Be “Mommy Wise” and Hope You Don’t Raise a Thief…

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When I had my son, a year and a half ago, I got asked waaaaay too many times if I was “Baby Wise”.

If you are not “Baby Wise” it becomes especially annoying to be asked about it ALL the time.

And so, one day, I rather curtly replied…”No!  I am MOMMY WISE!”

After all—

When my children are hungry—I feed them.  Heck, when I’m hungry, food is ALL I can think about and I want to eat.

When my baby is tired—I let him sleep.  Heck.  Have you TRIED pacifying a sleepy baby?  If you DON’T let them sleep, you BOTH become tired.

Can you tell with all of my capital letters that I was:

1.  Annoyed about all of the questions

2.  Passionate about NOT being Baby Wise

???

3.  I have the BEST sleepers and eaters in the world === and I have absolutely NO schedule except THEIR schedule:

Hungry and Crying:  They eat.

Tired and Fussy:  They sleep.

Happy and Alert:  They get put in the bouncy or the rocking cradle or the swing.

Some days are great.

Some days are not.

Each day I cherish the fact that God gave me my baby.  For one day my precious baby will grow too soon.  One day my precious baby will no longer nurse.  And one day my precious baby will not want to be held by me.

Sigh.  That day will never come, will it?!

So, again, the answer is NO.  I am not Baby Wise.  I am Mommy Wise.  So wise that I have raised my oldest to not become a thief???!!!

Perhaps I am not so wise after all.

And here is how the multiple thievery stories go…

So, we have taught our daughter about giving.  How great it is to give.  How it is SO much better than receiving.  And SAVING YOUR MONEY—It’s the best idea EVER!

Anyhow—we have given our daughter all of this knowledge about Giving to God, Saving for the Future, and Putting a little aside for the Toy Store Now.  On top of that, she has made a piggy bank for the New Life Center (our 24-hour home for formerly homeless, addicts, and released prisoners).  She is so responsible and GIVING with her money.

So responsible and giving until she does it…

Comes down the stairs with a HUGE wallet stuffed with coins of every shape and size.  A bulging wallet.  A wallet that screams, “There is LOTS of money in here!”

“Momma, can we go to the toy store?”

Blank stare.  We were just at the toy store where she spent EVERY toy-store dime (or grosz since we are in Poland).  I know that the bulging coin purse did not come from her Toy Store piggy bank…

“Momma!  Toy store?!”

“Ummm…Ada girl.  Where did you get all of that money?”

“My piggy bank!”  Proudly, of course, stated.

“Adelyne.  You don’t have any money in your Toy Store piggy bank.”

“I know.  So I took it from the Bank and Church.”

Blank stare…

“Ummm…Ada girl.  Did you also take it from the jar for the homeless?”

“No.  I would have, but I couldn’t find that jar,” innocent eyes and honestly proclaimed.

Slap my head and call me Shameful Momma.  My 6-year-old has confessed to stealing from the “Bank” the “Church” and she would have stolen from the homeless jar HAD she been able to find it.

Sigh.

And “The Talk” ensues…

It is decided by her, by the way, that she cannot trust herself with the money, Daddy will hold on to the money she is to give the church.  The Bank money goes back in that piggy bank.  And the New Life Center money jar will stay in Mommy’s room where she can come and put money not withdraw money.  Lol?!

This is the end of her attempted thievery woes, right?

Nope!

Now we are in the States.  My daughter knows that her cousin Emily has a jar of money just sitting pretty in her teenage room.

Money, money, money, mo-ney!  Mo-ney! (Read by singing the “Money” tune)

And so, not wanting to be the thief—but not having any problem being the mastermind—she tries to convince her cousin Joshua to go into his sister’s room, find the jar of money, and TAKE IT!

Bang my head upon the wall and call me “Failure”?!

Thankfully, my sister HAS raised proper children.  And, therefore, her son did not steal from his sister.  And my daughter did not go to prison for “Masterminding Theft from Family Members and Other Such Stuff”.  Although, I feel like locking her up sometimes 😉

Yes…More talking ensues about how we do not take what is not ours.

But the grocery store—that belongs to EVERYONE, right?

Shameful Incident Number 3…

Adelyne is now at the grocery store with Daddy and she really wants to buy a $30 Barbie doll with her money that she has saved by selling her chickens’ eggs.

Now.  If her money is hers, we generally let her spend it how she delights—but, she did not have her money with her on this day.  So Daddy told her “No.”

Gulp.  How dare we tell a child “No.”

I guess this is what she thought.  So, because she was mad at Daddy for the big “N-O” word, she took a nearby Mood Ring.  Took it.  Hid it.  Hid it, that is, until Daddy found it.

Confession.  Tears.  And trouble.  Loads of it.

Back to the store we go.  She has to apologize to the General Manager.  She has to pay for the ring.  She had to donate the same amount as the ring to charity.  She had to donate the “once stolen but now purchased ring” to a local clothing closet.

Lions and Tigers and Thieves—oh my!

Friends, I must admit—I may be WAY better at the baby thing than I am at the older kid thing.  But, regardless, I am sooo glad that I am saved by grace—and my daughter too.

Wisdom…

Maybe the only “Mommy Wise” wisdom I have when it comes to parenting is in regards to feeding and sleeping?!

And like Looney Tunes always says in the end, “That’s all, folks!”

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Update:  I found this article on crying and babies—and I really liked the 12 things that your baby has to say (when crying).  Hope you enjoy it too!  Most of all, be encouraged to know that you’re doing your best!

http://www.ourmuddyboots.com/12-things-your-crying-baby-wants-you-to-know/

Raising the Perfect Child…(Im)Possible?

She was two years old and I had, to that date, already raised her PERFECTLY!

I mean, she was allowed to eat dirt and play in dirt.  She was hardly ever bathed.  And she was never sick.  Never ever.

On top of all of that bacterial goodness, she was just a doll.  Truly angelic.  Take a look:

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She watched TV like a good little girl, still took a pacifier, and barely finished nursing 6 months earlier 😉

Potty training?  Not her!  Diapers and running around naked were her joys.

She was pure, golden-curls delight!  Joy of our hearts.  Such a good little girl.

Let me just say, I had a two-year-old, an angelic two-year-old, and I was patting my back in a BIG way.  Like a major pounding.

Pat-pat-pat!  Well done, Brooke, on raising such a FABULOUS kid.

Hold on.  I deserve more accolades.

Pat-pat-pat!  Super job, Brooke!

Why, thank you!  And you.  And you.  And, yes, you over there.  Thank you.  I know I have done such a fabulous job.  Now blow out your two birthday candles, Adelyne, while Mommy writes a book about parenting for all of those unlucky LOSERS out there.

Two.  My angelic, dirty, bacteria eating daughter…My princess.  My joy.  My bragging rights!

And then it happened…

She turned three!

Say what?  You don’t want to listen?

Say what?  You don’t want me to grocery shop—hence you have thrown your body on the ground—in the Polish grocery store—and have started screaming?!  Loudly?!

Kicking too?!

(Groceries in one hand and dragging a child who is dead weight on the floor of the grocery store, kicking, screaming, and general UN-merriment ensues)

Tears making a path across the floor.  Mine, by the way.

Embarrassment?

Nah…Momma don’t have time for that.

Where is that book I wrote on how to raise your perfect child?  BURN IT!

WHO HAS A BOOK I CAN READ?!

And, for the next year, many of my mornings, afternoons, and evenings all looked like the above grocery scenario.  Yes.  Like my own personal radiator here on earth (Did ya catch that???  That means H-E-Double Hockey Sticks).

My sweet and beautiful and angelic (looking) daughter taught me one VERY important thing her 3rd year of life…

Raising the perfect child is impossible…

But loving her anyway—very possible.  Even when she turns into a 6 year old thief.  Stealing from the homeless to give to herself.

What’s that—a thief?

Yep.  You heard me correctly.  A thief.  A grand one at that.

But we’ll save that for another day…I can only handle so much book burning in one day 😉

Yes, he did ask for salt and breasts…Humility with humor, right?!

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You know…languages are difficult.  Especially if your name is Richard and you can’t hear the difference between the sound that e makes and the sound that a makes.

But, oh the words he knows in Polish—he’s so proud of!  And he uses them.  As much as possible.  Because he knows them so well.  Or so he thought.

And this is how the story goes…

Once upon a time there was a man named Richard and his wife, Brooke (that’s us!).  And they had been living in a foreign land, called Poland, for nearly 11 years.  It was summer, and they were enjoying a wonderful meal at a restaurant by a lake—enjoying the sun, the surroundings, and the food.

And that’s when it happened.  Our food was brought out, and my husband asked for it!

Yep…Salt and Breasts, please!

Now, normally I don’t pay attention to the little things.  After all, we have all heard the expression—don’t sweat the small stuff.  But, for the first time in nearly 11 years, I stopped and listened when my husband made an “innocent” request to the poor, unsuspecting server.

“Salt and Breast, please!”

Yep.  It’s what he said.

And, so, I looked at him and said, “What did you say?”

He repeated his request, “Sol i piers, prosze bardzo.”  He is a very polite gentleman.  Or should we now scratch that word, “Gentleman”?  Hmmm…

I looked at him and said, “Do you know what you asked for?”

The look he gave me was priceless…almost like saying, “Duh?!  I’m not stupid!”

“Yes, of course.  Salt and pepper.”

Shaking my head in great amusement I replied, “Um…no.  You asked for ‘Salt and Breast’.”

And, of course, that’s when we had a very detailed language lesson between the word “Piers” and “Pieprz” in Polish.

Needless to say, the lovely waitress DID NOT bring us salt and breasts.  And so I had to get up and go to the counter and ask, using the correct words, for “Sol i pieprz, prosze bardzo.”  Which I got and returned to the table.  To an amused and slightly embarrassed husband.  And to our food.

Now that I think back over the last nearly 11 years, I see it clearly…We were never brought our salt and pepper.  Obviously, the reason being, he wasn’t asking for “Pepper” was he?

I guess I should be glad they never returned with a large-breasted woman holding a single jar of salt.  Haha!

Humor with humility, folks.  That’s how we live our lives.

To wrap up our humbling lives—someone once asked me, “How did you never hear what he asked for before that time?”

It’s a good and fair question, and this is all I could say, “You know, sometimes we tune out the every day stuff.  And it must be what I did.”

So, as you enter 2014, I would also like to remind you of this…

Perhaps you, too, should pay a little more attention to the simple “every day” stuff that life is made up of.

It could save you a whole lot of embarrassment.

On the other hand, it could also cost you a priceless story.

Happy 2014’s Eve, friends!

Go, and order correctly.

Totally judgmental…Completely humbled.

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Our neighbor’s home is scary.  There are Danger No Trespassing signs all over the property.  There is a sign that says Beware of Dog.  Another that says I Will Shoot Intruders.

His windows are boarded up and only a tiny peek hole exists in his door.

My husband and daughter brought him a Christmas card this past Christmas.  But he didn’t answer the door—let’s just say, Richard was relieved.  He was afraid of what was on the other side.

But today, nearly a year later, at the bus stop, waiting for my daughter to board the bus, the neighbor came out.

He was an old, frail man with tremors in his hands.  My husband had the privilege of meeting him.

We will call him John, and he is an aging and lonely man.  His wife left him for a drug addict years ago.  His son followed in his mom’s footsteps.  John has been left virtually alone, in his little wooden house, on a street that has gone from a horse lane to a speedy car lane.   The world, once his friend, is now full of strangers for this elderly gentleman.

Neighbors that once seemed close, now with his disability, seem far.  Life is hard on him.

And he began to open up to my husband addressing all of the “issues” that we’ve previously had with him.

“My signs,” John states, looking around at his property (about an acre+, mostly dirt), “I put those signs everywhere because people on horses come out and ride on my property.  And I am afraid one time someone’s horse is going to trip in a pothole and someone is going to get hurt.”

Logic begins to replace fear.

Then he took my husband to his garden and with great difficulty pulled some green peppers off of a plant.  “Here, let me give you some of my peppers,” he said extending the peppers towards my husband, his hands trembling violently. 

“Well, at least I shook the dirt off for you,” John says with a smile as my husband humbly accepts his offering…

John then invites my husband in for coffee, but Richard has to get going for today.

But tomorrow…hopefully we will see John again tomorrow.

And, no matter what, today John has taught the two of us a lesson in humility.

So often we see the surface and are quick to judge.  What we fail to do is take the time to go below and meet the person behind the barriers.

The people like John.