big boy beds and bursts of blubbering

Moving Boxes

Sometimes it’s the pile of too-small clothes in the donation box that makes a parent cry.

Sometimes it’s breaking down the crib and carrying it out for the yard sale pile that makes a parent cry.

I did both of those things today without shedding tears.

And then.

Maybe somewhere between re-folding the stacks of yard sale blankets and picking up the 700th Hot Wheels car, I lost it.

It started small with pinched, down-turned corners of my mouth and squinty eyes.  That’s a pretty picture, huh?  Did you just try it?  Yup, it was that awkward.  So thankful that the kids were out on the river with my husband and not at home to see me twisting my face crazy ways.  Within about 5 minutes, irregular rhythms of previously stifled sobs and sniffles were bursting into the empty house.

Nobody’s going off to college; Nobody’s going for an extended stay in a hospital room.

I’m moving our girl out of the room she’s shared with middle brother for the last 2 1/2 years, and she’s only going on the other side of the wall.  She’ll have her own space, and baby brother will move to the bottom bunk.  I’m not too upset about being done with the crib (yet.)  I’m sad that moving her out probably means changes in her relationship with her brother. 

She needs her own space more and more as she is getting older, and there are several other great reasons that swapping rooms has to be done.

But the way they play together 80% of the time?  It’s precious, and I hate being the one to initiate changes that might mean they’re not as close.

My sister pointed out today that I don’t know what positive changes between them it might bring about that I can’t foresee.  She’s right.  And already tonight, I heard middle brother talking about himself in ways that sounded like he might be gaining some much-needed sense of maturation. Halleluuuu-yer! That brought tremendous relief, because I was seriously concerned about jealousy on his part, too.

In an odd way, the pain of moving on from one chapter in their childhood brought me joy.  There are days when I’m too busy or too self-absorbed to be the mom I really want to be, but having my heart break over 10 feet of floor space reminds me that God is slowly making me into who he wants me to be.

 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (Philippians 2:3, emphasis mine)

introducing kids to music {a podcast follow-up}

You know those people who give you a chance even though they haven’t seen you since you were 19-and-something-of-an-idiot?  Cintia is one of them for me, and I like her.  Social media reconnections are boss.

Cintia and I had a conversation today about introducing your kids to music, and it streamed live on YouTube.  If you didn’t see it live, boy did you miss out!  I’m pretty sure she’s already edited out the part where my dog peed on the chair behind me.  Regardless, you can check it out here.  I apologize for the poor sound quality on my end.  I didn’t realize my webcam mic was so bad.

podcastwithcintia

Anyway, I had a few more thoughts after we finished chatting…

On simple ways that parents can introduce music to children:

  • Put a CD player in the bedroom that the child can operate.  It’s better than an iPod at younger ages, and the concrete experience of getting a new CD (even if it’s one you burned from your iTunes) is thrilling for them.
  • Take the kids to as many concerts as possible!  Duh.
  • Keep an eye out for musical toys that don’t do all the work for your child.  If you push one button to hear a song, that’s not really learning anything.
  • Take out your earbuds, Momma.  Play it for everybody!

On children’s ability to sing:

  • Don’t ever tell a child she has a terrible voice or “can’t sing.”  Most parents aren’t that accurate in judging their own abilities, anyway.  The point isn’t always to be the best.  It’s to enjoy.  And, by the way, if we judged how great a cook you were going to be based on your mudpies…
  • The more they sing, the better they sing.  This is not a hard-and-fast rule.  If you make your child sing 6 hrs a day, they are not guaranteed to sell more records than Whitney.  But, singing is the ability to recall and make your body reproduce what you recall.  It’s imitation, and it usually becomes more accurate with more attempts.

On tips for parent-guided interactive musical play:

  • Use your sing-song voice to give instructions.  (Think of the “nanna nanna boo boo” tune and sing “Run and get your shoes on!”)  Betcha the child sings back to you.
  • Be a broken record.  That may go against lots of parenting book advice, but I’m not thinking of nagging.  I’m thinking of the way we have said “I_____ love_____ youuuuu!” thousands of times to my children in the same rising-rising-falling tones.  My youngest began filling in the final high-pitched “youuuu” long before he was really talking.  That’s musical.
  • Get silly.  If you can possibly muster up just a little bit of leftover magic dust from deep in your feet, shake it back out and make up a song about what you’re doing right now.  Or, even better, when your child is doing this (magically unprompted!) join in.  Add to the song.  When you get stuck, just repeat stuff you already sang.  It’s like… magic.
  • Pay someone to teach you how.  Music Together, Kindermusik, Musikgarten, and the Learning Groove are music teacher-led classes that involve both parent and child.

On the benefits of introducing music to kids:

  • Letting music be part of our lives connects us to the human experience throughout time.  There has never existed a culture that didn’t have music.  In my opinion, it’s a gift given to us through which we were all meant to worship.  It’s so unfortunate that our competition-driven culture has relegated music to “the experts.”

PS – I don’t have a dog.

what i learned this week #6

whatilearnedthisweek

1.  The Zombies, Run! app has to be the most fun C25K (Couch to 5K) app ever.  Armband + earbuds + this app = me having fun running for the first time in my life.

2. Kale chips don’t save well overnight.  Eat them immediately out of the oven.  You’ll be happy.

library23. A trip to the library is the equivalent of me climbing into a Delorian with a flux capacitor.  I’m not making a statement about books being antiquated; I’m saying that being among gobs of paper covered with cardboard reminds me that once I was a bookworm, and I still like books very much.  Dear Books, Will you be my friend again?  Check yes or no.

4. There seems to be nothing more the neurologist can do for me right now.  He’s run all the tests he finds appropriate, and his parting words were pretty much, “Well, you seem to be getting better.  See you in 6 months.”  He’s a good doctor, and I think maybe what’s going on with me isn’t going to be addressed by his field.  I doubt I’ll go back unless something drastic changes.

5.  My kids are so full of grace toward me.  At the same bedtime in which I’m kicking myself for being a sorry, impatient, selfish mom, my kids are thanking God for me in their prayers and snuggling up to me.  The way they love me so fully in spite of my failures reminds me of the verse that says, “His kindness leads us to repentance.”  You can’t help but want to be better when you’re the recipient of such an undeserved gift.

graduation6. People are so weird when it comes to ceremonies these days.  We complain if it’s too long, we complain if it’s too short.  Some people wouldn’t mind if it didn’t happen at all, because “it doesn’t change anything,” even though others would pay more than $1000 to suffer in coach for 15 hours just to attend.  Some of us get dressed up in our best duds just to show up and chat with a neighbor the whole time. We are weird, y’all.  (I still think they’re important.)