Friday, June 26, 2015

Life Lessons From Daniel Tiger

Our kids don't get very much screen time, and when they do, we are very selective about what they watch.

Daniel Tiger is one of the few shows that I absolutely love and feel 95% comfortable with. (The 5% that I don't really care for are the shows on vaccinations - but hey, for the kids that get shots, those shows are awesome!!)

Anyway, this morning was in a bit of a lull, and we had an hour until lunch time, so I decided that Q could watch an episode of Daniel Tiger.

I randomly picked an episode for him and got it all set up on the iPad. Then I walked into the kitchen to unload the dishwasher. I was listening to the show while I was working, and the whole theme of the one he was watching was about managing anger.

The first thing that stood out to me was how well Daniel's mom validated his feelings when he felt mad. The second thing that stood out was the way she handled his anger. Instead of reprimanding her son for not handling his anger the right way, she said "It's okay to be angry." and then she proceeded to show him an awesome way to handle our feelings when we feel angry. She sang "When you feel so mad that you want to roar, take a deep breath and count to four! 1, 2, 3, 4!"

Aside from the example that Daniel Tiger's mom sets for me, I just love that this show approaches every day situations with love and grace instead of anger and violence. It's a great reminder that kids are humans too, and that they deserve to be treated with just as much respect as you'd treat any adult with.

I'm happy that Qoheleth and Junia can watch a fun show and learn profitable things. And I'm super glad that I can learn from them too. No matter if you're a toddler or a mom of 2, we can all learn a thing or two on handling our anger from Daniel Tiger.

"When you feel so mad that you want to roar, take a deep breath and count to four! 1, 2, 3, 4!" 

And let's be honest, sometimes all the strength we have left for learning is so little, that it's just gotta come from a place like our kid's cartoons. No shame, mama. No shame.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Bravest Person I Know

Do you know any brave people? I'm sure you have someone in your life that you look up to, someone that has done great things, scary things, hard things, incredible things, special things, wonderful things, things that are actually pretty much impossible to do.

I know a person like this. Her name is MOM.

My mom had me when she was 20 years old. She was brave from the day I was conceived, through labor and delivery 9 months later, and all the times in between then and now that I made her happy, scared her, hurt her, lied to her, surprised her, made her laugh, brought her joy, and stressed her out. And she's not only put up with me this whole time - she's loved and cared for each of my 8 brothers and sisters as well. Super mom, much?

You better believe it.

Now, for the standard American mom, being a mother is hard, but not super hard. She has battles, but not hard battles. That's not to say that the little issues aren't issues, but compared to some of the stuff my mom has gone through, they're nothing. What we view as inconveniences would have to be turned into massive mountains for us to even get a glimpse of some of the things my mom has been an incredible mom through. She's stayed loyal to taking care of her kids through thick and thin, when friends and family abandon her, when people thought she was crazy, when higher powers stepped in to use scare tactics and make her feel powerless, she came back more wonderful than she was before.

After a woman has a baby, they call her a goddess. They call her fierce and powerful and magnificent and incredible and a miracle and the most beautiful thing on earth. All this is true - but for someone who has birthed 9 children into this world, loved and taken care of them unconditionally, it's even more true. There are no words to describe the kind of woman my mom is.

I could try with a few... incredible, kind, loving, gentle, patient, forgiving, beautiful, selfless, joyful, good, caring...while all true of my mom, they feel so, so, empty.

My mom homeschooled me (and is still currently homescooling most of my siblings!) Do you know the kind of patience and SELFLESSNESS it takes to homeschool one kid, let alone 9?! Especially when said kid hates math and would get grumpy and disrespectful and cry when she didn't understand something? Yeah, I look back on those times and I'm not sure how I could have repaid my mom's valuable time with tears and disrespect. But I did. And you know what? She still homeschooled me. She still made sure that I knew I was loved, and smart, and that I had what I needed.

I'm so thankful for my mom. She's been with me through thick and thin, even when I put her in those places. She's loved me unconditionally - and let me just tell you, to get to witness unconditional love first hand is a rare and incredible thing. One does not easily forget it.

My mom is superwoman. Supermom. SUPERWOW. I love her so much, and I would do anything to be sitting in her kitchen right now drinking a cup of coffee and eating fresh homemade chocolate chip cookies while we chat about everything. But on this Mother's Day, I'm all the way in Washington, and she's all the way in Indiana and neither of us have the means to be together right now. It's a hard place to be, but I suppose it's a good place because it's helping me grow.

You never, ever, stop needing your mom.

On this day as I'm writing this, I've already changed 4 poopy diapers, and I have a baby sitting on my lap with #5. She's fussy, and my son is pretending the furniture is a rock wall to scale, while banging the chair against the wall making quite the racket. I'm feeling overwhelmed and a little bit frustrated that the kids aren't sleeping right now. I tried, but they just wouldn't do it. Junia keeps reaching forward to bang keys on the computer all the while squirming to get off of my lap. But when I put her down, she doesn't want to be there either.

I take a deep breath. I look to the woman my mom is, how she has dealt with these same exact feelings for 22 years, and I determine to try to be like her, seeking, trying desperately to handle these situations with the kind of grace she does. And I feel like I'm constantly failing.

How does my mom do it?

It's just another thing that adds to her beautiful mystery. Mom, I'm so thankful for you. Thank you for being my mom, my friend, my mentor, my encourager. Thank you for all the wisdom you gave me growing up, and the wisdom and advice you still freely give when I call you up on the phone with a question about how to handle a certain situation. You're always there for me no matter what.

I LOVE YOU SO MUCH! Happy Mother's Day!! <3