Monday, November 28, 2011

Here Goes

What is the point of blogging honestly and truthfully?  For me, I want to be an honest person even though that means I might look ugly to many people.  I sin.  I rarely get it right.  And if I share, I know I open myself up to tons of criticism.  Why not just keep everything to ourselves?  It keeps people wondering at the very least.  This is definitely a road I have contemplated going down-- just shutting down the blog or keeping it private-- or even worse-- painting this rosy perfect picture of our family-- it would certainly be easier.

But God didn't promise easy.  In fact, He has proven to me more times than not that my screwed up life enables Him to turn it around for His glory.  Just like other people have touched me in a powerful way when they have shared their hard times, I believe that God continues to use me in this way too. 

So I blog.

Here goes.

Last night Jonny came to our room in the middle of the night around 2 am. "Can I sleep in your room? I had a bad dream."  "Sure, go lay down on the other bed,"  I said half asleep.  Ten minutes later, "Can I come sleep with you?  I can't go to sleep by myself,"  Jonny whispered as he climbed into bed between John and I.  "Sure Jonny."  Ten minutes later, "Will you pray with me?  I had a bad dream, and I can't go to sleep."  Why hadn't I thought of this earlier?  Well actually I had, but I was too tired and figured that it would be okay to skip the praying.  But now Jonny was asking so I prayed with him.  He kept stirring so ten minutes later I prayed with him again.  And then again.  He just couldn't sleep.  By this time at least an hour had passed.  "Jonny what was your dream about?  Did you watch something scary?"  Jonny told me that Rumpelstiltskin in Shrek 4 had scared him.  This sounded fishy but I didn't think it was the time to investigate.  Finally after another hour or two he drifted off to sleep around 5am. 

6:30 a.m.  was here before we knew it, and I woke him up.  Over breakfast we talked about Jonny's bad dream and I found out it was from watching "The Mummy"  a few nights ago when John and I went to serve Thanksgiving dinner.  Andrew found it in an old stack of movies.  Rachel thought it was okay for them to watch.  I'm mad at myself for even having the movie in the house.  As I lectured the kids about knowing better than to watch a scary movie, Andrew shifted blame to Dad who I then shifted my anger towards.

It was quickly resolved, with new lessons learned.  I am sorry that Jonny had bad dreams as a result.   I am sorry that my kids were exposed to something they shouldn't have.  I'm sorry I was quick to deflect blame. 

This is a time that I wish there was a do over button.

Onto other things.

It is expected that things will come up with kids as they grow and change.  That's called life.  We all have ups and downs and no matter what, we will get through them, work through them, and learn from them.  I trust that each and every situation will be used for God's glory... if we let it.  I believe that no mater how unpleasant they may be or how great the challenge, something can be learned.  We can become more patient, practice self-control, learn to be content in the midst of a storm, or when you are stuck in a desert.

With that said, I share something quite personal.  The other day an adoptive parent and friend called me after I messaged her on Facebook.  She shared with me how she found her underwear in her son's room-- more than once.  She asked for advice which I had little, simply because I had not really experienced this in our home.... yet.  I encouraged, touched on puberty, assured her that masturbation was quite normal, and told her what I did know.  If kids have attachment issues they will hone in on what bothers you and do it more.   What I meant by bother is that-- I encouraged her not to make this issue a deal breaker.

Then it happened.
Earlier in the week I found one of the boys wearing girls underwear over their diaper at nap time.  A few pairs of girls undies were stashed in his pillow case.  I didn't think much of it honestly.  I told him to stop goofing around and go to sleep.  I took the underwear.  A day later, I found some girls underwear stashed in a drawer.  I assumed that they were for Dennis' doll who he dresses up with diapers or underwear before putting on clothes.  I didn't make a big deal of it other than telling him that he better stop taking things that don't belong to him without permission.  Then at nap time a daughter caught him caressing girls underwear that were laid out on his pillow.  I found more underwear hidden in his pillowcase.  Within the course of a week, I figured it out.   For years nothing like this had happened, and then all of a sudden it does.

That's life.  It happens.  Yes, this made me uncomfortable.  Yes, I wish it was somebody else.   But it's us.  And we are working through it because it is not a deal breaker.  Kids are curious.  Kids like to explore.  Things that make them feel good, they will naturally gravitate towards.  Until they are taught, they don't really know right from wrong.  It is not like I sat down day one with my kids and explained how having possession of someone else's underwear is wrong  My being uncomfortable about this is more my problem than it is his.  He was hurting no one.   But we addressed it nonetheless because it is not okay to take someone else's underwear and we do not want things to escalate to a more serious offense. 

It has been three days now and it seems as if he has moved on.  I am more attentive.  That is my job.  I hope this is the end of this.  Realistically I know that it may not be.  But we'll cross that bridge when we come to it even if it is tomorrow.

This week is a crazy one.  As we prepare to go on vacation next week I go back and forth with feelings of excitement and guilt.  On one hand I think this is a wonderful opportunity to bless our kids and bond with our newest additions that have never been to Disneyland.  They are so ecstatic to be going- just hearing the details brings smiles from ear to ear.  The homeschoolers are working incredibly hard this week and through the weekend to cram two weeks worth of work into one.  John is taking off of work and this will be the first vacation as a family of 17-- which is really nice.  On the other hand, it is so much money.  Money that can be better spent I think.  I struggle with this.  I don't know the right answer.  So I try to find balance.  I got excellent group rates on tickets, and we will not be buying alot of food in the park or souvenirs.  This trip is also serving as an early Christmas present.  We will celebrate William's birthday too.  Besides, we probably won't go for another five years.  As the time comes closer to us leaving, I am growing more excited.  It is hard not to when I see the excitement in the kids' eyes.   I have come to accept that even though I try to justify us going, I don't have to.
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I guess I have shared enough for now.  Now it's your turn.. :)

28 comments:

  1. We took our older children for Christmas one year and it was so.much.fun. It was a lot of money. We cut costs like you are doing and made some great memories.It was at least five years ago, and we live in Florida! We will go again one day.... when we know our little one is just the right age.
    I would like to comment about the underwear. You are the parent so you can understand all the underlying issues or non-issues. I had one thought that I want to throw out there for you to do whatever with.... Are the undergarments made of a fabric that is cool to the touch, especially soft or what have you? I knew a family once that had a baby that carried around a negligee as a "lovey" as mine did a stuffed animal or specific blanket. Really freaked me out, but it was my issue really.If itd been me I would have gone to the fabric store and bought a yard or two of the same exact fabric instead. Just a thought in case its a tactile issue- they do make silk sheets/pillowcases etc too.(sorry for the book-ish comment)

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  2. I so understand the guilt of going on nice vacations. I have read many post where people talk about those that "go out to eat" or "go on fancy vacations". I had a very hard time with our last vacation, but as I was looking through post about our last adoption I was remembering about how one of my favorite lines that the judge said was that how now my kids have all the rights and privileges of being in my family and I thought... before kids, we vacationed often and when I just had 2 kids, I still took nice vacations.

    While we can't "kick it like we used to LOL!" I don't want my newest children to feel like we can't do nice things now that they are here. It's about stewardship of the things that God gives us.

    Enjoy your vacation! Praise God that you have the opportunity and privilege.

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  3. Breathe. In and out. Pray. God is good and He will guide you in all that you do.

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  4. I really apreciate your honest blogging. There are so many entries I want to write, and there's one I'll eventually post (wrote it a while back) about raising sexually active teenagers and all that it involves... But I'm chicken to post it now.

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  5. If the underwear was silk or very soft, it may have just been a sensory issue and nothing more. Your instincts and time will tell you.

    Three of us went to Disney last weekend. It was soooooo crowded! I had planned to take two more children but the behaviors were just way too bad to reward with that kind of trip plus there was no trust as far as how they'd behave on the trip. I have FL seasonal passes and they are about the same price as a week pass but can be used year around with some block out dates. Those who wanted a year round pass paid the extra which just about doubled the price.

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  6. I wonder too if this is a tactile issue. He likes the feel of the underwear.It is a good idea to get the material and make a small blanket if that is what it is. Even making a blanket with different textiles can be fun.
    I too feel guilty if we go out to eat or on a vacation. There are so many needy in the world. Trying to balance it and put it in proper perspective is hard.

    We have the Mummy at our house too. I think it is rated PG 13. If memory serves me right we watched it together a few months ago. But I wouldn't let a little child see it either.
    Don't beat yourself up over it.

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  7. I had a thought. Most people are grossed out by underwear. Some people learn different sets of likes and dislikes, though. Is it nature - a natural tendancy to be a certain way? Or, is it nurture - have they observed some behavior like this and copied it in some form or another? Is it possible that he's chosen girl's underwear because it represents something he's seen before? My son, for example, does not cuddle or hug or like anyone in or on his bed while he's in it. He has told me that he remembers seeing his Ukrainian mother dancing naked around the house with men present. That's all he's told me, but I can imagine that there were additional activities going on. I believe there may be a connection between what he's seen and the way he acts toward others. He has never exhibited a tendancy toward nakedness or promiscuity or any interest in having someone touch him and does not like to see people in underwear. So, we have not yet had the sex talk. Next year, however, he will most likely go to an educational training center with his classmates. (They have a frank discussion of body parts and reproduction, not sex - I know, same but different.) In any case, since your son is acting out some behavior, you may ask him where he got the idea to lay out girl's underwear on his pillow and caress it and talk nice to it. In any case, eek, I haven't had to face this kind of thing with any of my kids...so far.

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  8. Sounds like you are doing a great job. I'm going to remember this the next time I get frustrated. Calm down, breath and pray. Thanks.
    www.rebeccabany.com

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  9. Here is what I would do: Have a chit-chat and just ask him why he chose to take the underwear, in a very non-threatening way. Ask him, as if he took one of the girl's socks. I think he must understand at some level that it wasn't the right thing to do (to take another person's belongings without asking?), as he hid them away. But don't make a bigger deal out of it than necessary. Just treat it like anything else inconsequential that went missing.

    And the movie thing? Eh, live and learn. Not a big deal. It sounds like you handled it well. I think you are being very hard on yourself about these issues! Thanks for keeping it real. Enjoy your trip (savings tip -- DL doesn't confiscate snacks out of diaper bags, so me and hubby both carry one for our kids). You can also stamp your hands and get in/out privileges, so you could also tailgate back at the van!

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  10. God bless you for sharing. I will remember the prayer lesson as well. Next time I hope to be better prepared because you shared. Thank you. You are a guardian angel for many of us. Go. Take your vacation. Leave the computer behind, too. Just take your camera so you can tell us about it afterward! But, you must take a vacation. It is something that families do all the time! And think of the fun memories you'll have with your children!

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  11. I agree... I am very thankful for your honesty. I have tried to model my blog after it.

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  12. I love your readers, they are so kind and helpful and positive, What a blessing! You would not get all these suggestions and experiences if you did not blog so honestly. My little sister liked the silky material on her blanket and used to go to sleep stroking it, my granddaughter rubs the edge of her pillow against her cheek, my nephew needed to have a clean cloth diaper near his face.

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  13. The Mummy is creepy - swarming bugs and corpses and bad guys with magic. It gave me nightmares.

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  14. Both my son and younger daughter loved the silky tags on their baby blankets and used to rub them between their fingers and toes and my son would roll the tag and put it in his ear. Girls underwear are usually softer and thinner, sometimes silkier than boys underwear. I love reading your blog by the way!!

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  15. Enjoy your trip to Disneyland. When you see the excitement on your childrens faces you will know that is was worth it. When we took Bulgyn our translator from Kaz to Disneyland, we walked into the park she stopped and tears were streaming down her cheeks, I asked what was wrong and she said nothing, she just didn't think that she would see anything so beautiful in her whole life. It is a memory that I will cherish for my whole life!

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  16. Hi! Becareful with the underwear situation. It may be nothing or in the child's past life there may have been abuse going on you may not know about. You may want to look deeper into it maybe with a counselor if the situation comes up again. Pat

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  17. I haven't read the other comments, but this is my initial thought (on both situations regarding the underwear)

    Depending on the age of the child, if he is younger and not nearing puberty or in the throes of it, then I think it is a curiosity thing that may have little to do with the underwear itself, or anything to do with any sexual undertones.

    Let me expound: my cousin had a little boy and shortly after him a little girl. She doted on her little "diamond" and girlied her to the max, babies her, adorned her with trinkets, dressed her to the t-s every day, did her hair up in fancy bows and ribbons, pampered her like a princess, and painted her nails regularly.

    For her son, most of the girly stuff to him was girly and he wasn't interested, but the attention she paid the little girl when painting her nails, and painting her own nails too was something he REALLY wanted. It looked fun! It was neat, nifty colors on his nails?! YES PLEASE SIGN ME UP! he was what, 4?

    When he asked to have his nails painted she spanked him and screamed at him "No son of mine is going to be gay!"

    and i sat there between a rock and a hard place. As I don't want to tell others how to parent. But it was also clear to me, his desire to have his nails painted had to do with the closeness he saw between his mommy and sister, the neat thing of having colorful fingers and toes, and the fact that mommy got to do it and sister got to do it, why can't he? It had NOTHING to do with his sexual orientation.

    I say that to say this: i could be possible the underwear caper sees that these are different than his own, see's that mommy and his beloved sisters get this underwear... it has different colors, shape, textures than his own plain underwear or boxer shorts and it's different and desired for that reason and that reason only.

    But you know your children best, so it's best to contunue to keep an eye on it, but not to jump to any conclusions as to what the motives behind it may be.

    If he is an older child, then I would watch more closely to sexual cues, and or sexual orientation cues. If perhaps he is sneaking other feminine clothes...I'm not saying its wrong, I don't know what your views are on something like cross-dressing. But it's something to remain aware of.

    My two cents.

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  18. Christine, first off, I love you for blogging honestly and frankly would not read the blog if it was sugar coated....

    Two, as far as the underwear issue...the very first thing I thought was maybe it was a tactile issue...also girls underwear tends to be prettier then mens and some boys appreciate pretty-----I am just saying this cuz I have heard a couple of similar stories about young boys....sometimes its a certain smell that maybe we can not precieve....

    In any case I think you handled it well, from the viewpoint that it was someone elses possessions NOT cuz it was an undergarment....

    As for the vacation, have a GREAT TIME.....I went with my 1st daughter in 2005 when she was 5 and we had an AWESOME time...we went at Xmas and on the 50th anniversary of Disney so imagine...
    Definitely bring strollers for Dennis and Alex of course or rent them....We tsyaed at the Candy Cane Inn which was chepaer then staying in a hotel in the park.

    Wow...17.....have a great time! And NO GUILT.
    HUgs.

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  19. As far as advice on the underware issue, seems perfect to me! Not a biggie for a little guy. I know how easy it is to throw blame around, too. Don't we all do it? That probably is a pretty extreme movie, but I am confident none of my chilren, except maybe Lydia, would have ever been upset unto bad dreams over it, whereas I let Lydia go to a retreat about St. Therese one time AT A CONVENT (seems like a good and wholesome sort of activity, right?) and they did a slide show including some quite well-known photos of her in death. She had bad dreams for YEARS after that. For all I know, she still does. You never know. And even tryihg to make the best possible decisions we can make the worst ones.

    We don't spend much money on fun. Almost none, so when we do I don't regret it one little bit.

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  20. I really enjoy reading your blog....and thank you for sharing the struggles and the hard, imperfect things, too.

    Just wanted to tell you, also...I can understand struggling over the money spent on a trip to Disneyworld. It does seem like there might be "other" more important things.

    When I was a kid, we rarely went on vacation. And then one year my parents saved and saved and we went to Disney World. It was probably the greatest memory of my childhood - I don't think money was ever better spent in our family. And it isn't Mickey Mouse that I remember - it's the ease and relaxation we had as a family, it was knowing that we meant enough to our parents that they would spend money on us that way, it was all the special out-of-the-ordinariness and doing it with my brother and sister and mom and dad. I don't think going camping would have had the same effect.

    That trip was over 25 years ago, and I still love remembering it.

    Lisa G.

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  21. What I love about your blog is that you are honest about the smiles and trials of parenting. I try to be honest in blogging, although lately I haven't done much blogging aside from a picture here and there, but I do find that I do not openly discuss many of my trials I go through when trying to be a good mom. The truth is I yell way more than I should and I complain way more than I should. That's why I guess in my blogging I tend to be more positive and try to look on the bright side rather than the negative side which I have more of a tendancy to do in my everyday life.

    As for DisneyLand, I can imagine the kids are so excited! We are planning to go this summer and I can't wait!! I've heard it is fantastic at Christmas time. I think the word magical was how a friend described it. Hope you, John and the kids enjoy every minute of it!

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  22. Although we grew up 35 minutes from Disneyland, and went there A LOT... we all still have very fond memories of the time we spent together at the park.
    (Just remember to bring water bottles in your backpack)

    Oh, and if your daughters like jewelry, make sure they get to admire the antique rubies and diamonds at the little store next to Pirates of the Caribbean. :)

    HAVE FUN!!

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  23. Maybe he wants to be a girl. Let him dress that way if he wants too, or are you one of those Christians who thinks it is wrong for a guy to be transgender or gay? >.>

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  24. Hi Christine, I appreciate your honesty and sharing. Please don't stop. I'm not a blogger but am an adoptive parent of an older foreign born child. It helps me to know who I can turn to should problems arise, things to watch for, etc.

    Just an FYI for Disneyland - I read on some money saving blogs that Disneyland now allows food from outside and small coolers (like for a 6 pack). That could help with costs for the family.

    I'm thinking their website has more info on that. Also, checkout www.mousesavers.com for money saving tips. We went about 5 yrs ago and got a beautiful framed shadow of our daughter's profile hand-scissored all for just $7! Not sure if the price is the same still but anyway - HAVE FUN!

    Cheryl in ID

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  25. Christine,
    I just recently stumbled onto your blog researching adoption (a dream of mine I hope to fulfill someday). I can't begin to tell you how inspiring I find it! The world sometimes is filled with so much negativity that I just can't stand it. It's so nice to come across such a loving spirit. It changes the way I think and deal with my own very young family of
    3 kiddos. Through this blog I also discovered Reece's Rainbow and couldn't help but donate:) Keep up the good work!

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  26. On the underwear business, I saw in a later post that it wasn't silky, but was it pretty? My oldest son (5) LOVES anything with flowers or butterflies on it. Just a thought.

    As for Disneyland, you have those smiles to justify it! Yes, we have to be responsible with money, but it's also our job as parents to give our kids joy and I think this is a great example of it. They'll remember this trip for the rest of their lives and since they don't constantly get to do things like this, it's a special treat and something that I suspect will help bring the whole family together. Good for you guys. Stop worrying and go have fun!

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  27. Considering his age, this is not a sexual thing. At all.

    While the stealing and hoarding issue needs to be resolved, I honestly think you should stop "over thinking" this.

    Remember when Dennis loved to carry a purse around? Nothing was wrong with that, you found it sweet and saw the innocence.

    We see underwear as *underwear* a child this age sees it as something soft, possibly colorful and something they like. If they were hoarding frilly, colored hand-towels would you have the same feelings or would you simply see it as hording and taking things that aren't his.

    ONLY approach this from the hoarding/stealing angle. Doing otherwise will confuse and possibly frighten him. It seems that he just likes the feel and look. Nothing preverse or untoward is going on here.

    Stop seeing things at the worst. Realize that this is still a child, with childlike thoughts.

    Make him aware that he cannot steal. That underwear is a very personal thing and should never be taken.

    And remember how you knew the innocence of the purse...it's the same here.

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  28. I think it's wonderful that you are taking the whole family to Disneyland! Would you mind sharing what kind of group rate you were able to get on tickets? Was it less than the So. California Annual Passport?

    Have a great time!

    Jen

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