Friday, May 4, 2012

7 Quick Takes

1 Bribery: Because It Works!
The only good thing I have to say about being sick for three days is that I come to fully understand how much the family needs me. Today I had to dig out from under. My kids were so good about getting their rooms back under control, I rewarded them with a bribe. That's to ensure it happens again. Some families don't like bribes for good behavior. I believe in them only on a rare, sporadic, and whimsical basis. Life itself acts like that. I don't get a reward, nor do I expect a reward every time I behave the way I'm supposed to, but every once in awhile and for no good reason, something happens that makes me happier to be of service. It may be a stranger at a store walking up to tell me my children are well behaved or even my husband washing the evening dishes just because. A piece of candy acts in much the same way for my little guys. It's not because I want them trained like Pavlov's dogs, it's because every once in awhile I want them to know how much I appreciate their efforts overall. The candy is my way of saying, "I notice. You do good!" just like the random remarks from strangers are candy to me.

2 Blowing It
We had such a great morning that, being human, I blew it by midafternoon. Problem was, I was too ambitious with my time. My youngest son had been naughty and needed a time out, but he was smart enough to read the situation and was sneaking out of his time out when I became distracted in lunch dishes, dinner prep, yogurt culturing, and mozzarella curdling. By the end of this critical half hour, my son and I were both yelling. I recognized my error, admitted I blew it, called myself a few choice names in my head and then shut myself down. I gave my son my entire attention for the entire timeout and that solved that. Then I turned my attention to the various other curdling processes. One thing at a time worked out much better. Nothing was ruined, including the day. Fretting over cheese and yogurt doesn't make it turn out any better or worse. Yelling, however, can ruin things quick.

3 Ora et Labora. Prayer at work.
Before I moved on with the afternoon I determined I had to get some ora into my labora (I'm such a Benedictine). I was so distracted however that trying to pray on my own wasn't working out, so I went here and recited the Rosary along with 124 other people in the world. By the time the first decade of contemplating Jesus' Baptism was completed, I had the mozzarella draining in the sink and the culture introduced to the yogurt. By the end of the second decade of contemplating the miracle at the wedding at Cana, I had a daughter praying with me and the kitchen was slowing emerging from under my pots and pans. By the end of the entire prayer all of my children had wandered in to join us and I was able to start working on supper. It was a truly beautiful moment. Much more peaceful than the whole yelling business. Sometimes God gives us candy, too.

4 The Fancy Transition
I love the tangents these 7 Quick Takes take. I'm about ready to launch into something totally different. If this were an essay, I'd need some fancy transition right about here.

5 The Light!
With the advent of the idea of raising "resilient children" I can see an end to the self-esteem tyranny. The focus is finally shifting from the self-centered belly button gazing foolishness of "Oh, Myself, how do I esteem Thee? Let me count the ways!" to a more realistic approach of raising children so that they have actual life skills to bring to bear in life's actual adversity. Nothing is worse than raising a human person unable to function in a human world and we may have raised an entire generation that way.

6 It *bleeping* Does, Too!
Speaking of nonsense, my oldest boy was born smack in the middle of the era of all that Self-Esteeming. In the toddler room of our church, nearly nine years ago, I was changing a particularly ripe diaper. Speaking baby talk on the topic at hand (or on my hand, rather) I made the baby laugh by saying such witticisms as, "Oh you're a stinky boy! Oh yes you are! Just a smelly welly bunny!" and "What's your momma feeding you, huh? She should know better! Oh yes, indeed, little mister!" Just the typical nonsense of the sleep deprived. I wasn't alert enough to come up with a better topic to discuss with my 3 month old, but he wasn't smart enough yet to figure that out, so we were good. Except we weren't. We were overheard. I immediately got a polite dressing down from a well informed proponent of Self Esteem. She simply had to help me and my son, you see. I was damaging his ego and may not have been aware enough to understand that by implying that his poop wasn't a delight to the senses, I was stifling his creativity.

Oh yes, indeed.

I was tired enough to hear her out but I was also tired enough to respond.

"So...I'm supposed to raise him to believe his $#!% doesn't stink?" 

End of conversation. No need to pull out my credentials or compare philosophies. We were done.

My mother still delights in this story. She told it until my son was old enough to laugh about it with us. She cleaned it up a bit, and I must say, the story is much funnier when she bleeps herself.

7 I Will Share It, But Quietly and at the End
It's too big for a blog post, too much for comment. I have savored it for weeks. Words can not ever tell. My son who so rarely crafts in words, the one who told me in every other way first, stated simply and without fanfare, "I love you."
Sometimes, if God makes you wait, it is because
He is growing the treasures He wants to give.

Jennifer Fulwiler
Thanks to Jennifer Fulwiler, a fellow Texan, for hosting
7 Quick Takes Friday 


  1. Love the diaper story! It made me chuckle.

  2. I loved this post! You sound like such a good mama.
    And I'm totally with you on that self-esteem nonsense. Ugh.