My Kids are Always Dirty

My kids are always dirty. I don’t take the term ‘always’ lightly, yet I feel confident in saying that they are always dirty.

They will cdirtome to visit me at work and my husband will swear that they were clean when they left the house, yet somehow on the ride to see me they have full-grown dirt beards. They are like dirt magicians. They could attract dirt even in one of those scientific ‘clean rooms.’

I will try to make them presentable when we go out in public, but they are sure to have uncooperative bed head. In the winter it might not be bed head so much as hat hair. Regardless, it is sticking up everywhere. The kids also like to rock the one pant leg up, one pant leg down look. If we are not covered in dirt, we are sure to look disheveled.

They are also stain magnets. New clothes don’t stay new for very long on these guys. I try to save or donate the clothes that I can once they have outgrown them, but usually they are so well-worn that it’s not even helping anyone to donate them. Grass stains, dirt stains, and food stains are constantly being pre-treated in our laundry room.

The dirt just doesn’t stay on them, either. I have finger prints all over my walls and my windows. If you find a light switch in my house, odds are that the paint around it is covered in crud from their tiny hands. I have given them baths only to drain the water and find the biggest ring of dirt circling the entire tub. Our remote control buttons sometimes stick because they have gotten who-knows-what all over it.  Several times a week, I must ask the question, “Is that chocolate, poop, or mud?”

Dirt travels from them and covers me, as well. After their visits to see me at work, it is not uncommon for me to go to a meeting, look down, and realize that they rubbed chocolate on my sweater (my co-workers always give them candy) or gave me a muddy boot print on my leg when I picked them up for a hug. When I’m at home, I’m pre-treating my clothes too because I am joining in on the activities that make them so dirty. Like the time that my oldest son found a huge mud puddle by our old house and ran into it before I could do anything about it. I had to wade into it to get him out but we played for a while first. When my husband came home he found a pile of muddy clothes out on our deck.muddy

Our bathrooms are always in need of a good scouring, not because I don’t clean them, just because the regular dirt mixes with bodily fluids in this room. When asked why there was pee everywhere, I was told by my son that sometimes he likes to stand there with his eyes closed and “see what happens.” I’ll show you what happens – you’re going to start cleaning the bathroom yourself!

Recently, I thought that there was just run-of-the-mill dirt on the rug in the boys’ bathroom. I waited a few days to wash it with the bathroom towels until I came to find out what it really was. My son informed me that he had run out of toilet paper while going to the bathroom, so he just wiped himself with the bathroom rug. Instead of just walking over random dirt, we had all been stepping on a skid mark for a couple of days. What I can’t figure out is why he didn’t just ask for more toilet paper? I mean, he is never home alone so someone could have helped him out. So gross.

I used to try to fight all of it, but I feel like I am getting better at accepting the fact that where kids abound, dirt abounds. I do my best to keep things clean and dress them nicely, but I can’t keep them from playing and having fun. So stain up your clothes and fingerprint my walls – that’s the stuff memories are made of.

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Observations from the Supermarket

supermarket

I can’t be the only one who has noticed and experienced these things while going to the supermarket.

Rules of the cart

Upon entering the supermarket, we grab a cart and then must decide who sits up front and who sits in the back. You know the little flap that covers the front seat of the cart? Well, if you actually look at it, it has several pictures on it displaying what you are NOT supposed to do and how kids are NOT supposed to ride in the cart. We ignore all of these rules. We have hung on to the sides of the cart. We sit on things in the cart. We stand in the cart. We unbuckle ourselves and stand up in the front seat of the cart. We even stand and hold our arms out like we are on the front of the Titanic while riding in the cart.  The only thing missing was Celine Dion’s sweet voice crooning over the loud speaker.

Yes, I know that this is dangerous, but I’m not at the store because it’s happy-fun time. I’m there with two kids by myself because we actually need things. If I did a pantry raid to see what items I can throw together for a meal, I would come up with a can of green beans and some stale cake icing. So, we must power through the supermarket and if that means we break every cart-riding rule, then so be it.

Tampons and acquaintances

Why is it that every time I need to go to the store by myself with both of my kids, it perfectly lines up with the few times a year when I have simultaneously run out of every personal hygiene and household product? Not only does this add extra time onto our trip to the supermarket, it also causes me to field a barrage of questions from my children.  It’s the perfect storm. I have one kid in the front seat hugging a package of pads and another kid in the back of the cart shaking a box of Tampax Sport.

“Mom, what is this? Is this lady stuff? How do you use these? Can I use them? Can you eat them?”

Now that I have stocked up on my ‘lady stuff’ I round the corner of the aisle to run into everyone I have ever known. Or at least a couple of guys from church.  How about we save the small talk for Sunday morning and not while my kid is waving my tampons in your face?

Out-of-stock

It just so happens that the only time I could fit in a trip to the grocery store was the day right before the trucks arrive to replenish the shelves. Seriously, I go down through my list and half of the items are nowhere to be found. Because of this, I get what I can now, but will have to find a way to make another trip back to the supermarket in a few days. What’s for dinner? I guess we are still having green beans and icing.

Consider it destroyed

I try to stay focused and motor through the store as fast as I can in the hopes that this experience will be less painful for everyone. In doing so, the kids have opened a box of cereal and a box of fruit snacks.  Now I know why they have been so quiet. On two separate trips, each one of my kids has gnawed through a package of bologna. True story.

I’m going to pay for these items anyway, but I still have a discussion with my kids about the fact that we haven’t paid for then yet so we can’t open or destroy them. I don’t think that a can has made it from the store to our home without being dented when my kids were along for the supermarket experience.

Staring Contest

It’s no secret that kids are observant and riding in a cart through the store gives them the perfect opportunity to people-watch.  Along with the gift of observation, my kids cannot whisper to save their lives and they also have little to no filter before speaking.  So this ends up happening: “Mom, her boobs – I mean chest – was coming out of her shirt!”  Little one overhears boobs and just repeats “boobies” loudly for several aisles.

“Mom, did you see that guy’s butt crack!?  He leaned over and I saw his butt crack!”  Annnd the little one is now saying butt crack instead of boobies.

I swear this is in no way indicative of the way I parent.  But I will give the private part speech again just in case.

How did this get here

I love when I get home and start to unpack the groceries only to find several random items that I have no recollection of purchasing. I forgot cheese and half of the stuff I need to pack my lunches for the week, but I now have the latest issue of Soap Opera Digest, some Ferrero Rocher chocolate, a vile of 5-hour energy, and that matchbox car one of them just had to have. Did I pay for this stuff? The receipt confirms that I did but all of this junk sneaked passed me.  Granted, the chocolate is a nice treat, but clearly my little ninjas were hard at work while I was unloading the cart in the checkout line. Why are the checkout lines so small and compact? I bet they were designed by someone who doesn’t have kids.

I can’t wait to do this all again in a few days.

 

Dreams for the Strong-Willed Child

strong-willed

From the moment we found out we were expecting you, your father and I began to dream. When we found out you were a boy, our dreams got just a little more specific. When I first held you in my arms, so many of my personal dreams were realized.

Do you remember that first night? Of course, you don’t. Long after everyone left the hospital on the day you were born, it was just you and me in the dark room getting to know one another. I held you skin-to-skin, showered you with kisses, and told you all of the dreams I had for you.

As I’ve had the joy of being your mother and watching you grow, those dreams really haven’t changed. Now that your personality is intact, there is no doubt in my mind that you are capable of great things. You, my child, are strong-willed. Or as I like to say, passionate. Everything you do is done with such intensity and purpose and I love this about you!

Many people talk about changing the strong-willed child, but the last thing I want to do is change this part of your personality. To squelch your strong-willed nature would be like forcing you to write with the opposite hand or wear your jeans inside-out and backwards. It might be doable, but it would be awkward, uncomfortable, and unnecessary.

My dreams for you now encourage the use of your strong-willed temperament. As your parent, it’s my job to make sure that you develop this part of your personality appropriately. I want to help you strike a balance that enables you to assert yourself while maintaining self-control.  While it is not okay to talk back and throw fits when you don’t get your way, it is okay to respectfully share your thoughts. While it’s not okay to try to take control over every situation, it is okay to be a leader.

My dreams for you and your strong will include the following:

  • Respect the thoughts and opinions of others, even if they differ from your own. This can be difficult because the strong-willed often feel the need to be ‘right’ or have the last word.
  • I see in you great potential to be a leader. Be the kind of leader that is worth following.
  • Treat everyone as if they matter, because they do. When everyone else walks past the not-so-popular kid in the cafeteria, I want you to sit down and have lunch with him.
  • Know what you stand for and don’t be afraid to stand alone because of it. Being strong-willed gives you an advantage in this area. I pray that peer pressure would be no match for you.
  • Let your work ethic speak for you regarding your skills and abilities. You are still too young for us to know where you excel, but odds are there will be something that you are great at or enjoy more than anything else. Work hard and be humble. Right now, you have a work ethic that I didn’t even know existed in kids your age. I will do everything I can to continue to encourage this in you.
  • Speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves. This includes the disabled, the unborn, the elderly – they all matter.
  • When others run from a problem or tough situation, I want you to run towards it and tackle it head-on.
  • Don’t let the real world steal your love of life.  You have so much energy and ‘zest’ for life – it would break my heart to see you lose that.
  • Come to your own faith in Christ and live your life to glorify Him.

Honestly, I have so many dreams for you that will keep growing and evolving the older you become. But, none of those dreams involve material things; they revolve around the character and integrity I want you to have.  I have never dreamt for you to be a doctor, high-powered business man, or professional athlete. I don’t care about those things and I don’t want you to think that is the measure for success. Actually, you have told me on more than one occasion that you would like to be a garbage man. If that’s your passion and you give it your all, then I would be so proud of you for being a garbage man.

There are days when we butt heads, you and me. I am strong-willed, too. I understand that you want to be right and I understand your intensity because I am the same way. We both have a bit of the perfectionist bug to us as well.  It has been and will continue to be a challenge to help you focus your strong will in a positive direction, to develop self-control. There are times when I am in tears because I don’t know if I am teaching you in the right way, or if I am even getting through to you at all. But there are more times when I see a glimpse of the man you will one day become and I know that the hard days are worth it.

While I am not much of a gambler, I’ll tell you this much – I’d bet my life on you.

Your strong-willed personality is a gift, not a hindrance. I can’t wait to see where life will take you and I pray each and every day that God would use you in mighty ways.