting facts" from the aforemention shark book (that is written like, 3 grades too old for what I thought he was able to comprehend).

So, yesterday as we're driving to a playdate, he's relaying information tid-bits to me non-stop (Bennett, never to be outdone, also has to throw in a few of his own made-up interesting facts). He's baffled by the author's ready admission that scientists still do not know everything there is to know about sharks. He asks me, "Mom, who's going to teach the scientists if they don't know everything yet?". To which I reply, "Well, sweetie, the scientist will have to just keep studying the sharks and when they learn more they will write another book". He wanted to know if we could go buy that book too, once the scientists get alittle more information under their belt. I assured him that would be an excellent idea. We wouldn't want to with-hold new information about sharks from our 6 year old.

Today, we decided to go to our FAVORITE store, Half-Price Books, to find out if those scientists have found out any new information yet about the ever-so-mysterious sharks. Thankfully, they had an ample supply of shark books and after picking out the 4 we just had to have we left with our noses in the books. On the drive home, Gavin has already stumbled upon new and exciting information and must share it with me before he bursts.

I don't know if you've ever tried to listen to 3 people at one time, but I have and do on a daily basis. And even though I might be quite efficient at multi-tasking, I have yet to find a way to fully comprehend everything that 3 people are trying to communicate to me at once. Now that the backdrop is set for my mental state during the time that Gavin is explaining these new-found truths to me, you may find it in your soul to reserve some pity for me when you hear my response to what he had to say. Because one cannot just listen to this information without saying anything in return, you MUST acknowledge them or you will get the whole thing over again. And a simple "Oh, that's nice, honey" doesn't cut it anymore. Now I have to rephrase back to the child what was just said to me. I think they know they are messing with my brain - yet I still play along anyway. They love science experiments.

So, Gavin proceeds to tell me, "Mom, it says here that a way to avoid shark attacks would be to...what's this word, Mom, u-r-i-n-a-t-e?". I said, "That means pee, Buddy. So, are you supposed to pee on a shark in order to avoid an attack?" At which point, everyone in the car (my Mom was with us) starts laughing and crying all at the same time. Even my children knew that was stupid. Then we all started visualizing that sceanario....."wait a minute mr. shark, let me pee real quick so you don't bite me...oh no, I don't have to go right now....ahhhhh!" I finally let Gavin finish reading his sentence and found out that you are supposed to avoid urinating in the water because the shark is attracted to that smell. He simply forgot to read the word avoid the first time around. My children keep me very humble.

Jul 20, 2005

How To Kill a Wasp

7/20/2005 — cori

Remember....this is my family we're talking about here, so absolutely nothing is normal...not even the way we kill a wasp.

We (the kids and I) were a having a nice leisurely morning, hanging out playing, when all-of-the-sudden, out of nowhere, a wasp comes flying into our life (inside the house). This, of course, totally freaks out the kids. Gavin is not just afraid of wasps, bees and the like - he is petrified. At the mere sight of them he starts shaking and crying. So, I immediately switch into 'mother bear' mode and must protect my precious cubs..uh, I mean children, from imminent danger. Thankfully, I don't have to really protect them (meaning kill the wasp) I just have to keep him at bay until Daddy gets home. I, too, am terrified of those flying little creatures and prefer to lock my self in a closet until they are no more. So, I stood guard and kept a keen eye fixed solely on the menacing little creature, with my cubs securely in place behind me, until Daddy got home.

Chuck had already planned to come home at lunch - little did he know, he was also going to be our hero during our darkest hour today. He comes in the door and everyone screams at once, "THERE'S A WASP IN THE HOUSE!" Since I never once lost sight of the little thing, I knew his precise location and movements. The only problem was the wasp was hovering in a window 25 feet up in the air with no way to reach him. Chuck decided, that since the wasp was staying put for now, he may as well eat his lunch and decide on his modus operandi of attack to use for the challenge that lie ahead.

Lunch has culminated and two of the three children have been put safely in their rooms for a nap. Now I only have one cub left to worry about and Chuck has decided to recruit him to help fight the wasp. I was shocked that Gavin didn't run in the opposite direction flailing his arms wildly at the mere mention of such an atrocity. I think the thrill seeker in him came out and he was able to subdue his intense fear long enough to be 'Daddy's Special Helper' - plus the fact that he knew his Dad was there to protect him probably helped a bit too.

Chuck thought long and hard and decided that the best thing to do would be to throw balls at the wasp to scare him down from the lofty window sill. Thankfully, he was thinking more in-line of the Nerf type balls. Breaking a window would only be an invitation for the entire wasp colony living outside of it, to come in all at once and join their little trouble maker friend wreaking havoc already, inside our house. So, it was my duty to round up all the Nerf-like balls we owned. Can you believe we own 6 of them? Gavin was stationed at the top of the stairs that has a direct view of the window sill (yet, is about 15 feet away). I was crouching behind the sofa - no, that's what I wanted to be doing, instead, I think I was probably doing the dishes. Something, anything to keep my mind off the drama currently unfolding in the room adjacent to me.

So, there's Chuck, all dressed up in his work clothes, throwing balls at our windows. I was given the new role of 'ball catcher' at this point. It's about 100 degrees outside and maybe 80 degrees inside. After about the 40th pitch he finally scares it away from its hiding place. Chuck told me later in confidence (after his bout with near death was over) that he went way over his pitch count without a warm-up first. He is now drenched with sweat but running like a mad man up the stairs to try to kill this wasp before it heads straight for Gavin who is still obediently standing at the top of the stairs watching his greatest fear fly right at him.

I was not an eye witness to the events that unfolded after this point, but I heard everything. Above me I hear boom, boom, bang, wham, blatt, bonk. It sounded as if Chuck & Gavin are bouncing off the walls while wrestling the poor creature to a sad and scary death. Finally, Chuck comes back down with a look of triumph on his face, with his dress shirt and undershirt completely off and only his slacks and dress shoes on and sweat dripping down his forehead. I don't know what that wasp did - but it DID NOT win!! My husband the wasp killer!!!! Way to go, baby!

From what Gavin tells me, after the wasp was coming at him, Daddy leapt the stairs three at a time to save his precious first born and took a flying leap at him (not Gavin, the wasp) with the powerful fly swatter. Gavin ducked and Daddy continued after the thing until he had him cornered, where Chuck then used his powerful precision skill of fly swattery to hit the insect up against the wall. This blow only stunned the wasp for a brief moment - but enough for Chuck to gather more momentum for his next and final blow which prematurely ended the life of the wasp who, during his dying moment, surely regretted ever trying to come into this crazy house.

Jul 15, 2005

Why, Mom, Why?

7/15/2005 — cori

Gavin asks me 21 questions at least once a day. His mind NEVER stops. He can't go on if he doesn't know the answer. I feel bad for him that I am his only point of reference right now. The answers he gets come from me - for better or for worse.

When he first learned to start talking, that is when the questions began. They would come out in two and three at a time. Here are some samples from my actual journal entries titled, 'Gavin Questions - Just the Beginning of Things to Come':

  • Starting at 2 years old, he would point to random people in the aisle at the grocery store and ask, "What his name, Mom?". I would then respond with the obvious, "I don't know sweetie." This did not cut it. He MUST know the answer, any answer. So, his response to my feeble attempt to evade the question would be, "Guess his name, Mom." From that point on, I wasn't safe in any store. I had to come mentally prepared to bestow new names on everyone we met in the aisles. The pressure even got to me many times and I would just break down and ask the poor soul who was unfortunate enough to be in the isle with us, "Excuse me sir, what is your name? My son would like to know." That is the beginning of when I began to not care what people thought of me - my son has a question and dog-gone-it, I'm gonna give him an answer!
  • Also at age two, I'm already being asked on a daily basis, "How dat work, Mom? Teach Nanan (that's how he says his name) how that work."
  • At 3 his questions progressed to more substantial, thought provoking quandries such as, "Mom, is a toot kinda like a tummy cough?". Are we as parents supposed to have answers for such things? I think I just matter-of-factly responded with "Yes, honey, that's what they are." If I were to make a big deal of such matters, it would only spawn further questions and debate and I don't think I have enough education under my belt - yet.
  • Upon entering his 4th year of life, he continues to be amazed with bodily functions and the how's and why's of those functions. My newest question from Gavin to ponder and then answer would be, "Why do we close our eyes when we sneeze?" Excellent question, my son! My intelligent answer was, of course, "Because we're surprised, honey". Thankfully, that sufficed for now.
  • Still at the humble age of 4 he comes out with doozies such as this one, "Why are baby birds born in eggs and not in their mommy's tummy & why are baby's born in their mommy's tummy & not in eggs?" To which I smartly replied, "Because, honey, Mommy birds' tummys would be too heavy to fly."
Those were apple pie compared to the onslaught I receive on a daily basis now that he is 6. They come at me so fast, I don't even have time to write them down, normally. But today, I did. Here is a small sampling of the daily drill I am subject to from sunup till way after the sun goes down (often times I'm researching on-line at night so I can give an intelligent answer to him the next day):
  • "Mom, why can't you close your mouth when you yawn?" Gavin asks as I'm driving back from Walmart. First of all, I just used every last brain cell I had to manuver my way thru that place they call a 'super center' - we're just lucky I have the way home memorized and don't have to think too much. Life questions or science questions just send my mind into a tail spin at this point in the day. I'm getting smart after all these years though. I'm starting to answer him, by asking him a question first (if you can't beat 'em, join 'em). So, I ask him, "Why do you think that is, Gavin?". He has deduced, after not having any human anatomy or physiology classes what-so-ever in his short life, that it is because your jaw is locked when you yawn. I was astounded at his reasoning skills and told him we would consult the computer when we got home. AskJeeves.com comes in pretty handy these days.
  • We were not even a mile away from home on the same car ride from the previous bullet point when he brings up another question he has obviously been mulling over for some time now. "Mom," he asks, "how are bricks made?" My state of mind is still shaky being that I'm still just minutes away from the whole 'Walmart experience', it's late afternoon and I've got one thing on my mind, "what am I going to cook for dinner?", and lastly, I just evaded the last question and still appear to him to have enough authority of earthly matters to answer yet another key question in his pursuit of 'the whys of life'. The first thing my mind thought of when I heard the word 'brick' was, (and I know this is stupid, so just bear with me and follow my train of thought) how the Israelites back in the Old Testament were slaves to the Egyptians and spent their days making bricks. So, I tell him about that and am successful, yet again, at evading the real answer. I ended up asking him after my little story telling session what he thought they were made of and his answer was quite remarkable. He believes that you mix sand, concrete and dye and freeze it to make a brick. Way to use your mind Gavin!
  • Lastly, as we're walking in the door from this same aforementioned shopping trip, I get another question, "Mom, how do hills get so high?" I just broke down and admitted that I really wasn't all that sure and he responded with, "Mom, that's okay. I just think that's the way God made them."
I love you Gavin! I love your endless questions and your boundless curiosity! However, I think I need to start subscribing to the latest Science Journals and do a little 'light reading' nightly before bed so I can start to give more accurate answers. But until then, I think that just trusting that "That's the way God made it" is the best thing for now. The faith of a child - it's a beautiful thing.

Jul 14, 2005

Family Fun Time

7/14/2005 — cori

Normally, every night before bed we play a game with the kids. It's always something fun like, 'Go Fish', or 'UNO', maybe even 'Memory' if we want to go out on a limb and try to shake things up a bit. The point being, the kids love repetition and sameness. So, we were a bit surprised when Bennett suggested a game that was not on the 'pre-approved list' of fun family games. Throwing caution to the wind, we all agreed to play Bennett's game of choice: 'Let's Go Fishing'. I know, it sounds like we're getting wild now, but bring it on!

For those not familiar with this silly game, let me paint a picture for you of all the outlandish fun that was just waiting inside that box for us. I think the box says its for ages 3-6. We got that requirement covered. The actual game itself consists of a circular type thingy that has like 30 quarter-sized holes covering the top of it - this is meant to represent the pond or lake or wherever we are supposed to be 'fishing' from. Next, someone is supposed insert the enclosed brightly-colored, plastic, piraña looking fish into these openings in the 'pond'. I swear, the teeth on these little critters are sharp - and yes, they have teeth. I'd like the thank the guy who thought that would be a nice touch for a game geared to 3-6 year olds. Lastly, four plastic fishing poles are handed out to each player. I could probably catch these fish easier using floss than these flimsy plastic poles, but hey, they wouldn't let someone create and sell a game who didn't know what he/she was doing. So, we push on and trust the game makers that the poles they have provided us will actually catch the biting fish.

Competition is a strong trait in our family. We love to win. We are serious about our games - even 'Let's Go Fishing'. In order to start the game, someone switches it on and the little pond, with the little piraña, goes around and around and around whilst also pushing the little fishies up to open their mouths not quite wide enough for the 3-6 year olds and the 32 year olds to try to maneuver their dental floss fishing poles into their mouths in order to 'catch' them. Whomever has the most pile of pirañas at the end is the fishing champion. Sounds like a fine activity for two young children to compete against two grown, competitive adults in.

As the game ensues, chaos abounds. Gavin throws aside the 'fishing pole' and opts to use his finger instead. Good thinking, but nowhere in the rules does that say that using your finger is an option. Since when did game-makers encourage children to 'think outside the box' - this is a game for goodness sakes - we must follow the rules. We have to tighten the reigns on proper game playing procedures, so we make Gavin use his pole yet again and chastise him for coming up with a better way. Bennett seizes this exact moment to choke up on his fishing pole and find out that with a lower grip, one can actually catch a fish or two. Although this is not in the rules, we deem that it is definitely better than forsaking the pole altogether and we amend the rules to include this new 'fishing style'.

This little pond thingy, that is probably only 6 inches in diameter, now has four hands holding onto four very flimsy poles all trying to get 30 fish at one time. Again, I'd like to praise the game creators for their foresight. Naturally, pushing and shoving ensues. Once I got Chuck to stop pushing the kids out of the way, the boys decided to follow suit. Not to be left out, I joined in and was amazed at how much more fun the game seemed to be by just adding a little more physical exertion to it. I also failed to mention that Chloe was also 'playing' this game with us - or so she thought. During the fast paced tension of the game, I find it highly challenging to play at my optimal level while someone is laying across my lap trying to put all my little fishies back in the moving pond. Not only was she putting the fish I caught back into the pond, she was putting them in upside down. I guess we have a little environmentalist living with us.

I can already see more family fun in our future the older the children get and the more 'challenging' the games become. Until then, I vote for UNO.

Jul 7, 2005

To Share or Not to Share

7/07/2005 — cori

I am plagued with this dilemma too many times in one day to know how to respond appropriately anymore. Take today for example....

I just got a beautiful new bookcase delivered today. We placed it in the living room (down the same hall that the batcave is located, incidentally). The very first thing Gavin said when he saw it was, "Wow, Mom, this shelf is great! We can use these two bottom shelves to put all our Super Gavin & Super Bennett stuff (i.e.- capes, masks, socks and all other necessary superhero paraphernalia).". And then he proceeds to take off his all important SuperGavin cape (which is a very old Tigger blanket) and shove it into the new space he now assumes is his.

I have not yet had this bookcase for an hour and it is already being defiled with 'kid stuff'. I bought a bookshelf to place my books upon, not to stuff full of superhero gear. I have not yet had the time to sit and muse over the innate beauty of the wood, how the hues work perfectly with the tone of my other furniture, how it completes our living room with such elegance. Instead, I am already having to hoard my stuff, call it mine, and tell my sweet 6 year old that he may never use those two shelves for his stuff because it is only for my stuff. I believe in sharing as much as the next guy. I teach my kids to share (obviously not by example), but you've just got to draw the line somewhere.

Another daily sharing predicament I find my self in begins first thing in the morning with breakfast. First, to understand the dilemma I find my self in, you need to understand my pathetic food frustration. I have been destined to not enjoy most good food in this life. My food choices are extremely limited. There seem to be way too many foods in this world that either give me a migraine or an ulcer. Either way, if I find one, little, tiny morsel of food that I can eat and enjoy (that is not green and grown in the ground), it becomes mine ONLY. Everyone knows to stay away from 'Mommy's food'. I told you I was pathetic.

So....the ONLY food I eat every morning for breakfast is an english muffin occasionally with some fruit on the side. Undoubtedly, everyday, as soon as Bennett sees me eat my food he says, "Can I have a bite mommy?". Now, I hate to deny my child food, but its not like he doesn't already have his own yummy breakfast in front of him (that I can't eat, but can prepare). He looks at me with those puppy dog eyes and that little bit of drool running down his cheek. What's a mom to do? I have two tiny little circles of a bread product, smothered in butter and peanut butter and that is it for me all morning. Yet, invariably, Bennett always ends up with one of my tiny little circles of bread product while I chew real slowly in order to make the other last as long as possible (but not too long otherwise Bennett will want the rest of that one too).

Lessons learned:

1. wake up at the crack of dawn to eat breakfast before the kids get up
2. eat breakfast in the pantry with the light off so the kids don't know I'm in there
3. learn how to share by watching my 1, 3, and 6 year olds - they seem to have the concept down better than I do. :)

Jul 5, 2005

Wet Towel Syndrome

7/05/2005 — cori
We were in the process of having a wonderful fourth of July celebration. Our tummies were full, the sun was hot and the pool was perfect. We were at Grandma & Grandpa's, so we could be wild and crazy in the pool - as is our typical custom. We had been swimming for quite a while when Bennett decided he had had enough and was ready to go inside for a snack. Before I tell you what he did, let lay the backdrop...

Grandma & Grandpa's pool is surrounded by a very hot, aggregate, rock deck . So, Grandma had the brilliant idea of laying down a bunch of old towels and wetting them down with the hose. This ensured that when anyone got out of the pool they would step on a nice cool surface of wet towesl and not burn their little piggy toes. All the other dry towels were hanging on the backs of various patio chairs. With that being said...

So, as we last saw Bennett, he was on his way out of the pool, intent on drying off and heading inside. All the rest of us were in the pool. As he exits the pool, he immediately bends down and picks up the sopping wet towel off the hot pool deck and starts wiping his face. We were all laughing so hard we couldn't even form the words to tell him that there were dry towels sitting on the chairs. He used that towel for a bit, then layed it back down on the soaking wet patio and picked up yet another drenched towel and wrapped it around his sweet, innocent, wet three year old little body and sat down on the steps to continue his 'drying off process'. If he had a clue that the towel was sopping wet and as heavy as him, he didn't let on.

The reason this 'Wet Towel Syndrome' didn't bother Bennett is, unfortunately, because that's all he ever seems to get at home too. Poor kid, all he's ever been used to are wet towels - I don't think he even knows what a dry towel feels like. Since we normally bathe all three kids together at bath time, by the time we're done drying the first two off, the last one (usually Bennett) is left with a rather soggy towel. To him, this is perfectly normal. You may be thinking "why don't you just use 3 towels to dry off each child individually?" and that is a very valid question. The answer however, isn't as simple as you may think. First of all, the towel rack in the bathroom only holds two towels (neatly). Second, two of the little people in the tub are really only 'half-sized' (Chloe & Bennett), so logistically speaking, you should be able to clean off two half-sized persons with one large, big person sized towel. Are you following my train of thought here? And lastly, I'm just not a big fan of washing two or three loads of towels a week, so the more we can 'recycle' our towels - the better. We even have a rallying cry we use as an incentive to get our kids out of the bath, it goes like this, "The first one out gets the dry towel".

You can only imagine what kind of family we are when having the chance to get a dry towel after your bath is an incentive! My children are going to be in awe as the grow up and visit other kids' households and find out that other families do not have the same customs and traditions as we do. But until that day, we will continue to hold fast to our family's traditions and pray our children will pass them down to each generation.

Jul 3, 2005

The Growler

7/03/2005 — cori

I'm afraid my precious middle child and I are not connecting. I fear this primarily because of the forthcoming actions he displays on a pretty regular basis. Either he has no clue that I am speaking to him or he totally disregards my words. Either way, I am baffled because I have have no clue where he learned to growl at people when he is frustrated with them. I know children are great imitators of their parents, but it would be a false assumption to think my sweet Bennett boy picked this habit up from watching his mother handle her frustration. Granted, I am not a perfect role model and I often blow my top, but I don't recall a time where I have growled (accompanied with the 'growling face') at my children. I do remember letting out a very large sigh at one point...but I don't see how that could be confused for a growl.

How am I supposed to explain to the other mothers that "my son only growled at your child out of frustration, don't take it personally". That won't fly. I (along with my husband - who also doesn't growl) have been given the huge responsiblity of training these little people that follow us everywhere, how to become functional, contributing members of society. (I pray this happens by 18, but I have a feeling we're on the 'extended plan' with Bennett). I own more child rearing books than the library, you would think I could find an answer or explanation of how to handle a growler, or what spawns a child to growl in the first place, or the 5 steps to growl-free children. But no, the answer is not to be found. I am breaking new ground here.

And it's not like this behavior just began last week. I remember an instance when Bennett was an infant and sitting in the cart at the grocery store; a sweet lady came up to admire him when all of the sudden a loud grumbling sound starts coming out of no where and when I look down to my sweet baby, I see the 'growl look' on his face and notice that the sound we all just witnessed was my child growling at the nice lady. The lady looked at me with disdain and said, "Did your son just growl at me?". How was I to respond? I was lost for words. No mom is prepared for a moment such as this. It was obvious to me that he just was't in the mood to be looked at. But I still had to figure out a way to explain this nicely to the lady and also apologize.

When the growling happens at home, which I've come to find out is actually quite frequent, Gavin just growls right back at him (from what he's told me). Somehow, they have a system they've worked out. However, this system only involves gutteral sounds and no words. Not that I haven't repeatedly told my little sweethearts 7 or 12 times that 'when you're frustrated with your brother you need to use your words to tell him - don't growl'. I can just see it now...Bennett in college, trying to assimilate in with the rest of society, someone accidently pushing Bennett's buttons and then - the growl! I will then be summoned before some board on bad parenting techniques or they might try to invoke retro-active consequences for parents who didn't teach their children how to handle frustration adequately enough. They may as well charge me for failing to teach him proper potty training while their at it. Actually, come to think of it, that's probably where this whole growl thing must have originated. I can actually see how I might have accidently let out a growl or two in the midst of the 3 years of potty training duty Bennett and I went thru together. Now it's all making perfect sense....

I guess all that to say, if my son ever growls at you please:
1. take 3 steps back, slowly
2. make a funny face at him (this works every time)
3. be patient with him and show him grace.

As with all of us, God isn't finished with him yet. For him, right now, it's learning how to handle frustration without growling. As for me, I'm still in the process of learning how to handle my frustration on a daily basis. I'm just glad we have a wonderful loving environment (family) to learn these lessons in.

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