Boys and Girls

One afternoon not too long ago my husband and I were on a date. All we were doing was sitting on a park bench talking, but since we didn't have the kids with us, it felt like a holiday. One nice thing about being out and about without kids is the ability to people watch, and on this day we saw something fascinating. It was a mother with three daughters about the same ages as our three sons. (That would be 5, 3, and 1, for those of you keeping score.) She parked her stroller by a bench, let her toddler out, then sat down and opened a book. Continue reading

Come On In!

Boys creating chaosI just had an epiphany. Why is it that it bothers me when guests drop by unexpectedly, and I haven't had a chance to clean the apartment beforehand? I've never questioned the embarrassment that fills me as I hastily move piles of unfolded laundry to make room on the couch, while clearing toys off the floor by kicking them toward the wall, before I run to the bathroom to make sure that no one has peed on the floor or left traces of poop in the toilet bowl since the last time I was in there. I've never questioned that embarrassment, until today. After all, what in the world have I got to be embarrassed about? I have three preschool boys at home, for crying out loud! Of course my home is a perpetual mess! Who am I trying to fool?

And that's when I had my epiphany. Continue reading

I Love My Boys

Sometimes I don't think that I can take the rampant testosterone flying about our apartment. On most days it seems like if someone isn't screaming, yelling, growling, or roaring, then something is being broken or hurled through the air.

Rather than being the serene and gentle mother I would like to be, I just feel vexed and grouchy as I scurry from one disaster-waiting-to-happen to the next, all while trying to cook meals, keep house, and manage to maintain a semblance of personal hygiene. I find a bit of consolation in the fact that none of our boys has figured out how to throw things out the window . . . yet. That's a good thing, because much of the time, my patience is about ready to exit by that route. I always considered myself a patient person―until I had kids. It's humbling, which is probably good for me, and it's forcing me to rely moment by moment on Jesus, and as far as I'm concerned, nothing could be better than that.

Continue reading

Part-Time Referee

I've never been much of an athlete or sports fan, but I'm finding that as a full-time mom to boys, my job description includes "part-time referee." The games are many and varied, ranging from the expected sword fights, splash wars, and wrestling matches to imaginative games of David and Goliath, Lion and Lion Tamer, and Moses in the Basket, to downright bizarre games like Eat Your Brother, Bite the Baby, and Pee on Each Other (the latter in the bathtub, thankfully). As referee, it is my task to define fair play and enforce it. I make it pretty simple. Regardless of the game, there are only two rules: 1) be kind, and 2) don't hurt your brother. I suppose I could add: 3) don't hurl dense objects, 4) don't use the pictures on the wall for target practice, and 5) don't pretend that the bookshelves are Annapurna and you are mountaineers, but that's pretty complicated for a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old, don't you think?

I loathe yelling and make it a goal not to shout at my children, but often they make so much noise that they can't hear me unless I raise my voice at least nineteen times above its normal level. To avoid sharing my motherly admonitions with the rest of the apartment block, sometimes I'll wade into the fray to get the boys' attention without shouting. However, this strategy isn't practical when I'm cooking something whose recipe includes the words "stir constantly," or when I'm nursing the baby, or (and this is my favorite) when I'm holding the baby over the toilet because he needs to go poop! So in those instances I have two choices. I can temporarily abandon my referee responsibilities (which usually means abandoning my second child to the mercy of his older brother), or I can yell at the boys until they realize that Mommy is saying something and they'd better stop to listen. **sigh** I feel like I've been doing too much yelling lately.

The other day it occurred to me that a referee's whistle might come in handy.

I think I'll ask for one for Mother's Day.

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What about you? What are you hoping for (or planning to give) on Mother's Day?


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