Wednesday, May 25, 2016

When a Little Blue Hand is a Great BIG Deal

A few weeks ago I received a package in the mail from my three year-old grandson, Reuben. Okay, so his mom addressed it for him, but it was his idea to send it, so yah, it was from Reuben.

Inside the package was a wooden birdhouse—the kind you get at the dollar store to paint and decorate. And was it ever! Each wall of the birdhouse was different, but the one I want to talk about today was the one that had a little blue handprint on it.

This little blue handprint was the result of Reuben allowing Olivia to smear blue paint all over his hand so that he could make the impression on the birdhouse. Big deal, you say. Lots of kids have done that. Yes, I know, but to Reuben it really was a big deal. It was a really big deal because ordinarily Reuben wants and needs things to be ‘as they are supposed to be’. Paint isn’t supposed to be on your hands. It is supposed to be on brushes and paper and walls. So for him to consent to throwing conventionality out the window was HUGE to him—a major accomplishment.

And when his reply to Olivia when she asked him what he wanted to do with the birdhouse after they were done with it, was, “Send it to Nanna”, well that was huge to me. J

What accomplishments are huge to your kids? Do you even know? And more importantly, do you recognize them as such? Do you applaud the milestones they reach even though they may not seem like a big deal to someone else? Do you recognize and celebrate the hurdles they clear when they conquer a fear or try something outside of their comfort zone? Do you let them know you appreciate and respect the efforts they make?

So while I know a little blue hand may not seem like much to some of you, I’m just as sure your kids have their own ‘little blue hand’ they need you to encourage them to experience and celebrate with them when they do. The question is, will you?


Momma D
                                 PS: Stay tuned next week for Little Blue Hand: The Sequal

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

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Due To The Weather, The Lion And Dragon Will Not Be Appearing Today

When you live in Missouri events like Halloween and the 4th of July happen just like they do anywhere else in the country. But here in Missouri you also get the element of surprise called the weather.

We’ve celebrated the 4th in swim suits and shorts, but we’ve also celebrated with jeans and hoodies on because of the ‘unusually cool temperatures’. The same goes for Halloween. We’ve trick-or-treated in sleet and snow wearing coats that made costumes invisible and we’ve done it carrying discarded masks and wigs because they were ‘too hot’. Too hot—that was the case the year Elizabeth and Olivia were supposed to be a cowardly lion and Pete’s dragon…

I’d found the costumes earlier in the year at a yard sale. They were so cute and someone had put a lot of time and talent into sewing them. That’s right—no flimsy fabric or stitching on these babies. Elizabeth would be four and Olivia would be two that fall—just the right size to wear them. I was thrilled. I was even excited for fall to arrive so they could wear them. And if you knew me, you would know that is a big deal because I love summer.

Anyway…Halloween finally arrived and we were going to go to Zach’s school so the girls could march in the costume parade with their brother and some of their friends who also had older siblings in school. It was a beautiful day—mid 70s. Too beautiful, it turns out, to be a lion and a dragon. The girls were miserable and drenched with sweat within ten minutes of putting on the costumes. They were fussing and crying; complaining that they were too hot.

I was crushed! I knew they wouldn’t be able to wear them the following year and Emma wasn’t born yet so I wasn’t thinking of saving them for the next one. “Come on, girls,” I thought. “You can do it, can’t you?” It was clear that they could not and would not. So what did I do? I hurriedly took the costumes off, put them in dress-up clothes, painted rosy cheeks and freckles on their faces, put pom-poms in Elizabeth’s hand and crown on Olivia’s head and they went as a cheer-leader and a princess…a happy and comfortable cheer-leader and princess.

Parents, summer is upon us. School is out and there are all sorts of activities available for you to sign your kids up for. But don’t. Don’t stuff them into a ‘costume’ that is uncomfortable and makes them wish they were anywhere else but there. Don’t push them into being someone they aren’t. Just because you want them to play a certain sport or take music lessons (dress as a lion and a dragon) doesn’t mean that’s what they are cut out to do.

Instead, ask your kids what they want. And then let them give it a try (within reason, of course). They may find their chosen activity isn’t what they thought it would be—and that’s okay. Or they might discover their niche…their passion. That’s okay, too. What matters is that they are comfortable and happy doing what they do in their extra-curricular activity. It’s theirs—not yours.

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

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

What Do Silly Putty and Couch Cushions Have In Common? Absolutely Nothing!

When the kids were small John and I always made a point to take a weekend once a year to get away—just the two of us.  
Most of the time my mom would come stay with the kids for that night or two; something we greatly appreciated and something she and the kids enjoyed. But let’s face it—if you aren’t used to a busy, rambunctious house with four kids, and if you are one of those four kids and know your grandma isn’t as all-seeing as Mom is, well….
This particular time Emma was playing with a ball of Silly Putty. No big deal except she’d been told she could only play with it on the floor or at the table because she’d recently got it stuck in her hair and left it in a couple of other places she shouldn’t have.
Anyway…Emma was playing with said putty on the couch when my mom came into the room. Not wanting to be ‘caught in the act’, Emma hid the putty by sitting on it. She sat there long enough for it to adhere to the woven fibers of the couch cushion and leave a big oily stain.
Enter Bubba to the rescue! Zach, being the oldest of the four, took matters into his own hands by doing the only reasonable thing there was to do. He flipped the cushion over, the stain was no longer visible, and no one was the wiser.
Now let’s fast-forward a few days or weeks (I really don’t remember). For some reason I found out about what happened. I don’t remember if Emma or Zach came clean or if I flipped the cushion and then found out. Like I said, I don’t remember.
Right now you’re probably thinking that the point I want to make is either a) it’s never okay to like—that the truth always comes out OR b) something about the relationship between siblings watching out for each other. Wrong on both counts.
The point I want to make is that just like you can’t hide the fact that Silly Putty and couch cushions aren’t meant to be paired, there are things your children aren’t meant to be paired with either. Not every kid is meant to play sports or enjoy spending time in the woods hunting with Dad. Not every kid is meant to pursue a career in math or science. Not every kid is an outgoing people-person. And when you try to push them in those directions anyway, they stand out like an oily stain on a couch cushion. They may be doing what you’re pushing them to do, but they shouldn’t be. Instead, they need to be allowed to do what they do best—just like the putty needs to be picking up the ink on a comic strip instead of….
The couch was old and second-hand at that, and had a few other stains and snags before the ‘putty incident’, so in all actuality it wasn’t the end of the world and the cushion stayed flipped for a few more years before we got rid of the couch altogether. But that’s not how it works with your kids. So don’t try. Give them the opportunities and encouragement they need to shine instead of trying to make them fit in where they don’t belong or want to be.

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