Monday, July 19, 2010

On Raising boys....

Lately I have been thinking about the dynamics in our house. I grew up with a younger brother and a younger sister. My two aunts lived with us for awhile and one of them for a long while, so my poor younger brother was vastly outnumbered. The levels of estrogen in my childhood home were high, so things seemed to sway a bit more in the way of adhering to the wants of the women and girls in our house. I am sure, however, that my dad was greatly pleased to have another male around.  In my opinion I was often  a little confused and yet a bit intrigued at the differences even in my brother and myself. Growing up, I thought that my brother and father were just a certain way because of their own personalities, I had not yet clued into the fact that there are such innate differences in how God has made the male and female minds. Lorie, my sister and I are almost nine years apart. So her and my role were not as much as a role of piers, but I seemed to play a more maternal, helper, care-taker type of role with her. I did get to do some girls things with her. I always enjoyed fixing her hair and helping her pick out her little clothes. I think maybe she acted as my token girl.
I have been meaning to read Dobson's book on Raising Boys...I really have. It got overshadowed and I got more focused on reading "The Stong-Willed Child." This was helpful, but I need to go back and read the other. I really always thought while growing up as a child and into my young adulthood that I would be a "girl mommy". That I would have two little girls and maybe a token boy. I just assumed this is how it would be. I dreamt of fixing their little hair and coloring with them, of dressing them in super cute dresses and putting jewelry on them. God had other plans for me. Which I am truly blessed because of. I would not trade my two little boys for anything! I love having them! They are so much fun. The sister/sister dynamic and the sister/brother dynamic, I have decided is still very much different from the way that two brothers interact. I have had so much to learn!! I have been shocked, cracked up and at a loss of words more times than I can remember! I decided to make a little list of what it is like for me to have these two little boys.

1.  From the time they are both up until at least one of them is napping we constantly have lots of energy! There is laughing, running, giggling, spilling and sometimes peeing everywhere.
2.  Unlike girls(only from my personal experience as being one) my boys did not seem to be born with a low self-esteem or lack of confidence. They both, from the beginning have thought that they, themselves were awesome.

3. They have a high and constant sense of competition. My eldest is a true Alpha dog, but the youngest also wishes to be. They each think that they should be the first to do something, or get something.

4. If one gets something the other does not have, the one that gets it flaunts it vigorously in front of the other and says, "Hey, look what I have that you don't."  If one gets in trouble for disobeying or being ugly, the other often snickers in their brother's face which just antagonizes the one already in trouble.

5.  The narcissism aside, it the same context, these little boys are super compassionate. They LOVE each other and hug each other and love being together. This is just how they are, how they interact, how they play.

6. They are constantly wrestling with each other, usually knowing each other's boundaries. This was hard for me because I was not used to this at all and thought they were being violent. Earle assured me this is just how boys are.I am still trying to figure out what to freak out over and what not to. They usually don't actually hurt each other unless they are mad. They also push and hit at each other all of the time and laugh hysterically about this. Like I said, until one gets fed up and then hurts the other one. This goes in cycles constantly.

7. No food, drink, snack or piece of gum is safe from being consumed in our home. If they see me chewing something they immediately see it, ask what it is, and want some unless it is a vegetable or fruit. If I have something that I don't want to share, I have to sneak it or often just wait until they are not around when I have it. I have tried to establish food/drink boundaries so they don't generally take my drinks or grab food off of my plates without asking. Earle has not established these boundaries, so they take his, and he also takes theirs.

8.  This week I had to have a talk with Collin because there was pee all over the bathroom. They had been enjoying the pass time of peeing together at the same time standing up...and Collin, however, is too short for this still. So he just peed straight across. I would hear them laughing, then walk in and the entire powder room floor would be covered in pee.

9. They are smart. They do not forget anything that you say you will get around to doing for them or place you have agreed to take them, ever. They never stop asking when it will be time to go or do. Or when it will be the next meal time or snack time.

10. When one is scared at night, the other one comforts him. When Collin gets hurt he often goes to Ben to help him feel better. It is super sweet. The truly seek comfort from each other.

11. They think any potty word ever used or any word that could remotely sound like or rhyme with a potty word is absolutely hilarious. When doing alphabet flash cards with Collin, he cracks up and laughs hysterically when he sees the letter p.

12.  They have an innate sense to order me around. I am wondering if that is just how God makes boys or if they just think they should get to tell me what to do.  I of course, don't let them order me around, but they try it multiple times a day anyway. They certainly don't get this from Earle because he does not order me around, he is very respectful to me.

13.  Two things that I have that seem to make them both really happy:  Recreational time spent with them, and their favorite food. (From what I learned in His Needs Her Needs, I think that recreational companionship time is there from the start with these boys.) I think they both enjoy getting special little prizes too, maybe gifts is part of their love language.

14.  They are mess makers!! Although they do not like their bodies to be dirty or stinky, they can turn a room upside down in seconds flat. From dumping out entire toy boxes to getting into the pantry and coating the kitchen floor with flour and baking soda or even once, a jar of red pepper flakes, or possibly a bathroom floor flooded over from the toilet with something stuck down it or toilet paper everywhere. It is never boring around our home.

15. There is LOTS of screaming. I mean LOTS!! But to be honest I think it is mostly Collin, and if I think about my sister, she was a serious screamer too, so maybe that is not just boys.

16. They throw things. They throw everything. I do not understand this. They know they are not supposed to throw balls over the fence, nerf darts in the chandelier, but still as hard as they try to stifle it, they just can't help but throw things.

I am sure I could continue the list for days. But it gives you a good idea anyway. I just wanted to document a little before this phase passes and I forget how it was. God has taught me so much with these boys. I'm so glad he chose them for me. But I'll be glad to lend them to you for a day if you are interested;)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Such a time as this...

Well, I have had writers block. I am doing a bible study on Esther and today I ran across a verse that I simply could not get out of my head. I think the writers block has a bit to do with just being busy, but also, with trying to organize my thoughts to make sense of my current setting. Plain and simple, I think my reflective state sort of pauses me sometimes until I can figure out what in the world I am sorting out. In a way this extroverted girl becomes quite introverted at times.  My friend Brandi would put this post in her, "Deep Sheez" category. :)
 It has been fantastic being back in Texas. I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude and blessings by the fact that we were able to move back here, and also by the fact that I know if we would have not been where we have been over the past five years, I would not be the same. I remain so grateful for the things I have learned and the people I have been blessed to know in our time away from Houston. I can't imagine being without some of those sweet people in my life and I cannot imagine being the same me, if that makes any sense at all. 
It feels a bit strange to me trying to be able to balance some things out. I have been blessed to have some second chances. What I mean by that is that I am blessed to live near a few of my close friends yet again. It is also great to be making some new friends. I know God has a plan in this. I am happy to have these second chances but also sad that I don't have the second chance with others. I know that God brings people together for his plan for a reason, so I am excited to see what unfolds in this plan of His.
Earle and I have chosen to place membership at a church near where we live that we are excited to be a part of. So that is great, but we still have connections with the church that we attended when we lived here before which we feel like was such a huge part of nudging us into being who we are today. It feels good, but hard to balance trying to have two hands and a foot in one church and yet a foot is still holding us up in the other. Kind of a weird feeling but a good one knowing that God uses our experiences that are united in Him to make us stronger and to encourage us. Just trying to be led by the Spirit in these things. But I have to say, still a bit confused by it all and an overwhelming since of blessings.
Back to the verses in Esther.  Esther 4: 12-14....
  ~  When Esther's words were reported to Mordecai, he sent back this answer, "Do not think that because you are in the king's house you alone will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish.  And who knows but that you have come into a royal position for such a time as this?"~

This last part in verse 14 really hit home with me. I can think back to circumstances over the past few years that I have felt that way exactly. Circumstances that I felt called to get involved and take a stand or an action. Questions would run through my head as to why we were there, etc. It seems like anytime we are called to a situation like this there is quite a bit of anxiety experienced and courage needed to follow through.  I guess I am a bit apprehensive to see what is awaiting ahead of  me and what God might call me or our family to do. I also pray that I can be courageous enough to answer the call, when God may want to use me. In my experience, these circumstances are never very pleasant. I also think to wonder how many times God has been calling me and I have chickened out.  In a nutshell, I hope I am ready for such a time! I am a little apprehensive!! Maybe just my mood at the moment. But I strongly believe that nothing is coincidence. So chew on that I guess!!