Thursday, April 21, 2011

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Jonny and Dennis can be two peas in a pod during the day. Often Jonny reads to his little brother... which is too precious for words.

But kids are not cute little angels all of the time.


Jonny and Dennis were goofing around. Jonny, the big brother was leading it up. The end result-- a new haircut for Dennis. Later, Dennis had to sit in the corner for opening up a can of soda without permission and cutting up playing cards with the same scissors that cut his hair. Monkey see, monkey do.


After a visit with Grandma and Grandpa, cards have become the hottest toy in our house.

Even Dennis and Alex like to pretend play poker.


Annalyn built this house of cards...


and now everyone is doing it. Monkey see, monkey do.


I have not posted much about Alex because I am embarrassed.. ashamed... not in the mood to hear-- "I told you so." To say that he challenges me to the ends of the earth would be an understatement. Many days I feel like he brings out the worst in me and I resent it when I let him set my tone for the day. Thankfully, the school sees it too because if they didn't I am sure that would add a whole new dimension to my frustration. At this point, I know that I need to love him more, cuddle with him more... and intentionally engage in his life way more than I do. It is just hard to do when a child screams in your face, gags and vomits if he is not in the mood to eat, hits and more recently bites, and pushes the limits to see what he can get away with. His smile can charm the pants off a stranger, but often it feels like salt in my wound.


I know... I know... I know that this has way more to do with me than it has to do with him. What better way to teach patience than to be paired with a child who demands it to the very core? If I can look past the behaviors and see the little boy that stole my heart the first time I laid eyes on him, I will have learned what it means to truly love. Because right now, I am having a hard time. I want to get past the love out of duty and back into the love from desire.



Lord, help me to set my own selfish feelings aside... my pride.. and my desire for the easy life. Help me to see Alex's joy, his honest attempts to do what is right, and may I let my guard down enough to experience the joy of loving him for who he is.

I share this with you because our life is not all about smiles all of the time. If you have someone in your life that is hard to love... I am here to say that it is okay that it is hard. I have recently realized that. Though I am embarrassed and ashamed to admit that it is hard for me to love every single person the same no matter what-- I just can't use it as an excuse to stop trying. Because I can't. I am called to love. We are called to love.


Recently the house has turned into a crocheting/knitting parlor. Boom-- overnight-- and all the girls are doing it. Monkey see, monkey do. Anastasia could not get the hang of knitting so I encouraged Julia to teach her how to crochet. Anastasia picked that right up and is now on her way to crocheting a whole scarf.


The girls love to listen to music while they are busy with their yarn. Sveta is taking a break while listening to one of her favorite songs. Julia crocheted this hat today and is nearly finished with another one. If you ask me, it looks like the girls are preparing for another fundraiser or something.



Paul and Jonny were begging Julia to teach them how to crochet. Since it was past their bedtime, I told them it would have to wait until tomorrow.

28 comments:

  1. Thank you for your honesty in the smiles and trials. This post was just what I needed to read. Thank you.

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  2. Praising God for your words tonight - it was just what I needed to hear. We too have a trying child, and I so need more patience with him. Praying for you!

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  3. Thank you for sharing your struggle to love a child who is still learning that love is a good thing. God has paired us with a child that takes every ounce of our patience and it is very hard to open my heart and love again, and again. But God. Just as He will see you through, Iknow He will see us through. Thank you for being vulnerable enough to share. I know that people will be cruel to you for sharing, but I just want you to know that it is such a blessing when you are real because then I am not alone in my feelings. You are such a blessing and an encouragement, my friend. :)

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  4. Oh Christine I soooo understand! Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing your heart. Having a difficult child has taught me so much about myself (some good some not so good!)and about God. Loving the unlovable is a good thought but living it out day in and day is incredibly hard but oh so worth it!! With God we can do ALL things that is what helps me face my days and I am determined to love my son as closely as I can as to how God loves me. Not there yet but am trying....
    Much love!
    Lisa

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  5. I love catching up with your family!

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  6. How do the other children feel about Alex and his behavior? How do your children feel about living in a large family?

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  7. have the girls try loom knitting. It is so much easier. I use the knifty knitter.

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  8. hugs right back at you, sounds like you need them too.

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  9. Hi Christine,

    It sounds like Alex is a huge challenge. On the eating thing, does Alex have Chiari malformation? Lots of kids with spina bifida do and one of the things it causes is gagging and vomiting, sometimes related to the texture of the food or to how much pressure seems to be on the brain that is protruding into the spinal column. That part might not be behavioural. The tenser he is, the worse it probably gets.

    His other stuff sounds like the attachment issues that you are so good at working on. Hang in, hold firm, and know that there's a whole world of people out here pulling for you.

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  10. I have a kid who will vomit if he doesn't want to eat, as well, and my sister did it, too. NOT FUN! I have absolutely no advice, just reassurance that other people have been there.

    Jonny didn't do such a bad job on the haircut . . . most kids take it off at the root. :)

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  11. Thank you so much for sharing your feelings about Alex. I too have a child that is hard to love. I think all the time that I must be a bad mother because I just can't seem to love my son the way he needs and most of the time I am just counting the hours until he goes to bed each night. I want our relationship to be better but it only seems to be getting worse. I think part of the issue is that I home school my kids so we are together ALL THE TIME! I love that but also find it overwhelming at times because for the past 15 years I have always had at least one child with me at all times. I never have any down time for myself. To be 30 years old and know that most of my life has been devoted to my kids and my husband and never to myself is hard and can be frustrating. I love my children though and love spending time with them so as hard as it is sometimes I wouldn't have it any other way. Again thank you though for sharing your frustrations because it helps me to know that I really am a good mother who is just struggling sometimes to do the best for my kids even when it is hard to love them...I know that I am not alone with my feelings and problems. I really do think on a daily basis, " If Christine can manage with all of her children then I certainly can manage with my 4 children. You really are more of a blessing to me than you will ever know.

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  12. Hi Christine
    and Happy Good Friday!
    Thanks for this post. I too admire your honesty. There were times when I read your blog I'm ashamed to say i'd be angry..thinking you were judgemental and fake ...and yet still I followed, because I knew deep inside that it was me who was jealous and that you were just saying it like it is. You truly are a wonderful mom, true to yourself, God and your family
    God Bless
    xx

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  13. I understand loving a child who is hard to love because I have one who acts nice to everyone else but has always challenged me. He is finally on his own--a few weeks earlier that planned--because of how very ugyly he can act. But I know God loves him far beyond what any human can so I trust him to God's care and hope someday God gets his attention and his heart.

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  14. You have such a lovely family. Each and every one of you is precious. I know God is going to restore the years the locusts have eaten for Alex. Things are hard right now but that is just when Jesus moves. He is doing a work that may be hard to see. Praying for you as you are His Hands and Feet right now in your boy's life. Galatians 6:9~

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  15. Love your honesty. Not everyday is a day of sunshine. . .can your girls teach me how to knit and crochet???

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  16. Thank you for sharing about Alex. I work with a little girl that has shaken baby syndrome and some days I just want to scream. I too, have to remember that God created her and knew exactly how she was suppose to be. She can push my buttons to no end, but then turn and give you a hug with a smile on her face.

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  17. I know that had to have been hard to post. I think many parents go through the same with a child of theirs that has pushed them to the limit. We are after all only human and do have limits. I think recognizing those limits and working around them is key to finding the "special time" you need with Alex, even if it is only for a very short time once or twice a day.

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  18. Thank you so smuch for this post. My 4 month home daughter is soooo hard to handle. Ugh. It is just what I needed to hear thank you. After trying to egg me on all morning and screaming as well she is in her bed to calm down for a while. Discouraged I thought I would try to relax and read the internet and I found your entry. Thank you! Hang in there. It will get better for all of us. I love your blog and thank you for talking about this.

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  19. I understand how you feel. Dee has regressed back to doing things when she first came home with us since I have been sick. Now that I am getting well she is fighting it with everything she has. Not to the degree you are dealing with but enough to question myself. I have raised twin boys who are now 21 years old and both are wonderful, hard-working and respectful young men. Having patience with them wasn't an issue. But, with Dee, oh, my! I will pray for you, Christine. I am a daily reader of your blog and you inspire me by your love for your family and God. Your words have helped me more than you know and I appreciate your honesty. God bless!!

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  20. I have a bio son that has challenged me in many ways and continues to do so as an adult. I often feel like I failed him, but also coming to realize he is his own adult person. He has to learn to manage himself and not blame life on anyone else. Nevertheless it saddens me that we have a slight disconnect that I don't have with my others. I decided a while ago that I will just be here to love him. He can take it or leave it, but I will only represent love to him.

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  21. If you and your girls haven't come across this book - "What I Call Life" by Jill Wolfson - I'd recommend it to you and them.

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  22. Thank you for sharing. I have two foster children who are a big challenge to love. I keep looking to God's grace. It makes a HUGE difference when I get up early to spend time with Him. Although it doesn't change their behaviors, it gives me a better perspective. Also not getting under condemnation for not feeling love helps.

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  23. Hi I wish you luck with you son if you need someone to lend an ear please call me. Blessings, Pat

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  24. You have definitely encouraged me Christine. Thank you! All the comments from your readers have also been encouraging.

    It is good to know I am not a horrible person because I find it a challenge to find love in my heart for my child. It is also good to know I am not alone in this trial.

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  25. Thank you so much for sharing about Alex, I too have an Alex (his name is ALex). He has been with us for 2.5 years from Ukraine. He can charm anyone, people think he is wonderful which tends to sicken me because they don't know the real alex. I feel bad because it is hard to love him, but I fake it hopeing that someday it will become love like my other children. I think Alex dislikes me because I can't be charmed by him and he feels helpless because he is used to being in control. Thanks for sharing you are so helpful to me.

    Cara

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  26. I just wanted to also thank you for sharing this, I know it is not the same but as a teacher I often have that one kid that is so hard to work with. Often times they have their parents charmed to it is hard to work with them and love them when they try in every way to get out of learning. I know it is not the same but it still helpmed me. Also for so long I could not figure out who Anna reminded me of then it hit me Jackie Evancho http://www.jackieevancho.com/

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  27. hey Christine. one of my kids(also a boy)is a biter kicker hitter picky eater vomiting if he doesnt like what I give him he is ALWAYS in fight mode. in fact I would prefer flight now and then! its hard days living with a kid like that. but every now and then a golden ray shines through and I see his squinty smiling eyes and he comes to me to pick him up(he is small for 7 and doesnt like when people pick him up, which of course everyone wants to do since he is so tiny.) hang in there Mama. Alex needed a strong mom to help him with all of this. he got one. YOU! I have some other difficult kids too and some times I just have to focus on getting through the day. not worrying of next week or year but right now. Let me just work my way through this day and get them all in bed. if that is too big a task then I have to get through this moment. and then get through the next. hang in there Christine. you are a great Mom and Alex needs you more than he can say.

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I find your comments so inspiring! Thanks for visiting our family blog, and sharing your thoughts.