Tuesday, April 5, 2011

When I Grow Up

When I was around the age of 12 I loved babysitting.  I had read all of the Babysitter Club books and had even made myself a babysitting kit full of krafts and games and treats.  I knew that I was going to incorporate these skills into my future job as mother.

I was going to be the worlds best mother.  Let's see if I have satisfied the twelve year old babysitter inside of me with a game of THEN & NOW.

THEN:  Daily practice of Sacrament Meeting.  15 minutes sitting quietly on the couch daily.
NOW:  Connor prefers to sit with a beautiful sister in our ward whose husband is in the Bishopric so she sits alone.  Todd gets Dakota, as there is some magical quality Todd's arms possess and the baby falls right asleep in them, as if he were in my own arms, sleep would never come.  Therefore, I am left to deal with the two sisters who rarely play well together.  I spend sacrament settling fights over who gets to pretend to be the pink pony and who gets to color with the light purple versus the dark purple.

THEN:  Regularly scheduled naps/quiet time
NOW:  The twelve-year old is very proud of me.  Do not disturb this household between the hours of 1pm and 3pm.  Dakota and Carly nap while Connor and Abi read or do homework.

THEN:  Game time each and every day
NOW:  Though it may not be everyday, we play games!  Lots of them.  Hide and Go Seek is my personal favorite as that is when my kids say and do the funniest things.  "Yodelay-Yodelay-Yodelay-Hee-Hoo.  I'm in the bathroom (or closet or bucket)" always stated by Carly.  The other day I was hiding and when Abi quickly found me she said "Mom, that's not a very healthy hiding place."  I was by the couch, I think she meant "good hiding place."  Connor:  "You're not doing it right.  You are supposed to not be peeking!  That's it.  I'm not playing with you (said to Abi)!"  Rocket man is another favorite of the smaller group as my weak legs can't flip Connor over my head so easily.  Red Light, Green Light, throw in a Purple Light or Pink Light.

THEN:  Regular story time. Me sitting on the sofa with kids sitting perfectly round me feet on the floor.
NOW:  Somebody cries because they don't like the story soandso wants to read, I only have two sides and four kids wanting to see the pictures so two kids end up crying (usually Dakota because I have to put him somewhere that pages can't be ripped and Abi because she isn't willing to push her way to my lap).  Stories do get read, but I prefer one on one.

THEN:  Daily singing time, The Wheels on the Bus, Itsy Bitsy Spider, Primary Children's Song Book
NOW:  Oh yeah, we sing EVERY day!  "You..make..me...feel like I'm living a...teen...age...dream"  When I heard those words come out of my 4 year olds mouth I quickly made a station on Pandora that is strictly for kids full of Disney songs and feel good music.  Perhaps the sweetest moment came on Sunday when I sat down at the piano and began to play "I Am A Child of God."  Abi stood by my right side and sang the entire song so perfectly.  Then Carly came in to join on the second verse and tears came to my eyes knowing that these little girls know this song better than any they may hear on the radio.

THEN:  Dancing has always been important to me, my girls would tap.
NOW:  The dances my girls prefer doing have been taught to them by the Dancey-Dance Bunch or Angelina Ballerina.  They don't love it when mom tries to teach them a shuffle-ball-change or buffalo, but as long as they dance and the moves are appropriate, I don't care who teaches them!

THEN: Most importantly to me was the daily craft.
NOW:  I like to think I am crafty, and a daily craft is still very important to me.  TO ME!!!!  I do need to have a daily craft, that I complete, by myself, in the confines of my corner in our unfinished basement.  A little bit of me-time or therapy.

The mess, the melt-downs, and the fights that ensue when trying to incorporate the 4-8  children I may have at any one time in my home has turned me away from the dream of regular craft time.  My poor childhood dreams, CRUSHED by none other than me.

Sidenote:  I just got off the phone with my sister-in-law who mentioned how she wished that she did as many projects with her kids as I do with mine.  Ha!  I quickly assured her that she had a skewed image of me and would soon see after she read this blog post.

Thankfully, with the help of a few friends and a family member who possibly has the same dreams as I once did (however, fewer or no children) came to my children's rescue and presented to me the idea of some crafts this week.  They provided the materials, I just provided the location and most of the children.

First, my friend Jessi who has two very boyish boys and home-schools her brilliant 6 year old came over with a science experiment of creating structures using only marshmallows and spaghetti.  Here are the successful images from this moment-o-fun:

The crafty project was suggested by my sister and she knew the kids would love to make these.  She was right.  Those kids with paintbrushes in hand, had a fabulous time.

Thanks to the women who have fewer children in their lives and think to do these projects, otherwise, they might only be completed on a quarterly basis around her.  Heck, I might even consider two projects in one week just as good as getting crafts out of the way until August (wow, that makes me sound kind of bah-hum-buggy).  Don't get me wrong.  I do love me a good craft.  I do love seeing my kids enjoy their creative works-of-art afterwards.  Connor was placing mini-egg treats inside of his chicky and each egg had an important part to play.  One was the brain, one was the tongue, one was the spit and the other egg was just an egg (curse you Suzy...Connor just asked if we "could do an activity, like build some Easter Bunnies").

In defense of myself, each of these kids has been blessed with very creative brains and daily, they do things and create artworks out of ordinary objects in the home.  THAT is what brings me the greatest joy, seeing their little minds at work by turning an ordinary egg-carton into a laptop or using their body as a canvas for a self-portrait and even teaching their pillow-pet to read.

My craft times might not be as awesome as the ones I have starred in my google reader as "to do someday",  with those twelve-year old plans still there in the back of my mind.  But, the kids are doing great and amaze me daily with the things they come up with!  I can't take any credit for that, but I will do my best to keep encouraging  their individual attempts and most importantly encourage my self to "be" more and not worry about "doing" more, as we were encouraged during General Conference.

1 comment:

Mia said...

Mel, you're awesome! I only have the two and I don't seem to manage as much as you do.

Here's two of my strategies that might work for you.

For reading to multiple kids (without having to try to read upside down), stretch out on the carpet and put the book flat on the floor. More kids can huddle around and see the pictures that way.

For crafts, we have a "craft area". All the basic (and washable) supplies are in bins so that the kids can access whatever they want. We also have a kiddie table and chairs so that the messy area is clearly defined, but that's not necessary. Really, just having the supplies readily available is amazing. The kids get an idea and immediately go create something. And if I have a spontaneous kids craft idea, I can whip out the supplies in seconds!

You really are doing a fabulous job. Keep up the good work!