Thursday, April 30, 2015

Why, Why, Why, Where, and How...and Why Again

Laney and Reuben are both two, and as most two year-olds do, they like to ask “why?”…a LOT! And it doesn’t bother me one little bit. Asking why is just one of those things that go with being two. They don’t ask to be obnoxious. They ask because they are curious and eager to know why things are the way they are.

Once they ‘know’ the why of everything comes the seemingly endless barrage of:
  1. How does ‘it’ work/happen?
  2. Where does _________ come from?
I’ll never forget the day I was going through the produce section of a grocery store and heard a little girl who looked to be three or four, ask her mom where broccoli came from. The mom looked at the little girl as if she had just asked the most ridiculous question in the world and disgustedly said, “I don’t know! It comes from….from…broccoli. Who cares?”

My heart broke for the little girl when I saw the sad and confused look on her face. She just wanted to know. What was so bad about that?
Nothing! Absolutely nothing! Children are curious by nature. It’s how they learn. They’re supposed to be curious—it’s their job to be curious. And as a parent it’s YOUR job to satisfy their curiosity. It’s your job to answer their questions or to help them find answers to the questions you can’t answer. If you don’t know where broccoli comes from, don’t belittle your child for asking, or ignore them. Tell them you don’t know and find the answer together.

Parenting your children should be your number one priority, but it isn’t something you have to do all alone—even if you are a single parent. Reach out to family and trusted friends to help you provide answers to questions you can’t answer, or look up the answer in a book…the kind with real pages, instead of automatically falling back on the latest tech gadget and a voice named Siri. In doing so, you are instilling in your child a desire to learn. You are also showing your child it is okay to not always take the easy way out.
Whatever you do, though, don’t stop answering because if you do, they’ll stop asking you and find someone else who will (answer, that is).

Momma D
                      Copyright 2015 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission from the author.


       When you don't have the answers to your child's questions, help them find someone who does.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Training Wheels Not Necessary

Our son, Zach, was three the first time he became a big brother. When John told him he had a baby sister, he was excited, but then said he thought that all big brothers needed a bicycle instead of his tricycle.

So the day after we brought Elizabeth home, John went to town and came home with a little blue bicycle for Zach. He was elated…except for one thing…that bike had training wheels and (in Zach’s words) big brothers didn’t use training wheels.

You can probably guess what happened next. The training wheels were removed from the bicycle. We figured Zach would either be able to ride without them or would soon figure out he needed them. John and I were sure the training wheels would be going back on, but we couldn’t have been more wrong. In less than an hour, three year-old Zach was riding that little blue bike around the yard like he’d been doing it for years.
I’m so glad we gave Zach the opportunity to try. If we would have refused him; telling him he wasn’t ready to ride without the training wheels or that he couldn’t do it, we would have been stifling his self-confidence and his ability to do what he knew in his heart he could do.

What about you? Do you hold your children back from trying new things? Do you deny them opportunities to grow their confidence and self-esteem because you don’t think they’re ready or capable?
So what if they don’t succeed? At least they will have tried. At least they won’t have to wonder ‘what if’. At least they’ll know you believe in them and want them to believe in themselves. Besides, most of the time you’ll find that your children won’t ask for these opportunities unless they really want them. And if they want something bad enough, they are going to give it all they’ve got—and that’s what really matters most.

Zach wasn’t a three year-old with super powers that September day in 1986. He was a little boy who really wanted to ride a two-wheel bike because in his mind that was what big brothers were supposed to be able to do...and so he did. I’d also like to think that being allowed to try rather than being told ‘no’ has something to do with the fact that over the years he’s proven to be highly proficient in operating anything on wheels.
Remember…your job as a parent is to love unconditionally and to foster your child’s sense of self-worth and confidence and to allow them opportunities to find out just who that someone is.

Momma D
                        Copyright 2015 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without the permission of the author.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Move Over, Barbie...Betty Spaghetti Is On The Scene

Betty Spaghetti was a bendable doll made of rubber and plastic. She was perky and colorful and her feet, hands and shoes were removable so they could be replaced with some that were even perkier and more colorful.

Her hair, legs and arms were rubbery and twistable (ergo the name, Betty Spaghetti) and could be shaped into a plethora  of styles and positions.

Take that, Barbie! I'd like to see you twist your unrealistically perfect legs into a figure eight! And I bet you can't make the letter 'S' with your arms like Betty Spaghetti. Oh, and Betty's hair never looked like she just went through a wind tunnel.  
At this point you may be wondering why I'm singing the praises of Betty Spaghetti. Well, wonder no more...

As parents we need to encourage our children to be more like Betty Spaghetti. We need to let them bend and twist to become who THEY are (that whole move to the beat of their own drum philosophy). We need to be careful not to push or allow them to put on the rigid, hard exterior of what society views as the perfect (Barbie-like) child or teen.

In letting our children bend and twist into their own personality, we give them the gift of being happy and confident in who they are. If, however, we push or allow conformity to the world's unrealistic expectations, they'll end up feeling inadequate and convinced they will never measure up or be good enough. They'll snap like a piece of hard, uncooked spaghetti at the first sign of stress.

Just like spaghetti (the kind we eat) has to be immersed into hot water before it can be softened into what it is supposed to be, as parents, we need to bathe our children in the warmth of love, security and grace to bend, twist and navigate through life being the wonderful, unique individual they are.


Momma D

                      Copyright 2015 Darla Noble No part of this blog can be copied or used without permission from the author

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Momma, You So Pwetty

Zach was always a happy and healthy little guy. His big brown eyes sparkled and his sweet smile never failed to make my day. But one day when Zach was a little over a year old, he woke up with a fever and an earache.

When I leaned down over him in his bed to kiss him and take his temperature, he looked up at me and said, “Momma you so pwetty”.
My heart instantly melted. My little boy saw me from the inside out.

What do your children see when they look at you?
Do they see a mom or dad who doesn’t hold back their love?

Do they see a mom or dad who treats their other parent with respect…if not love AND respect?
Do they see a mom or dad who has integrity and honor?

Do they see a mom or dad who loves them for who they are…period?
Do they see a mom or dad who lives their faith and is the same person no matter where they are or who they’re with?

Do they see a mom or dad who demonstrates a strong work ethic?

Do they see a mom or dad who values family and home over money and status?
Do they see a mom or dad who will always be there for them… no matter what?

I’m sure there have been times in Zach’s life (and the lives of my other children) when they haven’t always thought I was so ‘pwetty’, but there has never been a time in their lives when they haven’t known they have my unconditional and undying love.
I hope and pray you can say the same.

Momma D
                                Copyright 2015 Darla Noble No part of this can be copied or used with permission from the author.


Thursday, April 2, 2015

A Garbage Disposal Is No Place For A Fish Or Your Kids

That moment when you have to stick your hand down the drain/garbage disposal because you drop your fish down there while cleaning its bowl...yah, I just had that moment. I sure hope Merida the fish is as brave as its namesake Disney Princess.
This was what I posted on my Facebook page a little over a week ago. That’s right—Momma D somehow let Merida the fish land in the garbage disposal instead of back into the bowl after changing the water.
I was horrified! I also immediately shoved my hand down into the drain/garbage disposal where Merida was thrashing around. Grabbing the fish with two fingers (so I wouldn’t squish it), I pulled it out and quickly dropped my little fish back into its bowl…where I just knew I would find it floating on top of the water by the end of the day.
But wait! That’s not what happened. Merida continued to swim around in the bowl as if nothing happened. Merida the fish had been to the garbage disposal and back and lived to ‘tell’ about it.
Some of the comments I received following my post on Facebook implied (not so subtly, I might add) that I should have just flipped the switch and been done—that I’d missed my chance.

I know these things were said in jest and I was not offended in the least, but I couldn’t have disagreed more. What can I say—I like Merida.

Merida’s rescue also reminded me of something very important when it comes to parenting our children: NEVER GIVE UP and NEVER LET ANYONE MAKE YOUR CHILD FEEL LIKE HE/SHE IS DISPOSABLE.
All too often, children with physical or emotional disabilities are pushed aside to make way for the ‘smart kids’ or kids who have potential (as if any child doesn’t have potential!).

Children who rebel, trap themselves in addictions, or who fall into the depths of low self-esteem and self-destruction are often labeled ‘outcasts’, ‘lost causes’,  or ‘detriments to society’.
Don’t let this happen to your child. Don’t DO this to your child.

Every child struggles now and again—some more than others. The severity of their struggles isn’t the point. What IS the point, is that they know you are there for them—ready to grab hold of them if they need help getting out of the ‘garbage disposal’ and encourage them to be the incredible, unique, and beautiful person they are.

Momma D

                     Copyright 2015 Darla Noble No part of this may be used or copied without permission from the author.