Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Humorous Alternative

We were sitting in church this morning, waiting for the service to start. Gracie was thumbing through her Bible, looking at the pictures and asking questions. She came across a picture of Adam and Eve being banished from the garden, with the angels and their burning swords barring re-entrance.

She asked me to read the story to her, and when I was finished we asked her why Adam and Eve had been banished. She said it was because they disobeyed God. Then, in true Grace fashion (and I'm sure based on her own experience with discipline associated with disobedience), she said,

"God could have just spanked them or something."

Hmmm. I wonder how that would have felt?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Morning Routine Interrupted

When I woke up this morning, I was so glad that it was the end of the work week. Although I work an abbreviated schedule to be able to get home for the kids in the afternoon, my job is essentially unchanged. I look forward to Friday just like the next person. As I showered, I thought about the end of the day, and what we might do with the kids in the evening.

I got dressed and made it to the kitchen to begin making an egg sandwich and a fresh cup of coffee to go. Nathan was already at the table eating his cereal, and Trevor was shouting down the hall for Gracie to GET UP RIGHT NOW THIS IS THE THIRD TIME I'VE CALLED YOU WHAT IS TAKING SO LONG?? This is pretty much our standard morning procedure around here. Nathan hops out of bed (actually he's often awake and playing in his room by the time I fall out of bed after the 8th snooze) and is ready to take on the world.

Grace? Well, she takes after her mother (and her grandfather, aunt and uncle) in that she needs to be awakened gently. Soft words and strokes on her back to bridge the gap between sleep and wakefulness. Low murmurs in her ear about getting up and reminders of what the day holds for her. If protocol is not strictly followed, we will have a cranky bear child roaming the halls unable to find her clothes or eat breakfast without spilling something.

That sort of procedure works great on the weekends when we have endless amounts of time to waste spend, but not so much during the week when everyone is trying to get out of the house on time. We do a sort of abbreviated version of the wake-up program, but the results are often less than satisfactory. For instance, she's not really cranky with the abbreviated version, but she is as slow as molasses in January. It requires a minimum of three reminders for every task set before her. Getting dressed. Brushing her teeth. Putting on her shoes. Eating her breakfast. Making her bed. It's painful really.

Anyway, it was no surprise that Gracie was not at the breakfast table with her brother, so I continued to cook my egg with one eye on the clock to be sure I wouldn't be late. Gracie finally came stumbling into the kitchen with Medusa hair and a sweet sleepy look on her face, and sat down at the table. I went back to her bedroom to lay out her clothes (Trevor lives in mortal fear of putting outfits together for her), and to retrieve her hairbrush and bow.

As I came into the kitchen, Trevor was leaning over her with the thermometer. She had a low-grade fever and said that her throat was burning. When Gracie complains of anything, I usually take it pretty seriously. This is the same child who had strep throat and a) never complained of any pain, and b) ate crackers in the doctors office as they told me that the strep had caused scarlet fever. She has a very high pain tolerance, so any time she admits to pain I listen.

So now I have the day off so I can take her to the doctor before the weekend gets started in case she needs a prescription for an antibiotic. Not an altogether unpleasant thought because I always enjoy time alone with Grace. As an added bonus, there is no vomiting involved with this illness so we'll get to spend the day watching girly princess movies and slurping down Popsicles.

Good times.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

First Day of School

Here we are. The first day of school in a new town. This is a new experience for me because up to this point, Nathan has attended school in my hometown. Did I mention it was a small town? So no matter who his teacher was, I knew them either directly or in a roundabout way. My mom taught school in the district for almost 30 years, so she knew many of the teachers and my mother in law works for the district as well, so there were never any surprises.

It was comfortable. It was well within my comfort zone. It was as natural as breathing to send him to the school where I once played on the monkey bars and chased friends under the trees. The classrooms still smelled exactly the same and the halls were like old friends welcoming me back. (Except that I felt like Andre the giant...were the desks really that small?)

Moving to Tulsa and anticipating a new school that was a total unknown was scary for me. I knew that Nathan would be missing his old friends, and that Gracie would be surrounded by strangers. I was afraid that they would not want to go into their classrooms and had visions of bullies picking on them and making them miserable.

The first inkling I had that everything was going to be all right was when Nathan's friend Savannah from next door came over to walk the kids down to the bus stop. She didn't have to do that. She could have just walked down alone, but she took the time to include Nathan and Grace. We thanked her for coming over, but told her that we were driving the kids to school today.

When we made it to school and down to Gracie's Kindergarten class, I barely had a chance to snap a picture of her with the teacher before she ran in the room without a second glance in our direction. She was completely at ease and ready to start her day. It was bittersweet because for a fleeting moment I wished for a tear or at least a clinging hug, but then I came to my senses and was ecstatic that she was so well-adjusted.

It was time to walk with Nathan to his third grade class and strangely enough, that's when I got a little teary. He walked well ahead of us with a purpose. He knew where his classroom was, and he was excited to get there. He didn't need (or want) to hold a hand, and he looked so big. The lump in my throat went away when I snapped a picture of him with his teacher and he waved goodbye.

As Trevor and I walked out of the building together, I realized that we had just begun another season in our lives. Both children are in school now, and they are growing up more quickly that I like to think about. Time marches on and there is nothing we can do to stop it, so it's better to just embrace the moments as they come and thank God for the blessings that we have been given.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Conversations From the Backseat

I was driving home with the kids the other day, and we passed a large truck with animals in the back. The following conversation ensued:

Nathan: Hey! That truck had animals in the back! (Brief pause) I wonder where they're going? (Another pause) I'll bet they're going to the pound.

Grace: What's the pound?

Nathan: It's where if people don't want to buy the animals they kill them.

Xandra: (Stifling laughter and trying not to interrupt)

Grace: That's not very nice.

Nathan: (Earnestly) It's okay. It doesn't hurt them. They just give them a shot and then they fall asleep forever.

Xandra: (Still trying not the interrupt but just about to have an aneurysm from holding in the laughter)

Grace: (After a loonngggg pause and then quite sadly) I didn't know they did that to dogs and cats.

It was all I could do at that point to stay in my lane. It's probably not as funny reading it, but it was hilarious listening to their little private conversation. (Disclaimer: I did have a conversation at a later time about what happens at the pound and why.)