Thursday, March 31, 2016

Respect is Sharing Your Fish with Your Grandkids


Spring break around our house means toys all over the floor, craft projects galore, kid’s movie marathons, multiple reminders to “brush your teeth”, adventurous outings, and Grandpa’s ‘gourmet’ cinnamon toast. No, John and I aren’t reverting back to our childhood. Mackenzie, Macy, and Essie are on the scene.

One of our adventurous outings this time found us in a pet store to look at all the fish, ferrets, lizards, hamsters, birds, snakes (with great personalities, the store clerk said), and other small creatures wanting a new and forever home. And Mackenzie was more than willing to oblige.

“Nanna will you buy me a fish?”

“No, honey, I can’t.”

“Why not?”

“Because I won’t buy you a pet without your mom and dad’s permission.”

“Call them.”

“We’ve talked about this before. You’ve got plenty of pets—a horse, sheep, kittens, dogs...you don’t really have time to take care of any more pets.”

“I’ll keep it at your house.”

“I already have fish so we’ll just say they’re your fish, too.”

Now Macy jumps into the conversation with, “Can your fish be mine, too?”

“Sure, why not.”

This little conversation reminded me of a similar one Mackenzie and I had when she was about three—one in which she tried to convince me to pierce her ears while she was watching me get ready for the day. Again I said no because it wasn’t my decision to make.

Listen up, grandparents! Your job is to love your grandchildren; playing with them, fixing their favorite foods, reading books, answering millions of questions, letting the house stay messy until they leave, holding little hands, keeping weed flowers (as the girls call them) as a treasured memory, sharing lipstick, disciplining them when they are in your care, and NOT usurping their parents’ authority or wishes.

Buying the girls a fish wouldn’t have put a dent in the budget and I could have found several ways to ‘justify’ it (a nanna’s privilege, teaching them responsibility….). But none of those things would have been justification of ignoring Zach and Becca’s wishes. They’ve got plenty to do without having to worry about keeping a fish alive and a fish bowl clean. Besides, I love and respect them too much to disregard their wishes and ‘house rules’.

So remember, grandparents, your job isn’t to make the rules for your grandkids. Your job is to respect your children’s rules for their children and to model that respect for authority to your grandchildren.

Love,

Momma D

                            Copyright 2016 Darla Noble. No part of this can be copied or used without permission from the author.

                                                                                                                   



Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Saying "No" to Sleepovers Could be the Best Thing You Ever Say to Your Child


A couple of days ago I read a blog post from a young father that was interesting, thought-provoking, a wonderful example of Godly parenting, and something I think is worth expounding on. The subject: Three reasons why they had decided to not allow their children to participate in sleepovers. The writer stated that as parents, it was his and his wife’s responsibility to keep their children safe and to do whatever they could to protect them from danger—and that in their opinion protecting them included not allowing sleepovers. He went on to explain his reasoning, which was based on his own personal experience as a child; experiences that included being exposed to pornography and being subjected to sinful and illegal acts. He went on to say that while his wife’s experiences weren’t that severe, she, too, had been exposed to things she wished she wouldn’t have been.

As I read this article I remembered a few sleepovers I’d been to that weren’t so great. Quite honestly my parents could have been a lot more particular than they were—for my safety and protection. Nothing too terribly bad happened, but there were times when things could have, and I would have been right there in the middle of it all.

And then I thought about my own kids. Thankfully, I was more particular when it came to who my kids stayed with. I made sure I knew the parents and the kids, too. I may be wrong, but as far as I know my kids were always safe and well-supervised at these events. And if I am wrong, I apologize from the depths of my heart for falling down on the job, kids.

So what am I saying? Am I saying sleepovers are bad? No, not really. If done right and with the right people, they’re fine. The problem is that more often than not, you don’t have any idea if it’s being done right or how well supervised they are. Am I saying you should never let your kids out of your sight or allow them to try something new, take a few risks, or experience things outside their comfort zone? No, not at all!

What I am saying, however, is that as parents, you need to be very careful about leaving your children under the care and supervision of someone other than yourself—even if it’s ‘only’ overnight or for a few hours. That’s right—even a few hours. As careful as I was about who my kids spent time with, there were a couple of birthday parties and playdates I still wish I wouldn’t have allowed because they weren’t pleasant and exposed my kids to habits and attitudes I didn’t appreciate them being exposed to.

I’m also saying that the new things they try and the risks, and adventures they take need to be emotionally, physically and spiritually sound. Otherwise, you are putting your child’s safety and well-being at risk and that isn’t good parenting.

When I shared this article on my social media, I was prepared for comments about being over-protective and suspicious. Instead, the comments were completely supportive of the parents’ decision. In fact, every parent with small children who commented said they were in full agreement with these parents—with the exception of having sleepovers grandparents and aunts/uncles, that is.

Parents, there is nothing as precious and fragile than the hearts and minds of your children. Love them. Guard them. Protect them.

Love,
Momma D
                              Copyright 2016 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission from the author.
                                                                                

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Smelly Green Tent Lesson


A few days ago as I came across an article online talking about the fact that Tori Spelling let her seven year-old daughter dye her hair and her surprise at the backlash she was receiving over the ‘ordeal’. Spelling, the mother of four, said she after talking to her daughter about why she wanted to do it, she decided to let her proceed with both her help and her ‘blessing’.
Afterwards, the little girl said she learned something from doing it—that she never wanted to color her hair again. Spelling said she also learned something—that sometimes it’s better to let your kids have learning experiences such as this in a ‘controlled environment’ (under your supervision); enabling you to oversee the valuable lessons they can learn resulting from their actions.
As I read the article I was reminded of something somewhat similar in our house several years ago involving a smelly green tent. The tent was old and tiny and no matter how much you aired it out, it had that old canvas tent smell to it—something that didn’t seem to bother the kids at all. So every once in a while they hauled it out of the basement and pitched it in the back yard with the intention of spending the night in it.
I knew they wouldn’t follow through on the plan for one reason or another, OR that if they actually did start out in the tent they wouldn’t stay until morning. How did I know? I just did. If you’re a parent you know what I’m talking about.
So what did I do? I let them pitch the tent, load it up with everything they thought they would need for the night, and then said prayers with them…in their beds come bedtime. Well, all except for that one time when they actually started out there knowing the door would be unlocked if (when) they changed their minds.
Now I realize allowing your little girl to dye her hair is bigger than the whole tent thing and I also realize the possible negative self-image issues the hair dye might conjure up. But here’s the deal: Tori Spelling wasn’t encouraging her daughter to change her looks or implying in any way that a dye job would make her daughter prettier, smarter, a better person, or anything else. She was simply giving her daughter the opportunity to satisfy her curiosity about something with supervision and in a loving, safe environment.
I admit when Emma asked to dye her hair “Ariel Red” at age four, I said no. Not because she asked, but because she asked for “Ariel Red”. I mean, seriously, would you have said yes? I also said no to a few other things, too, because I knew nothing good could come from them. I did, however, say yes to perms, yes to bike ramps, yes to death traps…I mean tree swings, yes to welcoming a mouse into my house, and yes to several other things that would have been easier (and possibly smarter) to say no to. But had I done so, my kids would have been left wondering ‘what if’ and ‘I wonder what it would be like to….”
The morals of the story: 1) You don’t have to be named George to be curious and 2) Teaching your child how to know the difference between a life-lesson and a life-altering mistake is best done when they’re small.

Love,
Momma D

                              Copyright 2016 Darla Noble. No part of this can be used or copied without permission from the author.  
                                                                              

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

How Do You Spell, 'Maggie is Dead'?


Are you ready for one of, if not the best “Macy story” of all? Good, because you’re about to get it…

Mack and Macy, who were two and five at the time, were spending several days with us and it just so happened it was a few days before Father’s Day, so Emma (who was also visiting) and I were helping the girls make cards for Zach.

After decorating the front of the cards we told the girls we would help them write their names and a message to their daddy on the inside. Mack immediately asked, “How do you spell I love you, Daddy?”

Sweet, but predictable, right? Of course she wanted to let her daddy know how much she loves him.

Macy, on the other hand, asked, “How do you spell Maggie is dead?”

Huh?

A few weeks prior to the card-making event Zach’s beloved dog, Maggie had died. Zach was raised on a farm and still farms, so he understands that animals live and animals die. He’d lost several pets over the years, but losing Maggie had been hard on Zach. They were close, those two.

Now before you pronounce judgement on my vivacious, adorable, and very loving Macy, let me explain something: In her own two year-old Macy Scout Noble fashion, Macy was letting her daddy know she was there for him—that she understood that he was sad and why. In her awkward two year-old Macy fashion, she was extending love, sympathy, and empathy.

Emma still jokingly refers to this as Macy’s way-to-stab-your-dad-in-the-heart moment, but we know better because we know Macy. We know Macy the way you need to know your children and how to listen for what is at the heart of their words.

Children don’t always have the ability to express themselves in a way we adults deem proper or tactful. Children are more literal and simplistic. Macy knew the card was an expression of love so she simply wanted to tell Zach that her love for him included her sympathy over the loss of a beloved pet.

The lesson here is this: before you reprimand your children for being insensitive, blunt, or even rude, consider the context of their words. Look for the simple, child-like message, because after all, they are children.



Love,
Momma D
                                             Copyright 2016 Darla Noble. No part of this can be copied or used without permission from the author.
                                                                            




Tuesday, March 1, 2016

President of the Fan Club


I still remember the feelings I had when Zach would cross the finish line at a cross-country meet. Pride and pride…two different kids.

Before I explain what I mean, I want to take a minute to say that cross-country running is the most grueling sport there is as well as the most under-appreciated one. If you don’t believe me, ask anyone who has done it…or their mom.

Anyway…the first pride I felt was the ‘normal’ kind of pride because a) I was witnessing Zach accomplish something difficult and doing it very, very well b) He was doing something I could never do…ever c) His discipline and commitment to the sport were paying off and he was realizing emotional and physical success because of it.

As for the second kind of pride (which is really first in this momma’s heart)…it was the pride of being the one he looked for when he crossed the finish line. I remember on a few occasions I was lucky enough to be on side of the finishing line when he crossed and having him literally fall into my arms—exhausted and excited all at the same time. Zach wanted and needed me…his mom!

 More than fifteen years later Zach has a loving, beautiful wife, two near-perfect daughters, and is a strong, capable and intelligent man, but he still wants to share his accomplishments, news, and even some of the trivial things in life with me. And I couldn’t be happier or feel more blessed and honored.

He also needs to. He needs to because I’m Mom and kids need their moms.

No matter how old your kids get, how much or how little they have, or how accomplished they are, they still want and need your validation, your ‘way to go’, your expressions of pride, and to know you are, and will always be their biggest fan.

Don’t let them down.



Love,

Momma D
                                Copyright 2016 Darla Noble. No part of this can be copied or used without permission from the author.