New Version of Jack and Jill

Oh me, oh my, the things that my kids will say.  My little 5-year-old son, Christopher, sure gave me a shock the other day.  He had learned the nursery rhyme Jack and Jack in PK the other day.  He started reciting it out of the blue one weekend and I could tell which nursery rhyme he was saying, but his version was a little different from the one I remember.

Instead of “Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water.” it sounded like he said, “Jack and Jill went up the hill to get the hell out of the water.”  LOL  You have to know that my son has some things that he can’t pronounce very well, so I think he really meant to say it the right way.  But boy, oh boy, his version sure gave me a laugh.  It was so funny that I had to share it with his teacher the following Monday.  You just never know what my kids might say.


Tattling Mama (It Takes A Village – Chapter 2)

If you recall, I said I had a few incidents lately where I had to snitch on my kids.  So let me tell you about Incident #2.  This one happened yesterday with my youngest son Christopher.  I was working Aftercare at my children’s school for my friend (Ann’s teacher).  She had a dentist appointment to go to, so I said I would fill in.  Ann’s teacher has the younger group of kids in Aftercare, which means that my three youngest were in my class.  That is not a big problem, except when your kids don’t want to listen.

I’m not sure why, but Christopher was wild that day.  Actually, they all were.  Most of the things Christopher did were just annoying, but he went too far when he decided to run out of the school building and into the school parking lot, ON HIS OWN!  I saw him do it, Thank God, so I could go after him.  However, I was stuck between a rock and a hard place.  I had a classroom full of kids I was responsible for, that I couldn’t leave alone.  Yet, my son had run out the door and could have been running into traffic as we speak.

There is another teacher that works Aftercare for the Middle School students, so I told Marie to go get her to watch the little kids.  When I noticed Marie walking at a normal pace to the other room, I had to emphasize to go QUICKLY!  One would think that moving quickly would be your automatic reaction, however, my oldest did not.  Oh brother!!!

As soon as the other teacher rounded the corner, I asked her to watch my class and then I was dashing out the door with Patrick right behind me.  We found Christopher in the parking lot, just waiting for us to come after him.  I snatched him up and I gave him a few smacks on his butt.  I scolded him, as I carried him back into the building.  Then I planted him in a chair and told him not to move a muscle.

I was so angry, scared, frustrated, worried, relieved and exhausted from that little incident.  Luckily, I had seen him leave the building.  If he had left the building without me being aware of it, this story would have been a lot worse.  Because, once you leave the school building, the doors lock behind you.  You have to press a button to call for someone to let you in.  However, Christopher is not tall enough to reach the button.  Now, do you see why I was so upset.

The other teacher was gracious enough to let me leave early that day.  I got everyone home and as I was sitting at the kitchen table, I sent my friend (the Aftercare teacher I was filling in for) a text that said I would not be able to fill in for her anymore.  As I was typing it, tears ran down my face.  I cried because of what happened and what could have happened.  I was crying because I was having to let my friend down.  My friend has needed me in the past, because sometimes her life does not cooperate with her work schedule.  I hated to have to tell her that I couldn’t be her backup any more.  I was still angry, frustrated, and embarrassed that I could not control my own kids.

Needless to say, Frank heard all about it when he got home.  Christopher’s punishment was no ice cream and no tablet time for the night.  I know that some of you are saying, “I’d have beat his butt.”  He got another spanking before the night was through, however Marie and Christopher just laugh when you are spanking them. So that does not get the same response as no ice cream and no tablet will produce.  When I told Christopher ‘no ice cream’, he acted like I cut off his left arm.

When I took the kids to school this morning, I had a brilliant idea.  I made sure Christopher was the last one to be dropped off.  After I gave Christopher a hug and kiss goodbye, he went to join his classmates in the center room.  That is when I had a little talk with his teacher.  Their class has been discussing safety and learning what police officers and fire fighters do.  So I asked if she would address the importance of boundaries and how they are there for our own safety.

His teacher was really on board.  She said she would address the class about that, but also pull him aside and have a little chat with him.  She said they have already discussed that they are not to be leaving the building without a teacher.  So yes, I snitched on my son and I’m pretty proud of it.

It takes a village to raise a child.  We all have different roles in that village and we all have different ways that we influence that child.  My son knows that I love him unconditionally.  He is not afraid to push the envelope with me, because I am his mother and I am his safety net, so to speak.  He trusts me enough to push my patience farther than he would push his teacher, because he feels safe with me.

That fact is like a double-edged sword.  It’s great to know that I have his trust and that our relationship makes him feel like I will have his back, no matter what.  But it’s bad when I am trying to instill in him the importance of following rules that are there for his own safety.  I know that he did not realize all the bad things that could have happened to him that day.  He was just trying to get my attention and be funny.

So when things like this happen and I feel like my kids don’t fully understand what I am trying to teach them, that is when I ask for help from one of the villagers.  It’s not that they honor or obey their teachers more than their parents.  It’s the fact that another adult is conveying to them, in a different way, how wrong they were.  That message will hit home with them later, when they think back at what mom said before.  Then they will realize, ‘Oh crap, Mom just told the teacher on me.  I better straighten up.’

You can’t out-fox a fox…unfortunately, my child’s haven’t figured that out yet.


For Us?

My Christopher is still at that age where his innocence floors me sometimes.  I love him to death and I’m so very thankful he is my son.  He knows how to bring a smile to my face.  However, at the age of 4 he doesn’t do the best at sitting quietly during mass.  But today, he did pretty good.

Until we got to the point in the mass where we are preparing for the breaking of the bread.  During this time, Catholics will pray the following prayer:

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world: have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world: have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world: grant us peace.

Christopher must have been really paying attention to what we were saying today, because after he heard us recite the first verse of the prayer he looked at me and asked, “For Me?”  I smiled as I went on reciting the second verse of the prayer and in his little joyful voice I heard him tell his brother, “For us Patrick!”

Needless to say, our whole family was muffling giggles as we finished reciting the prayer, because of Christopher’s pure innocent joy of the news he just heard.  “Jesus took away the sins of the world, for us.”  Seeing that he had our attention, he continued to remind us through the rest of mass that all of this was ‘for us’.

Isn’t it amazing how God can work through the simplest acts of a child?  I don’t know how many times I have recited that prayer in my Catholic life.  I know there are times I can say it without thinking about each word.  Then there are times that I have to really focus on what I’m saying to remember what verse comes next.  I have the convenience to use a cheat sheet that they have in the pews, but I prefer not to use it.  I would rather make myself recite it from memory.

However, until today, I don’t know if this prayer has had as much meaning to me.  Not until my 4-year-old son repeated the most important part about mass and what Jesus did millions of years ago.  He did it all ‘for us’.  He took away the sin of the world, FOR US.  He died on the cross, FOR US.  He will come again, FOR US.  It might sound a bit too simplified for some, but if you look at it through a 4-year-olds eyes it makes perfect sense.

It’s like the bible song that we learn as a little child:

“Jesus loves me, this I know, For the Bible, tells me so.”

As a child, we learn this song and we believe this song is true.  Or, at least I did.  I don’t ever remember questioning the meaning or the validity of the song.  I sang it loud and proud, like I believed it.  Because Jesus loved me.  When did I grow up and stop having the same convictions I had as an innocent child?  I don’t know when it happened, but it saddens me.  However, thanks to the sweet innocence of my son, I was reminded today why we go to mass.  We go to mass to praise and worship God’s name.  To give him thanks for all the things he has done ‘FOR US’.  Thank you Christopher, for pointing that out to us today.  And thank you God, for sending that little boy into my life.

The Substitute Call

I had the pleasure/torment to be the Pre-K substitute teacher at my children’s school yesterday.  I say it was a pleasure, because I love the interaction with the children.  However, I felt a little tormented because one of the Preschool children is my son.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t love my son or want to be around him.  It’s just hard for my 4-year-old to see me as a substitute teacher, because I am his mom.  So when I am trying to get the kids down for a nap, who do you think gave me the biggest trouble?  Yep, my son.

When we were reading books, who do you think had to sit on my lap?  Yep, my son.  I love that he loves me that much, but it is hard to be a substitute teacher to a class of a dozen or so children who range from 3-years-old to 5-years-old and have your son want to follow you everywhere.  Thankfully, Pre-K has two teachers, so I had an extra teacher there to help me out.

When I say “help me out”, I mean I had another teacher there to step in and instruct my son if he wasn’t listening to me.  Or even detain my son when I had to take another child to the office for a band-aid.  It’s even more helpful that the other teacher just happens to be my son’s Godmother.

So you can imagine the additional challenges this recent work assignment had.  Not that I haven’t helped out in his class before, I have a few times this year.  It’s just comical how I can get one of his classmates to go back on their mat for nap before I counted to five, yet my son would still be dragging his feet by the time I counted to fifty.  That is because the other child doesn’t know how far they can push me, yet my child knows he has tried pushing me to the limits before and I haven’t snapped yet.

It was a good day, all in all, although a little more intense than other substituting jobs.  However, it was later that day that I got a real treat.  I was putting wet laundry into the drier while Christopher was snacking at the kitchen table.  This was the conversation we were having:

Christopher asks, “Where are we going tomorrow?”

I replied, “You go back to Preschool tomorrow.”

Christopher asked, “Where are you going tomorrow?  To Preschool?”

I tell him, “I don’t know.  If they need me to be a sub again, then yes.  But they have to call me first.”

“I want you to be my teacher again.”  he says.

I explain patiently, “I will, if they call me to.  Otherwise, you will have your other teacher back tomorrow.”

“But I want you to go to Preschool with me.”, he says.

“And I will IF they call me.”, I reply back.

Then I hear his little 4-year-old voice call in a sing-song way, “JoAnn, I want you to be my Preschool teacher tomorrow.”

At that moment, I stopped what I was doing, glanced over to my son and started to bust out laughing.  The fact that he called me JoAnn, instead of Mom was the funniest part.  I didn’t know he even knew I had a first name.

Marie walked in about that time and wanted to know what I was laughing about.  As I explained to her the recent conversation I just had with Christopher, I could see my son sitting there at the table, looking very pleased with himself.  He had this grin on his face that showed pure satisfaction for the good job he had just done.  I just love that little man to death.

I would be more than willing to substitute for his class again.  But that is something that is in the school’s hands, not mine.  Besides, if I am his substitute teacher again, then he will most likely have a second day in a row without a nap.  Yep, you guessed it, my son was one of the kids that would not take a nap.  I don’t know why he wouldn’t.  I was more than ready to take a nap that day.  🙂

My Baby Boy

It occurred to me that you have heard some things about my older kids, but you haven’t heard much about my baby boy, Christopher.  He will be turning 4 years old soon, so in honor of his birthday I will give you a glimpse of this little man’s life.  I have to say that ever since he was born, he has been a patient little boy.  As an infant, he would sit contentedly in a baby carrier or a stroller at various events that his siblings were attending.  He never got fussy, he would just sit back and chill.  I would often tell my older kids that they owe their little brother big time for all the things he had to sit through as a baby.

He is still a patient toddler, but he is starting to make his siblings pay for some of the things they have done to him.  He has learned that if he takes something from his big sister Ann, he needs to get it and go.  It’s the funniest thing.  You can’t help but laugh when you see my little boy booking it out of the living room with his big sister chasing him and yelling, “Give it back!”  My son may be short, but if he is running away with some contraband, he is like an Olympic runner.

He’s an animal lover too.  We have a dog named Bo-Bo that has become Christopher’s best friend for a number of reasons.  First, because Christopher is only allowed to play in the backyard and the backyard happens to be Bo-Bo’s home.  Bo-Bo is a mixed lab that we got for our daughter Marie when she was around one year old.  Christopher is not very tall, so our dog looks like a horse next to him, but he is not afraid of Bo-Bo.  I think that is because Bo-Bo knows who butters the bread.  Literally, the dog gets a variety of food from Christopher.  He will take a snack outside and a few seconds later Christopher will be back, empty-handed.  Because Bo-Bo is eating the item that had just left the house.  Gotta love a boy and his dog.

Christopher has a number of unique characteristics.  As an infant, his cry sounded like a little lamb.  One late night, when I was very sleep deprived, I nicknamed him “Chris the Lamb”.  I was so delirious that I had created quite a story of my son’s future that night.  Something along the lines of him being a big mafia boss in Dallas, that would be known for his lamb laugh.  Yes, I was very, very tired that night and no one else was around to talk to.  However, Chris the Lamb has outgrown the lamb cry, so I guess his future as a mafia boss is over.

Another trait that he has had since infancy is his unique sleeping pattern.  He has been my only child that can put himself to sleep.  As a baby, he would rock back and forth on his hands and knees with a little sing-song chant.  He would rock so hard sometimes, that his crib would squeak.  Then in the middle of his rocking, he would bang his head on the mattress a few times and then fall asleep.  Now that he is older, he doesn’t rock anymore, but he will smack his foot against the bed for a while.  Then, before he falls asleep, he bangs his head a few times on the mattress.  I had to make sure to tell his sitters his ritual so they wouldn’t get worried when he did it.  The first time my in-laws saw this, they said that my husband use to do the same thing.  I guess you could say Christopher is Frank’s mini-me in more ways than one.  (Just a side note, Frank outgrew the head banging, so I do believe Christopher will too.)  🙂

Christopher’s most recent interest is cowboy movies.  One night, I was up late blogging and Christopher woke up and came to join me in the living room.  There was an old cowboy movie on the TV and he sat there and watched it, commenting on the horses and cows.  After that night, he continues to ask to watch horses on TV.  One night I was desperate and found an old John Wayne movie on the TV.  It was El Diablo and I thought for sure he would be asleep not too long into the movie, but that little man watched most of the movie before passing out.  My husband Frank is not a John Wayne fan, so he tried to get Christopher to watch The Lone Ranger with him one day.  That is when we discovered that Christopher had a new word in his vocabulary.  What’s the new word?  Naked!

Picture this, I’m washing the dishes in the kitchen and Frank is trying to keep Christopher occupied by putting on The Lone Ranger on the laptop.  Christopher was pretty interested, however, he gave me a little shock when he came into the kitchen to tell me there were naked girls on the show.  I yell to my husband, “What do you have Christopher watching that has naked girls in it?”  Frank replies, “He’s watching The Lone Ranger, there isn’t any naked girls.”  That’s when Christopher tells me, “Come on, come on.” and gestures for me to follow him.

He brings me to the laptop and points to an Indian boy who has long braids and no shirt on.  “See, naked girl.”  I laughed so hard, then I showed Frank the naked girl on the show.  That misunderstanding was comical, however, our recent encounter with the word was not as comical.  We were at mass today and Christopher was extra chatty for some reason.  As I’m trying to quiet him down, he points to the crucifix at the front of the church and tells me, “Look, Jesus is naked.”  Nice huh?  What did I do?  I told him quietly to stop talking or there would be no playing on the tablet after mass.  Thankfully, mass was almost over so we all survived the ordeal.  Of course, that doesn’t mean he won’t mention this little fact to his preschool teacher some time soon.  Won’t that be fun, considering he attends the same Catholic school that my older kids do.

I have to say that he is a pretty laid back boy who knows how to make us laugh.  We’ve only had him in our life for four years, but boy, what a great four years it has been!  So Happy Birthday to my little Olympic running, head banging, animal loving, outspoken boy.  Maybe this interest of cowboy movies really goes back to your earlier years of being a future Dallas mafia boss.  Who knows, but whatever you end up being, I’ll always love you.