Kids Say the Awesomest Things

Having four kids under the age of six is always an adventure. As I type, two are shouting from their bedroom, “Mama, can I go potty?”

How long since they went to bed? Five minutes. Oh, and one of the two hasn’t even started potty training.

Jenni and I pretty much have an ongoing ticker of Hathawayism on our Facebook profiles. Here are a few recent ones:

It’s lunchtime, and Jenni’s getting lunch ready. Tootles says, “I’m impatient, so give me lunch first.”

Why dance around the issue? Just say it straight!

This one was also Tootles:

“Mom, you’re welcome to be my Grandma.” – Tootles (Grandma doesn’t make him do chores)

This next one was while the kids were getting ready for bed a couple nights ago:

Lunch Bucket: Baba, the South Pole is the coldest place in the WHOLE world.

Me: Well, good thing we don’t live there!

Lunch Bucket: If you want to go there, you have to get really warm and only two people can go so they can take care of the penguins.

Yeah, I guess someone’s got to take care of the penguins.

This just in–like really, just in. I almost clicked publish, when I heard this conversation:

Lunch Bucket: If a mouse would bite me, I would be dead

Tootles: You’re being MEAN

Lunch Bucket: You don’t know if there’s a mouse, because it’s dark. Even if there is a mouse, you don’t know. By the time right now, a mouse would be getting me.

I love kids.

Audioblog: We Make The Rules

We Make The Rules

One thing I like about being married and being a parent is that we get to make our own rules. Society has it’s own ideas about what we should or shouldn’t have in our family and household. But in our house, we make the rules.

A Response to Erma Bombeck’s Treat Friends, Kids the Same

If You’re Friends and Kids Acted the Same

I once read an interesting article by Erma Bombeck about how we should treat our children the same way we treat our friends—with love, respect, and kindness, rather than harshness. For some reason the disciplinarian has become the default mode for many parents, rather than the loving, understanding confidant. Here’s what Erma said:

 

On TV the other day, a leading child psychologist said parents should treat their children as they would treat their best friend…with courtesy, dignity and diplomacy.

“’I have never treated my children any other way,’ I told myself. But later that night, I thought about it. Did I really talk to my best friends like I talked to my children? Just suppose…..our good friends, Fred and Eleanor, came to dinner one night and……

“’Well, it’s about time you two got here! What have you been doing? Dawdling? Leave those shoes outside, Fred. They’ve got mud on them. And shut the door. Were you born in a barn?’

“’So Eleanor, how have you been? I’ve been meaning to have you over for such a long time. Fred! Take it easy on the chip dip or you’ll ruin your dinner. I didn’t work over a hot stove all day long to have you nibble like some bird.”

“’Heard from any of the gang lately? Got a card from the Martins. Yes, they’re in Lauderdale again. They go every year to the same spot. What’s the matter with you, Fred? You’re fidgeting. Of course you have to go. It’s down the hall, first door on the left. And I don’t want to see a towel in the middle of the floor when you’re finished.

“’Did you wash your face before you came, Eleanor? I see a dark spot around your mouth. I guess it’s a shadow. How are your children? If you ask me I think summer school is great for them. Is everybody hungry? Then, why don’t we go into dinner? You all wash up and I’ll take up the food. Don’t tell me your hands are clean, Eleanor. I saw you playing with the dog.

“’Fred, you sit over there and Eleanor you can sit with the half glass of milk. You know you’re all elbows with it comes to milk. There now, your host will say grace.

“’Fred, I don’t see any cauliflower on your plate. Have you ever tried it? Well, try a spoonful. If you don’t like it I won’t make you finish it, but if you don’t try it, you can just forget dessert. And sit up straight or your spine will grow that way. Now, what were we talking about? Oh yes, the Gerbers. They sold their house. I mean they took a beating but….Eleanor, don’t talk with food in your mouth. I can’t understand a word you’re saying. And use your napkin.’”

“At that moment in my fantasy, my son walked into the room. “How nice of you to come,” I said pleasantly.

“’Now what did I do?’ he sighed.”

 

Erma has a great point. We do need to treat our kids respectfully. But there’s something she’s missing. How many two year olds do you know that act like adults?

So let’s try reversing the fantasy. We’ll treat our friends like we normally would, but this time, think about what it would be like if our friends acted like kids.

Fred and Eleanor arrive at the door.

“Hello!” you say, “come inside, you’re just on time!”

Eleanor walks in, but Fred hasn’t noticed that you opened the door. He’s standing in your freshly watered flowerbed pulling the legs off a grasshopper. When he does come it, he leaves muddy Fred tracks from the door to the kitchen table.

“So Eleanor,” you say as you put the green beans on the table, “what did you think of the emergency preparedness fair last week?”

But Eleanor doesn’t hear you. She’s standing on a kitchen chair, leaning forward, banging her water glass on the table shouting, “Ducky! Ducky! Ducky! Ducky! Ducky!” heaven knows how many times.

With everyone around the table, you again thank the couple for coming. “Fred, would you do the honor of giving the blessing on the food?”

Fred wraps his hands around his face and begins chanting something utterly unintelligible that ends five seconds later with a victorious, arms raised shout of, “AMENNNNNNN!”

You start your meal, noticing that Eleanor is only taking potato chips. Grateful she’s enjoying herself, you say, “The chips were on sale today. I’m glad I picked them up. Could you pass them here?”

“NO!” Eleanor shouts, squeazing the bag to her side (you can hear the chips crushing beneath her elbow), “They’re MINE!”

“Uh… well, I just thought Fred might like some.”

You look at Fred, who is happily dropping bread pieces into his milk. At first you wonder where he got the bread, but then you see the bag of muffins from yesterday’s breakfast hanging wide open on the counter.

As you finish your meal, you pull out the cheesecake. “I hope you like cheesecake—I really shouldn’t indulge like this, but I couldn’t resist.”

You are about to scoop a slice straight onto their plates, but now you can see that Fred’s milky muffin concoction is now glopped onto his plate, and he’s pushing it off his plate with his hand.

“I want some!” he shouts.

“Certainly Fred, I hope you like cherry.”

He shoves the whole plate onto the floor, and before you have a chance to offer to clean it up, Eleanor is on the floor scooping the glop into her mouth.

Fred then screams like a girl and leaps off his chair and begins pounding his wife, saying, “It’s mine! No, Ellie! It’s MINE!”

You pull Eleanor away, and go with her into the other room to see if she wants to talk about the problem. Glop covers her hands, leaving brown and white streaks across her brow and eyes as she rubs tears and milk into her eyes.

When she finally calms enough to return to the kitchen, you discover Fred sprawled across the table, feet hanging off the edge.

He looks up and smiles at you with hands, clothes and face entirely saturated in Cherry cheesecake.

Unsure how to react, you just stare as Fred sweeps the last bit of dessert onto the floor. You look over at Eleanor, who simple says, “Uh, oh.”

But you realize she is not referring to Fred as you suddenly catch scent in Eleanor’s direction of a very unpleasant odor.

 

Recording Imagination

Recording Imagination

Lunch Bucket walked in on me as I was finishing up a recording session today.

“Are you almost done working?”

“Almost. I’ve just been recording some stuff.”

“I want to record my imagination.”

“Okay.”

So I hit record and said, “Okay, tell us your imagination.”

After recording, we listened to it, and the rest of the family came to listen. Then Lunch Bucket said, “Squeaker wants to record her imagination, too.”

“Okay,” I said, “Lunch Bucket, you help Squeaker share her imagination.”

So Lunch Bucket then used our tradition baby girl ventriloquist voice and gave Squeakers imagination.

Then of course Tootles wanted a turn, so I got a recording of his imagination, too.

Green Squeaker

I think Squeaker is a one-year old green freak – a pure product of the natural energy generation. How do I know? Because she’s working hard to build a compost pile next to our kitchen table. I was cleaning under her corner of the table yesterday with a back-hoe and realized that if I could find a way to sort and package what falls off her dinner plate, I could solve 1/3 of the world food shortage.

I think she may also have military aspirations, too, because against the backdrop of her compost hill, she’s mastered the art of camouflaging herself with the same foods.

We can usually tell when she’s finished eating, because we start hearing wails and squeals in the general direction of the compost. So we soak a rag and toss it at the pile. It stops just short of the pile in mid-air, and Squeaker commences sucking the life, water, and fibers out of the rag until all the camo is washed off. Then she tosses the dry rag to the floor and there sits our sweet Squeaker, sopping wet with a big 4-toothed grin, ready to get down.

I think come summer I’ll move the kitchen table into the backyard.

The Tools of Play

The Tools of Play

We all know that every child has great imagination, and it shows in their play, but adults have tools for play that far surpass a child’s. Learning about these tools can help parents and children have a great time together.

Interview with Baba

One of the major focusses of this blog is to talk about how I want to be a great dad, even with everything else going on in my life. I decided to interview my kids on the subject. I asked the questions, and wrote their answers just how they spoke.

What are some things dads can do to be better dads?

Lunch Bucket: Be gentle to Rosie (Rosie’s a dog who’s visiting for awhile), and don’t be frustrated, and that won’t hurt their kids ears. And help their kids and teach them so much of the gospel.

Tootles: Better dads are good.

Me: Anything else?

Tootles: Nope.

What is your favorite thing to do with your dad?

Squeaker: (smiles)

Tootles: The pirates song question. I talked about that. Be nice, and fight with the pirate song question.

Lunch Bucket: Play games – good games that people don’t shoot.

Me: Anything else?

Tootles: Be gentle with Rosie with Dad.

Tell me a story from your family history – or something about your ancestors.

Lunch Bucket: I don’t know one.

Tootles: A story about Great Grandma Hathaway, and they go to the Family history house.

Me: What happens?

Tootles: They get treats at the Family Histories class.

What would you like your dad to do for you?

Tootles: All the family toys and all the family slides, and all the family clouds.

LB: Help me pick up the toys. And help our mothers to do laundry.

. . .

I’m not sure I like where this is going… she’s been talking to her mom too much. I better stop now before she mentions dishes.

Horrid Night

Last Saturday was a great day. We visited family, hung out with old friends, and generally had a great time all day. Even the sunset was beautiful. Then came bedtime.

Oh. My. Kids.

There were more blood-curdling screams than at the Nightmare on 13th haunted house. And why were they screaming? Heaven only knows. At bedtime, needs change constantly so as to provide a constant barrage of excuses to keep Mom and Dad’s attention. And if one request can’t be supplied, all Hades breaks loose, and before we know it, one side of the house is filled with weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth (or gums, in Squeakers case), and the other with adults trying to drown out the sound with pillows over their ears. Beyond timeouts and lecturing, what’s a parent to do? After numerous door-smashing tantrums, heated lectures, and threats of lost privileges, the wailing only got worse. Jenni and I were both on the verge of an all-out breakdown. The idea of letting the kids wail themselves to sleep was the ultimate plan, but just try laying in bed and sleeping peacefully for three hours with a perpetual onslaught of screams coming from the other side of the house.

It was completely insane. In the end, one of them ended up sleeping on the couch (don’t ask me why that helped). Was it a good idea to let him have his way after a horrid tantrum? Maybe not, but by that time, we were on the verge of full mental breakdowns.

At church the next day, the brother teaching the lesson talked about something that had happened this last week that really caught my attention.

He said that the previous Monday had been one of the worst days in over a decade. One small thing after another, and though the entire day was just absolutely horrid, his one consolation was that at the end of the day he was able to kneel by his bed and thank the Lord that even though nothing had gone right that day, he’d been able to face each situation in righteousness – doing the right thing despite how horrid he felt.

I thought about the previous evening. It had been absolutely horrible. And though I felt like lashing the lot of them, I hadn’t. Though I felt like screaming at them, I didn’t. I was firm, but I didn’t do anything regrettable. As I realized that, all the stress and frustration from the night before just melted away. I had done the right thing. I knew I could at least say that much. Sometimes we can only do life a day at a time, and some days will be awful. But if we can say we acted in righteousness to the best of our knowledge, then we can be sure that the Lord is helping.

The LDSF Society

While it’s true that I belong to the LDS church, some weeks, with the kids crawling on the bench, and the floor, and each other, and me, and the baby,  I feel more like a member of the LDSF society. Not to be confused with the fundementalist church, this is the Latter-day Sunday Fiasco society. In the LDS church, the family gathers for sacrament meeting and all listen and enjoy the spirit in the meeting. But in the LDSF society, kids jump on benches, and parents do sweet sixteens up and down the chapel, racing kids in and out of the meeting, wails drowning out any and all audio reception.

Just today I woke up about halfway through the meeting (yes woke up – It was a long morning for the parents of said munchkins), I woke and discovered marker markings on my hands. What the?!

That’s when I noticed my kids coloring with markers and eating cereal next to me. Where did they get markers? We don’t even allow those in our house, let alone at church! And cereal? We had oatmeal for breakfast because we’re out of cereal!

Then the culprits revealed themselves as the kids belonging to the family sitting next to us on the bench. Ah. Well, they’re a great family, so I guess it was okay, but it did help me realize the importance of staying awake at church… especially as I remembered the marker markings and got self conscious about my face…

I only had to take Tootles out once – well, I guess you could say it was twice, since we had to go back in after he calmed down in order to fetch the diaper bag, since his foyer tantrum had released an ominous unpleasant smell. I would have had Jenni fetch it for me, but by then, she was out with another kid.