I Sing Bedtime Songs to My 11 Year Old Twins

In the last month I have lost my best friend because of some foolishness and my stepfather has passed away. To say that I’m sad or emotional would be a gross understatement. Yet, I am finding my joy. My greatest source of joy, outside of God is my children.

God blessed me with 2 lovely bundles of joy at the same time. My son and daughter can make me smile when no one else can. Being a mom is so fulfilling and rewarding. It’s not in the big things or huge accomplishments and milestones, but in the small things and quiet moments that we strengthen out bond.

Tonight, as with most nights, as I sent my kids to bed, they asked if I would tuck them in. I did. It wasn’t enough. They wanted a story too. Since we recently moved, the stories they wanted were still in boxes, so I sang. We have 2 songs that have been passed down. My mom sang them to me and I sing them to my babies. We sing Cotton Fields and the other is a song my mom came up with and we add the kids names when we sing it. Oh how they love to hear mommy singing about having her babies in her arms. My 11 year old, pre-teen, prepubescent middle schoolers still cherish our special time. They smile so big and bright every time I sing to them. It’s as if they are hearing these song for the first time every night. Each smile is a ball of sunshine sent to brighten my day.

Even the bedtime stories are simple. My grandmother bought them a set of fairytale books when they were smaller. These were just Red Riding Hood, Three Little Pigs, Jack and the Beanstalk, Puss in Boots, etc. I have read each story probably dozens of times, among other stories. Does this stop them from wanting to hear them? Nope! They lay there listening attentively and getting into the stories as I read them. As short as they are, by the time I’m done reading them my little angels are relaxed and sleep or well on their way to sleep.

Five minutes of my time comforts my children and gives them peace and security. In return, they give me joy (they also give great massages). It is so important to take time out for our children. It is us as parents who help shape, mold, and build our children into outstanding people. Our bedtime routine is a lasting memory that they will undoubtedly share with their families and so on. I believe I have the greatest kids ever and I am so grateful for the memories we share.

What kind of special moments do you share with your children? What do you do that makes them smile and warms your heart at the same time?

My Son, the Slacker

As a single mom with twins, my children often team up against me and try to take me down. There is never a dull or quiet moment. They seem to take turns driving me insane and getting on my nerves. So, my adorable 11 year old son seems to think fat meat is dry and his mother was born last night. Like many boys his age, he hates doing chores, homework, and anything else productive that removes him from the television or video games. The rule in our house is no video games on school nights and no television until all homework and chores are done. Does he listen? He listens about as well as an elephant does acrobats. My charismatic, handsome, talented, and intelligent son follows instruction and abides by rules with as much accuracy as a blind man trying to playing darts.

For some reason, my son has gotten into his head that he can continue to miss classwork and homework assignments with no consequences. I don’t think he even cares anymore that his video game system is not plugged in. Taking things does not affect him. He finds other things to occupy his mind and time. You really have to admire his creativity and imagination. This boy turn pens and pencils into fighter jets, erasers into missiles, and crayons into wrestlers. Why listen to the teacher when there is wrestling match happening courtesy of your pencil pouch? Who cares about positive and negative integers when Triple H and John Cena are going at it?

So the question becomes this…how do you punish, discipline or motivate such a kid? He does not care to anything unless it directly affects him. He doesn’t even want to chip in and help around the house, but he will surely ask everyone for help when he has a task to complete. The vicissitudes of life, maturing, and responsibility are all things he would much rather ignore. I don’t blame him. Why grow up, embrace change, and become responsible if the only thing that happens is loss of all privileges and some else is going to do the work?

In my sneaky mommy mind I have come up with a plan to fight back. He wants war, well he’s got it. There’s no way my 11 year old son is going to out smart me. My plan is simply this, I will give him a hefty dose of his own medicine.

Tactic #1 – For each missing/late assignment, he will do 50 push ups, up-downs, or leg squats (I reserve the right to decide which). This will take place every day the assignment(s) are not turned in.

Tactic #2 – I will no longer do anything for him. Let me explain. Of course I will cook and drive him to school, help as needed with homework, etc. However, I will no longer be washing his clothes or his dishes. He will wash, dry, fold, hang, and put away all his own clothes. He will be given a set of dishes; 1 plate, 1 bowl, 1 cup, 1 set of eat utensils. He will only eat from these. It will be his responsibility to clean them. The same with his bath towels, and bed linens.

Tactic #3 – He will only be given what is required by law. That means he gets food, shelter, a ride to school, and a place to sleep. All the extra stuff like Movie Night with popcorn, cookies, and ice cream are gone. When I take special trips to get frozen yogurt, he will get what his money pays for. Since he has no money, that will be nothing.

Tactic #4 – Make him practice his playing the drum until his arms get tired. Maybe this way he will stay focused instead of trying to hit the other kids with his drum sticks.

Now I have just typed a pretty good game plan if I don’t say so myself. Will I follow through? That remains to be seen. I can be a pushover. Get me frustrated enough and it’s World War 3! Parenting does not come with a handbook. Rather it is a daily, lifelong, learning experience. Whether or not I stick to all the things I have mentioned, the important thing is that I recognize the need for positive change and improvement in key areas. I will continue to do my best.

Lord, help me so these kids don’t conquer me!

6th Grade Camp Part 2: The Let Down

This morning began with last minute packing as I prepared to send my son off to camp. We rush out, stop for breakfast on the way, and make it to school just in the nick of time. I found myself having a different conversation with him than the one I had with my daughter when she left. Instead of “giving him permission” I admonished him to behave. He likes to show off for attention. My son is the class clown. So, my concern was the he mind his manners, behave himself, be respectful of all adults, and follow the rules and directions given him. I encouraged him to have fun and reeled him in to a realistic level of excitement, getting away from the cartoon-like Bugs Bunny excitement building inside him. I was beginning to feel comfortable with my coaching and we were pulling into the school parking lot.

We did all of that prepping only to find the kids were no longer going; the trip had been cancelled. Apparently, something like 30 plus kids and staff from the first trip, which my daughter returns from today, took ill. They contracted a virus and no one knows where it came from. Now I am concerned about my daughter. I have not received any phone calls from anyone at camp, so I assume she is okay. However, as a protective lioness, I worry about my cubs when they are away from me and faced with even the slightest danger or adversity. As if I weren’t already anxious enough, now I really can’t wait for her to come home.

Today’s mission: find a way to cheer up my son and relieve his disappointment from missing out on camp.

Update: My daughter is one of the kids who got sick. New mission…nurse my baby back to health 😦

6th Grade Camp

October 1, 2012

This morning my daughter left for camp with her middle school. It’s a great experience for the kids. However, my little girl is not big on sleep overs and she rarely spends the night away from home. She was excited to go, and I was sad to see her leave. In an effort to ease her apprehension, I “gave her permission to go”. What do I mean by that? Of course she had my permission to go, I signed the trip slip and all the paperwork that came with it. When I say, “I gave her permission” I mean that I did not say or do anything to make her sad or reluctant to go. I encouraged her and reminded her what a great time she would have bonding with the other girls in her class. It was important for me to make sure my daughter was comfortable leaving. So, I gave her a couple of assignments…She is to have fun and enjoy herself immensely and she is to take pictures and share her stories with me when she comes home. Was I sad to see her go? Abso-freakin-lutely!! However, it would not have done either of us a bit of good to go on and on about how much we will miss each other; that is a given. There is no need to emphasize that. Positive affirmations only.

That said, as soon as I left, I was a ball of tears. I did great at keeping them from her. As parents, it is often very difficult for us to let go of our precious angels. For me, it is very emotional, but it must be done. As I pray, trying to make it through the first day without her, I think forward to Wednesday. In just 2 days, I have to bid farewell to my son as he leaves for the same camp trip. Oh my goodness! Why do they do this to us? Let’s see how this week goes…