heart in the clouds

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Driving Lessons

So a few nights ago, we all ate dinner around the table...try it sometime, you'll like it!!  (really, I promise!) Afterward we decided to take the dog (oh yeah, we got a puppy on Easter Sunday and that will be a blog post all it's own here in the near future) and go a few miles down to Z's new school. He'll start first grade in ONE week at Wilmore Elementary. Time is zooming by at warp speed I tell ya!  Anyway, it was a really nice evening and we loved watching Z enjoy his new playground and show us around the grounds. They took a trip to their new elementary schools the last week  of kindergarten so Z has already seen it all...and of course knows all about it ha!  Even though he won't be riding the bus since we are technically out of district, Z wanted us to show him where the buses drop off the students.

We got back in the car and he begged to sit in the front seat just in the parking lot so we let him sit on the console. That turned into Z begging to drive. Yes, he's 6 and can't reach the pedals but he thinks he could actually drive the car. One day at gymnastics he told me, "mommy I'll go get the car for you since it's raining and I'll pick you up at the door, okay?"  Umm, no not okay on any level. Well okay, maybe on the level that he was showing some very gentlemanly manners and respect for mom, but it just wouldn't work for many reasons...you know...the law, your height, your age, the fact that you've never driven a car bigger than a power wheels.  But I have digressed...so I agreed to let him steer while I commandeered the pedals. We drove round and round that circle and he was having so much fun. I could tell he felt really powerful and grown up. He scared David (who was riding shotgun) a few times and I'd just keep reminding him I had the brakes haha...it was hilarious.  He was laughing so hard and it is infectious for sure. But you know they say about what goes up ....must come down.  Z hates transition...hates for the fun to stop...loves to be tickled, hates when you stop.  I almost dread telling him the fun's over because I know his attitude will turn so sour. But really this time I didn't have to be the fun zapper...a policeman drove by the parking lot and I said "OH MY GOODNESS get back in your seat NOW, Cops haha.  It worked, but then yes, we got 'tude about how he wasn't done, wanted to keep doing the steering all the way home, and on and on. However, when I told him he would never drive again if he didn't get right...it all changed to "you're the best mommy in the world, I love you with all my heart, I love gypsy (the dog) so much I could cry sometimes." LOL barf...boys :)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Yes Ma'am!

For years now, I've been trying to make Z understand that saying yes ma'am and yes sir is what we expect. That sometimes means repeating it to him A LOT!  Saturday morning we were tooling around Walmart trying to choose a suitable gift for a friend's birthday party. He was asking me if he could get this or that or whatever, for himself. I kept saying no, it's not your birthday; we are not buying you anything today. At some point I got a little frustrated with his pouting and whining about it and told him to straighten up...he said very whiney "Ohhhhhhhh Kayyyyyyyyy!"  I said NO, what would be a better thing to say when I tell you to do something.  He reluctantly, submissively said "yes ma'am."  I smiled at him and then all the sudden a lady near us, probably in her mid 80s said to me "Oh it's so good to hear a mother teaching her child respect; I thought it had passed this generation by." I told her we still had a long way to go, but getting him to respond to adults this way would hopefully be something he ONE DAY does without prompting.

She's right though. When I was a little girl, we were expected to say Yes ma'am and no sir, etc. It wasn't an option. Not sure  if it's more of a southern thing, but that's a moot point.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


So yes, I'm embarrassed. That's the real reason for the long blog hiatus this time. Embarrassed that's it's been so long and I've skipped writing about so many great blog-worthy entries.  But today, I figured I'd just rip the embarrassment off like a band aid and dive back into the grind.  Looking back, I stopped writing in January and right after that, so many cool things happened. Not the least of which was Z deciding to follow Jesus.  I still remember that day. We were driving to church talking about one of his friends recent baptism. Z has always been very adamant that he believes in Jesus, that he loves God but that he will NEVER...well no, "at least till I'm 12" be baptized.

I can relate kiddo, I was scared of the water myself at your age, I told him.  I told him I waited until I was 7, even though I trusted Christ long before that, because I was deathly afraid of putting my face in the water. So I never have pushed Z to be baptized because well, that's not what saves us, right? I knew it would come in time and we'd wait until he wanted to do it.  But that Sunday was different and I should've sensed it right there in the car with all his questions.   He said he wanted to talk to our children's pastor, but when we got inside, the pastor was already talking to another child (one of Z's friends we later found out!). So he had to wait and I had to go to 3SS band practice. We were singing...wish I remember what song ha!  But the door flung open and Z ran onto the stage and grabbed my arm..."We can go talk to Brother Wayne MOMMY, now!"  Okay, Okay...let's go, I said.

Wayne was great; he listened to Z and talked with him and prayed with all of us. He asked Z if he wanted to say a prayer right there in the office; Z said he would rather wait and do that with mommy and daddy at home. So I thought that was that...another pause in the journey, but it wasn't going to be a long one.

Our church always has an invitational response at the end of each service. So I was singing during this time...the lights were dim and then out of the darkness, Z came running down the isle with the biggest smile on his face. He stood at the bottom of the steps right below where I was on stage.  Whispering loud and motioning with both hands. "Come on Mommy, we have to find Wayne!" So I immediately left the stage and followed him to Wayne. We all went into a quiet room and there Z was the stillest I've seen him in his life. He told Wayne he couldn't wait till he got home, that he wanted to pray right then. So we did.  When he opened his eyes, I could see it...he got it...he knew what he was doing. It was such a grown up moment.  Still, we were sure he hadn't changed his mind about baptism...even then he told Wayne he would have to wait 12 Sundays...he later changed that to five...and by Wednesday of that week, he wanted to move it all up to January 29. I was glad, but sad...I knew it would be too soon for any of our families to get here in time.  David's parents did actually make it...they just up and left and drove straight here to be with us. I think Z will be grateful for that forever.

We found out that Z's friend Boston would also be baptized that same Sunday. How exciting it would be to share that day with a friend.

I knew there was a chance he'd get cold feet and put it off; I was prepared for that.  But the day came and he was so excited. There was virtually no talk of fear; no worry about being up there in front of hundreds of people. It was supposed to be this way!

It was beautiful and I cried many happy tears. Watching those little legs and feet flutter around trying to find footing coming out of the water was surreal. We'll always be together. Nothing can separate us from Him or each other now. We'll always share a bond even deeper than mother/son. I can't wait to see what God will do with Z, with all of us.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Invoking and Revoking freedom all in 24 hours

I'm one of "those" moms who doesn't let her child go in anyone else's home or backyard 99% of the time. Call it overprotective, strict, whatever...it's who I am and I make no excuses about it.  With that in mind, Z has been asking me for several weeks why he can't go in Riley's backyard with the other kids on our street. I've been telling him it's simple..."I don't know her mom." Well he's offered to tell me the mom's name...umm not enough sweetie!  So finally Monday evening, the inevitable happened.  Riley's mom was home...I was home...Z realized we were both home...so I couldn't deny it and I went to talk to her. She is very nice and we agreed that Z could go in her backyard and jump on Riley's trampoline because she was supervising and only allowing two or three to jump at a time. I told him to walk home with Olivia (8 year old girl almost next door) when it started getting dark. I went back in the house and nearly cried because it was just surreal that I had to grant a new freedom. He came home when I called his name and all was well.

Fast forward to Tuesday...all Z wanted to do on the way home was talk about going to Riley's house again. I told him he wouldn't be going everyday, but I was okay with him going that day. I asked him if Riley's mom was home...he said yes and off he went riding his bike alongside Olivia again. I watched him all the way down the street...then when he disappeared behind the house, I went inside. About 20 minutes later I hear screaming coming from down the street...saw Z in Riley's driveway, asked if it was him, he said no...blah blah...5 minutes later I notice him walking his bike back up the hill to our house. I walked outside and asked him what he was doing....

Z: I just wanted to tell you I love you
Me: Aww that's sweet, I love you too....but what I was really thinking was...uh oh what's under that?
Z: and I wanted to tell you I'm sorry that I lied...
Me: Lied about what?
Z: about screaming...it was me screaming too, I'm sorry I lied mommy.
Me: okay, thank you for telling the truth...now why are you coming home...is Riley's mom really there?
Z: well no
Me: You should come inside right away.

So I went inside, counted to whatever number it took before he got in the door...sat him down face to face and asked him what the bigger lie was...that he screamed or about how Riley's mom was home when she really wasn't.  He was very quiet, hanging his head...he knew he was wrong and I could tell he was wondering what I was going to do about it.

Me: You know the only reason I let you go play over there was because I knew Riley's mom was watching you and making sure you were safe, right?
Z: yes
Me: And you know that I put a lot of trust in you by letting you go somewhere without me, right?
Z: yes
Me: I would be so sad if something happened to you. It's not okay to go in someone's backyard when they are not home and it's not okay to lie about things just so you can do what you want to do. When you realized she was not home, you should've come home right away to tell me.
Z: Yes ma'am...so can I go back outside and ride my bike?
Me: No sir, you will not be going back out today and maybe not the rest of the week.

Z started crying and went upstairs...I could hear him sobbing in his bed, but more than that I could hear pop sounds outside. So I went to the window to see four boys running around houses where no one was home...chasing each other with toy guns...then I went outside to listen better...heard the familiar sound of rattling bb's going into one of the guns....by now Z was standing by my side...telling me the boys were shooting bb guns at each other.  I watched for another 15 minutes...asked one boy if there were real bb's in his gun and he said "why?" RIght there, I knew I was right...so I waited a bit longer...overheard them saying not to shoot the girls, to only stab them with sticks....I walked over the boy's house and asked his mom if she knew the boy was out playing with bb guns...she said she thought it was just airsoft guns with those plastic bb's. Yes, I know what they are....I even bought a few for Christmas gifts.  But last time I checked, you could still hurt someone with that and you aren't supposed to be shooting them AT people.   Last thing I heard before I left her porch from her son:

"Well the good news is that our airsoft war is over...the bad news is I shot so-in-so in the face and neck...but I was aiming at his body not his face."

Yeah Z's done playing with those boys...at least when the guns are out. I told him so. I told him those boys don't know how to use the guns and there is no parent outside watching and he's just not going to be a part of it.  Whew....if only I thought that would solve all the problems of the kids on our street :(

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I've got a new attitude!

In the words of Patti LabBelle I've got a new attitude...almost...I need a new attitude and I'm getting there. New year, new attitude. I'm always harping on Z about his attitude, his tone, his volume....but honestly I bet a lot of it is him modeling me and that's a hard pill to swallow. Admitting your part of your child's problems is well...nearly impossible.   But I think if we all stop and take a breather and really examine ourselves...a lot of the way our children act is a direct reflection of the way they see us handling the roller coasters of the day to day. 

I've read that in countless parenting books, blogs and magazines and agreed, but never really internalized it. I've been really frustrated with the way Z talks to us, especially when he's really unhappy about something. But if I'm honest...how do I talk and react when I'm unhappy about something...pretty much the same way....raise my voice (as if this will really motivate anyone to change their ways, actions or ideas), put things down hard on the counter (to show my feelings uh huh) Go in a room and nearly slam the door behind me and cry....pout but only if someone else is around to see it...these are hard things to admit, but I know I'm not alone.  I remember as a child, I couldn't stand being yelled at or to...it made me feel worse and it really made me not want to do anything, just built up anger in my own heart. I don't want Z to feel that way...crappy about himself, unmotivated to be good.  

Lately when I see him react to situations, I see myself as well and I just don't like it. I know I'm not totally to blame...a lot of it is also him just being 5 and not having a fully developed frontal lobe!! If you want to know more about how this plays into a child's behavior..I'll post some info at the end...very interesting and really explains a lot!!  I've read the frontal lobe doesn't fully develop until the 20s...so what's my excuse? Maybe it starts to deteriorate as soon as it's fully developed...yes!! That must be it hahahaha

Regardless of all the why's and how's...we've got to change. I keep telling him to talk to me with respect. I have to try harder to talk to him with respect, even if I'm angry. I tell him to pay attention to what I'm saying...I need to pay attention to what he says as well.  I tell him it's okay to be angry, but it's not okay to act angry in such a way that it hurts someone else mentally or physically...I need to make sure I'm following my own advice when I'm angry. I need to make it a point to keep my voice down and not talk in a disrespectful way. I tell him I want him to ask for the things he needs with a polite tone...adding the appropriate pleases, thank yous, sorrys, etc. I need to remember to also use these courtesies with him.  He's my child and yes as the adults and parents, his daddy and I are in charge...but we need to "rule" with gentleness, boldness and humility...hard things to combine in leadership for sure!!

I found an awesome blog post listing all the proverbs that deal with anger
I think this one is my favorite...“The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out.” (Proverbs 17:14, ESV)." Picture a dam holding back a mighty river...damage occurs and a little breech begins in the dam letting out a trickle of water...but sometimes the breech grows and the water begins to find it's way out...it's built up with so much force and pressure, it can eventually breech the entire dam and gush forth with such power that it destroys everything in its path...wow.  Please, God do not let my anger be like that...help me patch the hole before it even lets any water out. 

I really do love that kid with all my heart and I want him to know that above anything. I also want him to learn respect, how to control anger before it grows into sin, kindness and gentleness. I want him to see our leadership of his childhood as guidance and love...not control. 

One thing that happened recently regarding the "in charge" issue was Z asking me if I was I was the boss of the house...I was curious as to why he asked that...but it all came down to one observation he had "Well because you always ask daddy if he has on an undershirt and stuff." 

Okay now here's some frontal lobe info from wikipedia that I found fascinating:

The executive functions of the frontal lobes involve the ability to recognize future consequences resulting from current actions, to choose between good and bad actions (or better and best), override and suppress unacceptable social responses, and determine similarities and differences between things or events. Therefore, it is involved in higher mental functions.
The frontal lobes also play an important part in retaining longer term memories which are not task-based. These are often memories associated with emotions derived from input from the brain's limbic system. The frontal lobe modifies those emotions to generally fit socially acceptable norms.
In humans, the frontal lobe reaches full maturity around only after the 20s,[1] marking the cognitive maturity associated with adulthood.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Homework...grown up dreams

Z truly hasn't had much homework this year and for that we are grateful. We've asked for the extra worksheet here and there to try and learn the writing he's so "fond" of....but really nothing too involved. Last week, they sent home a 3 page assignment and gave us two weeks to do it...cool. It coincides with some kind of community helpers focus they are doing at school. They basically have to describe and illustrate what they want to be when they grow up and explain how that position helps the community.

Since Z could talk, he's probably already changed his mind 10 times about his future vocation and I'm sure that's very normal. First he wanted to be a doctor...told his pediatrician at his 3 year check up that "when I grow up, I will be the doctor." And he meant THE doctor, because the pedi said "sure, you can work with me," and Z replied with "no, I will be the doctor," to which the pedi replied "I am sure you will."

That went on for about a year before the fireman dreams started (shouldn't surprise us because when he was 2, Z told us the firemen took all his paci's, which made it easier on us to explain why he didn't have them anymore...and we didn't give in when he begged us to call them and tell them bring the paci back!).  Once he found out that firemen don't actually start the fires, he was less interested.  I think he still though the fireman was the chef at the Japanese restaurant. So we went from that to a cowboy, to working at Starbucks on his days off from the fire station...but...dreams turned into nightmares (for me anyway) when he decided he wanted to drive an ice cream truck.

Last week when the assignment came out, I asked him again what he wanted to be and he said a "cop." I was intrigued what made him change his mind...why was being a "cop" so appealing...and here's that conversation went (thank goodness for this being in the car and I could just glance in the rearview at him):

Me: So why do you want to be a cop?
Z: Ummm so I can take the dead people's bodies that they don't need anymore to the graves.
Me in my mind (oh crap, we can NOT write that on the homework; the teacher will force him into therapy)
Me, what  really said: "Umm, why do you think cops do that?
Z: because
Me: because why? (don't y'all get sick of saying that?)
Z: because that is what YOU told me Mommy!
Me: I did not..now let's get back to why you want to touch dead bodies...
Z: MOMMY, I will wear gloves; it will be fine.
Me: well, cops don't do that. I think you're thinking of a mortician.
Z: a WHAT?
Me: oh someone who works at the funeral home and gets the bodies ready for burial (can't believe I'm really explaining this to a 5 year old).
Z: Oh, no, I don't wanna be that. I wanna do that like a cop.
Me: Z , cops do NOT take dead bodies to the grave.
Z: (becoming very frustrated with me) That one day you stopped in the road and the cop had his lights on , you said he was taking the dead body to the grave!!!!
Me: Oh for crying out loud, he was leading the procession of CARS to the cemetery not putting a dead body in a grave.
Z: Oh
Me: so do you still wanna be a cop
Z: I don't know
Me: Seriously?
Z: (sees a police car lights on, someone pulled over) yeah, is that a cop?
Me: no, that's a sheriff
Z: is a sheriff like a cop?
Me: yes, but the sheriff works for Jessamine County; the police works for the city of Nicholasville.
Z: Oh, I wanna be a sheriff then
Me: Why?
Z: because they wear boots.

THANK GOD we got off that dead body train...wow...I was about to call a therapist myself :)

So our homework looks a lot "NICER" now that Z just wants to be a sheriff with boots....well, except for the part where he said his favorite part of the job would be shooting bad people and arresting them...but he did add "keeping people safe," so I'll give him some grace here :)

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Box

There's rarely any real trash in our home...Z can usually find a use for most trash in his "workshop." Now, I obviously don't allow all the trash to go there, but occasionally I will give in and let him reuse clean items. It really makes him happy and he focuses for hours on creating things in his workshop..."battery packs" made from duct tape with "wires" made with colored twine...double stick tape to make it all stick to the refrigerator to power it up! The thought and focus that goes into the creations is priceless and who am I to squash a future engineer or architect's dreams, right?!

So last Friday, the last day of fall break, we were driving around town running a few errands when from out of the backseat comes a squeal when we pass Lowe's "MOMMY, stop at Lowe's!!!" Thankfully I didn't wreck the car with the sudden shriek. I asked why and he simply said "I HAVE to make a box and I can get my stuff there!!"

Since we weren't really on a big schedule that day, I stopped. We went inside and he told me he needed wood, a hammer, nails and pinges (later figured out it was hinges) and paint. I have no idea how to build such things, but Z was convinced we could do it so to the lumber area we went. Z began to explain his design to one of the associates. He was talking wildly with his hands about this awesome box that would now also have a tube coming out one side to get the marbles in the box...ah oh, so we're making a marble box...but not just any ordinary one. The associate told Z he was probably going to be the next Frank Lloyd Wright, linked here for those who aren't sure who that was, basically an extraordinary architect and designer. Z had no idea who that was...but hey, he could be an architect!

The associate took Z to pick out his wood, we figured out how many pieces and what size he needed. Even with recommendations, Z pretty much had in his head what kind of wood he needed and even talked the guys into sawing it all up for him. We found the hinges and came across an "essential" knob to put on the lid...then we picked a custom stain and Z asked the guys to mix it up for him. Then it was off to the plumbing section to find the right curved pipe. He settled on some white PVC pipe because the clear tubing he originally wanted, wasn't strong enough to stand up and the diameter wasn't wide enough for his biggest marble. And oh, we can always add more PVC pipe to add to the design later, he said. (as a side note...if you've never been to the science center in Louisville, you need to go...we spent the majority of our time rearranging PVC pipe and joints to change water directions in the plumbing exhibit there).

So we had everything we needed but I couldn't figure out how we would get a hole in the side of the box. We went back to the lumber section. I told Z if he asked, maybe they would do it since they seemed to do everything else he wanted if HE asked! They said they didn't have the capability to do it there...but didn't offer an alternative to how I could do it myself, so we left and Z was very unhappy about it. I told him I would call some local carpenters and see what they could do or post a question on facebook. W

ell, posting on facebook got a good answer in just minutes of course. Our good friend Nick Rhodes (who I also claim as an adopted little brother) introduced me to the hole saw...WOW, can't believe the guy's at Lowe's didn't direct me to this gem. It was fairly inexpensive and fit right on David's DeWalt drill! But choosing a size was not so easy. Z explained to the associate he wanted the hole to be the diameter of the PVC joint, not the pipe...but there was not a bit for that size. He assured the guy that the marbles would get stuck if he had to use the small pipe to connect the box to the joint...this little argument went on for a good 10 minutes with the associate telling him it would be fine; it would not get stuck...and Z telling him he was wrong...vehemently shaking his head no no no lol.
Well we had to settle on the smaller bit and just vow to make it work. It was the only option at that point. We went back home and Z stained all the
boards, sanded the rough edges, even pushed the drill button for the screws (drill was way to heavy for me to just let him go at it alone haha). It was about two hours of completely focused work on both our parts. Turns out you can't make a perfect box with six equal-sized boards, so Z's box has "feet," but he's fine with that. And you know know what? Those marbles did stick on the hump created inside the joint by the smaller pipe :)