Monkey See Monkey Do

We may all be familiar with the saying monkey see, monkey do. Meaning some, most of us, emulate the behavior we see around us. Particularly if the person we are mimicking has a strong personality or authority over us.

This is never more true than with children. Every single day kids are acting like the people around them. Trying to figure out how to be in different situations. I think this is the most scary thing about parenting.

I know that I have some really great qualities. I also know I have some pretty great flaws. Like my temper (0-100 in about 3 seconds), the way I handle stress (I like to avoid it and tend to hide out with my shows) and my obsessiveness (once I start something it needs to be finished). I see all three of these things in my kids. My oldest is a snapper like me. The middle one is obsessive and my youngest is a teller too.

So those three little monkeys are my warning. I desire nothing but the best for my kids and that they would learn from me that things could be done differently. That we don’t have to always take every characteristic, good or bad, and mimic.

It’s hard to overcome what we observe and take into ourselves. But we can take steps to analyze ourselves and change the course of our direction with accountability and grace.



Bedtime, or as I like to call it, Dread time

It’s 8:51PM EST in my neck of the woods. I just finished putting the kids to bed. Anyone with a child will tell you that once your child can start communicating with you, or responding back to your communication with them, bed time becomes a struggle. The demands and promises being thrown around are nothing less than what a peace treaty negotiation must be like at the United Nations. I get why we all need a glass of wine, piece of chocolate or an episode of Scandal. Anything that requires that much work deserves a reward. 

With the older two they don’t always put up a fight. Once they learned how to read, things got a little better. Now they can go read in bed for about fifteen minutes. But then it’s the just let me finish this page or let me finish this comic I have read at least one thousand times and I forget how it ends. Or now that you are here to tuck me in, I need a drink, or I have to go to the bathroom. Oh by the way it’s pajama day at school and I want to wear the ones that are at the bottom of the laundry basket. Or maybe there is a long list of grievances of unmet promises that were made throughout the day. I have now learned to say we MAY do something and not we WILL do something. The middle child is especially good at remembering everything. We call him our elephant brain child. 

There can be sweet moments, but by the end of the forty-five minute struggle, it’s time for bed. With a capital “B”. 

The littlest one is the trickiest. Because she still has that sweet baby voice and big blue eyes. She even leans her head to the side oh so coquettishly and makes here sweet little requests. Just one more song, I need all my stuffed animals, I need to go to the bafroom. All said in her sweet little sing song. And if we dare deny her it’s instant tears and the dragon emerges. But none of that lasts long. We just shut the door and walk away. 

At the end of it all I know there will come a day I will miss this, but for now, my husband and I are in a battle royale with the little squirts. We will be victorious! 

Being Replaced

Random Tidbit: I don’t like driving downtown in a big city. It makes me nervous.


I knew the day would come when my daughter would grow up and meet someone, but I never thought it would happen this soon.

It was a day like any other day. We were on summer break, the older two had played pretty well, but the youngest one was having a hard time. Her brothers were playing their Lego games and that meant she couldn’t be with them. I was trying to make dinner. But if you have ever been in a house with a toddler around 4:30 PM, you know that dinner can be, let’s say difficult.

As I was chopping up chicken for dinner, my daughter was trying to climb up my leg. This was not working for either of us. I looked frantically around for a distraction for my little cherub and my eyes lit on the magic black box in our living room. I washed my hands, grabbed my daughter and the remote.

I found Sesame Street on Netflix and this is where my daughter met her new obsession. There is a little red puppet on Sesame Street. Perhaps you’ve heard of him? He has his own show and line of toys. Yes ladies and gentlemen, I’m talking about Elmo. He’s the love of my daughter’s life that she never knew she was looking for. It only took two episodes of Elmo’s World for her to have the opening theme song memorized. And now, when ever she see’s a television or my iPad she starts to ask for Elmo. And I fear that with every passing day her addiction to the little red fur ball grows.

I can’t really blame my daughter for the glee she feels when Elmo comes on the tv. He’s just so bright and sweet. Full of giggles and funny dances. He’s exactly what she’s looking for. Who can compete with a puppet dancing to a kazoo?

At least Elmo is educational.



A letter to my son

Random tidbit: how is at an eyelash under my eyelid feels like a needle is being dragged across my eye ball?!

Oh my son

Walking with you out on that ball field the first day of camp, I could feel the tension in your shoulder blades. I know you were scared and nervous about all those other kids. Seeing them more confident and skilled at something you were just picking up made me scared and nervous too.
When you turned and told me you didn’t want to stay, I knew what you were really saying is that you didn’t want me to go. So I offered to stay by the dugout so you could see me when you got nervous and needed a reminder that you were loved.

When I saw you leave the field half way thu the first day I new you were feeling overwhelmed by all the information. So we took a break and you got some water. But I also knew that you were starting to let your fear of failure keep you from the joy of learning something new. And that’s no way to live, my son.

I know it was hard for you to go back out to the field. And I know I seemed tough and maybe not so nice, but I also know that you would have regretted not finishing that first day of camp.

Watching you walk out onto the field on the second day of camp, you had a spring in your step. You were excited to get back out there. I was excited for you too. Seeing you dive for the ball and then throw with all your might, there was such determination and then pride when your throw made it to the receiving player.

So when you get in a new situation and you feel overwhelmed, please know that I am always here, on the sidelines cheering you on. And when you feel like you aren’t enough for the task at hand I want you to remember that you can ask for help and learn what you need to learn to do the job.

I love you my son.


What it’s like on the outside

Random tidbit: garlic and honey is a great cold remedy.

I’m sitting here locked outside of my house. I usually leave the front door unlocked when I go running, but this time I locked it. I figure the army of plastic toys and Legos would cause any thief to alarm my husband when he steps on one of our toys. But i didnt do that today. I locked the front door on my way out of it. And today I’m locked out. Thankfully, it’s pretty nice this morning. There’s a warm breeze and the birds are chirping and singing to one another.
Would I be so nonchalant about being outside if it was raining? If it was forty degrees and a brisk wind was blowing? No, I would probably have started ringing the doorbell. I would have been to busy alternating between calling and texting to even write this post. I wouldn’t even think about the three kids and husband who need their sleep to have a good day. I would have been so focused on my own discomforts that I would take everyone else’s feelings out of the equation.
Unfortunately, today is an anomaly. I normally do function emotionally like I’m in the middle of a thunderstorm locked outside of my house. Yelling and screaming so loudly in my emotional distress, that I can’t even here those calling out for me to come back. I get so inwardly focused I miss out on the lights that are coming toward me. Sometimes, my emotional outbursts last long beyond the storm and I find myself still wandering around like the wind is still buffeting me. I miss out on the wonder that can be created in the wake of the storm. I miss out on the rainbows and the bright green of the grass that are my children’s laughter. I miss out on the warmth of the sun that is my husband’s embrace. I can’t find the shelter that is my Savior’s love when I get so consumed by my personal storm.
Sometimes I think the umbrella of protection won’t come this time. I think this time I have gone to far. That has yet to be the case. There has always been someone to usher back inside the house. Or offer me a warm drink to take the chill off after the storms subsides. I pray the same for you. That you would find the shelter and comfort when you need it. That you would be the shelter and comfort when someone else does.


Parenting Series, part 2: It’s not always instinct

Random tidbit: I have a compulsive need to rid my phone of the little numbers that pop up on the home screen. I know I’m not alone.

I remember the day my first little bambino was born. I was in a nice white room with my doctor and the nurses. My husband was sitting in a recliner with a cold wash cloth over his head because he had almost passed out. They handed me my little mister and I was so happy from the drugs and tidal wave of endorphins that comes in after birth to wipe out whatever pain and despair I may have experienced with my labor pains. It was a beautiful moment.

There are some things I wish someone would have told me when that first bundle of blue was handed to me. Maybe someone did and I don’t remember. Or maybe these are only lessons that can be learned thru experience. But I think that a list would have been nice to have. Maybe a heads up.

1. Babies change your life. In all kinds of interesting ways. If you are crazy and unorganized, your baby will give you a reason to pause the madness and bring some order to your world. If you are a well organized and meticulous type that baby will bring a level of cray-cray that will rock your world.

2. Parenting isn’t always instinctual. There were (and are) days that my instinct was to run away and hide. So I did. What my kids needed was for me to be there.  There are so many days it’s easier for me to just let the kids have their way (even my almost-2 year old) but in some cases that would be harmful to let the kids have their way. Like when my little miss wants to roam the neighborhood by herself.

3. No mattter how many books you read or blogs you read, there will be moments of absolute failure in parenting. And somehow, we have to pick up and keep going. I can hide behind my “expert” voice and try and pretend my parenting has always been AMAZING, but that would be a lie from the pit of hell. I have days I fail as a parent. I have days when I have hit my kids in anger. I have days when I yell or avoid my kids. These are the days when I also experience a grace so rich and pure that I know it’s a gift from God straight to my wounded soul.

4. No matter how many books or blogs you read, there will be days of absolute VICTORY in parenting. The days that everyone is going to bed with a full tummy and a sleepy smile. The days when I can say yes more than I say no. The moment we can all sit on our sofa reading books while the rain falls outside. Or watching my big boys sweetly take the hand of their little miss on an adventure, these are my moments of victory.

5. It doesn’t matter what other people are doing to parent well, it only matters what you think is parenting well. This was a hard lesson for me. It’s still hard for me. I tend to compare (ok, judge) myself to others. It’s part of my nature, I long to know I am doing things “right”. I want a list and check mark by each box. But that’s not how parenting works. We all parent differently. What works for my family won’t necessarily work for yours. Or vice versa. Let’s embrace the differences instead of trying to convince each other we are right.



A series about Mothering, Part 1

Random tidbit: It’s amazing how many runners are out now that the weather has gotten a little nicer.

Six days ago I wrote this. It was a low point. I posted the link on Facebook. I was hesitant to do that because it’s not in my natural realm of instinct to share those types of feelings. But I did and God reminded me again how sweet His body can be. The Lord also gave me some really slow and gentle days with my little brood, and that lifted up my heart with encouragement to keep working thru this for them. I hope that encourages you. To share with one another. To reach out when it seems easier to keep things tucked inside. Thank-you for your encouragement and love thru this process of healing.

About Mothers

Four days ago was Mother’s Day. That one day out of the year the government, or maybe Hallmark (R) decided that we mothers, who have spent our time loving and nurturing the little and not so little children in our homes, should get a day off. In response to this glorious day, someone asked a question similar to this on Facebook:

What have you learned about mothering since you had your first child?

This is a list of a few of the things I have learned since I had my first child.

1. I should shut the garage door before I get my walking baby out of the car. Otherwise the child will dart off down the driveway with the speed and stealth of a ninja.

2. Despite my adamant stance against my children watching television, I have become so grateful for the distraction of television and video games that I would personally  pay the salary of Nintendo’s CEO. Not really, I could never afford that because I have three kids.

3. My life is rarely quiet. But I’m going a little bit deaf in each of my ears so the noise doesn’t seem as loud.

4. All those sweet and more experienced ladies in church, at the grocery store and Target were right, the years do go by fast. But there are some days that just go on for-ev-er.

5. Eventually, the hurts can’t be fixed with just a band-aid and a kiss on the knee. But I can always be there to listen and give a hug when needed.

6. I am amazingly good at calculating my faults as a parent, but not that great at recounting the victories.

7. My ‘backbone’ has gotten a little weaker with each child. I let a lot more things slide. Like my kids don’t always wear shoes outside anymore and sometimes the baby walks around with a small object in her hand. That ends up in her mouth. And then is spit back out into my hand.

8. Kids need freedom. There are sometimes I have to let go. Do you hear that whump whump whump? That’s the sound of my propeller slowing down and not hovering so closely.

9. When the kids find a dead animal on the playground, that’s when it’s time for our family to leave.

10. Let other people invest in your kids. It’s a gift for your kids to learn and hear about other perspectives. The more we learn about each other, the more we see we are the same. It’s a gift to you to realize that you don’t have to be everything for your child. Raising children is a community experience.

There’s a top ten list for you. You can print it out and put it on your fridge if you want.