When our children are newborn all the way up to toddler years, they really have no control over how much we kiss them. So I personally take FULL unapologetic advantage of this.
I remember one day when one of these kids (can’t remember which) was maybe 5/6 months, I tried to actually keep a tally of how many times I kissed him. I could literally plant 50 kisses on one fluffy cheek within a minute! So I just chalked myself up to #stalkermom cray cray, threw away the score card and kept on a’kissin.
My three sons are currently 7, 4 (soon to be 5 in May), and 2.5! So just this morning it hit me that I don’t kiss my oldest son, Jabin, nearly as much as I kiss my 4 yr old, Caleb, whom in turn I don’t kiss nearly as much as I do the baby, Elijah! And yes, I know as our children get older, they go off to school, eventually start after school sports and other activities, etc, so the stalker mom kissing window gets smaller and smaller *stifling a wail just thinking about it*.
So just this morning, Elijah came downstairs after he woke up, and I greeted him, like I do the others, with a big hug and excitement. “ELIJAHHH! You’re up! How’s my NuNu man! Give mommy a hug!” lol, you know, just being extra. I sat him up on the bar stool and made him some cereal. If I can be honest, babies and toddlers are just cuteness overload! They are still learning and growing, still widely dependent on the parent for every area of life, their heads are still the biggest part of their body, and they light up when they see you and for the most part, don’t mind your lips all over their face all day everyday.
So as I walked over to Elijah while he was minding his own business, eating his cereal, I planted yet another kiss on his cheek. I then looked over at my oldest son who was quietly eating his cereal, seemingly lost in his own thoughts. And it hit me, besides bedtime, I hardly ever kiss him! So I decided then and there he was about to get a big wet one, and a small part of me was nervous that he would reject me because he’s such a big boy now and is too old for kisses blah blah blah, I did it anyways. The smile he gave me literally warmed my heart and made me a little misty.
REVELATION: HE STILL NEEDS MY KISSES! HE STILL NEEDS MY AFFECTION! It doesn’t matter how old he gets or how much his independence grows and his dependence on me decreases, he will always need and desire the physical display of my love, because I’m his mommy. Now he won’t always ask and demand it and will undoubtedly resist it one day, but its up to me to freely show them just how much I love them, and that sometimes starts with a simple kiss. <3
I believe the Lord guides us each and everyday in our parenting if we allow Him too, and today I am thankful for that reminder that my son still needs my kisses. Now I’d like to hear from you! Could your relationship with your children use a boost in affection? If so, I encourage you to make the first move! Hug them, plant a kiss on their face, and tell them you love them.
Tomorrow I invite you back to see how you and your family can win FREE advance screening passes (Metro Detroit location) to see the highly anticipated film, The Jungle Book!
Merry Christmas to all of MyLifeWithTheseKids friends! This has been a very busy year for my family and I, and we are extremely thankful for God’s faithfulness, provision, grace and mercy through it all!! We were reminded this year that God opens doors that no man can shut, and that He will be your defender when you make conscious decisions to put your faith in Him and to always operate with integrity! So thank you Lord for those faithful reminders!
As far as this Christmas season goes, we have been blessed to give gifts to Feed The Hungry ministry/organization from their catalog where you could choose gifts that are literally life saving- chickens, goats, green houses, mosquito nets, etc! We had fun choosing 2 chickens and a Chubby Cheek nutrition package for some babies! Amongst other things, it gives a parent so much joy to be able to grant the desires of your children’s hearts. Check out the video below of Jabin getting what has been on the top of his list!
Caleb, on the other hand, has been obsessed with motorcycles since early Spring. He even went to school this fall creating stories to his teachers of how he rode to school on his motorcycle, and he put so much detail into those stories that his teachers even asked me, “Mrs Gonzales, did Caleb ride to school on a motorcycle today?” LOL LOL #myboy
Elijah, being the youngest boy, really just wants what his older brothers have! We thought we had a hit on our hands with the Paw Patrol Mission Chase toy, but as you can see below, he had his eyes on Caleb’s motorcycle. He doesn’t look that excited huh? Ah well!
I did attempt at being a responsible parent by giving the boys books. Jabin ripped open the wrapping paper, revealing “The Big Book of Bernstein Bears Beginner Books”. I’m looking over his shoulder, corners of my mouth all turned up, proud of the big interest in reading that’s been developing, expecting atleast a smile in return from him. But what do I get? He gave it all of 1.5 seconds of a glance over and dropped it on the floor, with a bang on our hardwood floors and moved right on to the next gift. Sniffle. My husband, who has never been a fan of reading, burst into laughter with a “I told you that was a mud gift!” SMH! My dream is that one day books will be exciting for Christmas!
So, I pray everyone else is having a Merry Christmas! But the reality is I know everyone is not. I know some of you are struggling with sadness, loss, depression, anxiety, and more. It makes me sad to know that this season prompts such emotional distress. Jesus really is the ONLY reason for the season! How God wrapped himself in flesh because He knew that the world needed a savior in His son Jesus, will always be the focal point for our Christmas’ and I hope this in some way penetrates however you may be feeling in this season, and pray that you get a sense of joy that Jesus truly did give you the best gift ever when He gave His life for you and I! Many blessings to you and yours <3
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Hey hey! I hope all of you had a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend! We live in the land of the free due to the brave men and women who relentlessly fought and continue to fight for our freedom! To the families of those that have lost their lives in battle, continued prayers of peace and comfort! <3
I hope you all were able to do some fun things with your families. Holidays for me is all about finding that balance between relaxation and building memories with your loved ones. Our weekend included some swimming at our fitness center, family bar-b-ques, and attending the annual St. Mary’s Polish Country Fair, which is truly the kick-off event for the summer complete with all sorts of good eats, real roller coaster rides (see photo below), kid zones, and even Vegas themed areas for the adults. Although we had bouts of very light sprinkles, the weather was perfect and at a great high 70 degree temp!
The St. Mary’s fair attracts about 100,000 attendees every year, and I could definitely feel it as we maneuvered through the crowds, trying to keep an arms-length distance to my three sons. As we made our way from the Dinosaur Dino ride to the basketball games, we bumped into strollers and families with children at every turn, and one family in particular were attracting quite a few eyes as a mother yelled at her young elementary-aged son, “You know what’s gonna happen right? You gone get SOCKED in yo’ mouth! I’m SICK of you complaining!” She turned and continued on her way after she gave a menacing glare, and you could see how angry she was from the grimace that remained planted on her face. Seems harsh right? Uncalled for right? But there are so many of us parents just flat-out losing our cool and taking it out on our kids. How can we change this?
That happened on Sunday. On Tuesday morning, I sat amongst like-minded women and moms as we gathered for our weekly Mom2Mom study, ate some food, sipped on some coffee, and eagerly looked at the TV monitor that would soon be filled with Dr. Kevin Leman, parenting and marriage expert whom I’ve referenced before, giving us Lesson 5 of Raising Rock-Solid Kids in a Pleasure-Driven World. Low and behold, this lesson was specifically about …. (drumroll)… how parents can calm our nerves and calm down before we burst! So, I started this blog because I have a desire to share not only stories about my life with these kids, but the lessons and resources, people, and other insightful aspects of parenting that have inspired me to overall just be better. Don’t you want to be a better parent? Being “better” is not easy and I’m learning is not always instinctual! It takes us seeking out the Word (Bible), biblically based parenting resources, much prayer and PRACTICE!
I am sharing here with you some of the tips by Dr. Kevin Leman’s DVD/Workbook below as it relates to anger taken from Chapter 5 of “Raising Rock-Solid Kids in a Pleasure-Driven World”!
OBSERVING THE WARNING SIGNS BEFORE TEMPERS FLARE aka HOW TO CALM YO’ NERVES, MAMA!
STOP– I can be transparent and admit that sometimes, my children make me angry. Can you join me and admit that right now as well? Right there as you sit reading this on your phone or computer, say it with me: sometimes, my child(ren) make me flat out MAD! And that’s normal and ok! But it’s what we do with that anger that can make or break us as parents and consequently our children. When we feel our tempers rising and that flame starting to get bigger and bigger, we have got to practice a mental “take 5” and allow ourselves to calm down before speaking. My issue is yelling. I grew up with a mother (hey ma, love you! lol) that is LOUD. She is loud when she’s upset, loud when she’s happy, loud when she’s sad, and loud for no reason at all. That loudness growing up felt like #teamtoomuch at times and would hurt my feelings, but I know that she is a passionate person and a very colorful communicator! I know because as a mom myself, I can say I inherited that, LOL! But, one day my son Jabin made me mad. He has this habit of flapping his arms, jumping around in circles and then SPRINTING to the nearest couch or bed and diving in head first as he bursts into tears. When I’m not laughing at how ridiculous he looks (if you guys are laughing its ok haha), I’m mad at the emotional outburst. And sometimes I will just yell, “JABBBBINNNN! Get up off of that bed, get in here RIGHT NOW and apologize to your brother!” or “and clean up this mess!” or “and you are NOT watching another second of TV!” Sometimes, he can just make a simple mistake that ticks me off and I will yell, “Jabinnnnn! You have got to be more careful!” and he will respond in borderline tears, “You don’t have to yell at me!” And that’s what stops me in my tracks, makes me immediately soften my tone, and I apologize. I really DON’T have to yell! I am the example that teaches him healthy communication regardless of how we emotionally feel in the moment. Can you relate? If so, lets practice together a “Take 5” before we automatically resort to what comes easily, yelling or in many cases, verbally bashing our children. That is NEVER ok. And lets keep it real, some of us need to practice a “take 10, 15, 20, heck…5 minutes” before responding!
DETOUR: Dr. Leman says when you feel the anger devil on your shoulder (ok my interpretation) that we need to DETOUR and take an alternate route before we allow our anger/emotions to make us crash and burn. “You choose not to strike out verbally with harsh, threatening words and tone. Instead, you take another path and find solutions to the problem at hand” (page 25 in Raising Rock-Solid Kids in a Pleasure-Driven World). I had to think about how I can apply that to my parenting. When Caleb comes into the kitchen, grabs apple juice from the fridge and tries to pour himself a cup, only he pours too much and then I come in to find apple juice EVERYWHERE on the floor after I just mopped, instead of me bursting at the seams, I can calmly say “Hey Caleb, come here! Were you thirsty? Ok next time please ask me for help so we don’t make a mess ok? Take this paper towel and clean it up real good! Thank you.” Not only is that an acceptable detour, it allows Caleb to be responsible for the mess he made in a healthy way. It feels weird at first, and it takes a minute for the heart rate to go back to normal (lolololol, whew!), but Dr Leman gave a great visual example of how we feel when we are momentarily angry. Picture a balloon blown up. Its tight and the more you blow, there is the potential for the balloon to pop. As you let some air out of the balloon, the latex becomes softer and softer, and then it is no longer possible for it to pop because essentially, some steam has been released. When we are angry, calmly talking about the situation or taking some time to think before responding is how we can slowly let some steam out before we POP! I have also learned that we have to RESPOND to our children vs REACT.
Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. James 1:19
There were tons more great tips that I would love to share with you! But for the sake of not writing a book here, subscribe at the bottom of this blog or in the side panel, or check back here on Friday for Part 2 of “Calm Yo’ Nerves, Mama!” I hope this helps, group hug!
I grew up in a blended family according to what’s politically correct. My mom and dad both had children from previous relationships before they themselves met and married, and then had three children together. So in our immediate household, there were my two older sisters, me in the middle, and then two little brothers behind me.
Those little brothers TORTURED ME! Especially the one that’s 17 months my junior. He would do whatever he could to annoy, distract, and divert my attention away from whatever it was I was doing to him. And his goal was to get me to squeal, shriek, fight, chase, and ensue in a wrestling match. Most of the times his efforts were rewarded by my emotional and passionate reactions, and he would take off running, bare chested with tight-fitted shorts, eyes twinkling and snaggle-toothed smile gleaming in little brother annoyance, with me charging behind him, swinging and praying for contact.
I remember my little brothers being obsessed with Bruce Lee and Jean-Claude Van Damme, and them taking two chairs, climbing on top, and then carefully lowering themselves into a split formation..one foot turned up on each chair (see photo below). They were so proud of their efforts. Me as their sister just rolled my eyes in response and prayed for the swoosh and kicks of their verbal sound effects for their 17th karate fight of the day, to soon pass.
Now that I’m a mother of three boys, I find myself watching my boys do many of the things my little brothers did! Although there are two decades of time that has passed, one thing remains the same… boys will be boys! If you have multiple boys or just a single boy, you can probably relate to a few points on my list of:
YOU KNOW YOU’RE A BOY MOM WHEN…
You can get them dressed in 60 seconds or less in the morning. No one really cares when boys aren’t perfectly coordinated. A tshirt, jeans or sweats, and sneakers are pretty much wardrobe staples!
Over time, you expect them to wrestle and fight and you become perfectly ok with it. In fact, when its too quiet, that’s an immediate warning sign that they are up to no good and you need to find them ASAP!
You can hear a very loud thud in a part of the house. Your heart rate accelerates a little bit as you stop what you’re doing, listen for what type of cry that may or may not follow, and then you determine if you need to check on them based off of what you hear. Most of the time you shrug and go about your business.
They’ve gotten into your makeup bag, and when you finally see them, their eyes are plastered in multi-colored eye shadow. You laugh, take a photo, and file that in “High School Graduation Slide-Show Photos”. You also hurry and wipe it off before your husband sees them. LOLOLOL!
If you’ve ever been hit square in the forehead with a youth football, while your husband solely focuses on how accurate the aim was, then congratulations, you’re a boy mom!
Your weeknights and or weekends are slowly but surely being completely taken over by sports. If you have a lawn chair on stand-by in your trunk, then yep! You have boys!
You get presented with dandelions atleast 3 days a week. And each time your son(s) give them to you, they hold them out like they are freshly picked, long-stemmed roses. You take them, conjuring up the happiest smile you can muster while oozing an enthusiastic “awww, thank you! So sweet!” While you are touched at the level of attention your boys give you, you secretly scout out where to stash them. Keep it real with me, ok?! Don’t nobody want them thangs!
You buy new sneakers every 2-3 months, and when the boys get their foot measured, your eyes bulge in surprise that they’ve grown by 2 sizes. How do they grow so fast? How did they walk in their old shoes?! How did you NOT notice their shoes were too small?!
If you have ever had itchy boys, you know the itch can include areas below the belt. My 20 month year older frequently requests that I scratch his er um…scrotum. Today he actually fell into a deep sleep whilst I relieved his itch, with his diaper halfway open and his legs sprawled open like a little frog, his eye lids became heavier and heavier until he finally succombed to nap time slumber. If one of your boys has ever put you through that, extra boy mom points! I will be starting a prayer call for their future wives. Ya’ll in?
And finally, if you have ever greeted your boys (or even other people’s kids) by flipping them upside down and body slamming them on the bed or the couch, or pinning them down and tickling them until they can’t take another second, then you my dear, are a boy mom true and through and need to start workin’ on that girl for some household balance. LOL!
It should go without saying, that no matter the sex of your children, that they are individually special, unique, fun, and come with their own set of parenting challenges. Having all boys has taught me, one who naturally likes to know what’s happening next, to just be flexible and go with the flow! I’m steadily learning that its not the end of the world if they show up somewhere with holes in their knees and grass stains. Life will go on when they face plant into the pavement or jump off of things they had no business climbing on in the first place. With each new phase that we get to experience mothering our children, boys or not, God’s grace is sufficient and available for us to in turn pass that grace back to our children. Parenting boys is HARD! They try your patience day in and day out. But lets remember to have fun with it, to let them see us having fun, and to do fun things together! Serious, authoritative parents are no fun. Cheers to parenting with a loving balance of discipline, joy, order, and a soft place for our children to fall, over and over again.
So how is this list? Can you identify? Add your own “Boy Mom” moments below!
I’m steadily coming to terms that with having not only all boys, but three of them, paired with a husband who is the head coach of a competitive football program who also played Division 1 college ball, that #mylifewiththesekids will entail a whole lot of sports! I mentioned before that my husband (who’s nickname is “Red”) and I are elementary school sweethearts, and he stalked me enough to keep me around throughout college as well. I went to his college football games sheerly for the excitement of “Michigan” football and to be a part of the 110, 000 plus screaming fans that attended religiously, but more importantly, to be that girlfriend who stood outside after the game proudly awaiting her handsome Michigan football player. Ok ok, and also to show that he was 100% not up for grabs to any lurking groupies. Never mind that I took books to the game and read throughout, causing evil blank stares from Red’s uncle John. Hey, I just didn’t get it! Annnnnd I still don’t! Guess I need to get my act together. That or someone needs to create “A Mother’s Guide to Learning Football”.
Here’s my Pookie in action back in the day!
Being the girlfriend of the #1 drafted HS football quarterback back in the 1999-2000 season, and then the girlfriend of a D1 University of Michigan football player did not inspire me to buckle down and learn the ins and outs of the football game. Nor did I care that much to learn as his wife when he took on the head coaching position for the JV Football team at his high school alma mater. But I have a feeling my days of feigning ignorance has come to an end, because as a stalker mom, I want to be intimately involved in what my boys find interest in since as their mom, it is part of my job to encourage, motivate, and be their biggest cheerleader. Don’t get me wrong, I was also my husband’s biggest cheerleader, I just ain’t know what I was cheering about, hehe.
Jabin, our first born son, has already demonstrated a passion for the sport, and even at 6 years old, he has played competitively for 3 seasons and just started his 4th with i9sports.com. I know that as a quick learner and a serious observer paired with natural athletic ability, that he will one day be a force to be reckoned with.
But today I watched my son battle fear, doubt, and unbelief as he tearfully declared he did not want to join the other players on the field as they warmed up and began practice. My husband and I exchanged confused glances, tried to nudge him on the field, but was again met with extreme hesitation.
“Jabin, what’s the matter? Why don’t you want to play?” I asked, with a wrinkle developing between my brow that translated my state of confusion and worry.
“My finger hurrrtttss!” He explained as he blinked back the pools of water glistening in his eyes.
“OK no problem! Red, can you grab him some ice?” My husband then led him over to an i9sports staff member where they hooked him up with ice. So I anticipated Jabin to be ready to play momentarily. But I soon discovered that wasn’t the issue. Last season’s flag football program put him in the 4-6 year old age group where he was one of the oldest players. He was bigger, faster, and filled with confidence knowing he was one of the best on the field. Today was different. This group of boys were in the age group of 6-9, so he looked up and saw that he was now one of the smallest, and fear gripped his little heart and convinced him he had no business playing with those boys.
I then had a conversation with myself while silently communicating with my husband. We took turns explaining that he no longer could play with smaller kids, because he was too good, just way too advanced. And yes, we puffed him up and slightly exaggerated as any loving parents would do. No judgement here, remember? LOL. We talked more, reassuring him how good he was and how he was so ready to go out there and just have fun, and slowly the liquid trail dropping down his face began to slow down, but as soon as we would give a little push for him to run on the field, he would break down again, exclaiming “Noooo, I don’t want to play!” For a moment, I considered suggesting we let him go home, but on the contrary, I had thoughts like “ummm, I know you AIN’T after we done spent this money!” and I wanted to drag him on the field whilst kicking and screaming and make him play anyway. But I knew none of those would be the right decision. I knew exactly what to do.
“Jabin, lets pray!”
DEAR FEAR, DOUBT, & UNBELIEF, I COMMAND YOU TO FLEE!
I bent down to where my forehead met his, covered his hands in mine, and began to cast out the fear, doubt, and unbelief that threatened to convince him he was not good enough.
“Father, in the name of Jesus, we come before you asking to soothe Jabin right now. Lord thank you for taking away the fear and the doubts that he cannot play with those bigger boys. Lord, remind him that he is strong, he is fast, and he is gifted, and that this sport is all about having fun, learning, and getting better. Lord we thank you for filling him with confidence once again, and the reassurance that you are with him and that your heavenly angels are here to watch over him and keep him safe. Lord we thank you for all these things, and we give you all the honor, glory, and the power, in Jesus Name, amen.”
Throughout our prayer, Jabin cried even harder, and at one point his cry reflected a sob. I know that the Lord met him where he was, and that even as a 6 year old little boy, he is sensitive to the Holy Spirit and he knows that when we pray, God hears us. After we prayed, I saw his tears dry up for the final time. He wiped his nose, and he directed his gaze towards the field.
“You let us know when you’re ready, ok?” I offered.
He discreetly nodded his head as he continued to study the other players. My husband and I exchanged glances once again, and then my husband, led by Caleb, all walked Jabin onto the field where we reminded him, “Jabin, you can do ANYTHING you put your mind to! Go have fun!” When he stepped onto that field and got in line, I saw those negative thoughts that he was feeding himself lose their power. I saw him relax, put his “game face on”, and listen to the coach’s instructions. I in turn felt my heart swell with thankfulness and gratitude, and also for parents that raised me to know and commune with the Lord. I stood proud knowing that with my husband, we were bringing up our boys in the way that they should go (Proverbs 22:6). Due to an overtired toddler by the name of Elijah, I had to leave the game before it even started, but when Jabin got home, he sat on my lap and showed me all the video footage his dad took. He was so proud of himself and his team’s victory!
Today, I watched my son learn a valuable lesson about how to give his fear to the Lord:
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
As I type, its only 2pm EST and today has already been nothing short of an open palm slap to the forehead while my neck slowly twists from side to side, wondering, “how will I get through this day with all of my sanity?!”
It’s mid-winter break for my eldest son Jabin’s school district, so I try to plan ahead what activities we can do to keep them distracted and entertained. My fitness center is always on the top of the list because well….we already pay for it so why not drop these little knuckle heads off to them for 2 hours while I get in a good workout?! Right? Right!
My morning preparation to get them all out of the house entailed the following:
Breakfast- instant apple and cinnamon oatmeal compliments of Trader Joe’s!
Swatting Elijah away from my breasts. The kid is insatiable! *he’s 18 months and has not quite been broken from nursing, another open palm slap to the forehead*
Making Jabin get in the shower since he decided he was “too grown” to bathe with his brothers last night.
Being told I’m mean by Caleb (my otherwise comedic sweet middle son) because I wouldn’t allow him to shower with Jabin.
Swat Elijah again away from my breasts, watch him roll around on the floor in a tantrum, and then give in. *you guessed it, hand to the shaking head*
Get the boys dressed, convince Caleb that the gym will be fun today because they will be playing basketball! And then watch him slip his 3T basketball shorts OVER his jogging pants and be very excited about it. *my open palm slap to the head is now hurting me*
Wrangling 3 boys into the truck, amidst a borderline Michigan winter blizzard.
Walking into the gym, having my boys take off their coats, and then watching the childcare workers faces spread into smiles and then full out laughter when they see Caleb’s attire. At this point, I just laugh along with them!
My comedic Caleb, gotta love him!
So I finally get to the fitness floor with my iPad mini in hand, anticipating the lovely distraction of Parenthood on Netflix. Imagine my irritation when the wifi wouldn’t connect! *whaaahhhh* So WHATEVER! LOL Despite the disappointment and the urge to just jump off the treadmill and go sit in the cafeteria and sip some coffee in peace, I did my 4 mile interval treadmill workout, which was life saving! I’ve definitely learned to appreciate and desire the stress-reducing benefits of cardiovascular exercise! Afterwards, I had a steamy hot shower and tried not to envy the toned washboard bellies walking around the women’s locker room, got dressed, threw some type of curly jelly in my hair #teamnatural (which frankly I’m kinda over right now in this -20 degree weather), put on some make up because thats what helps to make me feel vibrant, and set off to pick up my boys! I thought to myself: ok this was good! I got in a good workout, showered, I feel good, and now I have renewed energy and patience to care for the boys the rest of the day!
And then I got greeted with this.
“Hi.” Said the childcare front desk worker, as she presented me with a strained, you’re not gonna wanna hear this type of smile.
“Hi!” I happily exclaim in return. Remember I’m feeling good, and I didn’t quite catch that she may have some troubling news for me.
“Sooo, we had to write up Elijah today. He was throwing toys at the other kids and hitting them in the head. It made some of the children cry and their parents were upset. He’s even hitting his brothers too.” She quickly explained in a rush-like manner.
I honestly had no reaction. My sweet little baby had become the childcare center toddler terror?! I was in shock.
Seeing my pupils slowly dilate, she went on to say, “It’s just a warning! But if it happens again, he will be suspended for 3 days. This here is just a report and I need you to initial so its documented that I went over everything with you.”
I don’t even know if I read the report, I just scribbled my name and stuttered out some type of reasoning as to why my little cuddly baby boy was on his way to being kicked out of the fitness center fun place for kids. And of course when I went to scoop them all up, Elijah was his nice grinning happy self, and ran over to me with his adorable bow legged self, complete with dried up snot and a little slobber hanging from his bottom lip. Despite what I’d just been told, my heart did a little leap and I lifted him in the air and brought him in close for a hug.
“Elijah! Were you not nice today?!” I say in that mommy high-toned voice reserved for kids 2 and under.
“Huh?” he says in return, still smiling and hugging me.
Next on my Motherhood things-to-do list:
TEACH ELIJAH TO NOT HIT….ASAP!
Wish me luck! Now is probably a good time for me to open up my parenting book on getting my kids to mind before I lose mine. If you have any “no hitting” suggestions that have worked with your kids, PLEASE share them below! I know this is my 3rd kid and all, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have those moments when I just want someone else to tell me how to mother, lol.
This is my first post of 2015, so a big loud HAPPYYYYY NEW YEARRRRR! I pray that thus far, it has been a great start and is filled with promise! For those of you who have made goals, remember to make a plan of action to accompany that goal and make it happen! I also personally know that this new year has brought immense heart ache, tragedy, and strife to many families. And for those of you hurting, I pray that in your midnight hour of pain, that you seek the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding. In ALL your ways, even in the hard ones, acknowledge HIM, and he WILL direct your path. Hugs and kisses, and prayers of comfort and peace that surpasses all understanding! In Jesus Name, amen! Special acknowledgement to my extended Chicago framily (friends who have become family), I love you!
For those of you reading with children, you know how it is going out to eat at a restaurant with young ones. As a reminder to any new readers, my boys are 6, 3.5, and 17 months. Recent photo below!
My husband decided one evening that he would like to go out to eat, and Red Lobster happens to be close to us, and to our oldest son Jabin, the mention of Red Lobster is like seeing a heavenly cloud of cheddar bay biscuits pop up over his head. So if no one else was excited, I knew our restaurant choice would elicit a snaggle-tooth grin out of him! So off we went, and to say the least, it was a very colorful dining experience as usual.
Over the years, we have learned the DO’S & DON’TS of dining out with the kids that have worked for us! So I would like to share them with you and get your feedback as well, we’re all in this together:)
DO’s & DON’Ts!
Dine with your kids at a time they would normally eat. If they are not hungry or overly hungry, get ready to be met by all kinds of side eyes and tight lips from other patrons when your kids are banging their forks and knives on the table, chanting “EAT! EAT! EAT!” *this may or may not be a true story*
Take toys, rattles, iPads and phones for your little ones. That, or be prepared for your husband to hand your baby a crayon to take bites out of…which may or may not elicit a blank “oh no you didn’t ” stare from you.
If you have a baby that still takes pacifiers or other toys that end up in the mouth, ask for a cup of hot water for a quick and easy way to sterilize for the 36 times your baby throws whatever it is on the floor. FUN!
Use whatever you got at that table as a distraction! Especially for a teething baby or toddler, we’ve learned that sliced cucumbers or restaurant ice chips are THE BEST! Put one on a spoon and shove that ice in that baby’s mouth as fast as you can without them choking…and its ice, if it got lodged in their throat it’ll melt. *this is an instant where I’m kidding but not kidding? #durp* But If a piece is too big, then bite it. Just do it. lol Provides atleast 20 minutes of quiet time. #winning
If you have children around the same age, get them the same meal or split different meals between them. Ain’t nobody got time for “I wanted that TOOOOOO!” screeches.
Be prepared to take a walk with a walking toddler who may get restless. Mental preparation for impending inconvenience is half the battle!
Make the meal enjoyable and fun, but get out of there as fast as possible! This is not the place to let your kids scream, cry, yell, and bang their heads on the table while you sit on the phone or ignore them and talk to your spouse/date/or whoever. Don’t be that parent. Okay? K. *now I’m laughing*
Consider looking around the table after you all are finished and pick up some of the debris from the tornado that just touched down. Like, how do forks, knives, spoons, crayons, napkins, & french fries constantly end up under the table?! The server and busboy would appreciate it if you have an extra few minutes
Try and give that waiter who done dealt with your bad rambunctious kids for an hour their 15% or more tip!
Make sure you have your fill of patience and handle any melt downs or mishaps with dignity and love. Please don’t be up in there yellin at your kids like you done lost yo’ mind! *this brought out the ebonics*
Pay attention to your kids, because you never know when one of them may get a funny look on their face, think they have a piece of shrimp caught in their throat, and comes to you for help. They just might throw up all their dinner in your hand and on the floor by your feet, and you will have to not be concerned with the looks of disgust from the jerks at the nearby table, but pat your son’s back and make sure he is ok. This isn’t the time to smack your lips and sigh with embarrassment at the mess that was made. Instead, clean him up best you can, cover up the puke with napkins, and alert the waiter that your son just vomited on the floor. And THEN, watch the relief and sparkle of gratitude jump into your waiter’s eyes when you insist on cleaning it up, and they happily volunteer to get you a trash bag, napkins, and gloves. And then, your son that just puked may grab your phone and take a photo of you while you are scrubbing up said puke. In case you haven’t gathered, this happened to me in real life. Last week.
So, what do you think of this list?! What did I miss? Leave your do’s and don’ts and own funny stories of your experiences with the kiddies, can’t wait to read them and looking forward to seeing other strategies to add to my own Dining Out Survival Guide!
I’d like to introduce some of you to these kids, my boys, my three sons. It wasn’t until I was pregnant with my 3rd son that I became aware that there was a TV show called My Three Sons that aired from1960-1972. I would be walking around with two toddler boys and a big bulging belly, and I would get approached by women in their 50s and 60s and wonder if I’m finally getting my girl, and when I say no its another boy, they squeal and say “oh! My Three Sons!” and I politely smile and nod in confused agreement, and in my head I’m like huh? Ok! And then it kept happening and someone finally said oh there was a sitcom in the 60’s! My Three Sons! Photo below, funny!
So let me tell you about MY three sons. First there is Jabin (Jay-bin). He has always had a very mature, responsible nature. He can definitely get silly and make us roar with laughter, but for the most part, I describe Jabin as my intelligent know it all. He reminds me of myself! He loves learning new things and is so proud to display his knowledge when quizzed. He gets frustrated when he doesn’t pick things up quickly, but then there are also times when he just rolls with being silly and wants no part in doing homework, and his neck cranes for the den, itching to watch an episode of Power Rangers, but it has to be Power Rangers Megaforce. Or else, we gotta problem Houston! He is the best big brother a mommy could ask for… well most of the time. Sometimes I catch him strategically planting his leg in front of his little brother’s walking path and giggling with delight when they don’t see his trap he set out to trip them and make them fall flat on their faces. He thinks its funny… and I threaten to beat him each time. He stopped. LOL Jabin is also uber dramatic. He can cry in .5 seconds flat. And not just any ol’ tears. Fat, crocodile tears. See exhibit A. *this will be deleted as soon as he is old enough to read this blog on his own*
Then there’s Caleb, my middle child who was born with the fireworks on Memorial Day in 2011. This kid is downright cluelessly hilarious. He doesn’t try to be funny, he just is. He is wild, has selective hearing, boyishly curious, and so so sweet. He’s the kid that looks at his older brother with puppy dog eyes and says “I luv you JayJay!” and when Jabin in turn just looks at him and turns his head, he patiently repeats, “JayJay, I luv you.” And I’m watching them in my rearview mirror, heart swelling at the loving exchange between my two oldest boys, and then when I notice Caleb’s cheeks drooping and bottom lip poking out because Jabin didn’t return an “I love you” back, I meet Jabin’s eyes and stergently (a mix between stern and gentle…basically you better do as I say) say “Jabin! Tell your brother you love him!” and Jabin tries to hide his smile and finally says it back through tight lips and older brother nonchalance…you know that air that says “you are little and annoying but I tolerate you”.
But Caleb is not always my sweet, loving, middle child. He calls everybody Booty Heads and Butt Heads…and I mean everybody. I remember a time he called a complete stranger at Target a booty head, but he did so in that way where he smiled at her as he said it, as if he was giving her the best compliment his little mind could come up with. Thankfully, she was older and couldn’t quite make out what he said. And I’m that mom that was chastising out loud but my inner self was rolling with laughter. Please tell me I’m not alone…. you know, when it takes everything within you to not bust out laughing at your children’s badness. Oh, and lets not forget about the time when he stared at an older African American lady, who admittedly had very hard features. We were in the check out line, and he stared and stared, as if trying to figure her out. He finally said, “are you a boy?” and I almost choked on my Starbucks coffee. “Caleb, come here honey! Caleb!!!” I call out. But he stood and stared. The older hard looking lady leans in and says “what you say babaaayy?” in a perfect old lady shaky voice. Caleb remained planted in his staring stance, and started to repeat “are you a boy?” but i finished my red card Target swipe and made it in time to save myself! But the 20-something-year-old male cashier we had got an earful, and his eyes were sparkly with humor and the ends of his mouth twitched with the threat that there was a deep bubble of laughter lodged in his belly that desperately wanted out. We exchanged guilty smirks, and I hustled them kids out of there as fast as I possibly could!
Now on to my sweet baby boy Elijah! He’s only 14 months now, so he’s still sweet…most of the time. He’s in that stage where he loves to kiss, and he gives the cutest little pucker upper you’d ever see! No one can deny kissing him! At family gatherings you may even see a line or two of all the little cousins lined up just to see Eli pucker up for them.
He’s also a mommas boy, who can’t quite talk and who’s tantrums are still minimal. This is my boyyyyy right now! When the other two are at each others throats and crying over who’s kicked who in the throat (true story), this little gooey toddler just holds fast to my leg, looks up at me with those big surprised like pretty eyes, and reaches out with a “mum!” And I smile, ignore the other two, and pick him up and cuddle. See Exhibit B taken on his 1 year birthday!
But I’m afraid that life with brothers has already started to plant seeds of mischief in his little spirit. He will walk up to Jabin and Caleb when they are quiet and peaceful, and open hand slap them right on the head and await their reaction with absolutely no expression on his face. Or pinch them on their belly while their shirts are off, and even pinch their “wee-wee” when they are preparing to get in the tub. Or stare right at my husband, swipe him upside his head and reach back for me. I secretly like when he does that though, shhhh (stalker moms unite!). But raising three boys, Elijah has surprised us with being the first one to scare the living daylights out of me at such a young age. I expect toddlers to swipe all of the DVD’s out of the cabinets multiple times a day, and I even expect to see them climb on top of a chair or even a table here and there. But never did I expect to see him strategically unlock the oven door, stand on top of it, and play with the burners! OOOOOMG! My heart stopped! But why is he so cute?! See Exhibit C. Its probably not a good idea to get him out of the oven and then kiss him huh? Yeah, didn’t think so.
These are small little descriptions of my little knuckle head boys, my three sons. They keep me on my toes, they make me laugh, they bring me to my knees in prayer, and I worship the Lord even deeper because of their being. ..most of the time its with a soul cry of “Lord help meeeeee!” but….whatever it takes right? hahaah
What are some of your funny stories of or with your kiddies? Post below I’d love to chuckle with you!