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I'm a mother of 3 who started blogging as a way to share our many adventures and to expand beyond the everyday "mommy world". While there IS so much more to us mommies than the title, there is very little that doesn't in some way or another lead us back to or influence our children...if anything. So, I hope you enjoy following our family's randomness, because as all moms know- you can never anticipate what tomorrow will bring! Thanks for visiting and have a blessed day! :)

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Special Occasions: A Laundry Lesson

My 7 year old.  Bless him.  For some reason, my darling youngest son decided that his "Fun with Money" class today was going to be far from fun.  So, he thought he could just decide not to go.  Yeeeeaaah, I don't think so. 

I say it's time to go.  He remains seated.  Not budging.  Plenty of fussing happening, but no walking.  Little does he know that momma's not playing games.  I've told him before that I don't count.  You know, some parents will say, "If you don' the time I count to..."  Nuh-uh.  Not this momma.  I'm still guilty of repeating myself sometimes (I'm a work in progress) but I refuse to count.  He should also know by now that I know which buttons to push to get his attention.  In an unusually calm voice I say, "Ok.  No media for the rest of the day."  Now he's wailing and causing a scene.  "Oh, I see.  You'd rather have no media for two days."  "No, no, no!  Mommy, I'm sorry.  I'm sorry!  Do you still love me?"  I reassure him and wonder if this is a sincere question or if he's just trying to make me feel guilty...or hoping this question will relieve him of his consequence.

He behaves during class and genuinely has fun.  They made menus for "Tuesday's Diner" in preparation for their mock-dining experience next week.  What better way to learn how to use money than by actually using it, right?  Afterwards he comes up to me and says, "Mommy, I don't like 'Fun with Money'...I love it!"  I'm happy to hear this and mentally pat myself on the back.  I knew he'd like the class if he just gave it a chance.  Then he says, "So, does this mean I can have media back now?"  Um, no.  He's beginning to get upset again and asks, "You mean, this is not a special occasion?!"

Now I understand what just happened.  A few weeks ago he (and his brother and sister) lost media privileges for the day for reasons I can't remember.  After singing so beautifully along with his brother and sister later that evening, his daddy and I decided to extend grace and lift his media ban as a special treat.  We do NOT normally go back on consequences, mind you.  We were very intentional about making sure they all understood that we were giving them grace.  They did not earn their media back.  They did not deserve their media back.  This was just a special treat...a special occasion.

I regret that decision now.  Where I had hoped to provide a tangible lesson of what an extraordinary gift grace is and how it is not something that is earned but given, that message surely did not compute.  Instead, we left our dear son with the exact opposite impression that he could do something to make it a special occasion and thus earn back his privileges.  Even after the 'Fun with Money' incident, I didn't fully realize what an epic fail this lesson was until later this afternoon.

I'm usually worn out after Tuesday school.  It is great fun while we're there but by the end I'm spent and ready to be home, where I can just relax and spend a couple hours with the family before my husband heads back to work.  As soon as we walked through the door, I gave the kids a snack and told them when they finished to do something productive (aka chores, easy peasy, reading) or they could even lay down and rest or nap, if they wished.  Josiah then tells me he wants to do the laundry.  I tell him that will have to wait until I can help him.  He says he wants to do it himself and that he knows how.  I say that may very well be true but I still want to help him and that will have to wait because I'm spending time with Daddy right now before he has to go to work.  Justin and I watch Sleepy Hollow together to unwind (great show, by the way!) and I think everything is settled.

Of course, you know what happened, right?  Did he listen?  I guess I should have suspected something the second time he came and asked me about laundry during the show.  When I walked in the living room later there was a pile of wet laundry waiting on the couch to greet me.  This is a surprise to me because I was fairly certain that the load I had in the dryer was dry.  We ask Josiah about it and he admits to trying to do laundry by himself but now says the washer isn't working and he doesn't know what to do.  That's when Justin notices the pants Josiah is wearing.  They are so wet from his waist all the way to his ankles that he looks as though he fell into the washing machine.  Justin and I both have to suppress a laugh.  (I'm telling you these kids' cuteness factors are their greatest survival tactic.)

I follow Josiah to the laundry room to survey the damage and hopefully fix whatever mess awaits me there.  The washing machine appears to have finished its cycle but alas the basin is FULL of water.  I see a couple of garments in there and what looks like at least 100 shavings of Fels-Naptha soap floating in the foggy water, which I can only assume is cloudy from large quantities of baking soda and borax.  Across the way, the dryer door hangs open with dripping...and I mean DRIPPING wet clothes.  They are so wet, in fact, that they are sitting in a puddle of water that's several inches the dryer.

Thankfully, no real damage was done that a spin cycle and a towel or two couldn't fix...except maybe for a delicate sweater that didn't exactly get the TLC of a handwashing cycle.  Nonetheless, we didn't have to call maintenance to fix the appliances so I consider that a win.   

Why did he do this?  Because he thought he could earn his media back.  Did it work?  Nope.  I told him how much I appreciated that he wanted to help even though I didn't approve of his motive.  We shouldn't help because we think we're going to get something out of it.  We help because it's the loving thing to do.  We help even when we know we won't get anything in return.  Unfortunately, he would have another consequence.  Not because his motive wasn't pure, not because he didn't wash laundry correctly, no.  The consequence was for disobeying me.  I told him to wait for me.  He didn't listen.

Aren't we like that sometimes?  Impatient?  Unwilling to wait for God's timing?  We think we can do it ourselves but then all we accomplish is fouling it all up, making the work 10 times or more than what was necessary if we'd only been a little more patient.  Patience is a hard lesson sometimes.  Listening and trusting can be equally hard.  My prayer is that my children will learn these lessons earlier than I did and really take them to heart.  I'm still learning them.  In the meantime, we're banning special occasions for a while.  And I'm stocking up on laundry soap (and Josiah will learn how fun it is to purchase it!).  ;)

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