Blessed Are the Peacemakers. Really.

Linking up with Five Minute Friday today! The theme?

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My kid is shaking with anger.

He’s standing before me, brow furrowed, fists clenched. There was some yelling but now he’s quiet, and a big, fat tear rolls down his cheek. He’s collapsing all inward with anger and a really REALLY fierce conviction that IT ISN’T FAIR.

I don’t really know exactly what the IT is, because there is (there always is) another person involved in the fray. There’s a brother involved, and he is also leveraging for his Totally Fair Piece of the Pie.

I just want to go lie down. Maybe with a slice of pie and a cup of coffee.

Once, I think, I tried to recite “Blessed are the peacemakers” at Blonde, in the heat of the battle, but he just looked at me with that tired expression of “Mom, you’re crazy” that I keep getting more and more often. (I have it on good authority that I am not, actually, crazy. But, somedays, that look… it is so CONVINCED of the crazy, that I kinda half believe him. And you know? It’s not so bad to be crazy. A little crazy is what we all need, to be mothers.)

Anyhow.

I recited, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall inherit the earth” at him, and he looked at me in scorn and said, voice shaking, “I don’t WANT the EARTH, Mom. I just WANT MY BROTHER TO STOP BEING A JERK.”

Valid point.

Here is what I have learned in my 8 massively long and short years of parenting:

  1. My mother is a saint. A SAINT. I am so sorry, Mom. You were right. About all of it. ALL OF IT ALL THE TIME.
  2. Reciting bible verses AT someone isn’t the way to go.

Ok. So we have been working on it, this whole getting angry bit, because seven and eight year old kids don’t have the inner mechanisms to adjust the volume on their anger. Adults don’t either, sometimes. Especially on rainy summer days stuck inside with no screens (they’re grounded, for a week) and no wine (mom’s grounded, forever) and no patience for anyone.

Here’s how we work on it:

We talk about it… LATER. Like, at dinner, or while we’re playing Uno, or bedtime. When it’s dark and they’re all cute and smell like soap. That’s when we talk about how to actually be a blessing. Even when we don’t really feel like it.

At the time? With the anger thing? And the yelling? We do our best. We muddle through. I pray and they stomp up to their rooms.

All of this is pretty usual stuff, right? It’s not like at our house we have some massively new and improved way to make everyone just get along for the love.

We try to remember who we are.

“We’re family, honey,” I tell Blonde, as he sniffles in his room, all snot and rage.”We’re a family, and that brother of yours? He is going to be with you for a long time. He is for you. And he’s massively annoying. But he loves you. And, deep down, deep DEEP down, you love him.”

“I don’t feel like it. I kinda hate him.”

“I know. Those are feelings. They change and fade and get all messed up. They’re feelings, and they’re important, but deep down, they aren’t the truth of the matter. Behind it all is the truth. It’s who we are. We are God’s. And He loves us, and He put love IN us. Love is all His department, and He has it running in our veins, just like Jesus’s.”

“Face it, kid. You’re stuck with us.”

Today we will be blessed by being kind when we don’t want to be, and when we screw up, we’ll say sorry. And we’ll try to act like we mean it.

And maybe inheriting the earth will happen, but for today, I’ll settle for a couple hours in a row without fighting. We’re family, after all. I’m trying to be realistic.

 

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I CAN be Wonder Woman. With help from #NetflixKids.

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I think I have convinced my children that I have super powers.

I do think, also, that all mothers actually DO deserve a cape. And maybe a sparkly head band or blingie metallic wrist bracelet thingies. I can rock the boots and big hair, I tell ya.

But along with the cute outfit, comes these wonders:

  1. Ears that can hear Sharpie being applied to a cat from fifty yards.
  2. Eyes in the back of my head. Always thought this was kinda creepy. I get it now.
  3. Ability to discern fake crying from real crying in less than three seconds.
  4. Ability to use the phrase, “Eat some raisins. They’re nature’s candy” with total aplomb.

In fact, I am the bomb at aplomb.

(Sorry, just had to. How often does one get to use ‘aplomb’ in the day to day? I am giving this gift to you.)

Anyhow.

The only* area of Wonder Womanness that I am failing at these days is, um, getting my kids to be generally nice and, well, kind and patient with each other. But… So NOT a big deal, right?

Basic kindness is overrated anyway. Just watch reality television for five minutes and you’ll see.

However, as I am aiming for utter perfection in my world at all times, I have found myself rather stuck on this problem with congeniality. They love each other, yes. They are related. Yes. But after school? They come home and just sort of hate on each other’s guts until dinner.

Okay. It’s driving me freaking crazy.

So once again, I have dialed up my favorite parental tool for help:

TELEVISION TO THE RESCUE!!!!

I snark, but I also must explain: my kids do only get to watch an hour (oh how they covet that one hour, my preshus) on the weekdays, and usually it is administered when they slide in the door after school because their little brains are all mushy and they have the social skills of a tired rattlesnake at this time of day. We eat a snack, and then we cuddle, and then they watch this new offering from the Great Netflixes:

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Can you imagine the meeting at Dreamworks for this?

Chris Gall (author of the illustrated children’s book series): Hey. What do kids love to watch?

Dude: Uh… construction trucks. Also, the donuts being glazed at Krispy Kreme.

Gall: Ok! Also, dinosaurs! They like those too, right?

Dude: Yep.

Gall: So…

Dude: Um, so… what you’re saying is…

Gall: Combo package!!

Dude: Dinosaurs Order Krispy Kreme? Co-branding! Brilliant! It’ll be a hit!

Epilogue: Chris Gall is still happily working and successful. Dude is NOT.

Netflix’s new show Dinotrux is set in the Mechazoic period, and it features Ty Rux, part T-Rex and excavator, who has a really, really good grip on how to be KIND.

In fact, Ty Rux WORKS WELL WITH OTHERS!  He SHARES HIS STUFF! ! He remembers that HE IS NOT ONLY FIRST!!!

And so on. You get the point? If I utter all the above phrases… it sounds like this:

“BWA WAH WA WAH HA WAHHH WAHHH I AM MEANEST MOTHERRRR EVERRRR.”

If Dinotrux gets in on the action? It soaks in. A little.

I’m not saying I’m using Ty as a surrogate momma, but these days, I’ll take all the help I can get.

Dinotrux also features this grumpy guy:Screenshot 2015-08-20 09.43.13

Notice his catch phrase. “What’s in it for me?” Now, this is rarely said out LOUD statement at our house. No one would actually have the audacity. But, it’s there.  This whole “ME ME ME ME” thing is pervasive, and, much like my laundry room after things start piling up, a bit rank. When my kids get tired they tend to… put themselves at the front of The Great Big Line of What’s Most Fair in Life, and they don’t understand when someone barks at them: “Hey, NO cutting!”

I am second,” is something my husband and I talk about. And TALK about. And we pray about it. I go in after they’re sleeping and lay hands on them and say, “Lord, PLEASE fix them. Just make them KIND! YES! Be HEALED! Like, now? Thanks! Amen!” **

Also: I subliminally insert “I am second” into their dreams re a hidden tape that plays at night… (Please don’t tell them. I read about this once in the great book, How to Brainwash Your Children, and we’re hoping it works.)

Thank you, Skrap-it for backing me up. Skrap-It is a Back-it, as it were.
(I am so sorry. I know. First the whole ‘aplomb’ cheesiness and now this…)

Your littles will enjoy Dinotrux. And you will enjoy it because it’s all about teamwork, playing fair, and PATIENCE. If we watch a bit more, I might be able to shut off the subliminal message tape.

But, I did notice the other morning that Steve the Cat meowed, “After you, my sweet friend,” to Bob the Cat at breakfast bowl… so perhaps not.

Thank you, Netflix!

As a Netflix Streamteam blogger, Netflix asks me to watch their fabulousness and them chatter about it. It's a great gig.

As a Netflix Streamteam blogger, Netflix asks me to watch their fabulousness and them chatter about it. It’s a great gig.

*Thank you to the lawyer for not making fun of my use of the word “only.” As if.

** So far this type of prayer has worked to make only ME a TEENSY bit more patient. It has not made the children perfect yet. I am thinking Jesus might be holding out on me for that one.

Wanna watch a trailer for Dinotrux? Click here!

Throw Back Thursday: “Y is for “Yes, Jesus Yubs Me”

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The other day I was practicing some drills in Mom Surveillance.  This means puttering about in the room next to my sons as I eavesdrop on their conversations.  I do this to monitor if they are normal, not weird, children.  I have a chart:

 

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I also have night vision goggles and I know how to use them.

 

As I pretended to clean the cat box, I overheard this:

Red:  Dis is MY train, stop takin’ it!

Blonde: Red, dats MY train, it was a birthday present and it is VERY SPECIAL TO ME.  (Blonde often claims about 90% of the toys in this house, broken or not, are birthday presents and thus, VERY SPECIAL.  This is a fat load of horse poop, because he barely gets anything for his birthday.)*

Red: (unfazed) Thata is not da truth.  This twain is MINE.  Grandpa gave it to me.

This riveting back and forth session sucked about four minutes out of my life, and since I aim for brevity let’s pick up here:

WHACK!

(Dramatic pause…)

WaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAA!!! MOOOOOOOOOOMMMM!

Yep. Somebody got whacked.  Not in the Italian mobster fashion, thank goodness, but in the toddler smiting fashion.

So…  you know the drill…  we all go to the timeout area, we talk about why.. blah blah blah, somebody says sorry… blah blah… the enthusiasm for the whole thing about equals when I pretend to clean the cat box.

The boys are left to timeout to “think about what they’ve done” (which means = I am going to walk away before I lose it, and they’re stuck there, so blessed containment).

After a bit, I hear it:

Blonde:  RED, OBEY your parents because it PWEASES DA LORD.**

I froze in my tracks.  A tough thing to do because I was actually trying to hustle the litter box refuse out the door (no more pretending).

My son, my sweet, darling, adorable son had just quoted scripture to his brother.

Warm fuzzies, ya’ll. Somewhere a bell rang, an angel got his wings, St. Peter high-fived Paul, and Jesus said, “Ch-CHING! Momsie!  Your children are so spiritual!  And I should know!!!!“

 

The end!

 

What. WHAT?  (The Lawyer, aka, Mr. Pain in the Tuckus, is here.)

Well, I KNOW it’s not really the end of the story but I don’t want to bore them-

But-

Well-

Why?

Can’t I just?

Really?

Don’t pull that whole “journalistic integrity” thing on ME.  That’s only for people covering the war, or something.

FINE.

 

Ok. Sigh.  Here’s the rest of the story:

 

There is the possibility that while in timeout, the Party of the First Party kept leaning slightly towards the Second Smaller Part of the Party (or something like that; I’m not so good at this legal speak stuff).  This “leaning,” I guess, qualified as a crime against humanity and resulted, thusly, in what I term Extreme Whining, which made the Third Party lose her cool and bellow at the top of her lungs at Both Parties:

“GOD GIVES JOY TO THOSE WHO GIVE PEACE!*** SO GIVE PEACE! RIGHT NOW, OR YOU’LL BE SORRY!!!!”

Yep.  Nothing like shooting scripture AT your children, lobbing it like a big, fat, cannon ball of God’s Biblical Truth. BLAMMO.

 

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So later that day:

Red and Blonde are in the play room.  Momsie is skulking about as well. As always.  This time, she’s pretending to clean the bathtub.

Red:  Here’s da bible!  Dis is our bible, wite?

Blonde: Yep.

Momsie starts to glow with pride.  They’re gonna talk about the bible!  Jesus moment!!!  I feel like a bird watcher who just spotted a SapBellied SapClucker or something.

And then:

Blonde: Wait…  no… that’s MY bible.  It was a birthday present and IT’S REALLY SPECIAL TO ME!

Red:  No!!  It’s MINE!

(Dramatic pause…)

 

Yes, you know the rest.

One of my kids hit the other one.  With the bible.

And lo, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth as the result.  From the kids too.

 

* Don’t email me.  The kid gets loot galore from his grandparents.  Generally all the toys that kids really love that drive the parents crazy.  Payback and karma and all that.

** Cowassianss 3:20.  It’s a good ‘un.  Bible is full of ’em, by the way.

*** Rogers 12:20 – This one makes a lot more sense if you don’t screech it.  At anyone.

 

 

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The Wonderfulness That is Children

Did I ever mention to you that I have two kids?

Yep. I do.

 

I give you, Exhibit A:

photoBlonde: AKA, the 6 Year Old.

Short, blonde, rather squinty eyed. Tends to walk like Mick Jagger. Gets annoyed when told that.

Hobbies: long discussions about what is fair or not fair.

 

And exhibit B:

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Red: AKA the 4 year old.

Also known as: sidekick, “he did it,” accomplice, evil brother, nemesis, and Sparky.

Short, red headed, with angelic innocent expression and freckles. Has a future in the dramatic arts.

Hobbies: cat wrangling, eating, singing the same song over and over and over and over and over and over and over.

 

Oh and exhibit C:photo

AKA: the cat. Or Spicoli.  Or, The Dude.

White, furry, extremely mellow.

Hobbies: sleeping and being drug around a lot. Occasionally at the same time.

 

I show you these adorable pictures to tell you this:

They look all cute and stuff, right? Painting away at at their crafty little pumpkins, sweet toddler brows all furrowed with gnat-sized concentration. So preshus.

WELL, IT’S ALL AN ILLUSION, PEOPLE.

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Lately my children have been playing a fun game called:

I AM YOUR BROTHER. THEREFORE,  I WAS PUT HERE TO MAKE YOUR EXISTENCE MUCH HARDER THAN YOUR MOTHER EVER THOUGHT POSSIBLE OR NECESSARY.

They fight. They bicker about who has more juice, toothpaste, cookie apportionment, blankets, stuffed animals, brain cells, mothers who are not yelling. Etcetera.

And by etcetera I also mean: They fight over who is breathing the loudest in the car on the way home from Sam’s CLUB and stoppit just stoppit it’s too louuuuud I canna look out da window while you are doing all dat BREATHING over der.

They bicker about paper towels, flies, fly balls, purple spoons, immigration law, and who’s on first.

 

Yesterday, we called a meeting. It was either that or I was going to pack my things and head to Vegas. There’s no arguing there, I hear. Surely not. A lot of booze and gambling, but surely NO arguing. Right?

 

Anyhow.

I set them both down at our “family meeting” place on the stairwell.  I was on the offensive, and it was imperative go for the jugular from the start:

Momsie: “Boys, hold hands.”

Red and Blonde: “WAT?”

Momsie: “You heard me. Hold HANDS. NOW.”

Red: Starts emitting nervous, high pitched giggles as if he’s a squeaky toy and someone sat on him.

Blonde: Sits in stunned silence. This is very rare. We all relished it for a minute.

MOMSIE: ” I AM NOW SPEAKING IN ALL CAPS BETTER DO IT.”

Red and Blonde then limply hold hands as if their fingers were frosted with Ebola. Blonde made a few retching noises. It was all for show. I think.

I take a deep breath, and start in on Lecture #34556 entitled:

We Will All Love Each Other Because We’re Family So We Have To

Subtitle: I Will Make You Rue the Day.  If You Don’t Get Along, You Will Rue It. RUE it.

Sub -Subtitle: Look it up, minion. R. U. E.

 

Ten minutes in, both boys are scooching around on the stairs in an interpretive dance known as I will get as far away from you as possible, while still holding hands.  Red is still giggling like a nervous woodpecker.

And I draw the lecture in for my grand finale:

Momsie: “And so that’s why we don’t fight. Because, after all, WHAT WOULD JESUS DO? Hmmmmm?”

Blonde: yanks up Red’s offending hand – “I’ma pretty sure Jesus would NOT hold hands!”

Momsie: “Uh, Ok. Why not?”

Red: giggling so hard he puts his head between his knees for breath

Blonde “ACAUSE THERE IS NO WAY JESUS WOULD MAKE DEM ALL HOLD HANDS. IT’S SILLY. DIS IS JUST SILLY.

AND JESUS. IS. NOT. SILLY!”

 

He had a point. Not once does it mention “and lo, Jesus was silly” in the bible.

And in all my Mom wisdom, I sputtered: “Well, Jesus DOES baptize people! THAT’s in the bible! Would you prefer I just douse you in holy water each time you start to fuss at each other?”

Red starts to levitate off the stair he is giggling so hard.

I know. It’s times like these that parenting becomes so utterly frustrating that my ability to reason clearly and in a non-sacrilegious way becomes impossible. So, if you’re visiting one day and my boys start to argue? Don’t freak out if I squirt water on ’em both, and thunder, “Be baptized with LOVE, both of you! Holy Spirit says CUT IT OUT!”

 

As for the cat? I haven’t seen him in a while. I wonder why?

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