Friday, July 31, 2009

Joys of parenting

We are leaving in the morning for our vacation. Six days in a rented house with family. Miles of trails for walking and biking, a river to glide down in canoes, late nights playing games and watching movies and of course, lots of laughing, silliness, and memory-making. In the meantime, I filled this post full of stuff, from all sides of life. Enjoy and be back next week!


It's hard to describe the joys of parenting until you are in it. A lot of people see the fussy child in the store, the toddler who refuses to sit down during dinner in a restaurant or the 4 year old who becomes obstinate and yells at you for not buying the toy he wants. Everyone knows that side of a child. What they don't see is the piece of cake being shared between brothers... the "thank you for making me dinner" nearly every night without fail, the late night cuddles in bed, the hours and hours spent rocking a little one to sleep kissing their warm head and whispering prayers over them. And the trust they have that Dad will always catch them...


Yesterday, the boys and I were watering the raspberry bushes and noticed that there were a lot of bumblebees bouncing from bloom to bloom. We've seen them every year but this year they seem to have doubled. I realized that most of them had pollen on their back legs that they must have been collecting over the morning. It was fascinating to see up close. I grabbed my camera and got a good clear picture of one of them. I left the picture big so you can see the pollen on his hind leg (click on it!).


Like I would imagine most 4 1/2 year olds, Ian is completely won over by any type of superhero or gun-toting, sword-wielding person in a mask. He pretends to fight, he carries 3 different types of "guns" (different fingers you see), and is always wanting us to play dead. It's always a little shocking at first when your sweet little toddler suddenly becomes fascinated with weapons, especially when you've done what you can to keep them from seeing even remotely violent movies or cartoons. But... it's normal. It's a boy thing. And we've chosen not to fight it. We try to make sure he doesn't whip Sawyer or shoot him and we try and direct his weapon use to "snakes" or "small vermin" but it's really only because I don't want him to get over-excited and hurt his brother... not because I think he will actually become a serial killer.

He's never seen a Spiderman or Batman cartoon or movie, yet he knows who they are and what they do... somehow. Now my BIGGEST problem with this is that I really don't like him falling into the hands of marketers and wanting to buy every single toy ever made with their logo on it. I don't buy into Disney either and I really don't like him watching kid commercials because they elicit that response to consume and to always want more.

So I found an alternative that is really appropriate and funny. It's Superhero ABC. A great book with superhero personalities like Bubble Man who shoots bubbles out of his mouth and Vomit Man who vomits on villains. (Seriously... Ian loves that page). So if you're looking for a good alternative Superhero book then I recommend this one.


Lastly... I wanted to link to a post my sister wrote earlier this week. I would love to sit and expand on it, I may, one day soon... but for now I'll link to her. She speaks her heart about gentle parenting. The comments are really honest and from all different point of views. Jeremy and I decided early on that, for example, spanking as a punishment was not what we wanted to do. We really felt like God was showing us something different and even though we aren't perfect, as you can see from the comments, we see the difference in the boys. We see how they respond to us and how peaceful our house is because of it. The post is written so graciously ... let me share one of Tonia's replies to a mama regarding her child:

"it's difficult when you are in a mind set of "power-over" or "control" parenting to accept these kinds of things, i know. we are taught that the child's obedience is the most important thing...if i am just distracting the child, i am not teaching them to obey me. (and in this kind of parenting there is tremendous pressure from other parents and christians. if my child is not obeying it is because i am not doing my job. every childish behavior is a small condemnation of my skills.) but in gentle parenting, we believe that obedience comes out of relationship. the relationship with the child is the most important thing, and so we cultivate an atmosphere of trust and value. the child has her own worth; she is a full person just as i am and does not deserve to be smacked for learning and exploring and discovering boundaries...

... again, for a certain mindset, this sounds ridiculous. it sounds as if we are catering to the children instead of our children conforming to our schedules and our family requirements. but when you consider the commands in scripture to prefer others before yourself, to lay down your life, to serve sacrificially, and when you understand that the scriptures apply to children as well as adults, it becomes easier to see."



David said...

I'm glad you gave this blogging thing another shake. Have a great vacation.


Linda said...

What a lovely long post Andrea. I love the pictures of the boys. They always take me back to the time my "boys" were little. There were moments when I wished I could just freeze time.
Have a wonderful time. It sounds like my kind of vacation.

Adam and Raechell said...

The boys are having so much fun in these shots. :D Love them.

Tasha Lehman said...

Yes, my boys can also be found shooting things up most days! We also try to keep the shooting to animals and robots and say "destroy" instead of "kill". We fight the battles we can win! I love boys.