Thursday, September 18, 2008


As you can see from my previous post, some bad habits had crept into our family. One of the most annoying was whining! I thought I'd share the age old but new for us method that has made whining much better.

"What is this remarkable cure", you may ask. It's THE CORNER. Yes, that's right. Standing in the corner. It's the perfect place to compose yourself when you feel the urge to whine and complain. There's nothing to do there, nothing to see, just you...and your the corner.

Here's a little testimonial. Last week Josiah didn't want to eat what I made for supper. Now, I had made pizza, yes, homemade, yummy pizza, which he really, really likes. Would he eat it, no. "I don't like pizza,"he whined.

Did I loose my cool? No! Did I lay on the guilt trip about how hard I had worked and slaved over that pizza? No! Did I cajole him to take a bite to see how tasty it was? No! I simply told him to stand in the corner until he could speak to Mommy nicely and without a whine in his voice. Just two minutes of boredom in the corner did the trick. He came back and ate his yummy pizza with a smile.

Then came the inevitable question, "May I please have a lollipop."

"No," was the answer. Not what he didn't know was that we had ice cream. He instantly started whining.

"Because I want one," he pouted.

Back he went to the corner. This time Maggie, the dog, decided to go with him.

"I can't talk to you right now, Maggie. I has to stand in da corner. I has to talk nice," he cried as he moved a pile of toys that I had placed in the aforementioned corner while he finished eating.

Fortunately, little boys whose noses are in the corner can't see their parents laughter behind their backs! Hehehe.

Two minutes later a happy boy was back and got to eat his ice cream with his mommy and daddy.

We're on our third week of using the corner and all it takes now is a reminder of where whiny children go. The whine dries up almost instantly! :-)

On of THOSE Mothers

Okay, I have a confession to make. Somehow in the last few months I've become one of Those mothers. I always said I would never be one of Them. They were the kind of mothers that I would never be!

It started quite innocently. Things were actually pretty good around here. Josiah had gone through a period of open defiance and we'd come through on the other side. There were very, very few temper tantrums and overall things were pretty calm. In short, life was good. That's when it happened. I let my guard down. I underestimated the level of craftiness that could come from a just turned three year old little boy. Open defiance had been replaced by a more quiet form of disobedience.

A few weeks ago we were listening to a pod cast of Family Life Today. It's a great radio broadcast with lots of good advice on marriage and parenting. They were speaking with an author, Ginger Plowman, about her book Don't Make Me Count to Three. When I heard the subject I was feeling pretty good about myself and my parenting. I was thinking that this program might make me feel better about my parenting. Boy, was I wrong.

What I realized as I listened to her talk was that even though I wasn't physically counting to three I was doing the same thing with my mannerisms. I was one of those mothers. God really used this program to convict me that I wasn't doing what I should. Here's an example.

It's Friday morning. We're leaving at 9:30 for the park. At 9:15 I say "Josiah, go put on your shoes."

There is no response. Josiah is busy playing with his trains and doesn't want to be bothered. It's not that he hasn't heard, he just doesn't want to, yet.

"Josiah," I say a little more sternly, "Go put on your shoes, NOW."

This time he looks up from his trains. You can almost picture his thoughts. Sure, he needs to obey, but he has a few minutes yet.

"I can't find them," he says, looking around innocently.

"There under your table where they always are. Go get them and put them on. Make sure they're on the correct feet this time."

By now my voice has taken on a definite pitch and volume that lets him know that it is time to start taking some action. He gets up from his trains, gets his shoes and starts to put them on. Then he hears the dog scratching at the door.

"I go let Maggie in," he says, jumping up from the floor and racing to the door.

"Don't worry about Maggie, get your shoes on or else!" I yell, not even pretending to keep my voice down any more.

At this point Josiah starts crying, but puts his shoes on. I let in the dog, who seems bewildered by all the commotion.

Josiah comes out from his room with his shoes on the wrong feet. Why, because he likes them on the wrong feet. Not in the mood for another battle, and since it's ten minutes since we were supposed to leave, I give up and load him in the car. Of course, loading in the car is a battle on its own.

So we're listening to this woman talk about not scolding your children but speaking to them in a calm and serious voice. Hmm...I haven't been doing to well at that. Then she talks about how they obey, that they should be obeying the first time they're asked. Hmm...not doing to well there, either. Then she says how they should obey, with a joyful heart. Okay, okay, I get the point!

We immediately started teaching Josiah a saying. "Obey right away, all the way, and with a joyful heart!" When Josiah isn't doing what I tell him to do I ask, "Are you obeying or disobeying." Then I have him say the saying. If he's obeying, but with a rebellious spirit I ask him if he has a joyful heart. He'll put on a smily pretty quickly!

I started paying careful attention when I give Josiah a command. I make sure that he's looking at me and tell him exactly what to do, usually on his level. I then expect him to do it immediately with no whining. The first few days were pretty hard. It was painful for me to resist the urge to yell and replace it with a calm, quite voice. But it's getting better. On the second day I "yelled" at Dan to get it out of my system. I said "I've got to yell! Argh!!!" He laughed.

This week things have been better again. I think it's mostly that I have to be consistent and not get so wrapped up in my own thoughts that I don't pay enough attention to what's going on around me. I've heard it called "intentional" parenting.

I'm know I'll have my slip ups, but I'm going to keep trying not to be one of Those mothers!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Singing in the Grocery Store...Again

On Tuesday we had to go to the grocery store. Josiah really likes going to the store because he gets a cookie, so he was excited. We made a quick trip through the produce aise where all the fruit was way too expensive. Then we went back to the cookies, but they were gone! Josiah was good sport about it, though.

We headed back to get lunch meat and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the meat I like the most was marked down, a lot! I told Josiah that this meat being so much on sale was a blessing from God.

He smiled and began to sing "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" at the top of his lungs! This time I let him! I'm excited to see those connections happening with him. I sometimes wish that they could happen at a slightly less vibrant volume, but I'd rather have them happen loudly than not happen at all! :-)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Three year old theology

We had a big milestone last week. Josiah turned three. He's growing so quickly! I can hardly believe that he's been in my life for so long! It seems only a few days ago that I found out he was coming.

A few days before his birthday I was getting ready to go out for a little while by myself. I was putting on my makeup in the bathroom. He came in and sat down on the side of the bathtub.

"Mama," he said, trying to get my attention, "'splain God."

My mind was somewhere else. I struggled to pay attention to what he was saying.

"Mama, 'splain God to me."

Now there's a command! How do you "explain God" to an almost three year old? I mean, we talk about God all the time. We read the Bible together almost every day. We pray for almost every meal and often at other times during the day. We go to church and we point out blessings every chance we get.

I went with the classic Mother's answer. I said, "Go ask your Dad!"

Dan told him about how God made us and is everywhere with us. He said how God knows everything is bigger and stronger than anything we can imagine. That seemed to satisfy Josiah and he went off to play.

About a week later we had an opportunity to take Grandma Faye to a funeral home to visit with the family of a cousin who passed away. This was the first time Josiah has been to a funeral home in quite a while. We walked in and he saw the woman lying in the casket.

"What she doin' sleepin' up there?" he asked, innocently.

"She's not asleep baby, she died," I explained.

"Somebody go wake her up," he responded.

"She can't wake up, she's in heaven with God."

"God everywhere," he responded.

"Yes, God is everywhere, but he's also in heaven. She went home to heaven to be with God and Jesus," I tried to explain again.

"Where Jesus?" he asked.

This wasn't working. Grandma Faye decided to take a stab at it.

"Her spirit went home to be with the Lord," Grandma Faye explained, taking Josiah right up to the casket to look in.

"Her needs her car keys so her can drive home!" Josiah exclaimed.

At that point half the people in the room started to laugh. It seemed prudent to get him out of there as quickly as possible!

We hurried into the kitchen area where some of the family that I know were milling. Josiah was asked several times what his name was. He always responded, "I 3!"

"Your name is Josiah," I prompted.

"I not Josiah anymore, I three!"

He thought that his name was three now! :-)