Friday, October 16, 2009

A Fright in the Night

This post was submitted in Scribbit's monthly write-away contest for October.

It was a quarter 'til midnight and I was lying in bed, trying to go to sleep. Then I heard it ... the sound that could be innocuous, or could be the beginning of a long, scary night. I waited with baited breath for more clues as to what my night would hold. The rustling continued, but on its own that was still innocuous. In a minute or two, my fears were realized as the rustling was joined by cries ... the irrational wailings of an almost-4-year-old who has awoken in the middle of the night!

My husband tried to handle the situation, but I could soon tell that the wails were not going to be stopping soon. These cries could have been the result of a night terror, or a nightmare, or anything, but the child was clearly not fully awake and would not be consoled. I decided to take over so that my husband could go back to sleep, since he did need to get up earlier than me in the morning. I tried to hold and rock the wailer, but I soon realized that he was wet. (He is potty-trained, but still needs training pants when sleeping.) He had refused to go potty before bed, and had already filled up his training pants and leaked onto the bed, pillow, blanket ... you get the idea. I stripped him first, and once he was clean and in new training pants I moved him to the floor. Then I stripped and re-made the bed. I think that this bothered him because his new sheets were white. (His now-wet sheets were blue, and he liked them because it is like "sleeping in the water".) It was hard to comprehend what was actually being said, I mean screamed and cried, so this was just a guess. (He did comment on it the following morning, though. "Blue sheets are like sleeping in the water, yellow sheets are like sleeping in the sun, and white sheets are like sleeping in nothing.")

I do know that he was upset that his wet blanket had been taken away. It was replaced, but the new blanket was unacceptable. At least, it was unacceptable until the following morning. When he saw it then he was very excited about the "new, fuzzy blanket" and began playing with it immediately.

At any rate, I couldn't get him to calm down, and he was getting dangerously close to waking up his older brother. That would have been even scarier, so I took the wailer to another room where I could close the door and try to calm him down. He likes to have his back and face rubbed, so I tried that. In his highly agitated state, however, he did not want for me to touch him. So, I just lay down beside him and let him do his loud, annoying thing. At one point he seemed to become aware of himself and started to wipe his nose on a sheet. I quickly said, "Uh-uh," and he stopped and looked at me. I think that the screaming even stopped. I asked if he wanted a tissue to wipe his nose and he said yes. I got him one, and after his nose was wiped, he quietly lay down and cuddled up next to me. This was the same child who had been loud, inconsolable, and untouchable less than a minute before! What had happened?

I pondered this question as I tried to get comfortable and go back to sleep. I hadn't done anything to help. I just waited patiently and quietly. For some reason, he seemed to become aware that he had a problem that needed some attention - a runny nose. He tried to fix it on his own, but, thankfully, allowed me to take care of it in a better way. He then let me show my love for him in a more practical way, by getting close to me and letting me cuddle and caress him.

As I thought about this, it reminded me of my own relationship with God. I have (and probably will again) become angry, sad, irrational, etc. with the mess of my life. It could be because of circumstances out of my control or it could be because of my own bad choices, but the result is still like lying in a wet bed. It's uncomfortable so first I pitch a fit about it, but then that doesn't really help. It only causes more problems - like not making sense to those around me and a snotty nose. I try to clean up the mess myself, but being smack dab in the middle of it can make it hard to clean it all up. All the time, God is waiting patiently there. He has offered to help, but I have pushed Him away and said I can do it myself. I am smart enough to figure it out. I have enough self-discipline to do it on my own. He knows the truth, and He offers help, but He waits. Eventually, I realize that I can't do it. I turn to Him, and He wipes my nose and dries my tears. He holds me. He loves me. I can finally rest in His peace.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Couple of updates

Evan has become quite attached to his football. I am constantly reminding him that we don't throw the ball in the house. (Of course, it's been so rainy here that he hasn't been able to play outside much.) He thinks that he would make a good quarterback (and I do, too) and that the quarterback is the most important person on the team. (Have I ever mentioned that we don't have to worry about building his self-esteem?) He keeps talking about when he can play football with a real team - when he is 7. He knows that we missed our chance this season and we will have to wait until next year. He is already discussing which team he will be on next year, too. He has a friend playing this year, so I guess he has learned some of the names. Speaking of teams - he is learning about the difference between NFL and NCAA teams, but this is a harder lesson for him. He has gotten several books from the library about football, so he is also learning a lot about the history of the game, the positions, the plays, and some of the players. He has already decided that he wants a football jersey for Christmas, but which jersey he wants keeps changing. He has also added a real (full-size) football to his "want-list". He didn't spend all of his birthday money yet, so I think he is considering using some of it for a new football. For now though, he is staying attached to his smaller one. He even holds (cradles) it while he is doing his homework.

Evan also received a school assignment last week to make a restaurant (using boxes or other materials readily available at our house). I swear that he made the decisions and did most of the work, but I did help some. Some days we worked well together, other days not so much. But we survived and he had a finished project by the day it was due! (The colors were supposed to be green and orange, but our printer needs a new color ink cartridge.)
Friday, October 9, 2009

Yay, Evan!

Today was the Awards' Assembly for the first 6 weeks of school at Evan's school. He received three awards today - perfect attendance, all "E" honor roll (which is equivalent to all "A" honor roll), and Pearson Pride. The last one is for "academics, actions, and attitude" and was given to one boy and one girl in each class. He was so excited, and we are so happy for him! We are even trying to take him out to eat now to celebrate!
Sunday, October 4, 2009

The rains came down, and the floods came up ...

on our first family camping trip!

Other titles I thought about included:
It rained and poured for 40 long days-ies, days-ies
It's raining, it's pouring, the mommy's not snoring
When it rains, it pours (and then the tent leaks)

So, as you might guess from those clues, our little family went on its first camping trip together this weekend. (Steve and I had each been with our parents as kids, but even we hadn't been camping together yet.) We went with some other families, and really had a great time. The weather started out beautiful! We got to the state park on Friday and set up our tents (after finally finding two suitable sites side-by-side). The last family got in after dark, so after they were all set up we grilled some hot dogs and s'mores over the campfire. My guys had done that before, but they still thought it was special with their friends there. That night was kind of chilly, but it really was great for camping.

The next morning we got up (somewhat leisurely) and a couple of the parents took all of the kids to a program at the park to learn about night creatures. Some of the older kids were a little hesitant at first, but they all had a great time once they got there. After lunch (and the next family arrived) we all went fishing. We went to a kids' pond and caught some kid-sized fish and a couple of turtles. Most of the kids caught at least one thing (though most had the help if an adult). The kids thought it was great and it was Evan's favorite part of the trip. Evan caught the first turtle (which made me very sad because I helped him do it and because we didn't get the hook out of the turtle), and he reeled in a baby catfish. Joel caught a little bream (or something).

We started getting a little concerned about the clouds that afternoon and evening. We went ahead with dinner preparations, and the food finished cooking about the time the rain started. Our campsite had chicken packets and bread cooked on sticks. The other site had shish-kabobs and corn. One of the women also made a peach cobbler which we all shared. We all shared the fire, too, because by that point it was the only one still going. We were all gathered around that fire together anyway, talking and "chillaxin". We ate together (10 adults and 10 kids) around a picnic table and under a canopy.

The rain stopped after a while, and we decided to tough it out. One tent was leaking and most of that family went home because almost everything inside the tent was soaked. Everybody else decided to stay, hoping that the rain would hold off. it didn't, and every tent ended up leaking or having water seep into the bottom. We broke camp pretty quickly this morning and headed for the nearest McDonald's.

That might sound like a disastrous first camping experience, but I have to say that it was really pretty good. As someone else first pointed out, everyone's spirits remained pretty high throughout it all. All of the kids did really well (and we are talking kids as young as 2), and we all worked and joked together to get everything loaded up and headed home. The kids had a great time playing at McDonald's and we enjoyed getting some hot food.

It was nice to get home, but now we are trying to decide what to do with our wet tent. We would put it up and let it dry out, but the forecasts are predicting rain every day of this upcoming week. We did get the clothes washed and dried. We also had a nice hot dinner (thanks to Steve). We even enjoyed some indoor s'mores since the boys went to bed before we ate some last night.

Steve has commented that this experience has given him a new sense of compassion for those who don't have shelter. I have to admit that I had not thought about that until he said it, and it has made me think. We are so blessed! As he pointed out, even though our tent was leaking it was large and we were able to avoid the wet spots and stay dry and out of the rain. A lot of people don't even have that. Then we were able to come home, shower, wash all of our belongings, cook hot food, sleep in comfy beds, etc. We (I) do take these things for granted. I hope that I will be able to have more compassion for people who don't have these luxuries - or even basic necessities - in the future.
Friday, October 2, 2009

Morning funnies

Who needs to read the comics when you get to live in one?!? Take for example this conversation from this morning.

Steve is putting on his new Tevas while Joel watches. (Just a little background - I had given Steve a fair amount of teasing for purchasing the Tevas. He said, "Don't you think they're cool?" I replied, "They're cool. I'm just not sure that you are cool enough for them." - or something like that. So that was a few days ago when he bought them. Now back to today and he is putting them on for the first time.)

Joel: Why are you putting on Mom's shoes?
Steve: These aren't Mom's; they're mine.
Joel: Well, they look like Mom's shoes.
Steve (very "maturely"): Oh yeah, well at least I have shoes on.
Joel (very quickly): that look like Mom's. (at which point I bust out laughing)
Steve (again, very maturely): Well, that shirt looks like your brother's.
Joel (again, very quickly): Well, it is. (at which point I completely lose it)

Joel likes being a clown so upon hearing me laughing he added, "That was a good joke, huh, Dad?" Steve could only agree (with a smile on his face).
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