Saturday, July 6, 2013

Birth Days

The P's both celebrated birthdays recently.  His is at the end of June and hers is eleven days later (mine is eleven days after hers if you are counting).

Pman's birthing story is emotional and terrifying.  Every year on his birthday I can't help, but reflect on how he came into the world with such turmoil and now he is a gentle, happy person.  Sort of like he got all of his drama out of the way, right away.

He is cautiously enthusiastic about nearly everything he encounters.

Pman is happy to play alone building train tracks, make a new friend the local pool or taking on a new adventure like Kindergarten. (Don't even get me started on that one).  However, few things make him as excited as family parties when he gets to hang out with his aunts, uncles and Mimi and Pop-Pop.

We recently went to a pool with a floating slide, it was a large crab chained to the bottom of the pool.  Kids had to hoist themselves up and climb the contraption to get to the slide.  For the first few times I had to help Pman up, via butt support.

Then I stood back and watched him as I stood with CBL, who was splashing around in the shallow end.  After some consideration, he launched both his elbows up onto the crab claw, wiggled his hips, craned his neck, flailed his legs, kicked his feet and made it to the top all by himself.

That boy will be just fine.  Pman brings a calm energy to my life.

CBL, on the other hand, is a firecracker, which is fitting since her birthday is the day after the Fourth of July.

Most of the time when children celebrate a birthday, parents and other adults in their lives say things like, "You're _____ already! Where has the time gone?"

With CBL, I find myself thinking, "How are you only 2?"  Her personality is an explosion, TA-DA, I'm here!  She feels everything fully and completely.  I often find myself saying, "She's ONLY 2."

Her birthing story is pretty low drama and sort of predictable, I mean she was a planned c-section for pete's sake.  There is nothing humdrum about her now though.

Whether we are at the grocery store, the beach, or getting the mail at the end of the driveway, she thinks everyone is here for the Peyton Show, and she is more than happy to turn up the charm.  The charm is always on, she just adjust the intensity a bit depending on the situation.

One of my favorite, most recent, stories of CBL happened last weekend at my parents house.  I gave her a snack then asked my mom to watch her while I took a shower.

When I came out of the bathroom my mom said, "She keeps asking for her damn cracker."

"Graham Cracker.  I gave her a graham cracker before I took my shower."

It's really hard to not continue calling them damn crackers.

Keep going baby lady, I'm enjoying the show!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


My very first semester teaching I had a student who did a speech about karate.  His speech began with a 30 second, unintroduced, karate demonstration.  He did not say one word.  He donned his gi and went right into the routine.

When he finally spoke he talked about karate being centered around discipline, respect, loyalty and self-defense.  He now runs a well respected karate school in a neighboring town.

I remember thinking, as I watched his speech, "I want my children to hold those values close.  I hope they want to do karate."

A couple years later Pman was born and, for a very lone time, has asked to do karate.  So last week, 2 days after his 5th birthday, we signed him up.

We have had many conversations about what karate, really he will be taking Tae Kwon Do, is not about.  The goal is not to hurt someone out of malice, but defend yourself if needed.  Pman is not a violent or even competitive person, so I really think these lessons will ring true with him.

A day or two after we signed him up, but before the first lesson, we were at a play date.  The kids were mostly Pman's age, but CBL can usually keep up and she gets sharing and turn taking.  She was right there with the big kids.

Then, I heard her cry.  It was an "I'm hurt" cry not "He took my toy" cry.  Pman was there, and a couple other kids.  CBL kept saying, "Push. Push" and she was holding her head.

There was no blood and no one said anything. My head whipped around to Pman as I asked for some details.

The bottom line was someone pushed her to the ground, flat out.  Apologies were said, play resumed. The end.

However, on the way home I couldn't let it go.  I have an older brother.  If someone pushed me, or hell even looked like they were going to push me to the ground, my brother would...well it would not end well. 

I wanted my son to protect my daughter, and vice versa when she gets a bit older.  There will be times in their lives when they need each other and I will simply not be there to sort the facts.  I am a huge supporter of siblings supporting each other, it's how I was raised.  We are a team, united front.

So, once we were home, I talked to Pman about the situation.  He told me he thought CBL was pushed by accident.  Honestly, so did I.  I steered the conversation in the direction of what if it was on purpose.  What if someone came up and pushed your sister to the ground on purpose and she was hurt?

Pman had no answer.

I said, "You push them back.  If it's not an accident and someone pushes your sister or you, push them back.  You will not get in trouble for defending yourself or protecting your sister."  There was a bit more in there about try to tell an adult first and what to do if she is pushed by accident.  But the overall message was if it's on purpose, push back.

Josh's answer to a purposeful push was, "If someone pushes your sister to the ground you punch them in the face."  (Josh is not a violent person in the least, but obviously he is fiercely proctective of his daughter.)

I admit a bit extreme, but it's coming from my own home base- protect each other and stay united.

I am hoping Tae Kwon Do gives Pman the confidence and the dignity to stand up for what he knows isn't right, with his sister, himself or anyone being mistreated or bullied.  I always say to him, "Don't do something you know is wrong or mean, even if everyone else is doing it."

I'm not sure how I feel about my "push back" advice, I do not even spank my kids, but I know that I won't always be there.  The P's love each other deeply, but they all need to trust and protect each other too.  I just want to help set that stage.