Candid Chatter

Just Say It

Constant Learning January 27, 2010

I am getting tired of myself and the way I think. Instead of keeping an open mind about a decision, I filter out what I don’t want to hear and filter in what I do want to hear.

Case in point…
Last year we were trying to decide on a school for Brianna. I was dead set on enrolling her in a Christian school. There was absolutely no way on earth anyone could convince me otherwise. I was actually disgusted in my heart at anyone who was a Christian who sent their child(ren) to a public school; especially one in our county. Not disgusted in a way that caused friction, but disgusted in a way that made me feel sorry for their kids. Maybe disgusted is too strong of a word. Probably more like pity.

So, we (I) found a Christian school for Brianna and we (I) enrolled her. Rich even tried to talk me out of it. I would have none of that. My statement was, “I will eat Ramen noodles and live in a box before I’d ever send my kid to a public school”.

Now let me tell you a thing or two about my daughter. She is shy. Painfully so at times. I can see when she is about to crawl all up inside herself and I want to drag her back out. She is darling. Very sweet and kind and considerate and helpful and thoughtful. She has a temper, but that rarely shows unless she is in the company of those she loves. She is obedient and agreeable; especially in an instructional setting. At school, she does not speak unless spoken to and she does not get in trouble. She is the model student…. a pleasure for any teacher who has had the privilege of having her in class.

Fast-forward…
Starting around October, I suppose, Brianna’s attitude started changing. It was gradual, but it was noticeable to me. Her school hours for Kindergarten (yes, she is only 5 yrs old) were 8 to 12 with a snack and recess included in that time. She wasn’t in school for very long at all. However, despite the short days at school, she would come home an absolute grouch. It got so bad that shortly before the Christmas 2 week break she was even raising her voice at my 1 year old because (Brianna’s words) “his baby talking is getting on my nerves and he is laughing at me and I don’t like it”. I started noticing that it would take her near 2 hours each day after school to normalize. She would say hurtful things to her 3 1/2 yr old brother and pick at him repeatedly and sometimes relentlessly until he was crying or I heard what was going on and could intervene. She started raising her voice to me and hardly an afternoon went by without her receiving some sort of punishment. She cried a lot and started reverting back to throwing temper tantrums. At.Five.Years.Old.

At first, I thought it might be a phase. What did I know? She is my first born so everything that’s new to her is new to me too. So, I started asking my friends with kids around her age if their kids were going through this attitude adjustment too. Only one person gave the slightest hint that her child is grouchy from time to time after school. But, her child’s circumstances are different than Brianna’s (he is in school and an aftercare program so by the time he gets home he has been away from home 9-ish hours and he’s hungry — entirely understandable).

One day, after babysitting a handful of kids, Rich and I took our kids over to a friend’s house for a fun little Christmas party. During that visit, I got to talk to a woman who probably has no idea that our conversation opened my eyes wide to the possibility that my precious Brianna was being ruined by her school. I don’t think the thought had occurred to me until then.

I started researching. I am like that. I talked to teachers in our public school system as well as our neighboring school system. I talked to parents who had removed their kids from Christian schools and put them in public schools. I made phone calls. I wrote e-mails. I visited message boards. I did it all. I had a million questions and a billion worries. What I found out stunned me. My daughter was stressed out and only 5 years old. The environment and curriculum she was subjected to at a Christian school was suffocating her sense of self and creativity.

I prayed. I asked God to stop me from making another biased decision. I wanted to be objective. I wanted Him in the lead. And, lead He did.

Wow!

Fast forward…
I quickly set about enrolling her in a local charter school. Last week, I enrolled her in the charter, withdrew her from the Christian school, and prayed hard that I had made the right decision. There were many confirmations, actually. First of all, the women who work in the front office of the charter are born-again Christians. I will not explain how I know this for fear that they could be somehow reprimanded. It is between me and them and that’s that. I am happy about it and God used them (w/out them knowing it) to confirm my decision to enroll her in the charter.

The first day of school was a long one for me. Brianna is now in school a full day. I was concerned about that. There was a little bit of anxiety in my heart over an extra 2 1/2 hours at school and eating lunch there instead of at home. Would she know what to do and where to go? Would she get tired and worn out? Would the kids accept “the new shy girl” who just walked into their lives? Would her teacher be sensitive to Brianna’s personality? I had so many fears for her.

When I pulled up to pick her up, I couldn’t even get the question out of my mouth about her day when she burst into the van and blurted out, “Mommy, thank you SO MUCH for sending me to this new school. I LOVE IT!!”

“Awesome” can’t even describe the way I felt when I heard those words. I almost cried and silently offered up praise to my God. Thank you Jesus. She had a great day!

Nothing has changed since then. She has had great day after great day. She is happy and smiling every afternoon when I pick her up. She is eager to go to school in the morning (at the other school she would sometimes beg me to keep her home). Her attitude is back to normal and she is teaching her brother some of the things she is learning. She has made a few friends and can’t wait to do her homework (she didn’t even have homework at the last school).

It’s fantastic.

I am so pleased it gives me goosebumps. The Lord worked in that from beginning to end… guiding me, putting the right people in my path, and giving me peace when I was looking for even the slightest hesitation.

However, behind that happiness for Brianna lingers an anger for that other school. I want to lash out at them. How dare they treat those kids like that and charge their parents tuition making them think that their education is somehow superior. It’s not superior. It’s inferior.

Be careful, friends. Watch how your kids behave. It will tell you volumes about what happens when you aren’t looking. Don’t let anything out of your radar. A small child’s happiness or unhappiness is easy to decipher if you are watching.

 

The Spanking July 28, 2009

Filed under: Life... The Way I See It — candidchatter @ 6:33 am
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“Spare the rod, spoil the child”

kate-gosselin-spanking-daughter-picture8

Kate Gosselin spanking daughter via Google images

Recently, I was able to voice my opinion on this subject. Spanking the children. The conversation wasn’t really about whether or not it is right or wrong. A person I know made a statement of disgust over a couple of women who were bragging about the types of physical disciplines they used on their children. They tried to back it up with Scripture. Man, I hate it when that happens. I almost didn’t join the discussion, but I get really ticked off when less than educated people try to use Scripture to back up their stupidity and poor judgment.

Solomon does write about disciplining children in Proverbs. There may be other places in the OT which talk about child-rearing too. I don’t recall where though.

However, using a “rod” to beat your children with because it’s in the Bible is disgusting to me. Following that logic, then I suppose it’s ok to make 700 virgins your concubines too, right? I mean, it’s in the Bible stupid. Duh! And, when we fast we should wear sackcloth and cover ourselves with ashes.

I’m just getting started. But, before I continue, let me say this. If you hit your kids with your fists or an object, I believe you need help. That, my dear reader, is abuse. If you twist their arms, jerk them, shake them, slap them, poke them so hard a bruise appears… you are being abusive. I do not condone that and I never will.

Now, having said all of that, I do not believe there is anything wrong with spanking a child when done correctly. Am I perfect? Unfortunately, no. I have made some mistakes in disciplining my lovelies. Fortunately, they have been very few and my conviction was immediate and my confession as immediate as possible. My apologies have been accepted because my kids were kinder and more loving than they should have been… because I was wrong.

I am not an expert. But, I have strong beliefs that a loving, nurturing, and joyful home is important for everyone in the family. We all have bad days. Some days kids behave very well. Some days I need a couple glasses of wine before bed. The same goes for them. Not the wine. But, the mood swings. We’re imperfect humans. I try to remain aware of this and give them the benefit of the doubt. However, I absolutely will not tolerate defiance or blatant disrespect.

When I spank my kids I swat once on the buttocks with an open hand. Before I spank, I give plenty of warning and opportunities for them to make the right choices. Spanking is a last resort. I might threaten to spank and count to three, however, I rarely have to follow through with it. When I do have to spank, I do not enjoy it. I feel it is a necessity for proper discipline and control in the home. It sends my message in a hurry and I can count on one hand when one of my children has continued their improper behavior beyond the spanking. In those rare cases, I have repeated the steps to another spanking — warn, give opportunity to make the right choice, count to three, spank. It is their choice. Behave and submit to my authority, or be punished.

I also do not threaten to do anything to my kids that I don’t FULLY intend to follow through on. I don’t tell them I’ll break their arm or rip out their hair or any of that verbal crap (which is abusive language, IMO, but that’s another subject altogether). I warn. I follow through with my threat. End of story.

My kids know that I am not messing around.

It works for us.

My daughter has had less spankings than my son. She responds better to time-outs in her room and I allow her to scream to the tops of her lungs in there as long as her door is shut. She blows off her steam and then comes out and we have a calm conversation about her behavior followed by lots of hugs and kisses and compliments. I can’t remember the last time I spanked her.

My son is not the same. He’s about half and half. Nothing jolts him into obedience like being spanked. Thankfully, he has learned self-control enough that I don’t spank him daily. In fact, if I kept track I’ll bet I don’t even spank him every other day. He is really learning, and being sent to his room is starting to work.

Do we draw lines? I don’t think so. I believe it’s pretty matter of fact. You are either constructively demanding obedience in your home or you are being too lenient or too abusive. Kids need discipline. Without it they will become spoiled and will have very little respect or trust for authority. You cannot negotiate with a 3 year old. You cannot.

You are the parent. You need to act like it.

What say you?

 

Gifted? June 25, 2009

Filed under: Life... The Way I See It — candidchatter @ 6:07 am
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I am seriously considering having my son, Jeremy, tested for giftedness.

Ever considered this for your child?
Ever actually have the child tested?
Thoughts?
Anyone?

geniusbrainI just don’t know yet.

 

Happy Mommy Day May 8, 2009

Filed under: Life... The Way I See It — candidchatter @ 3:11 pm
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AnneGeddes_Wallpaper1280_209

 

Need Breastfeeding Support? April 22, 2009

Go here: Custom-Made Milk

And don’t delay!
I would not have made it this far breastfeeding my little Jaxon if not for her help and the help of those like her.
Run. Don’t walk. Go now!

breastfeedingbaby

 

For Them to Carry On December 8, 2008

Filed under: Life... The Way I See It — candidchatter @ 6:33 am
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Dear Future In-Laws to My Child,

My husband and I have raised our kids to the best of our ability. We have brought them up in a loving environment which promotes self-expression and acceptance. We have encouraged them to become whoever they desire to become as long as they work hard and honor God. We have enabled them to receive the best education we could afford. We have taught them through our own actions to be generous people. We promise that your child is safe in our family and in a relationship with our child.

Our kids were taught not to judge a person based on their appearance. In fact, appearance received as much merit in our family as the length of someone’s eyelashes. It has been irrelevant. We have taught them to determine if a person is of proper character based on their actions alone. We have encouraged them to align themselves with people who have integrity.

Our kids were taught that hard work and hard practice are the ingredients for success.

Our kids were taught to love others regardless of how those people treated them. We have told them that it is ok not to like someone, but that they are still to be kind to that person.

Our kids grew up in an environment filled with outward affection and howling laughter. We hug, we kiss, we snuggle. We laugh, we crack up, we giggle. They are happy and content people. They have always been surrounded by love and acceptance.

Our kids were taught that getting an education is important to career success. We have told them throughout their lives, starting when they were toddlers, that they can be whatever they want to be as long as they do well in school and respect their teachers.

Our kids were taught that hospitality is part of friendship. Our home has always been a place to celebrate life whether through birthdays, holidays, or just because we can days. We open our doors and welcome groups of people to share meals and good times with us. They have many friends and our home has served as a safe place for them their whole lives.

Our kids were taught to have compassion for the needy people of this world. They know how fortunate they are and desire to share their good fortune with others. They are not selfish or self-centered. They are generous and caring.

Our kids were taught from birth to present time about Jesus Christ. They have received Christian educations. They have been involved in many youth activities geered towards shepherding their hearts so that they would long to serve God all of their lives. They started memorizing Bible verses at a very young age and have cultivated personal relationships with Christ their Savior. Of all the things we have taught our kids, this is the most important to us.

Our kids are not perfect. But they are good enough.

Rest assured that your child has chosen a more than suitable spouse and we will do everything we can to be there for them whenever they need us.

Welcome to the family.

Respectfully,
Heidi Reed

What would
you add?

 

Many Years Later December 5, 2008

Filed under: Life... The Way I See It — candidchatter @ 1:48 pm
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A certain person I know has, for years, said negative and demeaning things about people who have large families. Things like “they’re crazy”, “they must be nuts”, “how can they give their kids enough attention”, “it’s ridiculous (or irresponsible) to have that many kids”. And so on.

Believe it or not, I have kept my mouth shut — taking it with a grain of salt each time.
That is, until today.

I have had it up to my hairline and beyond with these kinds of remarks. It doesn’t help that this person and I had a heated discussion yesterday regarding the dumbest advice I think I’ve ever been given by a person who has no right even breathing a word on the subject considering this person’s lack of responsible behavior in a certain area. That is vague on purpose.

My parents raised 7 children. My paternal grandparents raised 13 while my maternal grandparents raised 8. To say I come from a big family is the understatement of the year. I believe I have somewhere around 75 first cousins with both families combined. I have no idea how many of those cousins have produced children of their own. I’m sure the numbers now are well over 100 with first and second cousins combined. And we’re still having children. Some of my first cousins are still under the age of 10. I think a couple may even be under age 5. Huge family! Absolutely humongous!

In my family segment, my precious parents (who have been married for over 36 years) have their ninth grandchild on the way (our wee one). One of my sisters is trying to get pregnant with her 2nd. One of my sisters has three girls. My brother has 2 girls. My youngest sister just got married last weekend. Two of my siblings are in serious relationships, but not married yet. That leaves a whole bunch of room for more nieces and nephews for me and many more grandchildren for my parents of awesomeness. I think Christmas, one day, will be unbelievably expensive for all of us. Yikes!!

So for anyone to condemn large families to me is like calling my entire family a bunch of idiots.

Not a good idea.
It’s an even worse idea while I’m all chock full of hormones and 8 months pregnant.
Yeah. Dumb move.

So I did what any upstanding young woman with her third child on the way would do. I shot the person dead and now I’m going to jail.

Nah. In my mind I wanted to rip out hair and poke out eyeballs though.

First of all, both of my lovely heathens were fighting and yelling in the seat right behind me. The person on the phone heard the commotion and said “what would you do if you had 10 of them”. I said “I’d throw every last one out the window”. We chuckled. Then the person said “well what do you think about people who do have 10 kids then — they are nuts, aren’t they”? I stopped the chuckle right then. “You know what” I said. “You’ve been saying derogatory things about people who have a lot of kids for many years now and I’ve put up with it. I’ve been patient. I’ve been kind. But you must understand that when you say things like that you are putting down my entire family and that hurts my feelings. I don’t like it even a little bit and it doesn’t amuse me.” The person sounded taken aback and said “what well I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings, I just mean that I couldn’t handle it”. I received and accepted an apology and then quickly got off the phone.

Right after that the girls at Subway started in on me having a girl and a boy already and what made me decide to have another child since I have one of each. I must be crazy they say and all three laugh it up. I played along. Deep inside I was painfully aware of the way I am viewed by society. I have too many kids. I am crazy to want more. How do I do what I do? Why? How? Ha ha ha this is so funny and entertaining.

No.

It’s not funny. It’s not entertaining.
It’s disgusting.

I am proud of my family. I am proud of my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, and cousins who have decided to grow their families despite what anyone else thinks or says. I had a wonderful childhood. I would change nothing about it. I love my family deeply.

I’m sick of being the butt of jokes. I am sick of being the circus who just arrived because it’s oh such a novelty to ask Heidi to tell the whole room full of people how many cousins/aunts/uncles or whatnot she has. I can hear the circus music play as the laughter fills the room along with the wide-eyed expressions on the faces of unbelieving or astonished people.

My family is not a circus.
My family is not crazy.
My family is awesome.

If it were up to me, I’d have more children. Not the natural way, however. But if Rich would open his heart to it I’d certainly adopt — at least one, maybe more.

I love kids.
I grew up surrounded by love.
My family may not have lots of money, but they sure do have lots of love.
An overabundance of it, in fact.

And. It. Makes. Me. Proud.