Thursday, September 11, 2014

triumphant and cracked pot parenting

Yesterday morning was one of those mornings in our house when you wonder if anything you are doing as a parent is working! You're not sure whether to cry, scream, or laugh at how terrible your kids are acting. (Don't they look cute in the dinosaur's mouth? Maybe the dinosaur should eat them!)

I awoke yesterday morning 10 minutes before my alarm went off to Cece yelling at us from her bed about how mad she was that she was wearing a pull-up. Cece still wets the bed, and while we've made great progress in the past few weeks, the night before she had peed, so we stripped her sheets and put a pull-up on her to get her through the rest of the night.

I purposefully set my alarm for a half-hour before our kids wake up/need to get woken up to get ready for preschool. That gives me time to make breakfast for them and have it ready to go when they come to the kitchen dressed for the day, and it gives me time to make coffee. I think the fact that I make breakfast and have it ready for them is pretty darn awesome; however, they don't seem to always grasp the awesomeness.

I laid in bed and ignored the attack until my alarm went off. I don't parent well until I've had a cup of coffee, so I decided to ignore the malice coming from down the hall and stumbled into the kitchen.

Brian woke the boys up about 30 minutes later. Cece made it to the kitchen table, and with my coffee cup in hand, I proceed to explain how crazy it was for her to be saying such things to two gracious parents who had helped her the night before, and how next time she pees on herself, she could deal with the mess herself! That seemed to clear that up, for the time being.

Alex made it to the kitchen and climbed up to his breakfast, only to complain about what had been prepared for him. After several minutes of whining, he was escorted back to his bedroom. Gabe came out about that same time wanting help with his jeans when I noticed that he hadn't changed his underwear. I told him to put clean underwear on, which incited a fit of outrage. How dare I make such a request?! Well, we go to school with clean underwear in this family; I'm sorry! Gabe was also escorted back to his room, and he never made it to the breakfast table that morning, missing out on what I thought was a fabulous yogurt parfait.

Two of the three kids were crying when Brian left the house with them at 7:50am. I, funny enough, had language at 8am that morning, so I needed to get out the door at that same time too, with real clothes on ready to learn language. I somehow managed to leave the house at 7:54am.

As I walked to language, I wrote Brian a text that said, I'm so sorry, thinking of him dragging crying kids into preschool.

He sent me a text a short time later that said he brought each kid into preschool separately. I guess one of the teachers asked him if things were okay. He said, "We've had one of those mornings!"

After I got home from language, I began formulating a plan for the evening after I picked the kids up from preschool: extra chores, no shows, early bedtime. And a plan for the next morning: assigned seats at the table, no choices about breakfast, I choose the chores, what you don't eat at breakfast becomes dinner, etc. I was ready for battle!

Funny enough, I picked up angels from preschool yesterday; I mean, angels. A good report from the teacher about the day. Cooperation like you wouldn't believe about the extra chores. Pure delight in the dinner that I made (something new even that everyone tried with excitement). We had a family meeting to discuss the following morning, and all kids went to bed with limited drama! It was like night and day!

This past Tuesday, we had what is now being called the international teams' bible study. Those who are on a team that serves all of JV make up the iteam. Dave lead our bible study from 2 Corinthians (photo credit to Connie; click here to read her post for more about the bible study).

Together, we charted the characteristics from the verses that describe our lives as followers of Christ that are triumphant and those that show we are cracked pots. We talked about how, because of Christ, we are triumphant in all that we do, but that we have these treasures in jars of clay; therefore, we are afflicted, but not crushed; preplexed, but not driven to despair. We are humans living in a fallen world, but by the grace of Christ, we are triumphant!

2 Corinthians is not really talking about parenting, but I am reminded today that I am a cracked pot, Brian is, and so are our kids. We will have mornings like yesterday because I'm a sinner who needs Jesus just like my kids are sinners who need Jesus. However, by the grace of God we are triumphant, and our kids are sometimes angels reminding us of heaven! Whew. What will tomorrow be like?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

preschool apps my kids are into

The other day I was texting with my brother, Rollie, about education. (He teases me sometimes about stuff, and I get sucked in.) I was sharing with him about how even though I have a masters degree in literacy, on that day, I had downloaded an app on the iPad, stuck my kids in front of the TV, and mirrored the app onto the TV. I called it learning time.

The funny thing is that ever since, I've seen Cece using some of the concepts she learned from the app to help her read. While screen time is no replacement for actually reading books, I'm finding that some educational apps are engaging to my kids, and they are learning something from them. So, I thought I'd share which ones we're into right now.

Endless Reader
This app introduces sight words. Kids drag the letters of the word to their proper place, and then the word is shown in a sentence with a little animation to illustrate it. It's very interactive, and my kids are into it right now. It's free, but then to unlock most of the sight words, you need to pay. Definitely worth trying out.

I was a bit skeptical about this app. The app is a bunch of videos of Mr. Thorne teaching letter sounds and modeling sounding out words. For some reason (maybe his British accent), my kids are really liking him, and it's helping Cece sound out words in her just right books. It's not very interactive, but hey, if it works.

My sister-in-law told me about a few years ago. My kids have been using this app for a long time, and I think it's great for learning letter sounds. The little songs that go along with the sounds get stuck in my head even!