Saturday, August 30, 2014

How to Handle "That One Kid"

My almost 11-year-old just told me: "I don't like my birthday month. All the weirdos at school have their birthdays in September."

Weirdos at school? Not very nice words coming from my darling sweetie pie honey bunch. Haven't I taught her anything?

Hmmm, let me think about that one...

"That new soft pants trend looks ridiculous on her."

"Let's hope Miss Stingy Sample Lady at Trader Joe's isn't working today."

"Look over there; it's that really annoying boy from church." 

Are those MY words? Gasp! Eek! No! I'm afraid so. And "from church" even! Doesn't matter that I whispered. My daughter has heard it all and is following suit. Shame shame know my name.

Okay, maybe it's not completely on me. Surely I didn't teach my kids all their sins. But this negative talk has got to stop. Or at least scale back. Especially with school starting on Thursday. And especially since SHE will be there. That one kid I wish would go away.

We all have one. Or two. You're lying if you say you don't. And this particular classmate - that one kid - decided she couldn't wait for school to start to wreak havoc, for she recently texted my 5th grade daughter:

--"Delete my number if it's in your phone because I want to surround myself with better people this year."

What does a number have to do with surrounding... oh, whatever. But this was it; our chance to scale back. A perfect opportunity to practice replacing negatives with positives, and choose kind words.

(So I advised my sweet girl.) "Tell her you are sorry if you've ever hurt her feelings, even though you obviously didn't, and that you look forward to the new school year."

(Quivering chin, tears are near.) "Buuuut mom, maybe I did hurt her feelings!"

(Serious?!? You're killing me!) "Okay, do you remember what you did?"

(Ugly cry sets in.) "Nooo-ho-ho-nooo..."

(At least she's repentant.) "Still tell her you're sorry, but say that maybe you were sick or something on the day you may or may not have hurt her feelings." (This is ridiculous.)

And this was her classmate's response:

--"Well then that means you were sick every day cuz you were rude to me every single day and I wanna know why!!"

(What! Where is this girl's mother?! Be calm, Molly... quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger... repeat.) "Honey, she's not having a good day. Tell her you don't know the reason why you were rude... every day, or not. Tell her sorry one more time and that you'll see her at school. Now turn off your phone."

Never before did I need to read the world's most perfect Jesus Calling devotion than I did that very day, August 3rd: "Words have such great power to bless or to wound; when you speak carelessly or negatively, you damage others as well as yourself. This ability to verbalize is an awesome privilege, granted only to those I created in my image... as positive speech patterns replace your negative ones, the increase in your joy will amaze you."

So as we enter the birthday month of school weirdos, I am determined to be a kinder me, which will help my daughter be a kinder her, which will help others be a kinder them. (Weirdos included.)

Saturday, August 16, 2014

What NOT to Search for on Youtube

Netflix, Youtube, Amazon Prime, Hulu - great ways to watch whatever suits your fancy. But, as with anything, one must proceed with caution. Especially if your spelling is off. Even a little off.

So there we were: a few sisters, a cluster of kids, my mom, and maybe a dad or two. And as the topic of "weird children's programming" came up, Teletubbies obviously came to mind.

We then reminisced about an even WEIRDER show - Boohbah. That is Boohbah with an H after the double O.  (See where this is going?)

Anyone remember Boohbah? Aired about 10 years ago... and how our now pre-teenish kids LOVED it? And to keep them entertained as toddlers, Boohbah worked better than lollipops. Better than letting them dump out our purses. Even better than toilet water adventures.

But here is where things went wrong, very wrong. My sister Sheila decided to do a search - a Boohbah search - to see if the show still held enough magic to captivate our two-year-old niece. Only she left out the very important H after the double O: "B-O-O-B..." And lo and behold, there "it"... uh hem, "they" were.

Now, far be it from me to be the family prude, but my protect-everyone-within-reach instinct - the kids, the husbands, my very own mother! - immediately kicked in, and I became the latest and greatest Octamom. My arms and legs quickly shot out; arms and legs I didn't even know I had! After all, this mom had some serious eyes to cover!

Whew, what a close one! But I think my attempts really worked. No burning eyeballs. No strange follow-up questions to answer later that day. I was lightening fast!

Me protecting my kids... does it ever end? Do I really know what I'm doing? Can I catch everything? Am I bad if I get lazy? Am I bad if I over-protect? Will I always have ninja speed?

No, no, no, no, and NO.

So what I do is remind myself that my kids are their own persons with their own personal connection to God - a connection that is theirs apart from me. And God is the ultimate protector, having all the healing, all the mercy, all the patience, and all the council they might one day need should something get past me... should something slip through my often inadequate attempts at protecting them. (I mean, come on, covering eyes was all I got?)

And last I checked, 2 Thessalonians 3:3, "But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one," doesn't include "but only with the help of your mom, of course, and as long as you're a good speller."