Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Dealing with Anger...

Is it wrong to get angry? For my lesson to the 4 and 5 year olds this week, there is a Q&A summary at the back of the lesson that has you ask the children, "Why do you think Nephi did not complain to Heavenly Father while he was tied up? [during the boat journey with his rotten no-good-shoulda-left-them-behind brothers].

I don't know the answer to that. And there is no answer given in the book. So I asked around to some people that I respect, and here are some of the answers I got:

Anon 1: Nephi saw that there was already plenty of contention, and that it only led to disaster and getting lost, so he just let it go. He knew that it was supremely important that he get, and keep, control of his emotions.

Anon 2: Just cuz the scriptures don't mention it specifically doesn't mean that it didn't happen. I mean, he wrote that probably months or years after it happened. History is kind to us when we write it ourselves. :D

Anon 3: Nephi is superhuman; he was "born that way." The Lord knew that he'd need someone patient who wouldn't complain in order to lead this whole troop across the water. Nephi just had a kinda "natural faith" that always saw the eternal perspective.

Anon 4: Nephi knew that they were only suffering from the effects of his bad, and somewhat rancid, cooking. Mad cow disease - or maybe Mad Camel Disease.

Anon 5: Nephi really struggled with being ticked off and wanted to toss them off the boat. He probably had the muscles to do it as he was strong and had just built a boat for gosh sakes! But he prayed for strength beyond his capabilities to deal with a bunch of idiots who just weren't going to change, angels, floods or otherwise. He just figured, "We're all in the same boat." Literally.

It seems that the definitions fall into one of two groups: Some people are just born with natural patience - its in their DNA, OR patience is a virtue that you can, and should, develop until you can just about drown with your family without complaining.

Maybe it's just that I tend to be an angry person - or rather, I have a more generous definition of what is worth getting mad about; but I just feel at a loss as to what to tell these kids about anger, and complaining. Maybe the art of "sucking it up in silence" is just becoming a lost art? I dunno. But while you're thinking about it, please pick up your shoes and put your laundry away, I've already asked you twice and I'm gettin' a little fed up with the mess!!!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Clean Bathroom

I love a clean bathroom - I seriously do. I didn't have this fetish as a kid, but I have begun to appreciate more and more just a clean mirror, a spotless toilette, and a clean floor. The only thing that should be yellow in a bathroom is a rubber ducky. Like the upscale hotels look - shiny fixtures, little packets of fun stuff, and 20 plushy towels for each person. The idea of relaxing and just having a good time is so appealing. Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh.

You can't relax in a stinky room though. Smell is a major factor; I love a bathroom that smells like fresh linens, a tinge of bleach and just fresh fresh fresh. Almost minty. Not like what you smell at a truck stop. Or your gramma's bathroom.

I have nightmares of those bathrooms that are so overwhelmingly perfumed with "rose" or anything gagalicous that makes you have to hold your breath so you won't be nauseous. Bleeeh. After I clean my bathroom I spray my favorite perfume over the light bulbs - a little light and airy touch. Back when we had tile, I'd also use mouthwash to scrub it down. Tastes nasty, smells wonderful, and minty fresh.

The bane though would have to be the floors. Between my long hair and a drippy 4 yr old boy, I just hate dealing with the floor. I've found a way around it though: vacuum. I vacuum the tile before I clean it, and it's so delightful to see spare tissue and hair go straight up the tube. MUCH easier than broom and pan. Our current bathroom is so small that I can use the spray bleach and a rag and just hand wipe the floor in less than two minutes (timing is everything - I don't want to be doing this FOREVER...), and the dirty rags go straight in the wash. It's the last thing I do before replacing everything back in the tub and on the counters.

Afterwards, I lean in the doorway with such satisfaction, enjoying my spotless bathroom. It will only last until someone leaves a glob of toothpaste or puddle of shampoo, but for a little bit, it's just like a ritzy hotel. Aaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Hate cleaning, but for 20 minutes of work, it's nearly a week of "worth it."

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sam's First Haircut

It's just hardened keratin, that's all hair is. But today it is the difference between my baby and my toddler. It was time for a cut - I drug it out as long as I could, holding out for his first birthday. I could actually put a ponytail on top of his head, and people were asking me, "What's her name?," but knowing all that still did not help me when the clippers came out and the first curls hit the floor. My knees about buckled and I had to say to myself, "He is a boy." The hairstylist looked at me to gauge my likelihood of fainting to the floor which prompted me to ask, "Do you get women who cry?"

"Oh yeah..."

It's just hair, it will grow, but we have crossed the Rubicon. I wonder if this is my last First Haircut, and how I feel about losing my baby. How much longer can I scoop him up, nuzzle him and smother him with kisses? I wouldn't keep him small forever, and this is not wholly unexpected, but sometimes it just takes my breath away how fast it's here and gone. [Except the fat - the baby fat sticks around FOREVER!] - I notice it even more so since I've been able to sleep through the night.

The accouterments of babyhood are falling away. He walks on his own, wears shoes and is feeding himself whatever is within his grasp. It's hard to see it come, but that doesn't stop it from coming. Next stop - getting rid of bottles - oh Baby Sam.

Monday, May 11, 2009

If you give a mom a vacation....

If you give a mom a vacation - she will have something to look forward to. She will call her husband an "angel" and tell everyone about how wonderful he is. She will smile mischievously at each thought of leaving him with the munchkins. She will plan and plot with her sisters and skip merrily out the door.

If you give a mom a vacation, she will start to phone home after awhile to see how you're handling her job, and laugh when you say that you gave the baby 3 bottles full of soda; not because it's so funny, but because YOU will be up with that kid tonight. She will hope that with all that extra time at home you are fixing the water softner and cleaning the kids toy closet. She will not be surprised that you forgot to run the ONE errand she gave you.

After she gets home, she will want to hug and kiss her children, who are now glad to see her, but she will be slightly appalled at the stuff left out as you explain to her how it's SO much better than it was, and how there were just too many dishes to run. She will see two pots in the dishwasher and 45 bowls in the sink and realize that you also gave out popcorn which is insidiously crunching everywhere under your feet.

She will listen to your tales of adventure and woe of having the kids all to yourself, and not plan on doing much the next day. She will give you some left over Olive Garden and start sucking up the popcorn and rolling through laundry.

If you give your wife a vacation, she will smile as you scuttle gratefully off to work, clutching your briefcase with relief, and silently laughing that your car got left outside because you couldn't pull the van in tight enough for both cars to fit. She will wave to you as you pull away, refreshed and able to tackle the daily grind left behind. After nights of girlfriend therapy and sleeping in, she'll be able to pick it up again.

But then she'll want another vacation...

Monday, May 4, 2009

I'm The Drummer

"You are the drummer.
You're the backbone,
The timekeeper.
You can't let a tepid reaction from one matinee house affect your dedication to the band."

I have been thinking about this quote from "That Thing You Do," as my day has fallen apart, just like Guy "Shades" watches his band go to pieces and fumble through a song in front of a packed audience - if the drummer isn't "on" the whole thing is off. It has truly hit home today that Mom sets the beat in this house. Mom's morning prep sets the tone and tenor of the day. I think that's why I have such a hard time going to sleep at night. I'm thinking about all of the things that need to go right, right away. From food set up, clean up, buy it up, to laundry pick it up, fold it up, clean it up, there has to be a rhythm to my day. If there is a hiccup in my day, it is so hard to recover that rhythm. You can go from domestic "palace" to "pit" just like *snap* THAT!

And its not just getting the family rolling, it's being prepared for the things that come at you sideways, like unexpected visits, or sudden agenda busters such as, "Your scout is supposed to bring two dozen cookies to pack meeting" or "your child has a project due..." or, the fear inducing situation of a poopy baby. Far from supplies with either no diapers, no wipes, OR BOTH.

For today's disaster, I have been playing catch up instead of being one step ahead of the game. Instead of snapping on the radio for some classical music to get everyone roused for scripture study and breakfast, I was snapping at kids and tossing them a "Gogurt" on their way to school. Actually, after trying to jump in the shower while Matthew was searching for what backed up the kids toilet, I got a phone call from the school; one child ended up at school who doesn't even have school today.

*UGH!!* I know that I still have a lot to learn - and I would appreciate any advice all y'all might have for two night owls trying to get it together. Until then we are just gonna have to practice, practice, practice. Sorry kids - the drummer lost the beat today. But I'm totally dedicated to this band.