Tuesday, May 19, 2009

There's a new Sherriff in Town

Oh yeah, there is. And it's me, baby. And it feels so good. Let me explain. We went to a seminar by Kevin Leman the last 2 days at our church. Now, I've taken some of his video classes before, and I've loved them. But this is the first time for a couple of things: Number 1 - Steve was actually there with me - it sure does help to be on the same page. Number 2 - This is the first time I've had kids of this age that were all about to drive me crazy simultaneously. So, let me just tell you about our morning.

I go and wake up the boys at the usual time and lay out their clothes for the day, and go into the kitchen to start fixing the 4 lunches we needed today. As usual, Levi gets right up and gets his clothes on, brushes his teeth, and comes to help me make his lunch. As usual, Sam doesn't move an inch. But, unlike usual, there are no calls from the kitchen to hurry up, get moving, if you don't get up right now you will go to bed at 7 o'clock tonight, and I mean it child! In the meantime Lily-Grace has gotten up and is lying on the couch, moaning as if she is dying a slow and painful death. So, I just go and pick her up and calmly carry her outside and put her on the table on our porch and come in and lock the door. Levi stares at me, open-mouthed, "And you did that, why?"

"She needs to learn to use her words." He just nods and I can see him just taking all this in - the calmness of me and his dad, the lack of stress in our faces and body movements. This is all very new, and he's not sure what to make of it.

Well, that Lily-Grace is a smart cookie, and she came in through the door from the garage, and she is still crying, but explains that she has a boo-boo that hurts. I tell her that is fine, but she can tell me about it without moaning on the couch. So, I fix her up with some neosporin and a bandaid.

Back in Sam's bed, he has heard the commotion with Lily-Grace and decided it would be worth getting out of bed to see his sister get in trouble. But after the show is over, he disappears into the bathroom and stays in there a good 10 minutes. He comes out in his underwear, and says, "Don't worry - I'm going to get my clothes on." Like, I'll save you the trouble of yelling at me, I know it's coming. But no one is paying him the least bit of attention.

Steve leaves to go get Lily-Grace dressed, and I ask him to please get something cute because it is her preschool graduation today. When I finish with the lunches, I head in there because I know our ideas of cute really do not mesh. I pick out a cute skirt and pink shirt that Lily-Grace has always loved before. I take it into the bathroom where she is brushing her teeth, and she sees it and immediately begins to tell me that she doesn't want to wear that because it is ugly. Now, I am ashamed to admit it, but usually I would let her go back into her closet and pick something else out, telling myself that this is not a battle I want to fight. It's not that big of a deal, let her wear what she wants to wear. But lately, there has been more & more of a battle over her clothes, with her getting more & more picky, and me feeling more & more like some kind of personal assistant to the queen who brings in an outfit for her approval only to be sent out like a whipped puppy to bring in something else for her highness to pass judgement on. So, while she is brushing her teeth, I leave and go pick out some plain denim shorts and a gray t-shirt. Now, I'll be honest, I wasn't really going to make her wear it because I didn't want her to wear it. She is my only girl after all, and I like her to look cute - we have 15 outfits complete with matching bows and socks after all. (No, I can't imagine why she is a primadonna!)

So, I go in there and she is still jabbering and complaining about not wanting to wear the skirt and shirt I picked out and how ugly they are, and I don't say a word. I just start to put on the gray t-shirt. She doesn't realize what she is wearing till she gets the 2nd arm in, and then she starts to freak out, "NO! WHAT ARE YOU DOING? I CAN'T WEAR THIS! THIS IS UGLY! I'LL WEAR THE SKIRT! I'LL WEAR THE SKIRT!" And then she begins to flail around as if I am pouring hot lava on her body. I manage to get the shorts on her, but then I gotta tell you, I had to step out of the bathroom for fear I was going to laugh my head off and ruin everything. When I step back in, she has taken off the shorts and t-shirt and is quickly putting on the skirt. I take them away and go put them in the top of her closet. And because she is kicking and screaming too much to put the clothes back on her, I take her back to the back yard and leave her out there, in her panties. Thinking, please God, don't let her take off to see the donkeys, I don't know how I would explain this one! I do think to go lock the door that leads to the garage.

While she is out there, screaming. Sam comes in, dressed, backpack on and lunchbox in hand, on the verge of tears, "Mom, they left me." (Dad & Levi)

"They did? Oh, I'm sorry. I guess you spent too much time in bed this morning."

"Do I have to walk?" Honestly, I hadn't even thought of that, but I jumped on it.

"Yes, I guess you do."

"But I don't know the way!"

"Oh, I think you do! If you can make it with Lily-Grace to see the donkeys, I think you know the way."

"But I'll be late!"

"I know. I'm sorry. I guess you'll just have to go to the office and explain that you were late because you slept too long."

He gives me the saddest look and starts for the front door. I walk him to the door and kiss him and tell him to have a great day, and he takes off, barely holding back tears. And he begins to walk, looking so small and all alone, and let me tell you, it took a great amount of self control not to rush out there and rescue him.

But at this point, I hear the garage door open, and realize Lily-Grace has gone through the gate and come in through the garage. Drat! I'm really going to have to remember all these exits! But I just go with it, and walk in there with the shorts and t-shirt. When she sees them, she immediately begins to fall on the floor again. So, I just pick her up and start to head outside again. "NO! Not outside again! Don't take me out there!"

"Well, are you ready to get dressed?"

She quietly nods, and gets dressed without a fight. "But people will laugh at me."

"I hope they won't. I'm sorry if they do, but I guess you can just tell them that you could've worn a skirt but you were throwing a fit."

Steve told me that she didn't say a word all the way to school, and her teacher told me she ran in the room and ran into the bathroom and shut the door, saying that she wasn't coming out because people were going to laugh at her. Mrs. Mara coaxed her out, and lo and behold, not one person gave her clothes a second thought. That's good to learn too.

And I called and made sure Sam made it to school all right - couldn't help but worry a little.

So, we'll see how tomorrow goes. I've got to say it felt good. No yelling, no hurrying, no stress this morning. Even a little bit of laughter (and y'all know I think children should provide us with some amusement!) So, here she is at her preschool graduation (the hands are her "ballerina hands" maybe her attempt to at least still look girly!) and no, it is not my idea of what I would have liked the picture to look like. But I like to think it is the picture taken to document the first day of a better way of doing things.


  1. Wow! That is marginally terrifying and an awesome story. I never really thought of the nightmarish logistics involved in getting that number of small newly-forming personalities off to school!!!!!!

    I'm so impressed you kept your composure :)

  2. Isn't it funny how our kids are leading us around like we have a ring in our noses waiting to be pulled where ever they like? I remember standing in the kitchen holding up 5 different juice cups...this one? "no the other one" this one?...."no the one in the back" and I stopped and set one down, filled it up with juice and walked away..."but, I..." if you are thirsty, you will drink it...EMPOWERING!!! have a great week!

  3. That is awesome!! I have one who is very slow to move in the mornings and we often end up doing everything for him or saying "hurry up!" a hundred times...problem is, it's too far to walk to school...hmm...how can I make this work? Thanks for the laughs this morning, Alayna!