Thursday, July 31, 2014

walking in the rain

Summer is crazy when it comes to getting your kids to sleep before 10 PM! We try our best but we are tricked by the forever long days with sunlight until 9:30 at night.

The other night the kids were ready for bed and it was 10 o'clock. The weather has been wonderfully odd for July with light rain showers off and on, clouded overcast, and temperatures at least 25 degrees cooler. I wanted to go for a walk after the kids were asleep. Well I wanted to go running with Chay but he kind of gave me the look that I was too slow. I knew the look so I clued in real fast. Kenzie overheard our conversation and she kindly asked me if she could come with me.

Everything inside of me was saying "NO." It was super late and it was dark outside and Kenzie is only 8 years old. But why not? Why not? She is growing up and understands a lot and she is suddenly craving alone time with me and Dad. I kind of felt the push to be with her alone that night without all the kids hanging around. She has been a lot more opinionated lately and has been having these crazy outburst of emotional surges where she feels life is so unfair. She will beg for something and if I say no she will sort of freak out and if I don't handle the situation well she will freak out even worse. It doesn't happen a lot but I sense that she is trying to feel validated. This is all new to me. I have never experienced a child growing up and who suddenly has a strong opinion about certain things. She is as sweet as ever but I can tell that little things are going on in that developing mind and that little body of hers. So I am glad the Holy Ghost told me to take Kenzie with me on that walk. I told her to go get her running shoes on.

We started to run a little but she just ate her third bowl of soup 30 minutes before (she is starving all the time lately) and so Kenzie got a terrible side ache. We ended up just walking around the neighborhood. It started to sprinkle and it felt so good. Off to the northwest was a distant lightening storm. It was pretty much perfect. We held hands and walked around the neighborhood together and talked.

 I like to listen to the Mormon Channel on my phone in the morning sometimes when I am hurting and don't want to move yet and get out of bed. One day I listened to 1 part of a series on Communication With The Family. It suggested that when you have one-on-ones with a child that you make sure to just listen as long as you can and let the child just talk about everything and anything so the child feels safe with her feelings and don't pass any judgement on them. So I practiced not saying much and Kenzie just rambled off about stories from school, church, friends, cousins. She asked why a certain friend doesn't come to church very often. She also said that she is excited for school to start and can't wait to be with her friends again.

When she said she wanted to go back to school it kind of stung a little. She has never said that before. Summer and being home with family has always been her ideal choice. I know it is selfish of me but it is hard to see her change. I know outside friendships are crucial to growing up and developing problem solving skills- especially in the social realm but it is still hard for mommy. For some reason Kenzie doesn't want to play dolls as much with Julia and it makes Julia sad. I don't know why Kenzie is suddenly changing. I feel like just 2 months ago she was all about dolls and princesses and imagining. She does every now and then but it seems like she is looking for more.

I will take these new steps and changes with gratitude and I will try to be so excited for her as she slowly leaves little childhood. Wow the inspiration and revelation in the church to not baptize until a child is 8 years old is pretty much perfectly and heavenly designed. Something happens at 8. A child really knows between right and wrong at 8. It also proves that a child must have a testimony and strong faith by 8 because their brain and thought processing switches.

They go from obeying and soaking in all the truth as a little child leaning and trusting every word that comes out of their parent's mouth then switching to asking questions, doubting, figuring things out on their own, wondering why, having their own ideas, looking to influences outside the home, making their own choices- all this emerges when they are around 8 years old-

And as parents we should honor this new and exciting change and not take it as a threat to their role as parent. Let the person grow- Motto to myself "don't be defensive to growth" I have to tell myself this because I sort of get all crazy when Kenzie questions my authority. I am her Mom and there will always be rules but I feel that I and other parents get carried away with separating and placing the child below us as we stand 10 feet higher above them. (Like Mr. President Business, Ha Ha) Then as parents we easily fall into "unrighteous dominion" as we struggle to keep control and uphold this role that we have created in our heads as these "good" parents who feel they always have to be in charge, always have the last say, always be right. I think unrighteous dominion can hinder progression in a child and ultimately a person's skills to rely on the Holy Ghost and make choices for themselves. It is a fine line. A very fine line I am discovering to balance rules and expectations from parents versus allowing a child to think, feel, and decide for themselves especially when you know that child is making a poor decision. That is why parents need to pray every day. Ha. Because it is hard! So incredibly hard!

So um, I totally get off on tangents at times. So Back to my story about Kenzie and I walking in the rain..

Kenzie talked and I practiced listening. Listening allowed her to feel respected and so she wanted to learn from me. She then would ask questions that allowed me to say how I felt. It was so good. I thanked Heavenly Father over and over for that night together. I was also thankful that even though Kenzie is growing up and moving on to other things, she still highly preferred we hold hands the entire walk and then I knew she is still so so young and I loved it.

We loved getting wet together from the rain. She is such a sweet beautiful girl. It was like she could sense how I was feeling, or she just knows her mom really well but she said that night, "Mom, I am really excited to make new friends and go back to school but I will always treasure my family." It was so kind. She then asked me to teach her where north, east, west, and south were. :)

So we stopped in the middle of the street and I taught her. I told her that Utah is a perfect place to learn because we are blessed with these huge mountains off to the east and for the most part no matter where you are in the valley, the mountains will be to the east. We then thought of a million acronyms for the directions. Never Eat Soggy Waffles, Never Eat Soggy Watermelon, Never Eat Shredded Wheat- the usuals.

We got home from our walk around midnight. Chay was still out running. Crazy Clarks. The next morning Kenzie woke up and gave me the biggest hug and said, "Mom, last night was the best night ever."

I have been trying all summer to make their summer fun and memorable. We have been going places and doing a bunch of fun things and not once have I had a response like that from Kenzie.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

trying to be better at "writing it down"

Julia and Xander have been wanting to sleep together at night. So I let them. I love how all three kids are in the same room. I put all the toys, a big art table, and all the clothes in one room and all the beds in another. The room with the beds is above Sammy's bedroom which is in the basement. Since my house is old and loud and the wood floors through the house is the sub floor- it sounds like a herd of elephants whenever someone is jumping around or just moving upstairs. The kids never go into the bedroom where the beds are during the day, which makes nap time beautiful and possible for Sam downstairs. I think it was an ingenious idea if I so say so myself. :)

My neighbor gave me a huge old church 8 foot table. It is pretty beat up but I put it in the play room against a wall and put #10 cans all along the table filled with the essentials. I am so Mormon. Cans filled with Markers, crayons, tape, glue, scissors, rulers, stapler. There is a shelf with scrap paper and drawing pads. They sit at that table for hours creating and doing whatever. Julia loves to draw and color right now. She loves to spend time alone doing her thing. Coloring, drawing, building. She is safe with herself and loves alone time. But she also loves to play with her toys with Kenzie. Julia is just a hands on play player. She loves toys and loves to play with them. Loves to go over to people houses and see what toys they have.

Mckenzie has been growing up lately. She isn't into playing with imaginative play as much with Julia. It makes me so sad at times to see her move on to older things. Julia is right behind her but seems to still love love love to play with dolls and animals. So Julia asked and asked Kenzie one day to play with her and she kept saying no. So from that day on, Xander and Julia have become very close playmates. They have been going at it for 2 whole days. When I tell them to stop playing so we can leave or eat, they get upset. They build houses and all types of things out of Trios and K'nex and then play with them with horses and dolls. I love that Xander and Julia are so close. Trust me they have their moments where they are ready to kill each other but this summer has been so good for those two.

Yesterday I picked apricots. Our friend invited us over to pick her tree. It was an old tree and the apricots were at least 20 feet high. I got on an old rickety ladder and held a garden hoe in my hand and tried not to fall. I was so determined to get all the apricots I could. It reminded me of the summer before when Cynthia and I got free Cherries and I was climbing all over the tree way up high trying to get as many cherries as I could. I love it- it's the riskiest thing I've done for a long time. Mom's with small children don't get out much. Ha. The apricots were past good eating and were ready to be made into jam. That kind of stuff overwhelms me and ideally I wished I could have froze the apricots fresh but they were smooshy. And since I'm in a constant battle with trying to eliminate food loaded with sugar from my life, I can never fully commit to making homemade jam. Sorry kids. I know, I am weird. I will buy jam at the store for your peanut butter sandwiches but I will probably never slave over a hot stove in the middle of a scorching summer to make and can homemade jam. Not worth it to me. But I absolutely love being physical and picking apricots and whatever fruit from a tree. Now that is fun to me. So I gave all my apricots to my neighbor Cynthia and she gave me a jar of apricot jam. Worked out great.

During Family Home Evening I asked Xander what he thought the word fortify meant? He responded by counting 4,5,6? So cute. We built a wall out of mega blocks and talked about Captain Moroni's command to protect the cities by fortifying the walls. We explained how bad choices made our walls weak and righteous choices make them strong. Sam was Satan supposedly because he destroyed our wall in 2 minutes when we weren't looking!

The Lord really listens and cares about the small things. People probably thought I was crazy as I kept moving Kenzie around from piano teacher to piano teacher. I must have appeared to Kenzie as weak and indecisive as I kept giving up on her teachers and moving her around. For some reason her piano playing isn't taken lightly and I just feel this outside force to keep her going in the right direction with piano. If there was something that didn't feel right, I looked elsewhere. She is now taking Piano Lessons from Bravo Academy. It feels right. She has a teacher named Mr. Ferrington. He is so wonderful and I love him. He praises Kenzie all the time and sees everything good she does. The other day he told her, "I am honored to be your teacher. You amaze me." Love it! The academy is organized and gives her the perfect amount of incentive to keep her pushing along. Granted, we work hard together at home too. Kenzie always gets a little intimidated by her new assignments. The first few days I have to push push push to get her to attack the song with confidence. Then the rest of the week she practices like crazy all on her own and masters her song. Sometimes I have to sit by the piano with her for an hour or more encouraging and helping her figure out the songs. She can do hard things!!! She is learning the keys and what sounds good together and she is starting to make up her own music. My heart rejoices when I hear her creating. I feel like we have both worked so hard on her piano, that I rejoice in her successes and her growth right along with her!