And Then, I Turned My Six Year Old Into a Go-Go’s Fan

I sing my children a lot of songs from the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. I’m super cool that way.

Anything that can even remotely relate to our life experiences will be butchered sung. “Three Little Birds”,  “I’m Gonna Love You Forever”, “Vacation”, you name it! If it was first broadcast more than two decades ago, I’ve attempted to sing it for the entertainment of my Sweetkids. I’ve even purposefully switched up the words, on some songs, in an effort to help a child reach another developmental milestone.

And I butcher the tar out of every. single. one.

But, they don’t know that.

Or, they didn’t.

Recently, Sweetboy wanted to know if “Oh Mickey” was a real song. As if I could make up awesome lyrics like “You’re so fine you blow my mind. Hey Mickey!” all by myself…

So, of course, I had to show them.

On You Tube.

My poor deprived children know of The You Tube, but they haven’t had a lot of experience surfing around on it.

Plus, there’s that whole “what’s appropriate for little eyes” thing.

Suffice it to say, that once I fired up the first video of Toni Basil singing, “Oh Mickey”, and explained what a music video was, they were hooked.

Sweetboy lost interest around “I’m Gonna Love You Forever”, but Sweetgirl? Well, as soon as she caught sight of Belinda Carlisle singing “We got the beat”, she was a goner!

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That child sat through no less than 10 videos of the Go-Go’s singing all 4 of their greatest hits.  She watched various versions of each one, and about flipped out when we got to a later version where most of the band had cut their hair, short.

“WHY Mama?!?!”

Some questions, there are not answers for.

“I like them Go-Go’s”, she informed me. (We watched a few too many Country videos, before that. Apparently.)

I told her that I used to have That Exact Record right there, with the water-skiing cover.

“What’s a record, Mama?”

Some questions, I wish I weren’t old enough to answer.

Off to the side of the video we were watching, there were, of course, all of the other related videos. She recognized “Jane” and “Melinda” (I didn’t have the heart to correct her), and asked if we could watch one of those “new” ones.

But, as soon as she realized that these ladies were not with the band anymore, and I explained what going “solo” meant, another freak-out occurred.

WHY Mama?!?!”

Some questions…

“Let’s go back to the other ones where they sing together,” she asked me.

And just like that, another Go-Go’s fan was born.

With the touch of the “Play” button.

Yes indeedy!

Thank you You Tube.

Birthday Boy and Time

Dear Sweetboy,

You have just turned eleven.

Number one. Twice.

I’m not sure how that happened.

Five short years from now, you can potentially get a driver’s license. Voting rights are yours to claim in only seven years. Middle school beckons and high school looms.

Give me a minute.

In a few short weeks, you will wave goodbye to elementary school and enter full on tweendom at the intermediate school.

I want to shake my fist at time. It’s moving too fast.

I’m thankful that stuffed animals and hugs are still preferred over closed doors and hasty exits.

Each month, lately, I feel like you make some new cognitive leap or self discovery. I’m trying to acclimate to your current speed.

I could do that a lot easier if time would just slow down, already!

You’ve begun to blush at any romance, onscreen.  And, “I don’t want to talk about that!” is peppering some of our conversations. Sarcasm is gaining appeal in the books you read and the shows you watch. I’m quoting you here, child. “I’m not a fan of that.”

You still need me. I’ll be honest. That is comforting.  It means that you are still young enough to not have it all figured out yet.

Have I mentioned that I would also very much like for time to stand still?

I know you want to be able to do some of these new things in life on your own. Go for it!

Just know this – we will always have your back.

We are a team.

And although there is no “i” in team, there is a “u”.

You know I love you so much. You told me so, just the other day.

I hope you always remember that.

Always.

Happy Eleven, Sweetboy.  You’re gonna ROCK this!

Love,

Mama

P.S. If you need me, I’ll be taking all of the batteries out of the clocks. Everywhere.

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Peaceful Mode

We are not a huge video gaming family.  We own a WiiU and, as I’ve stated before, Sweetboy and Sweetman mostly enjoy making fun of me when I crash during my epic failed attempts at Mario Kart.

Once in a while, I do show my mad skillz by beating the pants off of everyone in Just Dance. Even the little one.  I have no shame.  Whoever is playing, I’m in it to win it.

I’m gracious and loving that way.

Anyhoo, as my sweet children were sitting at the kitchen table eating cinnamon rolls the other morning, I kept hearing “Where are you?  I can’t see you! Oh, there you are!” being slung back and forth.

They were sitting one foot away from each other on side-by-side stools.

This intrigued me.

“Um, what are you guys doing?” I asked.  It’s a mother’s job to get to the bottom of these things.

“Playing mime craft, of course.” Sweetgirl offered, in her most sassy tone.

“MINE craft!” Sweetboy corrected.

“Yeah, MINE craft!” Sweetgirl repeated.

Knowing nothing of this game, I asked for a little rundown on it.

What followed was one of those amazing conversations where you ask a simple question and get all sorts of extra information that you never wanted or needed. Or, had time for.

We really should have been getting ourselves dressed and ready to leave the house.

Instead, I got a Masters level explanation about Minecraft with an undergrad rendition of the social dynamics thrown in by the six-year-old.

And then, this question: “Do you want to play with us, Mommy?”

I’ve never actually witnessed time standing still, but I think I came pretty close in that moment.

I had a choice to make: carry on with preparations to leave the house to do Totally Unimportant Things, or stay and snuggle in and learn how to play a game that had my children giggling and interacting with each other.

It’s not even fair to call it a choice, really.

God saw fit to give me this quirky boy and sassy girl for a time.  I want to make the most of it.

After playing this Minecraft for a good half hour, I can’t claim to really enjoy it, (it’s basically a form of virtual Legos and my brain just can’t seem to go there without wanting to pull 54 hairs out of my head). But, I can claim to enjoy the time I get to spend doing something my children love, with them.

Spending time that they asked me to spend with them!

That is a phenomena that I’m sure will go away sooner than later.

So, if you need me, I’ll be tucked into the couch in “Peaceful Mode”. Probably, with a kid on either side. Very probably, trying to figure out how to take away one of the fifteen ducks that keep getting added.

Peacefully, of course.

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A Breakfast Script

Interests that I used to be able to pursue, with no thought to anyone other than myself, are sorely missed around these parts. Things like… sleeping in.

Or, just sleeping.

For one long continuous eight-hour stretch.

Without someone falling out of the bed, having a nightmare, or snoring so loud that I’m half tempted to use the pillow for something other than covering my ears.

Other things I miss doing?

Taking a shower. Without being barged in upon to ask if everyone is different, or if we’ll meet Sweetdog in heaven, or if I’ll make waffles (Really, children?  I’m in the shower!).

But the thing I think I miss doing the very most is being able to keep track of  a conversation. I cannot seem to make heads or tails of them, sometimes.  And, unfortunately, It’s the simplest ones that really throw me for a loop.

Me – “Would you like anything else to eat before we go this morning?”

Child – “Sure.”  Why they can’t actually answer the question is a mystery to me.  Maybe they are politicians in training?

Me – “What would you like?”

Child – “Are we flying to see Nana and Grampy in June or July this summer?”

Wait.

What?

And just like that… poof!  My train of thought is totally derailed.

Coffee helps.

Sometimes.

But what helps the very most is being able to remember what it is that I asked in the first place.

Stay the course, Missy!

Me – “Would you like waffles or pancakes this morning?”  I feel confident that is what I asked moments ago.

Child – “Can I have s’mores for a snack when I get home from school, today, mama,” the little one asks.

Shoot.

Me – “Yes.”  Simple is best.

And then, “Can I have some waffles, mom,” from the bigger one.

Ah, that’s right! Breakfast!

Me – “Would you like s’mores for snack today, too?” I ask.

Now he looks confused.

We often say that Sweetboy needs a script to be able to make sense of social context in certain situations.

I’m beginning to think I might need one, too.

Yes.  A Breakfast Script would be perfect.

And, another cup of coffee.

Yes indeedy.

Find Your Special

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APRIL FOOLS!

(Someone go check on Sweetboy.  I’m pretty sure he’s online trying to buy us a house in Disney World as I type!)

Special is as special does. (Did Forrest Gump say that?) And, since my sweet family has just come off of the high that was “The Lego Movie”, we’re all feeling like we really can be special.  And, that everything is awesome. I have to admit, I’m a fan of the message that movie sent.

Find your Special.

We’re all diamonds in the rough.  Some of our rough is just… well, rougher than others.

Back to being special.  Because, really, don’t we all long to be?

Tomorrow is World Autism Awareness Day.  If you’ve been around here for any length of time, then you already know the scoop.  Sweetboy was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, an Autism Spectrum Disorder, when he was two years old.  You can read how we roll with it here and how the depression hit because of it here.

I think it’s safe to say that this day holds a very special place in my heart.  Greater awareness helps everyone – the children, the educators, the parents, the care providers and the larger community.

The theme this year is “Light It Up Blue” for Autism. You can find out more about that here.

And while we’re talking about being special, unique, and yea, maybe even nerdish, please! Go check out this awesome answer actor Wil Wheaton gave to a young girl’s question about being called a nerd at Comic Con.  So. Amazing.

We need more of exactly this in humanity.

Less looking for how others are weird and more finding your Special.

Yes indeedy.

Dontcha’ think?

Jesus Wore Pink

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Growing up, we attended a church that was more famous for the pastel color painted on the outside than for what was taking place on the inside. The color of the church didn’t bother me much, although I can imagine many a visiting family’s conversation that went a little something like this: “Sorry family… We simply must find a church that’s less… pastel.”

While there were certainly some who adored Jesus and His ability to transform lives, none were as passionate as my Youth Group Leader. That building may have been pale on the outside, but it was ablaze with a fire for Jesus in this one man’s heart. And that fire spat embers of Life out onto all that came into contact with him.

I’m sure that Jesus wore pink because, over ping-pong and Orange Crush, I met Him. He scooped up my heart and claimed it right there in the middle of all that pastel.

My youth group leader’s influence has been on a my mind a lot lately. What he tirelessly sought to do was make each one feel included.  He brought so many of us tweens to the feet of The Only One who could soothe savaged hearts.  I remain forever grateful for his willingness to reach out to those who felt isolated, outcast, and awkward.

Some of you, who have graciously hung around here for a while, know that we went through a painful church search last spring. We found a church to call home, but it hasn’t called out “Home!” convincingly enough, to me, yet.

And, it certainly isn’t calling out home (or anything even remotely comforting) to Sweetboy. He was the reason for the change. It’s more than a little upsetting to hear your quirky boy, who has trouble connecting to others out there in The Everyday, issue the same indictments week after week. “No one likes me there.” “I haven’t met any friends.” “They’re not very nice there.”

My God!

If we can’t get it right for the least of these, then I think we may be getting this church thing all wrong.

I’m not sure what to do with how I feel about all of this at the moment.  Do I volunteer to be a Sunday School teacher so that I’m “being the change I want to see”? Do I be the “squeaky wheel that gets the grease” and tell the Children’s Pastor my concerns? Do I just keep hitting my knees and praying for God to open eyes and hearts?

Jesus wore pink, back when I was growing up, so I know he has no problem meeting people wherever and however He can.  I keep thinking back on that time and trying desperately to remember what the Sunday School teachers said and did that ushered in a sense of belonging and welcome.

I’m coming up empty, because I’m remembering through the lens of a parent whose child is hurting. And that lens? It keeps getting clouded over with tears. Talk to me. Please.  I need some community right about now.

Let’s brainstorm how The Church can do this better.  How can they meet the needs of the marginalized better? What can we, who believe in redemption for all, do to spur on a better way of loving those who are hard to love? 

 

Speaking With an Accent for Love

Those stormy moments we have with Sweetboy? They are always, eventually, countered by the treasured sound of his laughter. His giggle and guffaw do more to soothe our tattered hearts…  I believe that God provided Sweetboy’s laughter as a gift, wrapped up in this quirky melancholy son of ours.

And nothing makes my Sweetboy laugh harder than people talking in accents. If you ask him why, he’ll tell you that he finds different accents “interesting”.  And, in his mind apparently, interesting = hilarious.

This child is obsessed with All Things Geography, so it should come as no surprise that he enjoys learning how the people speak over in, say… Wales.  Or Mozambique. Or France.

I seized the moment, recently, when we were in the midst of a full on meltdown, to try out an accent that I’d been working on to make him laugh. (Try asking Mr. Google how to speak in a Welsh accent, some time.  Pure entertainment.) And it worked. Oh, how it worked!

He instantly snapped out of his deep dark place and asked, “Do you think they speak like that on the Western border of England, too, mama?”

Wait. What?

“Wales is on the western border of England. So, do you think that the people who live in England on the western border, but on the England side, not the Wales side…”

I now see who got my propensity for wordiness.

Seeing something worth moving his mind out of that negative parking space for, we were off on a You Tube search for “Welsh Accents”.

Just a few days ago, it was National Drink Wine Day. Serious. I took that as a sign that I should work on my Italian accent.  Maybe from the Tuscany region?

Yes.

Yes indeedy.