Happy Christmas, Merry Valentines!

Have a wonderful New Thanksgiving! Happy Christmas! Merry Valentine’s Day! Wait, what time of year is this? I feel so lost… I’m so confused. I can’t seem to get a grasp on what’s happening around me, much less the weather: 40 degrees and rainy one day. 65 and sunny the next. Then, a blizzard slams our area. Oofda!

An unexpected blizzard gave me time to once again, come back to a blog that has gone neglected. In absence of me taking the time to write, life has maintained a furiously fast pace that has left me twisted in knots like a pretzel.

The following conversations aren’t word for word but a gist of my constant confusion:

Me: Okay girls here are your lunches for today.

Them: We don’t have school today.

Me: Wait. What? Oh… ok, since it’s cancelled, you can save the lunches for tomorrow.

Them: School wasn’t cancelled, it was a scheduled day off.

Me: A scheduled day off? Why? What for?

Them: Teachers need to prepare for conferences.

Me: What? We just had conferences last week.

Them: No we didn’t. We had them in October, it’s February.

Me: Really? Ugh.. When are they scheduled for?

Them: You need to schedule them.

Me: Okay. I should get right on that…

 

 

Me: What do you need for show and tell?

My 5-year-old daughter: Umm… I’m not sure I think we get to bring a picture.

Me: A picture of what?

My 5-year-old daughter: I want to bring a picture of my sister.

Me: Okie dokie….. (after dropping my daughters off at school, I find a paper that says, “Please have your child count out 100 items to celebrate the 100th day of school and have them bring those items for their show and tell”).. whoops!..

 

Me: Okay girls, time to get ready. Here are your shoes for basketball. Here are your goggles for swimming and here are your slippers for dance class.

My 7-year-old daughter: I’m not in basketball.

My 5-year-old: I don’t need goggles for dance class.

My 3-year-old: Daddy, today is Wednesday. We have kid’s club at church.

 

 

Me: Mrs. Wifey, I made a budget for Christmas.

Mrs. Wifey: Perfect. That will be great for next year.

Me: Why not this year?

Mrs. Wifey: This year’s Christmas has passed.

 

 

Oofda!…I’m a little behind…in my state of confusions, I think I may need to put those thoughts of relaxing in a hammock to rest…

If there is a parenting life lesson that has been challenging me over the past few months, it would be planning… Laugh all you want but planning and I have never worked well together. I have tried planning before but usually within five minutes, my plans changed.

If anything, not planning has become easier as my daughters grow older…No bottles to bring or food to mash when we go on adventures. No back-breaking diaper bags to haul around worrying about if I brought enough diapers. No strollers to use as a bumper car to push my way through crowded marketplaces. The fear of stained clothes eventually gave way to “meh, you can change when we get home.” Extra clothes on vacations? Please, just turn you underwear backwards then inside out and then backwards again and your set  for four days (just kidding, my girls have enough underwear to wear on our trips…but you get the point).

I will admit that I let myself live through an absent-minded world most days…. (What was I saying again?…Wait..What did you say? I can’t remember) and occasionally look for reminders to get by for the day. Unfortunately, not planning doesn’t work out well in a marriage or with three kids. As the based on “almost” true conversations suggests, it is imperative that I plan.

My daughters’ schooling will only get busier with tougher assignments and activities will for sure continue with an increase in time commitment. As my daughters get older, their different personalities are emerging more than ever, meaning those activities might possibly be divided three different ways.

 

I’m going back to school, my wife was promoted at work and we have dreams that won’t become a reality unless… planning becomes a priority…

I have skated by my whole life without planning and while I have learned a lot, I feel like I have missed out on a lot as well by not planning.

Ultimately, the LORD will decide the success or failure of plans. Proverbs 16:9 (ESV) says, “The heart of the man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” Proverbs 19:21 (ESV) says, “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.”

I do not want to be old and gray still dreaming about the what-if’s. I do not want to be left standing wondering life never happened while I still grew older I suppose it’s time to grow up a little more, and take planning a little more seriously.

 

 

(Funny side note, as if the LORD knew what I needed…all three of my daughters received a calendar in the mail… My wife received a calendar in the mail. I received a calendar from my work… hmm..I feel like there may be a connection here)

 

 

 

Too Cute To Correct

My youngest when she was two and having a hard time doing something:  OOFDA!

Mama, can I have some chocolick?
Can I use the chopstick? 

Why? We’re not eating. 

Because my lips hurt

Is it aftermoon?

After the sun begins to sleep in and the moon stays out longer, my three-year-old quickly grew accustomed to the change in seasons. 5 minutes after going to bed she comes out of her room and says:  Is it dark morning? 

When on a family vacation,  driving through the mountains,  rocking out to kids’ music,  one of my daughter’s interrupts our jam session by saying,  “Mama, daddy, my butt just burped.”

We were putting up our Christmas tree,  and our daughter says “Mama, Jack (our  dog) isn’t getting off the garlic.”. She was talking about the garland he was laying on. 

After learning about horse and buggy travel during school, my daughter asked her grandparents: Did you ride a horse and buggy when you were kids?

Daddy,  look at the padwin I made.             The what?                                                            The padwin, see, look: circle, square, circle, square…

Sock Monster

On a bright and hurried morning (who am I kidding, this happens quite frequently… I’ll blame the sock monster) all three of my daughters ended up having to wear mismatched socks. 

Someone laughed at the sight of them. To defend my daughters, I informed that someone, I couldn’t find any matches. That someone laughed again, “Why don’t you match them when you do laundry?”

You know,  that’s a great idea.  Let me just put this yellow one with that… wait,  not a match.  Let me try this pink…Nope… Ha, this white with that… Oofda, the sock monster strikes again. 

Convenient Loophole

“Daddy, can I bring some books in the car with me?” 

“Sure. ”

“I was thinking maybe 4 or 5?”

“No, just bring a couple. We won’t be in the car that long.”

We were on our way to grandma’s and grandpa’s house for lunch, about 25 minutes away. That is hardly enough time to read one chapter book, let alone two.  

Minutes later I see my oldest daughter bouncing out the door, wearing a giant smile carrying two chapter books in hand quickly followed by her 5-year-old sister innocently carrying… two more chapter books (books that conveniently belong to her older sister)…

Great!  We’re all set for the drive…

Wait,  wait,  wait just a second here. My 5-year-old  just started learning to read smaller words like THE, AND, WE. Now she’s tackling chapter books… I’m impressed…

Unless… Hold on let me pull the wool off of my eyes so I can see what’s really going on… 

Two chapter books plus two more equals four, but I specifically said two… I can even show you the rule in the Travel section of the Parental Guide Book Of Rules: Each child is allowed two books  when travel time  is under 30 minutes. 

See?  It says two books each… Wait. It doesn’t say what kind of books each child can bring nor does it say sisters can’t “bring” books that belong to other sisters… Isn’t that a convenient loophole? 

I know how to fix this: Okay girls no more books in the car.  

Heh, I fixed that one for sure. Loophole closed. 

Minutes later on a day dreamed thought,  we’re on a drive to nowhere in particular my head is pounding,  my eardrums are splitting and our  van is filled with off-key, high-pitched singing with cackled laughter following.

“Girls, girls,  quiet down please.  How about you girls quietly read your books? ”

More laughter, “Daddy,  we can’t.  You said no more books so we don’t have any. ”

Time to put the loophole back in the rule books. 

 Second Guessing

“Who’d you play with today? ”

“Nobody. ”
When the answers aren’t always straightforward,  our confidence in the final decision becomes overshadowed by thoughts of second-guessing followed by questions of what-If. 

Hindsight is 20/20 but the answers to hindsight are light years away. 

My wife and I agonized for about a year over the decision to send our 4-year-old (now 5) to kindergarten or keep her in preschool for another year.  She has one of those summer birthdays… The kind where she would be the oldest kid in class or the youngest kid…

We prayed about it. We heard advice from many people. 

Her preschool teachers said she would be ready. Her Sunday school teachers said she would be ready. 

Early birds said wait. Others said go for it. Being a smart girl who catches on quick,  we decided she wouldn’t benefit from a third year of preschool.  

With her growing so much from her two years in preschool and us feeling she was mentally and academically ready,  we went for it.  

Fearing the worst,  hoping for the best our 5-year-old set off to school. 

Never being away from home for more than a few hours I half expected to receive a call from the school telling me to come get my daughter because she’s having a melt down of epic proportions… 

We  had already prepared our daughter’s kindergarten teacher for our little squirmy, wormy who has a tendency to fall off her chair quite often. At one point,  our daughter’s preschool teachers would keep a tally on how many times she would fall off… 

“Sir,  come get your daughter, she’s too wiggly for kindergarten. .” 

No such calls have come.  

She’s excelling in school, studiously doing her homework,  even telling me about it before I ask. Listening and behaving well, helping her class receive good behavior rewards on a regular basis… Surely this is proof,  she is ready for kindergarten… 

Receiving a combination of 1’s (skills learned)  and 2’s (progressing skills) on her report card.  Yes! Yes! Yes, indeed!  She is ready. 

Me:How was school? 

Her:Good.

Me: Did you make any new friends?

Her: Well,  I played with someone but I don’t know her name.

Or

Well I tried playing with my friend but i couldn’t keep up.
Or, the tear jerker

Well,  I played by myself…

I wasn’t quite to the level of Job tearing apart his clothes,  with his heart in agony from losing everything,  but still my heart hurts for her when she comes home and says she played by herself.  

 I’ll ask her, “What about this friend or that friend?”
She’ll respond with “I don’t have time to chase them around.”

On one hand  I’m rather proud of her for not “chasing” friends around to get them to play with her.  Anyone that isn’t nice enough to. .. play with her back doesn’t deserve her time. 

On the other hand,  kindergarten is supposed to be a time of making life long friends and having days filled with laughter and joy…

 I mean, you still talk to your best friend from kindergarten right? Reminiscing about that one time you and your friend did that one thing,  that one time… wait  you can’t remember?  Huh, me either. 

One particular day,  my 5-year-old had a meltdown.  

I’m thinking she had enough of playing by herself or that some kid bullied her. 

Second-guessing and what-if come banging on the door of self-doubt; did we make the right decision?  Is she too “young” for the other kids to play with her?  What if she doesn’t make any friends?  

Meanwhile,  I begin to roll up my sleeves,  fully prepared to put on my super-hero dad outfit (I made one for Halloween) and bring down the hammer on these little pipsqueaks if they made my little girl cry… Keep in mind that we had consecutive late nights leading up to this meltdown. 

Tears rolling,  heart-melting lip pout coming, 

Her:  I wanted you to carry my backpack. (Whose in charge of that hammer when I cause her to cry? )

As my mind toys with thoughts of “maybe we should have done this, or maybe we should have done that, “, my wife simply asks our  5-year-old, “Are you okay when you play by yourself? ”

“Yeah.”

Huh, really?  My heart is hurting for her but she’s okay… Is that okay? 

James 1:19 (NIV) says “19 My dear brothers and sisters,  take note of this:  Everyone should be quick to listen,  slow to speak and slow to become angry. ”

Quick to listen. .. slow to speak…Let me put that in my heart. 

As I am in the slow process of learning how God has wired my daughters,  I need to step back and realize that my 5-year-old will be okay if she plays by herself on some days.

Friends are good.  Friends are a healthy part of growing up. She has friends and enjoys being around them but she also enjoys quiet moments to decompress from the day’s adventures. 

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV) says, “5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.”

  Maybe it should be time to put the second-guessing and the what-if questions away. 

This says that if I trust in the LORD,  He will direct me… direct my family. .. direct my daughter.

Maybe,  she will be okay.

Coupon Please

After throwing a hodge podge of a meal together for dinner (trying to eat all the leftovers), I made myself a salad complete with crunchy, flavorful croutons…. My 3-year-old looks over at me and says, “Daddy, can I have a coupon?”