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Archive for the ‘Meadow’ Category

Just when I think I’ve got this whole motherhood thing figured out (which usually lasts about four point three seconds), one of my three throws another curve ball. This time it was my oldest.

For the majority of her seven years of life, my oldest has been my easiest- compliant, mature, helpful, gentle, trustworthy. She is big sister to two brothers (ages four and one) and exhibits first born qualities through out the day, every day. She is my helper, my sidekick, my shadow. So when, on a now forgotten date, some weeks ago, she began exhibiting behaviors I had never seen in her before, I quickly became more than a little perplexed.

Dark was her mood for many of those days, and not in the way of a young child, not in the way of her brothers when they pout or whine or lash out. This was different. This was new. -Honestly, she reminded me of my darkest days as a teenager, days when I was sullen and brooding and weepy with no idea why or what in the world to do about it. (“Can a seven year old be hormonal??” I kept thinking. “Surely not!”)- Many tears were shed over those few weeks (most of them hers, a couple mine), as I wondered what was happening to my girl and what was I, her mama, going to do about it? But it wasn’t until last week that I became alarmed when she not once, but twice within a few days time, was physically unkind to her brother.

Now I realize that in many households this is normal- siblings fight, siblings hit and push or worse- and would not necessarily be cause for alarm. But this has never been the case in our home. (ok, I take that back, my one year old hits when he is mad -or frustrated or whatever it is that one year olds get- and that was probably the case when my other two were that age as well.) But now, and for as long as I can remember, Meadow and Granite do not and have not been siblings that physically fight. So last week when one argument with Granite led to her angrily pushing him off the bed with her foot and another involved her hitting his leg in response to something he said, I knew something just wasn’t right. (Both times I happened to walk in the room right as she did it, allowing me to observe and understand in a way I could not have had I only learned about it through Granite telling on her. I think that was a God thing.)

So last Thursday night (after the morning that Meadow hit Granite’s leg, her second “offense”) we were in the car on the way home, Meadow and Granite bickering in the very back seat of the van, Chaz and I talking quietly in the front as I tried not to overreact to the bickering, and Canyon observing it all from his carseat in the middle, when I brought up the hitting incident and expressed my concerns about what was going on with Meadow. I had mentioned her behavior several times prior but not with as much emphasis or concern. “I don’t know what to do with her. I don’t understand where this behavior is coming from.” were some of my words to my husband. And it was right around that time that the bickering in the backseat escalated (once again, as had happened so many times that week, thanks to Meadow) to the point that Meadow was told by her father not to speak again until we got home (about five minutes away).

“You guys go on inside. I’m going to stay in the car and talk to Meadow.” were Chaz’s words to me as we pulled into our driveway. I gathered the boys and their bags, headed inside and began getting them both ready for bed, all the while thinking about my girl and wondering what was being said in the van sitting under our carport.

About fifteen minutes later father and daughter entered our back door and Meadow quickly, quietly headed to her room to get ready for bed, Granite following her close behind. I greeted them both from the couch then watched Meadow walk away, noting that I would talk with her after talking to my hubby. Standing, with Canyon on my hip, I asked my hubby how the talk went, what was said, what was her response to him. Almost immediately his eyes filled with tears. Alarmed and surprised I waited for him to speak. He recounted their conversation, speaking the words that brought his tears-

“A few minutes into the conversation it dawned on me to ask, ‘Has someone  been treating you that way?’ (referencing her hitting and pushing her brother), to which she immediately answered, ‘Yes, Amaya next door hits and pushes me sometimes and she yells at me.'”

At that point he paused, giving me a chance to gently ask, “Why the tears?”

“It’s just so pitiful. She’s never been treated that way by anyone. And you know it’s been on her mind by how quickly she answered me. Just picturing her dealing with that and thinking about that…” he kind of trailed off at that point, tears still filling his eyes.

We talked for a minute more before the older two ran back into the room, then decided to continue the conversation later, after all the loud short people were in bed. I hugged my husband fiercely, so very grateful for his care and concern for our daughter and our family, and kissed him goodbye as he headed back out the door to return to work for several more hours.

And for the rest of that night and for the past week since, Meadow has been back to her usual self- chipper, talkative, helpful, occasionally emotional, sometimes selfish, silly, gentle and kind. Her mood has been joyful, her aura light, her energy pure. Our home has returned to its usual state- quiet and peaceful, full of chatter and laughter, with a bit of arguing and bickering mixed in.

And all this week I have asked myself: How could one conversation with her daddy release my girl from the torment that was causing such ugly behavior, such emotion, such a dark mood for so much of those three weeks?

This is what I have come up with, these are the lessons I have learned (or relearned maybe?) from the kid next door:

1) Learn to ask good questions. I think sometimes our children/the people around us are hurting or thinking/feeling things that they need to express and just don’t know how to without a little prompting. Learn to ask good questions. And lots of them.

2) Don’t always take a child’s/person’s behavior at face value. Children/people are selfish creatures and much of their ugly behavior stems from this. But other times they are only reacting out of the hurt that they are experiencing or feeling. Don’t assume their bad behavior is just them being “bad”. It could be from them feeling hurt.

3) Don’t be naive and assume that the children your children are playing with are going to treat them with respect and kindness. Be observant. Be vigilant. Be appropriately protective, especially until your children are old enough to protect themselves.

4) And lastly: There is power in the spoken word. I have learned (relearned) this for myself recently as I have fought some ugly demons (another post for another time) and watched the stronghold that these demons have had on my heart loosen each time I confess/express/speak them to a friend or family member. I saw that same power the night Chaz talked with Meadow. So speak, my friends, speak! Find someone you trust, someone who loves you and speak your truth, speak your struggle, speak your demons. Find the faith, the humility, the guts, and speak! And if you have no one, no one in your life to listen with compassion, please, please message me. I know an incredible counselor and would love to pass along his number. I am also a willing listener myself. Speak what weighs on your heart and watch as the load begins to lighten.

I hurt when my children hurt. I so much want to protect them, protect myself, avoid any and all hurt as well as I possibly can. But I am also learning that life’s hurts usually lead to life’s greatest lessons. And that that is one small/huge piece in our story of redemption. So I  am also grateful. Grateful and learning and hurting and laughing. Thanks for reading, friends. Let me know if you need me.

Sincerely Yours,

~Echo~

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Knowing that the best way to get anything done around here is to do it with Meadow and Granite on my team, I sat them both down last week and pointed out that we really need to figure out a schedule that will help us do what we need to do each day. We talked about how life has been a little crazy since Canyon was born, how mama has been very tired and distracted, how the house has been pretty messy and the laundry stacked to the ceiling in the laundry room (I am barely exaggerating) and how a schedule could help get us back on track and make our needed tasks more manageable. So with a pen and paper in hand, I posed the question, “What should go on our schedule each day?” and then listened as they each gave me their suggestions, before adding my own ideas to the list. What ensued is a classic example of the contrast between my two oldest children, and so indicative of their personalities. There is never a dull moment in this house.

Now I just need to work on converting these lists into an actual schedule. In the meantime, I feel compelled to share…

 

As stated at our dining room table:

Meadow’s List:

school

straighten house

pump (Obviously, this one will be on mama’s schedule, not hers. But I love that she thought to list it!)

take care of Baby Canyon

spend time with our family

eat dinner/eat healthy

baths

exercise to make our bodies healthy

wash hands

compost

get dressed

 

Granite’s List:

pumpkin

king (He may not have completely understood the assignment…)

look at the stars until they are all gone

games

after drinks (???)

healthy

twinkle think…just like in Abby’s flying fairy school.

Me: Huh?

MG: It’s from Elmo.

Me: Oh.

G: I don’t like twinkle think.

MG: I do.

G: I don’t. Are we done?

Me: Can you think of anything else?

G: Done. Now let’s play the thankful game.

 

And added later (after playing the thankful game):

Mama’s List:

feed Canyon/change diaper/playtime/nap

make/serve/eat/clean up from breakfast, lunch, dinner

shower, get dressed and ready for the day

morning chores (unload dishwasher, start laundry, make beds)

activities with G while MG does school (games, books, learning activities)

afternoon chores (fold and put away laundry, clean kitchen, straighten house)

take walk

nap/rest/quiet time

playtime/outside time

bedtime routine (baths, pjs, brush teeth, read books, pray, sing songs)

blog/write

run/workout

read Bible

time with hubby (after munchkins are in bed)

 

I think between Meadow and I (and Granite??) we remembered everything that needs to be on our daily list. There will also be days of grocery shopping, errand running, doctor and dentist appointments, play dates, and random projects, but if we can make a flexible schedule for the above to stick to on “normal” days, I’m convinced that order will return and chaos will no longer reign.

Now if I could just get a good night’s sleep, the fog might clear and doing all of this might actually sound possible! 😉

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August 10 at 2:47pm

Walked a little over three miles on the trails in Gatlinburg this past weekend. So gorgeous! And a little over two at Radnor today with Meadow and Granite. They were little troopers. The walk wore us all out! 5 more down…63 to go!

August 12 at 2:55pm

Just walked the neighborhood with Summer and my munchkins. 2 more down…61 to go!

August 15 at 11:48pm

Took a walk with the munchkins around three this afternoon and it was warm but not hot! Praise the Lord for this cooler weather, I love it!! All three of us walked the first mile, I pushed Gran in the stroller while Mead rode her bike for the second mile then just Gran and I did the last mile (with him still in the stroller) while Mead went across the street to our neighbor’s house. The walk was challenging but also energizing and enjoyable. So proud of my kids for being active with me. 3 more down…58 to go!

August 16 at 2:30pm

Walked a 10k (not an official one. just our own.) with M and G this morning! It was challenging but amazing! They both walked the first mile with me, M rode her bike the second and third mile while G rode in the stroller then they both rode in the stroller for miles four through six (while listening to music, eating a snack and practicing letters, numbers, shapes and animals on the magnadoodle!). The weather was glorious, their attitudes were amazing and though it took FOREVER I loved it!! So proud of my munchkins (especially Meadow, her first time to go three miles without stopping!). 6 more down…52 to go!!!

August 18 at 12:20am

‎4 more down…48 to go!

August 19 at 11:31am

Ran/walked a 5k (an official one this time! haha. not just around the neighborhood) last night in 41 minutes with Meg, Chassi, Lauren and Summer! 98 % of the crowd was under 18, under 120 pounds and/or exceptionally tall and muscular (which was hilarious to us old, pregnant people) BUT we had a great time and the trail was gorgeous (even if it did take me 2 1/2 times as long to finish as the guy who came in first place!) So glad Meg told us about it, so thankful for Summer who stuck with me the WHOLE time, really enjoyed my fun evening with good friends! I feel so blessed. 3 more down…45 to go!

August 20 at 11:52am

Had a GREAT walk at River Park with Chassi this morning!! It wasn’t easy but felt so good to start my Saturday that way. Thankful that she was willing to slow waaay down for me. And we saw Jamie and her fam and Corinne and her munchkins while we were there! 6 more down…39 to go!

August 22 at 9:32am

Had a quiet three mile walk last night after my family was in bed. Was a good, much needed hour of prayer and clearing my head. 3 more down…36 to go!

August 22 at 11:36pm

Walked 1 1/2 miles with my girl tonight (per her request to join me. such a cutie.) then another 1 1/2 listening to my ipod. I am slow as Christmas but feeling decent and LOVING this amazing weather! 3 more down…33 to go!

August 24 at 12:22am

Took a walk around the block again tonight. Walked the first mile with my two little troopers. Walked the second mile and a half pushing my two troopers in the jogging stroller while G slept and M and I played learning games for the half hourish. Then finished with another 3 1/2 after Chaz and the munchkins were in bed. Had more prayer time and calibration once I was alone and it was dark and quiet. Seem to need that more than ever these days. 6 more down…27 to go.

August 24 at 9:46pm

Walked at River Park this afternoon with M and G. Meadow rode her bike all three miles, her longest bike ride to date! Still blown away by how much walking/running/riding she is able to do. Gran sat surprisingly quiet and content in the stroller the whole time. Was a hot day for a walk but with the breeze and the shaded trail it was completely bearable. Love River Park. Love my munchkins! 3 more down…24 to go!

August 29 at 10:21pm

Well let’s see, after a three mile walk LATE Thursday night (during which I ran into Luke and Anna on their way to the store and had to admit that yes I walk at all hours of the day and night and yes, I know that makes me a little bit crazy…), another three mile walk through the neighborhood Friday evening while Chaz ran errands with the munchkins, a hot and challenging but somehow still enjoyable six mile walk on Sunday afternoon at River Park (followed by 130 oz of water), and a three mile walk tonight (with Summer and Meadow during the first mile and a half), I’ve got…15 more down…9 to go!

September 1 at 12:42am

Walked two miles last night while Chaz put the munchkins to bed. Did NOT want to…but made myself do it anyway. Then walked three more today…the first mile this afternoon with M and G, the second mile several hours later with G in the stroller while M helped the hubby fry up some farm fresh veggies for dinner, and finally the third mile after the hubs and kids were in bed for the night. (G ran A LOT of the first mile without being prompted or encouraged to and would stay just ahead of his sister and me while he was running. Super cute and impressive. He walked the rest of the mile in between us, holding our hands, which I LOVE. And though my second mile would normally occur immediately following my first mile, my Garmin died, which just enough discouragement to cause a rearrangement of our plan. Plus it was super hot at that point in the day so waiting a while to continue just sounded way too appealing. And then dinner ended up being ready after the second mile and the kids’ bedtime routine followed right after that causing the additional delay between the second and third…) So yeah, after this crazy day of walking I’ve got…5 more down…only 4 more to go!!!

September 1 at 11:45pm

Completed my 300 miles this afternoon with my two sidekicks and my one in utero! LAST 4 down…0 more to go!!!!!!

Part 3 of 300 Miles will be coming soon so stay tuned for 300 Miles: The Ups and Downs of The Final Four!

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A Rare Good Night’s Sleep: Had.

Mug of Decaf Coffee: Savored.

One Year Bible: Read.

Sunshine: Admired.

Beds: Made.

Breakfast and Lunch: Served. And Eaten.

Blog Post: Posted.

Google Reader: Perused.

Grocery List: Started.

Phone Calls: Made.

Indoor Plants: Watered.

First Grade Bible, Reading, History/Geography, Math, Science, Writing/Spelling, and Piano Lessons: Taught.

Preschool Letters, Numbers, Colors, Shapes, Animals and Potty Training Lessons: Taught.

Most Dishes: Washed. Dried. Put Away.

Counters and Tables and Chairs: Wiped.

Living Room and Dining Room Floor: Swept.

Some (but Not Enough) Laundry: Washed. Dried. Folded. Put Away.

Toys, Games, Puzzles, Movies, Art Supplies, School Supplies: Picked Up. Put Away.

Piles: Er…Improved.

Crockpot Chicken and Potatoes with Organic Farm Fresh Squash and Zucchini Casserole and Giant Bowl of Organic Farm Fresh Watermelon: Prepared. Served for Dinner. Thoroughly Enjoyed.

Leftovers: Refrigerated.

Food Scraps: Composted.

Heat: Avoided.

100 Ounces of Water: Downed.

Pandora: Turned Up.

Baby (Still in Utero): Nourished. Held. Protected. Eagerly Anticipated.

Children: Hugged. Kissed. Held. Dressed. Fed. Taught. Trained. Reminded. Assisted. Reminded Again. Disciplined. Listened to. Read to. Laughed with. Snuggled with. Prayed with. Comforted. Adored. Enjoyed. Marveled At. Appreciated.

Husband: Missed. Appreciated. Kissed. Cuddled with. Enjoyed.

Friends and Family: Texted. Facebooked. Emailed.

Three Mile Walk: Taken.

Pregnancy Journal: Updated.

Labor: Anticipated.

Many Prayers: Uttered.

Blessings: Counted.

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June 27 at 10:08am

I committed to Chassi on June 2nd that my new goal was to walk/run 150 miles by the end of August and to hit 300 miles for my entire pregnancy. I’m at 193 miles so far. That leaves another 107 to cover over the next 11 1/2(ish) weeks. I walked 3 early this morning. (which felt amazing! great weather and prayer time and gorgeous rising sun!) We will see how the rest of the week goes!

June 28 at 11:14pm

Walked two miles and ran 1 mile tonight! Beautiful night, amazing hour of prayer and meditation…3 more down, 104 to go!

June 29 at 10:35pm

‎2 more down…(first 1 of 2 with Meadow on her bike beside me…then she ran a second mile with Chaz!…such a cutie!!)…102 to go.

June 30 at 2:22pm

‎”Dead Last Finish is greater than Did Not Finish which greatly trumps Did Not Start.” – saw this quote last week and loved it!

July 8 at 7:44am

6 more down…96 to go! Walked 2.5 miles around our block on Tuesday. And walked/ran 3.5 miles this morning. It rained the whole time. I must say though, rain feels much better than heat! Good times.

July 13 at 7:41pm

Walked 2 more miles Monday night…94 to go. My hubby and kiddos joined me for the first mile. Granite ran most of it! So proud of him! (and Meadow too…she is a stronger runner every month it seems) And Meadow rode her bike beside me for the second mile. I am getting pretty discouraged though. Even 2 miles feels like a lot at this point. I so much want to stay active but with this heat, frequent fatigue and my heavy belly I’m wearing down/slowing down. :/ Will keep walking (and running a mile here and there) but not confident I will hit 300! I’d even be happy with 250 at the rate I’m going…

July 17 at 9:19pm

6 more down, 88 to go! Ran 2 1/2 miles and walked 1/2 mile Wed night and walked 2 miles and ran 1 mile tonight! (Including a 1/4 mile where I carried Granite because he fell and got a pretty good scrape on his knee! Whew! THAT was a good workout!) Still struggling with motivation but not feeling as discouraged as last week. Making it my goal this week to walk or run at least 2 miles every day. We will see how it goes!

July 18 at 6:24am

Walked 1 1/2 miles, ran 1 1/2 miles this morning! Beautiful morning. Not too hot. Sweated a lot. But a good, cleansing sweat. Felt amazing. Had a much needed 45 minutes of prayer. 3 more down…85 to go!

July 19 at 8:51am

Walked 3 miles this morning. It was a bit warmer and thicker than yesterday. But not too bad. Saw Sky and Devon and Ben while I was walking! Funny how often that happens. Listened to Mumford and Sons for most of the hour…soooo good. 3 more down…82 to go!

July 22 at 1:11pm

So the commitment I made this week has been way more challenging than I expected. Because of our schedule this week, my options have been set the alarm for 5am and walk/run before Chaz leaves for work (what I did on Mon&Tues), wait till our evening plans are over and my family is in bed and walk/run after 11pm (what I did on Wed&Thurs) or go at some point during the day pushing a 100+ pound stroller when it is 8,000 degrees outside and 100% humidity (what I did today). Sunday wasn’t bad, the kids and I went right after dinner. And tomorrow should be good, I’m gonna do 3-6 miles in the morning before it gets too hot (but not at 5am!). But yeah, this walk/run everyday commitment has flat worn me out! I’m glad I did it (always am) but next week I’m thinkin will be more like a 3-4 day commitment to give me a week to recover! 6 more down…76 to go!

July 26 at 9:07pm ‎

4 more down…72 to go. Will I hit 300 or will I not hit 300…that is the question…

July 30 at 5:42pm

Ran 2, walked 2 today! Last run I did was unsuccessful so I thought I was done with running but I guess not! Today’s walk/run felt great. 4 more down…68 to go!

Stay tuned for my next 300 Miles post to find out if I reach my goal of walking/running 300 miles before giving birth to this baby!

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my travel companions

The trip was a last minute one. And a first for me and the kids, seeing as we had never before left town with just the three (ok, technically four) of us in the van. But my hard working hubby needed to stay in Nashville and work and my mom, dad, youngest sister, two friends and grandmother (the crew we would be spending the weekend with) all left town on Thursday (a day before we were able to get away). And even though packing and cleaning and loading by myself was a bit overwhelming (mostly because my very pregnant body makes everything overwhelming these days), the six year old was a huge help and the four hour drive went so smoothly I would actually describe the time as enjoyable! I did miss my hubby those three days (and the kids missed their daddy!) but I am so thankful we decided to go! The time away was worth every ounce of extra energy it took to get out of town.

The three days were quiet, peaceful (other than some major struggles with my three year old. another post for another time.) and relaxing and took place surrounded by breathtaking views of The Great Smoky Mountains. And as it always does, getting out of the city gave me the time, the distance and the space to reflect and calibrate…

So, here are a few of my thoughts and reflections in no particular order:

1) You don’t have to fly to Hawaii or Europe to see spectacular sights, sights you may never have had the privilege of seeing before. There are more of them than you think, closer than you think and they are worth looking for!

2) My boy is, well, just that- a boy. And he needs time out of this house. Time to explore and get dirty and burn off his surplus of energy. Just because one of us is carrying around an extra 30 pounds and would prefer to lay on the couch all day, doesn’t mean we all feel that way…

3) It’s a whole lot easier for me to believe that all of this was created by a Creator than that it all began by chance or coincidence or a meteor.

4) I may have been born in the wrong century. We spent our three days in a cabin in the woods with no internet or television and, somewhat surprisingly, I did not miss either in the slightest. (Yes, I am aware of the irony of posting that statement on my blog. Technology does have it’s advantages.)

5) I packed less than I’ve ever packed for a trip and we still didn’t use everything I brought. Maybe someday I will get this whole simplifying/minimalism thing figured out…

6) My enormous belly gets me way more attention than I am comfortable with. I cannot remember the last time I showed up somewhere and didn’t have a stranger ask me if I was about to go into labor. I suppose that could have something to do with the fact that that portion of my torso now enters a room a good ten inches before the rest of me does…but does it have to get comments everywhere I go?

7) I love, love, love to walk and run and hike and I am so excited to be able to do those things to my heart’s content again in the very near future!!!

8 ) God blessed me with an incredibly loving and supportive family, something for which I am constantly and eternally grateful!

(This post would more appropriately be titled, “Life Lessons: What I Learned and What I Was Reminded of During Our Three Days in Gatlinburg and from Our Adventure in Cades Cove”. But that seemed a bit wordy for a blog post title…)

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I had a moment with my five year old on Sunday. I don’t know what to call it really- precious, heartbreaking, hilarious…a misunderstanding- it was all of those.

Chaz and I and the kids are at Mazatlan. We are sitting at a long table with four other families. Granite is sitting between Chaz and me, Meadow is sitting at the end of the table with another couple. We all sit and talk and peruse the lunch menu until our waiter comes and takes our orders.

About five minutes after we have all finished ordering Meadow walks over and stands by my chair.

“Mama, can I have a cheeseburger?” she asks quietly.

“Oh honey, we already ordered,” I reply. “You’re gonna have some of the chicken that mommy and daddy are having. You can have a cheeseburger next time.”

Her expression changes but she doesn’t move, doesn’t speak.

“Please mom, can I have a cheeseburger?” she asks again after several moments of silence. (This is not unusual. Often she will ask for something, I will say no, and she will ask once more before I sternly remind her not to ask again when mommy has already said no) But this time was a bit peculiar. Usually her second time to ask for something is a bit whiney and more like pleading than asking. This second time was calm, but insistent.  Peculiar.

I pause, intrigued by her tone. “Did you ask daddy?” I ask her.

“Yes. He said no too,” she responds.

“Meadow!” I scold, “If daddy said no, you shouldn’t ask mommy. You need to respect what daddy said. We already ordered. You can have a cheeseburger next time.”

Another pause, then again, without whining but with a hint of tears in her eyes and in her voice. “Please mama, please can I have a cheeseburger?”

“No.” I reply, once more. “Mommy and daddy both said no. Do not ask again or you will be in trouble.”

And again quietly, this time with a tear or two escaping and running down her cheek, desperation in her voice, “Please mom. Can I have a cheeseburger?”

At this point I am appalled and more than irritated. I cannot believe she has asked four times for the cheeseburger! It’s like she is not hearing me at all! I turn to Chaz and ask him to talk to her, she sits beside him and cries as he does. I cannot hear what he is saying. I take the moment to calm my frustrations. Meadow stays in the chair beside Chaz for several minutes before returning to her seat beside our friends. I get distracted, talking to the couple beside us and forget, for a moment, what just occured between my daughter and me.

A few minutes later our table’s orders arrive.

“Chicken quesadilla?” the waiter asks. The friend sitting beside me responds that it is her’s.

“Cheeseburger?” he asks, holding up the next plate. No one responds. Several of us look at each other.

“Cheeseburger?” the waiter asks again. Still no response. “It must be another table’s,” someone says. The waiter sets it down and moves on.

In that moment I look at my husband. My eyebrows raise, and his do as well, as it dawns on both of us what has happened. We look over at our five year old. She is sitting in her chair, tears streaming down her face, looking stuck and absolutely miserable.

“Did you order a cheeseburger?” I ask her. She nods miserably. I resist the urge to burst out laughing. I find the situation both hilarious and pitiful all at the same time.

I turn to the couple sitting beside her, “Did she order it all by herself!?” (this has never happened before)

“She said that was what she wanted. We helped her order it.” they respond.

We tell the waiter who ordered the cheeseburger and I look at my daughter as he sets it down in front of her. She is still crying.

My heart melts as I become fully aware of the situation- She expressed to our friends what she wanted to eat. They ordered it for her. She realized then that she had not asked first, so she asks, after the fact, probably not expecting us to continually and firmly say no. She can’t get a yes, but knows its already been ordered and doesn’t know what to do. (why she didn’t just tell us that she had already ordered it and deal with it that way, I do not know.) So she asks way too many times, then falls to pieces as the inevitable arrival of the unauthorized cheeseburger becomes more and more imminent. Oh. My. Word. My heart melts.

I stand up from my chair, walk over to my daughter’s chair and motion for her to follow me. We find a quiet corner in the restaurant (in an effort to avoid embarrassing her further by talking to her in front of the entire table) and I hold her in my lap as she cries. We talk. I explain to her that it was one big misunderstanding, that she is not in trouble, that I’m sorry for the misunderstanding, that sometimes misunderstandings happen. I tell her it is ok for her to eat her cheeseburger, remind her again that she is not in trouble and hold her tightly, whispering a few more assurances into her sweet smelling curls.

She says she does not want her cheeseburger, that she is not hungry, that she just wants to go home. I tell her I understand that she is emotional, that we should take some deep breaths and go back to the table and eat. She repeats her first statement. I realize then that continuing to talk about it is probably not going to help. I change the subject. I suggest that we set the cheeseburger aside, eat it later when she does get hungry, and work on coloring a picture for her aunt who has had an emotional morning too. This idea peaks her interest. She stops crying, asks why her aunt is emotional, then gets excited about drawing a picture to help her aunt not be sad anymore.

I take her back to the table and sit her between me and her brother. She shares half of her fries with him, dumping a mound of ketchup onto her plate for him to dip his fries in. We talk and color and eventually her appetite returns.

As I watch her sitting beside me, eating her burger and fries, coloring her picture and talking to her brother, I am reminded how much I adore my children. I think about how important good communication is. I realize that, even in ridiculous and irritating situations, I am so, so blessed to be a mama of two fascinating, complicated, unique little people. And I decide that when I get home, I will have to write a blog post about the inevitable arrival of the unauthorized cheeseburger!

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