Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Forgiveness and Monkey Bars

I've noticed a few things as my children are getting older:

1. My kids are excellent teachers (especially Melody, since she's older). I remember when Melody was born, thinking that I had this huge responsibility to teach her life's important lessons, and to instill good values in her. Well, little did I know that as she's gotten older, SHE is very capable of teaching ME sometimes! Case in point: for the past couple of months, as we end our bedtime prayer, Melody always speaks up and says, "We love you so much God and we will never stop loving you!" Well, that's a great prayer with just that one simple sentence! Why do I feel the need to make sure I say everything just right and go on and on and get the idea. Melody is teaching me that simple is sometimes better.

2. My children have a larger capacity to forgive and forget than I do. I've seen this time and time again with my kids. Say, for example, that Gannon hits Melody. Melody is hurt so she cries. I talk to Gannon about how hitting is wrong and it hurts, so we shouldn't do it. We can learn how to express our anger/frustration in more appropriate ways, etc etc. Gannon goes and apologizes to Melody, she says she forgives him, and then they resume playing like nothing happened. Within 5 minutes, neither of them really even remember the incident.

Earlier this week, Melody climbed in the car after school and began telling me about an altercation with a few of her friends. They were on the playground and some of her friends began yelling at her. She skipped over a lot of details, I could tell, but rushed to inform me that "we did all the forgiving under the monkey bars." It was simple for her. She and the other girls resumed their friendship without any major battle scars. I've never seen my children hold much of a grudge. They truly are capable of forgiving and then putting it out of their mind. They are too busy loving and caring for others that they are nearly incapable of holding onto the nasty feelings that sometimes come with having to forgive. Wow!!! What a blessing!

I'm very appreciative for the things my children can teach me. I hope to always be a humble and thankful learner.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The fuzzy, hairy, furry teeth day

I went to the dentist today. Much like going to that "other"'s not something I jump up and down to do. Well, today was a little different because I took Melody with me. Now, Melody (she's almost 6 years old) really hates the dentist. And when I say hate, I really mean it. Poor girl.

Melody had a dentist appointment earlier this week. A little over a month ago, she jumped onto the couch, and in doing so, jammed one of her front teeth into her gum. After the last episode of crying, screaming, and having to restrain her in the dentist's chair...just to get her mouth open...Jamie and I tried a new strategy this week in an attempt to help her overcome her fear of the dentist. It's called Positive Reinforcement (aka Bribery).

We started by asking Melody what her specific fears are about the dentist. We didn't get too far with that, so I told her that if she sat in the chair like a big girl and let them peek at her tooth, then she could go with me to my grown-up dentist appointment, which also happened to be this week. Voila!! She readily agreed to cooperate, and she followed through with her promise. She was excellent at her dentist appointment!! I'm hoping her excitement about doing such a great job at the dentist will carry over into August when she goes for her next cleaning (a whole 'nother monster altogether).

So, I checked her out of school this morning and off we went to see my dentist. Of course, I brought Color Wonder to occupy her little hands while I sat in the chair for an hour. Naturally, once we got there, it was completely anti-climactic for her. She could care less what I or the dental hygenist were doing on the other side of the room; she just cared about coloring pretty cards for her teacher and me. On the bright side, nothing happened that scared her even worse!

You know how they save the flouride rinse until the very end? Well, today they had a new flouride treatment, and I was one of the (un)lucky guinea pigs. It's a flouride gel that they brush onto your teeth, and you can't rinse afterwards. Essentially, it's like smearing grainy Vaseline all over your teeth and leaving it there....for 4-6 hours!!! Yes---no brushing your teeth for at least 4 hours! My hygenist puts this nasty stuff in my mouth, and I then have to proceed to check-out, afraid of closing my mouth for fear of swallowing the stuff. Ugh. Then I HAD to close my mouth so I could talk and make my next appointment! Is this stuff safe to swallow? Did the people who invented this stuff do a test on their own teeth? Why 4-6 hours??? At least with the rinse, it's in and out..quick. What is so special about this newfangled junk that I have to leave it in my mouth for most of the day? It really discourages socialization and conversation because I don't want to smile at people; I have white goo on my teeth!

Melody and I proceed to lunch (since by now lunchtime is over at her school). The dentist told me not to eat anything hard or crunchy. As I'm driving to Wendy's (nothing hard or crunchy there except salad, right?), I start telling Melody that my teeth feel furry. I mean, it literally feels like there is hair on my teeth. Kinda like if I forget to brush my teeth in the morning (not that I've ever done that..), and by the time I've had breakfast and lunch my teeth start feeling dirty and hairy. Same feeling, but 10 times worse. Yuck!! We arrive at Wendy's and I asked Melody to look at my teeth and tell me what she sees. She claims she didn't see any hair or fur or fuzz, but I swear it was there!

Ok, once all is said and done...dropping off kid at school, picking up other kid at school...blah blah blah...I come home and immediately brush my teeth. That's right! I'm usurping the dentist's authority AND the 4-6 hour rule and I brushed every bit of that nasty stuff off. So what's the worst that will happen?? The horrid goo was on my teeth for 2 solid hours, so I figure I got half the treatment. Not bad, eh?

Next time I'm "opting" for the fluoride rinse, thank you very much.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Heritage of Language

Contrary to what some online quizzes tell me, I know for fact that I have a Southern accent. I mean, come on, I grew up in the Black Belt of south Alabama!! We are talking Deep South here. They still have outhouses down near Thomasville where I spent the majority of my formative years (we had indoor plumbing, thankfully!).

My accent used to be worse than it is now. I remember using words like "confound it" and "doggone it". Once I went to college and became a bit more civilized (ha!), I dropped a lot of those southern words from my vocabulary. I even lost some of my twangy accent. However, I still talk with people from my hometown and they still sound the same! :) I love it!

OK, so case in point: in January, my husband, kids and I went to Lake Lure, NC on vacation. As we were leaving a good, down-home cooking kind of place, my husband SWEARS that I said "Goodness Be!" My response was "WHAT?!?!?!?" I Do Not use that kind of terminology, I have Never in my Life used that term. I say Goodness Gracious or Good Grief quite frequently. But Goodness Be?? Noooo.

My husband said that he has heard me say it before and he always inwardly smirks at my southern-ness. I vehemently disagreed. He said that the next time he heard me say it, he would point it out to me.

A few weeks later, we were visiting with my sister and family, so I asked her if she had ever heard me say Goodness Be. I mean, after all, she DID grow up with me and should know most everything southern that comes out of my mouth!! She agreed with me; no, I do not say Goodness Be. *whew*

Sooooo, about a month ago my hubby and I were at my parents house, sitting on the couch looking at the newspaper or something (I can't remember now to be honest), and my Mom asked me a question (I don't remember the question now, either). I immediately, without thinking first, said "Goodness Be, No!" Jamie's head flew around so suddenly to look at me and my mouth flew open because we both realized that I HAD SAID IT! Jamie started laughing hysterically because he had "won" that disagreement. All I could say was "awwww man."

Well, today I was walking down the stairs with Gannon and out of the blue he says, "Goodness be!" I started laughing and asked him if that's what he had really said. He said it again in confirmation. How cute and funny that he has now got that phrase in his wide array of possible choices for exclamations! I hesitate to tell Jamie about it, though... my son is now a true every sense of the word!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Dash by Linda Ellis

I read of a man who stood to speak
at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
from the the end.

He noted that first came the date of her birth
and spoke of the following date with tears,
but he said what mattered most of all
was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time
that she spent alive on earth
and now only those who loved her
know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own,
the cars..the house..the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
and how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard;
are there things you'd like to change?
For you never know how much time is left
that can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down long enough
to consider what's true and real
and always try to understand
the way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger
and show appreciation more
and love the people in our lives
like we've never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect
and more often wear a smile...
remembering that this special dash
might only last a little while.

So when your eulogy is being read
with your life's actions to rehash,
would you be proud of the things they say
about how you spent your dash?

This poem speaks to me in many different ways, but I thought it was quite poignant. I'll be teaching about it in my anger management class tonight...wish me luck!!! :)

Go live your dash!