Sunday, February 27, 2011

...Outside the Box: And In It

We recently bought a coffee table from some neighbors who moved away. The table doubles as a big box, where we've elected to store blankets. It's rustic style is good in our family room, though I do plan to do some repair and refinish work to it this summer. The kids have loved climbing on it and using it for a homework and coloring work surface...and a bed.

Our nighttime routine usually includes tucking the children in bed and then returning around nine o'clock to turn off their lights so they won't read into the wee hours. A few nights ago, I went down for the final good-night check and noticed #5 was not in his room. I figured he was cuddled in with #2, which is pretty common. But when I check the girls' room, not only was #5 not there, but #3 was also missing. One child in each bedroom was already asleep, so I quietly began calling for them. No response. I looked in closets. Then the front room, laundry room, and bathtub. Still no response. I checked upstairs in the playroom and glanced around my room. Now I was getting nervous and calling more loudly. No one in the garage, and the front door was still locked on the inside. Where could they be?! Then I had a thought: the BOX! I opened the lid and found both of them snuggled and snickering. They had heard me, but didn't want to answer me because they were afraid I'd send them back to their beds. Well, they looked comfy, and another thought came to my mind.

I remembered a night I spent sleeping on the bottom stairs to our basement when I was eight or nine. I wanted to exercise some independence, which escalated into refusing to go to bed. I proved my point by sleeping in a cramped position on a cold cement surface all night...and felt triumphant. So I left my rascals in the wooden box and turned out the lights, to their delight.

Too bad they hadn't considered my morning routine. When I came down at 6:30 a.m. and turned on the lights for my scripture study, they were not happy to be so rudely awakened. I'm glad they had some fun being sneaky. I'm glad I caught them. And I'm glad they won't repeat that little escapade again.

I'm also wondering why I provide beds for my children when they seem to prefer bean bags, ottomans, floors, and boxes?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cozy Bliss

Some days are just good. I snapped this picture to try to capture the warmth of a rare night with everyone home.

The children had played happily with Moon Sand all afternoon, were pleasant at dinner, and then sat down to quietly finish homework. You can see #5 warming up by the wood stove. Dad was helping #3 with the dishes. When the homework and chores were done, we all played a game of Pictionary, and even managed to get through it with no one crying. What really warmed my heart on top of all that is that the family room had stayed clean all day. It was a very sweet and cozy evening.

Disclaimer: That picture was not taken today.

Today was more hectic than usual with kids scattered at friends' homes, mock trial practice, a school play, and the district science fair. Kent ran home from work to a friend's home, back for dinner, over to the science fair awards presentation, and is currently across the street playing a basketball game at 10:20 p.m. I rushed home from an evening gardening class to drag sleeping children from the couch to their beds and to get one child started on her book report (at 10 p.m.). Whew!

I'm glad to have some proof that we did enjoy a peaceful evening here and there during my kids' childhood. As they get older, I expect we'll have more days like today and I would otherwise forget the nice, quiet ones.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Super Powers are Exhausting

Kent reminded me that I haven't recorded #5's fascination with super powers.

About a year ago, when he was three, #5 was chatting with his dad and mentioned some super powers that he had recently acquired: flying and running super fast.

#5: "Dad, do you have any super powers?"

Kent: "Nope."

#5: "Well I do."

Kent: "Really? Where did you get your powers?"

#5 (matter-of-factly replied): "Jesus gave them to me."

Kent: "Jesus huh? How did that happen?"

#5: "I said, 'Jesus, may I please have some powers?' And He said, 'Yes.'"


We have giggled about that exchange many times, and #5 just smiles because he's so happy to have all these powers. In the past year, he has also gained the powers to jump really high and "be google strong" (#5 uses google for really really, or infinitely), as well as the power of "invisible eyes" (which I think means #5 can see invisible things and people, especially bad guys).

For my birthday, #5 shared two of his powers with me. He bestowed upon me the powers to run really fast and jump really high...but only for three days. And he made it clear that giving me those powers didn't deplete his own powers; he can share them so we can run and jump together. Later that evening, when #5 asked for a treat right before dinnertime and I wouldn't give it to him, an angry cloud distorted his face and he conveyed through clenched teeth that if I didn't give him his treat in five seconds, he would take away my powers! Five seconds later, I expressed my woe that I could feel the powers leaving, and he took pity on me and gave them back. He was so happy to restore my powers that he forgot about the treat and happily watched me make dinner. (Little does he realize how expertly I wield the power of distraction!)

Last week I snapped these photos of #5 flopped out in deep sleep on the couch in the afternoon. (My parents have a collection of my brother's weird sleeping poses from when he was a child. Now I'm gathering similar material of my kids.) This little boy burns energy all day. And really, it's tough work to repeatedly jump from six stairs up in an effort to hone one's flying skills. No wonder he's so tired! This second photo especially almost looks like he's flying in his sleep!

A couple days ago, a little piece of my heart broke as #5 grew up just a little bit. Out of the blue, he sprung this announcement on me:

#5: "Guess what? I don't really have powers. They are just imaginary."

Me: "Really? What makes you think that?"

#5: "I just think about them in my mind. They aren't real."

Me: "That's too bad. But [#5], I have seen you run really fast."

#5: "Yeah. Some of them are real. I can run really fast, but I can't fly."

I don't want to see my little guy's imagination be crowded out by reality too quickly! Fortunately, the next day he was running around in his sister's dance leotard with a big scarf tied for a cape around his neck, jumping off the couches.

Me: "[#5], I'm glad to see you're flying again."

#5: "Yeah. And I can still see with my invisible eyes."

Me: [Whew!]

Sunday, February 6, 2011

You Know What They Say

An ounce of prevention... worth a pound of cure.

Tomorrow morning I'm taking four of my children to the dentist to have a total of 11 cavities filled. That will bring them to 14 fillings in the space of three weeks. Most of those are due to not flossing, but we could also be better about taking flouride in this household.

I remember having flouride rinses in second grade. Our class would file into the hallway, and we would each be given a small cup of liquid to swish around and then spit into the drinking fountain. My parents were pretty good about keeping us supplied with flouride tablets, too. (I remember that mostly because I remember learning, after occasionally sticking a few purple tablets up my nose, that it was easier to snort it up and then down my throat than to fish it out. Kids those days.) As a result, I never had a cavity until I was pregnant with my fourth baby. The dentist told me at that point that it was pretty unavoidable because repeated pregnancies weaken teeth. Luckily, I've kept the total to two or three. Cavities, not babies.

Last week, #1 was pretty happy with herself for having clean x-rays. (I think it's because we've already filled all her teeth, and the rest have fallen out.) I guess it's nice that I'm not spending an extra $50 per filling on her. Instead, the dentist told me it's time to get her to an orthodontist. Well, now I know what to do with our tax refund!