Sometimes my grass is greener

Ever since we have begun even the thought of homeschooling, my first reaction was “Oh no.  They will miss out on         ” (fill in with many many different things).  I realize that comparing myself or my family to others is at its worst downright sinful and at its best a joy thief.

But sometimes….. sometimes you get a glimpse into the other side and realize that perhaps you have it good.  As in “my grass is greener” kind of good.

This past weekend Mini Man and Ariel tried a free class of gymnastics for the first time here in California.  They have been to this facility several times, so the comfort level is high, but neither kid actually took classes here before.  They were thrilled and I was excited for them.

I was a proud momma watching them high five their new coaches and tumble and roll on big fat play equipment.  I was among the huge bubbling over Saturday morning crowd of fellow happy mommas.  Well, some of them were happy.  In the middle of this joyous parental feeling I wound up in the middle of a conversation between two other moms whose children go to the same school.  The conversation was mostly positive, but often directed its ugly head to the negative Nancy side of school politics.

This wasn’t the first time I had heard this exact type of conversation.  It was just the most recent.

A few nights before I left Minnesota, I was lucky enough to hang out with a few girls that I got to know over the summer.  Several of those moms have kids in the same school.  The conversation veered towards gossip about the principle and his extra marital affair.  Everybody had a different reaction to this scenario and the fact that we were even discussing it.

I however whispered that I was glad I was homeschooling.

And I am.

Instead of comparing what me or my kids are missing out on, I began basking in the joy of what I do have.  Or rather what I don’t have.

I don’t have to worry about competition (momma or kid wise).  I don’t have to worry that my daughter will love her teacher more than me.  I don’t have to sign up to be apart of the political minefield that is the PTA.  I don’t have to go to parent/teacher nights and be sad that I missed it when she made that project.  I don’t have to worry about carpools.  I don’t have to get up super early or wake up my napping infants to drop off/pick up my kids from school.

I get to stay out of the drama.

Really there is a lot to be thankful for as a homeschooling momma.  Things might change and that will be ok.  I’ll adapt.  But for right now I’m going to be thankful.

You can’t steal my joy.

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Country Rules

Country living has its perks.  Clean air, room to run around, old fashioned values, friendly neighbors…  Well, some neighbors.

This past week Music Man and I were up late as usual (we are total night owls), and heard a loud BAM BAM BAM.  Music Man jumped up and ran to the window.  I yelled “get the light!”.  Music Man was gifted a crazy powerful spotlight for his birthday this year and he loves it.  In fact he uses it on a nightly basis to see if there are deer in our yard sleeping.  I swear I think the poor deer are saying ‘yes yes we are here old man.  Now quit it with your light, we are trying to sleep!’.

Well this night we were super glad to have this spotlight.  Why?  To catch the young punks who were bashing in our mailbox.  MM shines his bad boy light and all we heard was screeching and ‘Aaaaahhh’ from several teenagers/young men as they peeled away from our house a la Dukes of Hazard style.

Then here was the conversation that went down between Music Man and I.

Me “That sucks!”

MM “I wish I had a shotgun so I could have shot them”.

Me “SHOOT THEM????!!!  You don’t want to go to jail for a mailbox!”

MM “It’s not going to kill them.  But it will hurt”

Me “How badly will it hurt?!”  (I’m imagining a big gaping hole in a poor teenage boys chest at this point.)

MM “It will burn their a** which is what they need.”

Me “Uh ok” (I’m clearly confused)

MM (Sensing that I am not getting it) “A shotgun bullet has a bunch of bb pellets in it.  It mostly just stings.”

Me “So it doesn’t kill them?”

MM “Well it could if you were really close but we aren’t close enough at all to do that”

Me “Yes but couldn’t you still go to jail?”

MM “Nope.  Country rules.”

Well this is what we found in the morning.

IMG_6606

Was this really necessary?  I guess one hit wasn’t enough to get their rocks off.

I just might be convinced to settle up with some Country Rules.

*It should be noted that Music Man is well acquainted with Country Rules because he himself was administered this healthy dose of terrible teenage medicine while doing jerk things to neighbors growing up.  Guess a little sting helps put your brain back in your head*

**I don’t actually support real violence towards neighbor kids.  But I do support a 1950’s mentality where a neighbor goes to their neighbor and chews out that Denis the Menace kid who decided that throwing their baseball into their neighbors window on purpose, gets you a big dose of punishment.  And if that punishment should sting on the tush, then so be it.**

Dalmatian life lessons

Ariel is about to turn 5.  She is in a serious nurturing stage.  Perhaps its due to me constantly bringing home babies or perhaps it’s because God simply gave her a sweet spirit.  Either way she babies her stuffed dogs like they are actual children.  It’s so precious it actually hurts.

I found a gem in the garage of a dalmatian puppy toy that I thought she would love to play with, so I offered it to her.  She responded with “Well I don’t know mom (she calls me mom like a teenager. ugh!).  My other mommy puppy would be ok with [the dalmatian puppy] but Aurora (the ‘baby’ puppy) would be scared of [the dalmatian puppy] because she looks different.

WHOA.

Gut check.  Where was this coming from?  My children happen to be especially blessed to have what I call a ‘rainbow family’.  Some cousins are half black and half white and some cousins are half Filipino and half white.  It’s a fantastic model to teach kids that all kids/humans are the same even though God made us different, like the color of our hair, the color of our eyes and yes even the color of our skin.  We are all unique and different and yet the same.  We are all God’s created works of art.  And frankly, because the lesson is so obvious I never thought I’d really have to teach about racism.  I thought we were free and clear of this hard life lesson.  Guess I was wrong.

So to hear this out of her mouth shocked me.  I immediately sat down and talked to her.  Important to note, I didn’t lecture.  Instead I asked questions.  I wanted to find out where her heart was at.  Was she really scared of different-than-her-looking people?

Mommy “Why would Aurora [puppy] be scared?”

Ariel “Because she looks different”

M “Do you think Aurora should be scared because [the dalmatian dog] looks different?”

Ariel (pause) “No.  Cleo (the mommy puppy) would be fine playing with her”

M “Well that’s good.  I think the dalmatian puppy would like that.  Do you [Ariel] think that the dalmatian puppy is scary?  Do you think Aurora and the dalmatian puppy could play together?”

Ariel (pause)  “Yah I think they could play together”

M “I think they could too.  It’s always nice to make friends even when friends are different”

And just like that Ariel went inside with her new-found friend as though the whole world hadn’t shifted.  It’s easy to see our children as innocent little babies.  They are our babies.  However, I was reminded that these children, my children, are not just children.  They are little people who will grow into full fledge adults who must face this grim ugly world.  And unfortunately this ugly world includes catastrophic issues such as race hate.

Forget racism.  That is far too easy of a word.   Race hate.  Skin hate.  Different hate.  People hate.  Puppy hate.  It’s all the same.  It’s all hate.  And that is not what I want to instill in my family.  Because at this house we love God and others.  Jesus called for us to love Him with all of our strength, mind and heart, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.  Pretty simple and yet extraordinarily difficult.

Today I was glad that I was presented with an opportunity to talk to my daughter and glimpse into her heart and see that while it isn’t perfectly angelic and pure, it is moldable and teachable and today I got the chance to show her God’s grace with a little help from a black and white furry friend.

“Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”  John 13:34-35

Advocate

This week my baby girl had her 9 10 month check up.  (so we were late… whoops)

Normally I am simply excited to see how she has grown (or not grown that much, my baby is a peanut).  But this time I had things that I really wanted to accomplish with the pediatrician.  Bradyn has been dealing with eczema for months and months and it is incredibly heartbreaking watching her scratch so much and so often that I can never have her wear just a onesie.  I once had to be called into our church’s nursery because she was scratching so much that she had caused major rashes on her little legs and was nearly bleeding because of it.  Horrifying.

But as my sweet baby was getting the once over and I was trying to communicate with her doctor, I realized that I was not being heard.  It was extraordinarily frustrating to try and deliver a message that says “Doctor please help me!”, and the doctor is ignoring you.  He just kept on with the usual remedies that I already know.

keep her nails short
lukewarm 5 minute baths
watch what she eats

None of these things were helpful.  We were already doing these things. 

I left feeling extremely frustrated, but more importantly I learned a lesson.

Bradyn is counting on ME and her DADDY to be her voice.  We have to protect her because nobody else will.

And then almost like an angel intervention, my mom called and said that she had been doing some research on eczema and discovered some gems that I think I will be trying out.

Eczema news update: A study published in the May 2009 issue of Pediatrics tested treatments on kids with eczema ages 6 months to 17 years. They found that soaking for five to ten minutes twice a week in a diluted bleach bath (1/2 cup bleach per full standard-size tub) was five times more effective at treating eczema than plain water (used by the placebo group).  The improvement was so dramatic that researchers stopped the study early to allow children in the placebo group to get relief with the method. Try it! (But ask your child’s doctor first.)
Bleach?!  In my baby’s bath?!  Hey, whatever works!