Today I was in my room, working on a Sunday project, and I could hear Tootles reeking a bit of havoc in the other room, so I went out and scooped him up and brought him into my room. I cleared the bed of blankets and pillows and started bouncing him on it.
Jumping on Mama and Baba’s bed is one of his very favorite activities, though we usually try to discourage it. Well, he went straight from frustrated anger to excited laughter. I wrestled him, and even got out the video camera.
I suppose stopping him from one inappropriate activity and getting him doing another slightly inappropriate activity probably isn’t the best approach in terms of discipline, but it brought a big smile to his face – and mine.
Such a sweet little thing. So tiny, so perfect, so dependent. She has the cutest little cry, which after each wail has a quick little squeak, not unlike that of a squeaky toy. It’s hard to get annoyed at a cry that is separated by high squeaks. I think for the purposes of this book, I’ll call her Squeaker.
Squeaker is a cuddly little girl so far. She calms down quickly when you pick her up. Seeing her next to two year old Tootles, I am reminded how tiny newborns really are. She is only a little smaller than he was at birth, but wow, what a tiny little thing. And though Tootles has thinned out some in the last year, he has still grown so much!
Today Tootles and I went on an adventure! Jenni and Lunch Bucket went to a bridal shower, so Tootles and I went on an adventure while they were gone.
We drove to a downtown area, where we stopped at a gardening store (my choice) and a candy store (Tootle’s choice) and bought some licorice. We also stopped at a music store (my choice), and a small park (Tootle’s choice). But I realized the adventure would be cut short when Tootles started emanating a suspiciously unpleasant scent. Unfortunately, I hadn’t brought a diaper bag. So we left after the park – but not before the part of the adventure where we discovered bear tracks! They were in the grocery store in the ice-cream section, so we took some home. Soon Tootles had bear tracks all over his face.
I was deeply impressed with President Dieter F. Uchtdorf‘s talk this evening in the priesthood session of the Church’s general conference about not getting distracted by less important things. It got me thinking about how easily I get distracted from quality family time.
Why is that so stinkin’ easy to do?! Why is it so easy to push my kids away so I can check my Facebook? I tell myself it will only be for five minutes, but it never works out that way – and it has nothing to do with Facebook itself. It’s me. And if the distraction is not Facebook, it’s the piano, or email, or the garden, or even the dishes. Sure, those are all good things – things that I should take advantage of. But must I use the most quality family hours to do them?
I suppose everyone struggles with stuff like that. That’s why I think it’s SO good to get these reminders once in a while. Usually the things the church leaders encourage us to do are simply things that our conscience has been trying to get us to do for a long time. The reminder simply brings it back to our immediate attention – oh, yeah, my family really IS more important to me than the computer. Oh, yeah, my relationship with my Heavenly Father really IS more important to me than preparing a time-consuming meal.
Then I tell Heavenly Father about my mistake, and how I’ll do better, and I expect Him to say something like, “Duh, dude! Hulllloooo!” But instead He just smiles and gives me a hug. If there’s anything that will solidify a re-dedication, it’s that.
Today with Lunch Bucket’s help, I brought Mickey and some of the other stuffed animals to life. I helped Mickey, and Lunch Bucket helped Bree (my stuffed animal horse).
Mickey and Bree built a castle for Mickey, but then a humungous ogre came and crushed it.
So to defend themselves against the ogre, they put up a fort – which he was able to climb over.
So they got together as a team and attacked him full-on. They were able to knock him over, but the ogre was resilient, and got back up and tromped through their fort and castle rubble. But then Raggedy Anne (with Jenni’s help) came and explained to the group that their ogre was actually a cute little nice boy. So they befriended Tootles, the “ogre.” And played hide-and-seek with him until bedtime.
I’ve decided to use my kids nicknames instead of their real names in this project. My two year old daughter is Lunch Bucket, and my 10 month old son is Tootles. Jenni is my wife, and I will use her real name.
Have you ever skipped through a grocery store? Have you ever done a synchronized skip with a two year old in the grocery store? I recommend it. It enlivens the spirit like few things do.
We’ve started a tradition in the last couple weeks of me singing to the kids before they sleep. I decided shortly after Lunch Bucket was born to write a lullaby for each of my kids. So Lunch Bucket and Toodles each have their own song.
I recommend that to anyone who has even the remotest poetic or musical skills. There is something powerfully bonding about singing to a child a song written especially for them.
For Tootles, it usually takes singing the song about five times before he catches on that it’s time to sleep.
Lunch Bucket loves her song, and demands it every night. She spends most of the song trying with all her might not to smile – but efforts are always in vain.
Conversations with Lunch Bucket:
I use a Neo to do most of my writing. It’s a simple word process or that looks like a calculator with a keyboard. I had just got out the Neo in my bedroom and began writing when Lunch Bucket came bounding in the room.