Naughty has been winning out over nice recently, but mostly with the twins, namely Gabriel. “To hell with the consequences” is his current modus operandi, “No” is his favorite word, and “That would be a bad thing” is a frequent response to parental requests.
Zeke (left) & Gabriel bob for apples @ their 3rd birthday party.
Not only has Gabe been particularly stubborn and hard-headed, but he often laughs in the midst of punishment. I think Gabriel is just prone to challenging authority, no matter how negative the outcome. We’re working on him, but man, has mothering the G-man been a particularly exhausting and thankless task as of late.
Luckily, Zeke’s behavior has improved and his sleep-time tantrums have subsided, while Houston’s typical behavior is pretty sweet and polite. Of course, it doesn’t take much naughtiness on the part of one to rock the boat. After all, trying to maintain relative calm and obedience is a fragile thing even when it is achieved.
It’s a delicate balance of disciplining the troublemaker swiftly and effectually without having his influence start a domino effect, while simultaneously remaining stern and loving, and in control and patient. My new bumper sticker sums it up: “Motherhood isn’t for sissies.” Ain’t that the truth?!
“Double trouble” await the lighting of the candles on the “Candy Land” cake, made by Miss Jessie.
Interestingly, most of the bad behavior happens around the house. This makes for normally happy outings, but sometimes makes pre-schooling the 3 Amigos at home quite the challenging task. Miss Jessie is extremely helpful in this regard, so thank goodness we have her to assist in educating the boys and getting me prepared to eventually homeschool. However, any prayer you would like to say for me regarding the latter would be greatly appreciated : )
“The days are long, but the years are short,” goes the parenting adage. That perfectly encompasses the struggles and fulfillment that make up motherhood. So, I must maintain the balance when tackling daily struggles, knowing that these times (even the zaniest ones) are what make the lasting memories, and allowing that perspective to grant me inner peace and continued confidence.
Speaking of balance, I have sincerely lived by the “Simplify the season” motto this Christmas. October, with all its fall and Halloween events, leading up to Thanksgiving was swamped and stressed. Although we had tons of good times, I bit off more than I could chew and promised myself that I wouldn’t do the same with Christmas.
Gabriel takes the lead on the Liberty Loop scavenger hunt.
The boys and I have done just a few choice holiday activities, the family has only attended one party, and I did all my shopping online (and quite frugally to boot). It has been lovely to be able to truly enjoy the magic of Christmas and to impart the significance of Christ’s birth and subsequent holiday jubilation on to the kids.
Last week, we received a handwritten note in the mail from our pastor’s wife, Donna. The Sunday prior, she had seen the spectacle that is loading the hungry, fatigued, but nonetheless energetic 3 Amigos into the car post-church. Upon changing a dirty diaper in the back of the van, I yelled to Stephen, who was watching two of the dudes climb a light pole, “Okay, ready to roll.”
For some odd reason, Donna found great pleasure in witnessing our station in life, no matter how uncouth and uncivil. She stopped to talk to us, and we all had a laugh about the unsophisticated silliness that is so often parenthood. Anyway, her sweet letter read, “My prayer for your family is to feel connected and cared for at Westover.” And we do.
Zeke’s takes a swing @ the rainbow pinata.
Some other happenings:
- It has been more than two weeks since Zeke has taken Prevacid and without incident, so I think it’s safe to say that he has officially outgrown acid reflux.
- Houston had his first appointment with our new pediatrician, Dr. Gay. The friendly doc gave him a thorough head-to-toe wellness check, and said that his nose bleeds were due to dry air and could be prevented by daily saline spray.
- Houston’s appointment offered Gabe and Zeke some alone time with Miss Jessie. The twins concentrated on academics, specifically penmanship, and their writing abilities and eye-hand coordination (most notably Gabe’s) amazed us both.
- We started the no-interrupting game: the kids must touch our leg if we’re standing or our shoulder if we’re sitting, we give them a nod of acknowledgement, and then we let them speak when there’s a break in the ongoing conversation.
- Daddy was talking football with the boys and, without prompting, Houston said, “My favorite football team is the Houstons.” Never to be outdone, Gabriel explained that he liked “the Gabriels.” Zeke’s initial pick was the “Zekies,” but then changed his team to the “Mommies.”
- Jeopardy quiz: Zeke’s answer to the perennial question “What do you want on your pizza?” What is “Broccoli and ice cream.”
Safe on 1st, Houston enjoys his last t-ball game of the season.
- The boys and I took Bob to her check-up last week. Good news is that she gained 1.4 pounds since starting her new Rx and “the zoo on wheels” had a fun and educational outing.
- Last Saturday night, the family drove through an impressive Living Nativity (they even had a camel); trekked through a neighborhood-wide forest of lighted Christmas balls and other spectacular holiday luminaries displayed in an old, charming downtown community; and then attended an annual Christmas party we haven’t been to since 2005.
- Last night, we finally went Christmas caroling to Miss Shawn’s and Miss Heather’s houses. We still have a couple more neighbors to visit, but overall, the dudes did great on both vocals and instrumentation. Our set list: Rudolph, Little Drummer Boy, Oh Christmas Tree, and Jingle Bells.
- Today, we went to the Children’s Museum with Miss Christie from MOPS and her daughter, Piper. The dudes delighted in their faves — such as the fire truck, the trains, the giant legos, the mini-shopping market and the outdoor gardens — but also had a blast in the visiting Curious George exhibit.
- Despite being pooped, Gabriel totally undressed himself at bath time tonight, which included the feats of getting his head and arms out of his shirt and his undies off. Quite spectacular.
Nailing the t-ball stand is just as cool as hitting the ball!
Lastly, one of our adaptations of “A Christmas Carol” has animals as the characters. Ebenezer Scrooge is a cranky turtle and his dead business partner, Jacob Marley, is a beaver — a typically non-threatening critter, I would think. Well, Houston has convinced himself that the tame “beaver ghost” illustration is the worthy of fear, making him now afraid of the dark. I pray that’s short lived.
Funny thing is that we have another book of the Charles Dickens’ classic that features a spooky grim-reaper-looking Ghost of Christmas Future, yet that evokes no trepidation in Houston.
And just to keep things perfectly unpredictable, yesterday Houston announced, “I want to be Jacob Marley for Halloween.” Gabriel echoed, “Me, too.” Kids are so weird.
Click the top photo to check out part 1 of the festivities from Gabe and Zeke’s birthday party on 10/15, the pinata pic to view part 2, and the above shot to see happenings from Houston’s final t-ball game in late October.