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Archive for the ‘Conversations with CC’ Category

Yesterday we had an early celebration for CC’s birthday. My not so little boy will turn 6 tomorrow. For weeks I’ve been hemming and hawing about whether to throw him a birthday party this year, not because he had asked for one, but because for some crazy reason I thought I’d be less of a mother if I didn’t. It seemed like ALL his little friends got birthday parties and I didn’t want him to feel left out. In all honesty though, we are not birthday party people in this house. Things like that tend to get me stressed because I feel like I have to get everything perfect and pinterest-worthy. Kind of like when I tried to bake the fire engine cake when he turned 3…I don’t need to remind you all how that turned out.

So Larry finally put an end to my hemming and hawing and put his foot down and said we would just celebrate CC’s birthday as a family. I complained for all of 5 minutes but was inwardly relieved. I told CC we would go out for dinner for his birthday and he can pick the restaurant. Just as I predicted, he picked Homeroom, a very hipster joint in Oakland touted to have the best Mac and Cheese this side of the bay. So yesterday afternoon, before heading out to Homeroom, we let CC open his one present from us (more on that later) and Face Timed briefly with his grandparents. The place was super crowded, even at 5:45, but we scored a table outside relatively quickly. We ordered two kinds of Mac and Cheese, a side of buttery minty peas and a Limeade for me, and watched my soon to be 6 year old son chow down more calories than he probably ordinarily gets in a week. He was happy as a clam, and I was too, knowing I didn’t have to frost any cakes or fill any goodie bags.

After dinner, the boys of course asked for dessert. Larry, thinking ahead, had printed out a coupon for a free birthday scoop from Ben & Jerry’s for CC. We asked CC in the car what he wanted for dessert and he said ice cream from Ben & Jerry’s. Score! Isn’t it great when what your kids ask for is actually the same as what you plan? So we made a stop at B&J and even though we were planning to get Turner his own scoop, CC very graciously said he would share his cone with his little brother. So we walked out with free ice cream and two very happy boys.

When we got home, CC had about half an hour to play with his birthday present before he had to get ready for bed. For his birthday, we got him a box of 125 Zoob building pieces. Recently he’s really been into Legos and can spend hours by himself just building things. So we wanted to get him something similar – open ended creative building toys. The Zoobs are pretty cool, basically ball and socket type pieces you can fit into different configurations. It also comes with guides with instructions of different things you can build. CC got into it right away, and for half an hour we all joined him in building things. Definitely quality family bonding time.

We got the boys ready for bed and CC thanked the Lord for his new present. I thanked the Lord for giving us such a simple yet wonderful day. My son will only turn six once. I’m glad I didn’t miss it because I was too busy planning a party he never asked for. When he looks back on his 6th birthday, I hope he’ll remember that we had mac and cheese and ice cream and that his mommy and daddy sat down and built Zoob robots and animals with him. I know that’s what I’ll remember. 🙂

Happy birthday CC!

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Happy December everyone! I can’t believe there is only one more month left to 2014. Crazy how the years fly by the older the kids get. When they were babies it seemed like those long days of nursing and cradling would never end and I would faithfully track their progress month by month. Now in the midst of packing school lunches, swim classes, and our busy family and church life, there never seems to be enough hours in the day. The months go by too fast for me to remember how many months Turner is, so I’ll just keep telling people he’s 2 years old until he turns 3.

Parenting in some sense has become significantly easier now that I’m not so sleep deprived. But the older the kids get, the more I feel like I’m entering uncharted territory. It has gone beyond simply caring for their physical well being and growth to caring for the people they are becoming. Now I feel like there’s so much more to worry about. When they’re little, the dangers are more obvious, like making sure they don’t put dirty things in their mouths or play with sharp objects. But now that CC is older and going to school, I worry that the dangers are more subtle. I worry that I might not be able to see or protect him from all the germs that are getting into his mind just by growing up in this corrupt world we live in.

A friend of mine once told me her reasons for homeschooling her young children – she knew she couldn’t shield her children from all the immoral germs of the world, but she wanted them to spend their formative years with her so that she could at least make sure they build up a healthy immune system. While we don’t feel to homeschool CC at this time (although that could change), I wholeheartedly agree with her about the need to help our children build up a strong and healthy spiritual immune system. I recently attended a parenting workshop and I was so helped to be reminded again that raising our children is a stewardship entrusted to us by God. It’s not just about clothing them and feeding them, but even more about caring for their spiritual welfare. As parents we will all be accountable to the Lord for how we handled our stewardship. On the one hand, how they turn out is up to the Lord’s mercy, but on the other hand, we have the responsibility to “train up a child in the way he should go” (Prov. 22:6).

The practical point I took away from the workshop was simply that I need to spend more quality time with my children. More time talking to them, more time listening to them, more time praying with them, and more time modeling to them what it means to love God and fear God. I had the stark realization last week that CC must hear and take in so much at school, but I don’t spend the adequate time with him to help him process and even filter out everything that’s getting into him. Besides the perfunctory, “How was school today?” to which the reply is usually, “Good,” I don’t really know what happened in his day. Now I’ve been trying to practice sitting down and having more meaningful conversations with my son, REALLY listening to him, and I’ve been surprised by how much I don’t know about him. I’ve learned that sometimes his classmates make fun of him for being little and that makes him sad, and I’ve learned that his favorite activity in choice time is computers (that didn’t really surprise me). I’ve also restarted the practice of praying with him before bed, and that sweet time has also been a window into his little heart. One night he wanted to pray that his friend would like his birthday presents, and another night he wanted to pray that the new substitute teacher would know the right songs to sing. I want him to always feel free to tell not just me, but God also, all these things on his heart, no matter how trivial they may seem to others.

So instead of wasting time worrying, I’m going to use that time to pray and to get to know my children. The influence of the world might be strong, but the God who lives in me and hopefully will one day live in them is stronger. As long as we lead our children to know this one, I think they’ll turn out just fine.

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This morning as I was taking CC and his friend Emma to school, I overheard the cutest conversation between them. It had me smiling all day. It went something like this:

(They were playing some game about who’s the biggest)

CC: God’s the biggest, so He wins.
E: Who’s God?
CC: God’s invisible.
E: What’s invisible?
CC: Invisible means you can’t see Him. Right, mommy?
Me: That’s right.
CC: God created the world. That’s why we’re in His heart.
E: Oh, I like His heart!
CC: I like my monkey!

The conversation then turned to another topic, I forget what. But this little conversation I was privileged to overhear reminded me of something I was impressed with after attending a conference last month on the subject of raising our next generation for the church life, which is that we should have the view that our children can be seeds of the gospel. That doesn’t mean that I expect my 4 year old to go around preaching the gospel and leading his friends to salvation (especially since he himself isn’t even saved yet), but it does mean that he’s not too young to tell his friends about what he knows about God, that He created the world and that we are in His heart. If our children have this habit of speaking and caring for their friends at a young age, surely they will become ones who have no shame in sharing the gospel once they do become regenerated. I was also touched to have my heart broadened; not just to care that my own children would know God, but that their friends would also come to know God as their Creator and eventually their Savior. So many times as Christian parents, we’re concerned that the world will have a negative influence on our children, which is a very valid concern. But I’m encouraged to take an offensive stance instead of a defensive one; that my view in raising my boys would be not only that they would be preserved, but that they could have a positive influence on those around them. I already feel like CC has a positive influence on me. I hope I’ll be as ready and unashamed when the opportunity arises for me to tell someone about the God I know. And hopefully I’ll have a little more to say than that He’s invisible and that we’re in His heart.

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I’m happy to report that our little super hero is feeling much better this morning. After some children’s Tylenol and going to bed early last night, he bounded out of his room at 5am this morning full of energy and ready to start the day. Fortunately, a bowl of cereal and our stubborn refusal to get out of bed convinced him to go back to sleep for a couple more hours.

I had an interesting conversation with him over his second breakfast of French Toast and I wanted to write it down while it’s still fresh in my mind so I wouldn’t forget later.

CC: I vote for Turner to stay alive!
Me: Uh…I vote for that too.
CC: I vote for us to stay alive to bring God back!
Me: Hm…amen.
CC: Why are there so many names for God?
Me: Like what?
CC: Like God, Jesus, Jesus Christ, the Lord…
Me: Well, “Lord” is His title and “Jesus” is His name. Just like Teacher Susan. Susan is her name and Teacher is her title.
CC: And Teacher Marcia and Teacher Zoe and Teacher Mathilda.
Me: Yes, Teacher is their title.
CC: Teacher Mathilda is the fat one.
Me: It’s not nice to call people fat.
CC: But she’s fat.
Me: But it’s not nice to call people fat, it might hurt their feelings.
CC: Oh. So God has many titles in the Bible?
Me: Yes, Lord is one of them. Lord means like…King.
CC: The Bible also tells us God loves us.
Me: You’re right it does.

It still surprises me when CC brings up things about God and I’m amazed that he’s already thinking about these things. It’s a real exercise for me answer him in a way that he can understand but yet not oversimplifying the truth. I really enjoy having these conversations with my son because his questions always force me to look at things through the eyes of a child. They often see things that we take for granted. So I’m glad to be reminded today by a 4 year old that the Bible indeed does tell us that God loves us. And yes, we should vote for us to stay alive to bring Him back.

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The prompt for this week is…

Hero

GO

He says he wants to be Superman when he grows up. He wears his brown Curious George hoodie jacket as a super cape and has got all his friends at preschool doing the same thing. Once he complained to me while in the car about not having super heat vision. He really wishes he could fly.

My little hero is not feeling so super today. He woke up complaining that little pokey things were doing ring around the rosy in his head. Maybe it’s because he lost his super hero jacket on the school playground the other day. There’s no flying off the couch or saving the world today. Just a little sick four year old who needs his mommy to lie down next to him.

As I stroke his achy head and look into that face that’s not quite baby and not quite grown up, I want to tell him that he will always be a super hero to me. I want to tell him how much I admire the person he’s becoming. I want to tell him that he’s brave and courageous and strong and that he doesn’t need a super cape or super heat vision to prove it. There’s so much in my heart I want to tell him, but instead I kiss him on the forehead and tiptoe out of the room. Even super heroes need good naps.

STOP

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I wish I could tape record everything CC says. I just want to be able to remember the conversations we have because they give me a window into that little head of his. The mind of a child really is an amazing thing. I wonder if we were all born with big imaginations but somehow it got lost in the course of growing up. Sometimes I wonder if CC knows the difference yet between the “real” world and the world he invents in his head. Recently he’s been telling me stories about his big brother Benjamin who lives in NYC. He tells them so matter-of-factly, always beginning them by saying, “My brother and me…” To which I usually respond, “You mean you and Turner?” And he’ll say adamantly, “No! My OLDER brother.” Benjamin sounds like a pretty cool guy, he lives in a sky scraper and has things like teleporters and miniaturizers in his apartment. Who wouldn’t want an older brother like that?

Anyway, here are some other random conversations we had just from today that I can remember.

CC: Mama, why do policemen carry sticks?
Me: Um…maybe they need it to protect themselves.
CC: Maybe they need it to hit bad men.
Me: Hmm…maybe.
CC: Or maybe they need it on their birthdays to hit pinatas!
Me: Yeah…

CC: Do you know what’s the most important part of God?
Me: What?
CC: Man
Me: Oh. (Thinking to myself: wow, this kid is deep.)

Before going to the bathroom –
Me: Do you need me to help you take off your belt?
CC: Yeah, but don’t put it back on the girl way.

At dinner tonight –
CC: Mama, can you give me a machine?
Me: What kind of machine?
CC: Something that attaches to something.
Me: ??? I don’t know what you mean.
CC: (getting frustrated) You do know! Something that attaches to something then springs up and then…(I can’t remember the rest).
Me: Maybe you can draw a picture of it for me.
CC: Okay.

What a funny little guy he is. I hope he’ll be this fun to talk to even when he gets older.

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The prompt for this week is…

In Between

GO

He insists on dressing himself these days and he’s discovered the boxes of clothes that are too big for him underneath his bed that I’ve been storing away for later. I try to tell him that they don’t fit and that he looks silly running around like a little gangster with pants that don’t stay up and shirts that look two sizes too big…but he won’t listen. Maybe he’s started looking at the tags and realized that I was still dressing him in 2T clothes even though he’s almost 4. He’s not my baby anymore and he wants so badly to be one of the big boys. Sometimes I think he’s a three and a half year old going on seven, trapped in a two year old’s body. Maybe all the food he’s consuming is going only to his brain. This in between stage is hard on little boys.

This morning I lost it again with him. I had repeatedly told him not to run around with two grapes in his cheeks but he ignored all my warnings that it would make him throw up. So of course that’s exactly what happened, all the breakfast that we had painstakingly made him eat this morning ended up (luckily) in a bowl and not on the floor. I got mad and made sure he knew it. Instead of reacting to my anger with his own like he usually does, he obediently finished the rest of his cereal and went to play quietly by himself on the couch while I seethed in my room. I laid down on my bed and called on the Lord and realized that my son quietly playing in the living room was the mature one, not me. I came out of the room, cupped the little face in my hands, looked him in the eyes and said, “Mama is sorry she got mad, but sometimes she really needs you to listen.” He stared back into my eyes and said, “I’m sorry I got mad too and sometimes I need you to listen.” He doesn’t realize that I am listening and that what I hear makes me wish he was my baby again, that he wasn’t growing up so darn fast. This in between stage is hard on mamas too.

STOP

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