What You Might Find In Our House – Part 1

The following are things you may witness if you are to visit our house.

1. Child/ren in a box

My dad sent a new (desperately needed) car seat to Eila as a Christmas gift.  While Eila was very happy in her new car seat, her big sisters were possibly even happier in their new box.  Car seats come in big boxes.  Children love big boxes.

Davia feeds her little sister. In a box.

Here, S and D pretend to be asleep. In a box.

Here is an even sadder attempt at fake sleep.

After taking these pictures, the truth came out.  Not that their sleep was acting – any idiot could see that.  But that their fake sleep was an attempt to disguise mouths full of smuggled Reeces Pieces.

2.Cupcakes, for no reason

Cupcakes... one of them apparently eaten.

In our house, we don’t need a reason to make cupcakes.  I mean, sure, when we do make them, we try to think of any birthdays near enough in date to pass as the purpose of our baking project.  We’ll even accept holidays of any denomination, whether we normally celebrate them or not.  And whether or not cupcakes are an appropriate form of celebrating said holiday.  We just sometimes make cupcakes, okay?  Yes, I know that cupcakes have little to no nutritional value, and there’s an obesity epidemic in this country.  Yes, I know the term “baking” is misleading if you used a box mix, and your frosting came straight out of a can.  But it is what it is, and if this post is about things you may see in our house, cupcakes is what it is.

3. Adult men wearing 3-D glasses

He claims they were necessary to get the full experience of the comic book he was reading.

I don’t have to explain this, okay?  What happens in a private home between a man and his comic book is not my or your or anyone else’s business.  This use of 3D glasses was in fact particularly controversial, because the comic book was a library book.  So my sweet husband was ethically torn about whether or not to rip out the included goggles and enjoy his book as intended.  In the end (obviously) he did rip out and wear the 3D glasses from the cover of his library comic book.  But he was kind enough to paperclip them back in before returning the book.  And in closing, I feel the need to say that this was neither the first, nor the last, use of 3D glasses in our household.  Which always seems weird to me, given that life itself… you know, it happens in 3D anyway.  But, you know what they say.  What happens in 3D, STAYS in 3D.  (<—Totally not true.)

4. Seeds of wisdom, hung on the wall

Bloom Where You Are Planted

I think I mentioned this thing we have hanging on our wall in a previous post.  I’m not sure it’s really so special that it should be mentioned again, but I guess to me it is.  The other evening, I had the privilege of talking a hysterical 8-year-old through a bout of homework-induced misery.  No, misery is too weak a word.  Despair?  Anguish?  I don’t know.  If you’d asked the child at the time, she would have used phrases like “worst thing that’s ever happened to me.”  And with the tears and the wailing, well you just knew she meant it.  And I couldn’t think of anything helpful to tell her, except for that she had to do her homework.  Or – and I did give her this choice – she could NOT do her homework.  To this, she explained to me, through sobs and gasps and tears, that if she didn’t do her homework, her teacher would be disappointed in her.  We talked about that some more before I said, “Well, it sounds like not doing your homework is not an option you’re willing to go with.”  And she agreed, and she cried some more, and she eventually finished her homework.

But she sure did suffer through it.  Boy, it was like torture for her.  All she could keep saying was how she didn’t WANT to have to do so much homework, and it wasn’t FAIR, and she hated it so very much, her face red and tear-stained, and she’d throw herself on the floor.  The suffering was thick and palpable in her experience, and in mine as I watched her.  But the Buddhists (or some Buddhists, or no Buddhists, and I’m totally mis-attributing this…) see suffering not as pain or discomfort or unhappiness, but as the fight against those things.  Suffering is when you try to resist those hard feelings or circumstances.  It’s that struggling, that grasping for whatever it is you wish you felt or wish you had.  It’s not the pain.  The pain just is.  Suffering is a choice.  Or, at least, it’s an action you make in response to some kind of discomfort.

Some people (Buddhists?) might say that suffering is entirely a choice, that it’s possible to sit above your pain, witnessing and acknowledging it, without trying to fight it.  Maybe it is.  For me, it’s sometimes not.  For an 8-year-old, I’m pretty sure it’s often not.  But I think it’s worth something, maybe worth everything, to know when and how to accept the things you cannot change.  To be able to find yourself in an uncomfortable (or boring or painful or frustrating, etc.) situation that’s not negotiable, to be able to accept that, and maybe even find some peace in that.  To do what you’ve got to do, the best you can.  Maybe even find some inspiration or comedy or motivation or sense of accomplishment or any of about a thousand good things that can be found in most hard situations.  I won’t say that’s the one thing I hope I can instill in my kids, just because I have an awful lot of things I want to instill in them that are as-yet not prioritized.  But I sure have a hard time thinking of a more important skill than this one.  The ability to bloom where you are planted.

5. Signs to signal that you are welcome (or that you are not)…

Kane’s mom very kindly gave us this welcome mat to put on our front porch.  Sure, its original intended purpose was encouraging and helping people to get the mud the heck off their shoes before daring to enter the infant habitat that is our house.  But its message is a good one.  Welcome.

Our welcome mat on our front porch

When I was little, I was often jealous of friends whose homes seemed to always have people coming and going, like social hubs, not just homes.  I wanted that.  And as an adult, I do want my home to be welcoming and for people to feel at home when they come in.  Which isn’t to say that I’ve never chewed out my husband for not warning me of coming visitors in time for me to get the house clean-ish, and it isn’t to say I’ve never chased neighborhood kids away, barking at them with tears streaming down my face and clenched fists.  And I can’t say I always answer the door when the bell rings unexpectedly.  But, really, our house is a warm and welcoming place.  And we actually do love visitors.  Really.

But that doesn’t necessarily go for every room in the house, and I’m not even talking about the room where I hide the unfolded clean laundry and stuff that I don’t know where else to put.  I’m talking about a room that could sometimes be declared a disaster zone by any standards, where tensions can run high and shouting (or hysterical laughter) can often be heard, where the door has had its share of slammings.  Yes, I’m talking about the bedroom of our two eight-year-olds.  I don’t know about YOU (reader), because I’m pretty sure the following sign was meant for me and/or my husband.  But I do interpret this as saying that I am not necessarily totally welcome in this room.

Sign on S&D's door

6. Grumpy Kids Bingo, a game for parents

Our current game of Grumpy Kids Bingo

Now, I know this is probably kind of mean.  And maybe not the most mature of our parenting practices.  But I can not deny that Kane and I currently have a game of Grumpy Kids Bingo going.  The game boards are like any bingo card and the rules the same, but the squares all contain some of the most obnoxious and commonly used phrases in the big girls’ repertoire.

What can I say?  I mean, you can only hear “You’re the worst parents in the whole world!” or “I’m never speaking to you again!” so many times before you start to feel like… well, like you deserve something for having to listen to this.  Like, maybe some points at a game, or being one square closer to having four in a row and the right to yell, “Bingo!!!!”  So now when an angry 8-year-old yells “You’ll PAY for this!” at me and storms out of the room, I no longer sit there shaking my fist in the air.  Now, I look over at Kane, grin, and say, “That’s a square!”  And though the point of the game was originally purely therapeutic entertainment for two abused adults, it’s possible that it’s even starting to have some desirable side-effects.  Like yesterday, when Davia said, “You always make us clean everything!” and I said, “What was that, Davia?”  She did a quick glance up at the board, dropped her gaze to the floor and said, “Nothing.”  Bingo!


To be continued…


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Anne
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 21:23:17

    Oh my! I love the grumpy kid bingo! We have to do that!!


  2. makingspace1
    Jan 17, 2012 @ 21:53:24

    I want that bingo game. Also, I have a homework (and piano practice time) crier too. Whywhywhyyyyyyy? LOL


  3. the husband
    Jan 18, 2012 @ 01:35:34

    Beauty of a post! ♥


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