Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Momma Bear

I've heard moms refer to their "Momma Bear" instinct, but I've never really experienced it first hand. Until today.

So we're back in the dentist office for the 4th time in 2 weeks (and that's a whole 'nother story). Jackson is back getting a filling while I'm sitting with Abie and Levi in the waiting room. Out of nowhere, a kid that is older and meaner than Levi walks up and, without introducing himself or waving or saying hi or anything civil like that, proceeds to whip out a pair of plastic handcuffs from his pocket, grab Levi's hands, and handcuff him. Levi looks at me with pleading eyes but doesn't say anything to the boy. And I'm totally taken aback. Honestly, I wasn't really sure what to do or say. The kid's Dad was sitting 6 feet away watching the whole thing. He looked at me, looked at his kid, and then shrugged his shoulders and chuckled.

Really? Who is your kid, and why is he handcuffing my kid? Who even does that?
Now let's review. The handcuffs are plastic, so there's nothing to worry about. BUT I'm pretty sure my kid is not enjoying what's going on. And suddenly my inner "Momma Bear" awoke.

Image from unsplash.com

Momma Bear. As in I may look cute and cuddly right now, but if you keep messing with my kid, I'm gonna tear your limbs off your body. 

With my Momma Bear raging inside, I calmly looked at Levi and said, "Levi, do you like what he is doing to you?" Wide-eyed Levi shook his head. "Okay, then you need to tell him you don't want to play like that." Levi looked over at the kid and mumbled "please stop." To the kid's credit, he probably couldn't understand what Levi said, but he stopped, unhooked his handcuffs from Levi's hands, and went back over to sit with his Dad. But before I could put Abie down and talk to Levi, the kid came over again with handcuffs in hand.

This time, Momma Bear was not to be tamed. I looked at the kid and said, "You may not have heard him, but he said to please stop. So I think it's a good idea for you to go back over and sit with your Dad." The kid looked at me, looked at Levi, and then sauntered back over to his Dad. The Father never took his eyes off his iPhone. Some model parenting going on, obviously.

As soon as we got in the car, Levi and I chatted about being brave and speaking your mind, even if the person is bigger or meaner than you. I'll be transparent here: I never dreamed I would have to explicitly teach this skill of self-advocacy. Pretty sure I came of of the womb making my demands and desires clear to everyone. I've never had a problem telling others what I'm thinking, so I didn't realize this had to be taught. And thinking back, I'm glad we had that experience. It's important that my kids to learn to stick up for themselves before they're in a situation when the stakes are much higher.

PS: When I told Jackson about the incident, his response to the whole thing was, "Mom! Why did you let that kid bother Levi? You should have beat him up. I never woulda let nobody mess with my brother." Wonder how long it will be before I get a call from school saying the big brother has given someone a black eye for bothering the little brother.

PSS: For another story of a brave little learning to advocate for herself, check out this incredible kid-written blog by Ms. Ruby Witt. http://metalmouthinthesouth.blogspot.com/2016/08/ready-or-not.html

Sunday, August 21, 2016

I Bet There was Blood Everywhere!

This morning's Sunday School lesson was about the suffering of Job.

On the way home from church, I asked the boys what they learned in Sunday School. The conversation went something like this:

Me: So boys, what did you guys talk about in Sunday School today?

Jackson: We learned about a guy named Job. Lots of bad stuff happened to him.

Levi: Yeah, and a big storm came up and killed all his family 'cept him. And I bet there was blood everywhere!!!

Jackson: And Job got sick and had these sores all over his body.

Levi: Yeah! And blood was just coming out of his skin probly (that's Levi-speak for probably).

Jackson: Levi, hush. So at the end, God told Job, "Do you know how this world works? Nope. I do. So just stop whining and believe in me."

Levi: Yeah, and God probably had blood on his head and stuff, too!!

At this point, I felt like we might be focusing more on blood and gore than Biblical truth, so I stopped the conversation.  But I made a mental note to ask Levi's Sunday School teacher exactly what she taught them in Sunday School.

Being a SAHM Means...

So I'm back home again. Not that I ever really left it (makes me sound like a prodigal!), but I returned to work 2 years ago when Levi was 2 and Jackson was 4. Now that we have a new little in our family again (Welcome Abie Jay!), I'm taking a break from teaching (again), and I'm back staying at home. (And just FYI, the previous sentence is a beautiful example of a Compound-Complex sentence. See? You may leave teaching, but it never leaves you.) 

As I was piddling around the house this morning doing chores, some ironies came to mind. Some conflicting dualisms, if you will (or even if you won't, too bad!).

Being a Stay At Home Mom Means:

1. Being able to be the one who feeds sweet Abie Jay (but sometimes that feels like that's ALL I do. I mean, EVERY. OHTER. HOUR. for crying out loud. Plus it means that I'm the one who gets thrown up on. A lot.).

2. Getting a jump-start on tonight's dinner, cutting up the veggies for stiryfry ahead of time! (However, being on one income means fresh veggies for stir fry are a treat and not the norm.)

3. Having my morning Bible study - my "Quiet Time" - at 8am instead of 5:30am (but the later time means I have a buddy that helps me with Bible study, and it's no longer a "Quiet" time.).

4. Being able to wash dishes and vacuum in the middle of the day instead of at midnight. (Beware, though! Others WILL misunderstand your job description and think this is all you do. Even the hubster may be prone to ignorant remarks. Recent example: "You didn't get this celery washed and cut today? What happened?")

So let's review. These days, my hours are filled with:
- lots of making, feeding, and washing bottles
- lots of preparing, cooking, and cleaning up meals
- lots of baby snuddles (in case you don't know, that's snuggles and cuddles combined)
- lots of household chores
- lots of budget balancing and couponing

It's way different from working, and it is its own kind of hard. But I'm thankful for the opportunity, and I'll work every day to enjoy this season of life.