Friday, January 28, 2011

Social Butterflies

Yesterday Kulani took a call from Lissy’s teacher telling him that Lissy was talking too much in class.

We were a little surprised by the call. Talking in school is something kids do, isn’t it? Sticking tacks on the teacher’s chair, fooling around in the bathroom with lighted firecrackers, bringing exotic pets to school: these are unusual. Talking too much in school with your classmates? That’s the American way, or maybe you haven’t heard about a little program called Facebook?

Of course, we outwardly backed the teacher and when Lissy got home, we told her to mind her teacher and to not do it again or there’d be consequences. Luckily, Lissy was already shook up enough over it. She was crying, and we could tell she felt bad—whether she was crying solely because she was getting scolded or whether she was crying out of sincere sorrow for disrupting the class didn’t matter to us. We just wanted her to not want to do it again. Another of our children, Nono, would probably be like, “Yeah, so what? I was talking. Deal with it.”

Kulani and I were both social butterflies growing up. For me, it was an extension of being the middle child of a large family. There was always someone to talk to at home or at school.

I used to tell my best friend Keri, who was the last one in her family, and whose next older sibling was five years older than her, that it must be so great to be her. When she came home from school, she didn’t have to deal with noise and chaos and craziness.

But then I was able to experience her life for a short weekend when my parents left for a trip with all my younger siblings when I was a senior in high school. (No, I did not recreate the scene from 16 Candles, mostly because I didn’t think of it at the time, and I wasn’t sure anyone would come to my impromptu party, sniff.) I was alone in the house. It was approximately 15 minutes before I was calling Keri and asking if she’d like to come over and hang out.

“I thought you said it would be cool to have the whole house to yourself,” she asked when I called her up.

“Oh, yeah, but you know, I just thought it would be fun to hang out.” She totally saw right through me. She was right. I couldn’t even stand being by myself for 15 minutes. Looking back, I think that was honestly the first time in my life, at age 17, that I’d been completely by myself for longer than an hour.

It’s true you can’t go back, and that’s a really good thing. If I had to do elementary school all over again as the person I am now, a teacher’s stern warning wouldn’t get me to stop talking to my classmates.

Call my parents? You call my parents, teacher. I’m finishing this riveting discussion with Mary Beth about what she saw on the playground during recess.

And that is why Facebook is like crack-cocaine to a person like me. Looks like Lissy might struggle with it too when she gets older. I hope she friends me and we can talk about it.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Parenting Missed Opportunity

It’s no secret around here that I get cranky at night. But don’t bring that to my attention while I’m cranky, unless you like being barked at.

“I don’t need to go to bed. I’m FINE. It’s this family that is making ME cranky!”

Placing the blame on everyone but me—a fault that manifests itself brightly at night.

Last night for Family Home Evening, we read some of the Sermon on the Mount. Now, I’m no Bible scholar, but if you were to look for the best scriptural passages to sum up why you believe in Christ, and what passages you’d most want to teach your children, the Sermon on the Mount would be very high up there, if not the Mount Everest of scripture verses.

And so we began each reading three verses. Kulani and I took turns trying to explain to the girls what each verse meant.

“A mote is a very small piece of wood, like a splinter. A beam is a huge board. You need to work on your own problems before you can help others with their problems,” Kulani told the girls.

“Do we feed Jesse our finest dinners? No. So we don’t need to share things that are important to us with people who won’t appreciate it or who are just going to make fun of us,” is how I tried to explain the “pearls before swine” concept.

Afterwards I gave the girls a quick quiz. They didn’t get one question right, so either we didn’t do that great of a job explaining, or they weren’t really paying attention.

Then we had cookies, and it was time for bed.

Before Lilia goes to bed, she asks me, “Will you come read scriptures with me?”

Stop right there. What parent wouldn’t love to hear their child show an interest in learning the scriptures?

Yeah…….. but here’s what I did.

“We just read scriptures. Why do you want to read some more?”

“Well, I’m supposed to read eight verses on my own,” Lilia said.

“Fine. If you have to do it by the book, then read them yourself in bed. It’s late. I need to get up early in the morning.”

Reading what I said in the full light of day…well, all I have to say is, “Oh, heck.”

I watch Lilia walk to her room dejected. I tell Kulani, “Why does she have to be such a pharisee about these things? She can read the scriptures just fine on her own. Why does she need me?”

In the middle of the night, I awake realizing what I’d done. I hear Kulani rolling over and I say to him, “I think Lilia wanted me to read with her, so she could better understand what she’s reading.”

“I know. She came to me a little later and told me she needed help understanding the scriptures. I told her I would read with her.” Kulani answers me.

Gulp. Don’t stand too close to me. You might get wacked by the beam sticking out of my eye.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Study: Sisters AREN'T Blisters

Check it out, yo: According to a new BYU study, we'd be worse off without sisters. We'd be worse off without our brothers, too, but we'd be even worse off without our sisters.

I had four fantastic sisters. From time to time I would borrow their clothes, and from time to time I would get stains on their clothes, and from time to time they would get upset with me, and from time to time I acted as though I didn't care. I wasn't always the best sister.

But now my girls have each other to lean on, borrow clothes, laugh over incredibly silly jokes, cry over lost loves, support one another, and generally be better off having one another.
To sisters!

Sisters before their dance recital.

Sisters in their new pajamas on Christmas Eve.

Sisters climbing Grandma and Grandpa's tree in Blanding.

Sisters with our mom on a bench last summer in Lafayette, Indiana.