Thursday, October 28, 2010


The kids and I went to see Erik play hockey on Monday night. It's not very often that he has a game that falls earlier than 8 pm, and I was enjoying the fact that I actually rounded up all 3 kids on a cold, rainy night and got out of the house to do something remotely fun.

Then halfway through the second period Erik hobbled over to the stands to tell us that something was terribly wrong with his knee. Of course, I had been too busy chatting that I hadn't noticed him skate off the ice in pain and then spend 2 shifts on the bench.

Erik's had knee problems before. The meniscus in his right knee tore when he was playing soccer with some kids during our missions trip to Peru (post-marriage and pre-kids). He ended up with physio (while in Peru) and then surgery (back in Abbotsford). Since then, his left knee has been starting to show the same signs of weakness that we noticed in his right knee before it tore. And sure enough, Monday night's hockey game was the proverbial "straw that broke the camel's back" because something awful has happened in that knee of his as he was making a casual turn on the ice. We're just not sure exactly what.

So the last few days have been frustrating. I feel a bit like I have a 4th child at home. Because I have to do a lot of things for him. And he can't really help me. I know it's not Erik's fault. And I'm trying to dote on him patiently. But I do feel mad at the situation. It seems like I've had to deal with a sick or injured husband more than the average wife. And, while I know I'm treading on the dangerous ground of self-pity, I can't help but feel like these kinds of things always seem to happen to us...

But I need to maintain perspective. I know well enough that there are a lot of worse things in life.

Anyway, yesterday was a low day for me. I was feeling sorry for myself and overwhelmed with trying to complete a transcription assignment and dealing with nattering children and a classic 45 minute nap from my youngest. I was trying to find something - anything - that Erik could do to help me. Laundry folding was first on the list. And today he had the kids on the floor doing some toy building.

I had to remind Erik how to fold towels. It's been a while :)

Now we just play the waiting game. Erik had an x-ray (to rule out broken bones I think) and then he will likely get referred to a knee specialist. So, we won't know for awhile yet what exactly is the problem. Today he was able to limp around a bit without his crutches which was encouraging. Though - of course - he overdid it and tried to go without advil and is now paying the price. But, this small improvement is still giving us some hope that it might not be as bad as we thought.

Onto other things - it is the season of dress-up parties. Here are the kids at our church Harvest Party last night, waiting in line to jump in one of the giant inflatables. Micah has been a zebra for 3 years in a row. And until he comes to the realization that most kids don't wear the same costume year after year, I will continue to let him sport the zebra look :)

Silas reluctantly wore the elephant costume - you may remember this post a few years back when Micah was the elephant.

I'm lacking inspiration to wrap up this post in a smooth manner.
So, until next time...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Rearin' Its Ugly Head

I was sitting in the health unit the other day with the kids - waiting the customary 15 minutes after another round of immunizations - and I noticed the parenting pamphlets all along the wall. I was feeling a little smug as I glanced at the titles - potty training, starting solid foods, developmental milestones of the first year - thinking of the more "inexperienced" parents who might find that sort of information helpful; thinking, I've got 3 kids, people. I'm wa-a-ay beyond all that.

Then I glanced at a title that read "Sibling Rivalry" and my pride was squashed.

Yep, I grabbed it and read it hungrily - looking to glean any tidbits of wisdom that would help me decrease the amount of yelling and hitting and teasing and time-outs and loss of privileges, etc. that goes on in our house on an hourly basis.

Some of it was not surprising - the fact that each child needs our attention and unconditional love. It went on to say that competition for my attention is at the root of a lot of the problems. OK, this makes sense - but I try to give them individual attention (of course, I can always improve on giving more focused attention to each one every day). But, it went on to give examples of how we often compare our kids to each other, like:

"Micah, why can't you learn to eat tomatoes like Keziah?" or "Micah stays in his bed so well at night, why can't you do that too, Keziah?"

Those are more obvious negative comparisons - and I admit we say things like this at times. But telling them to be more like their sibling is probably not the healthiest form of motivation.

Then there are the less obvious comparison comments, like these:

"You're so great at colouring, Micah. Keziah can't even stay in the lines yet!" or "Keziah, you're so much braver than Micah at trying new things."

We mean to compliment our kids, but really we're just reinforcing the sense that we, as parents, are measuring our children against each other.

And how about those frequent comparison comments - made to other adults, but within earshot of our kids:

"When Micah was 4, he could already print his name, but Keziah hardly knows any of her letters yet."

Yep. Guilty, as charged.

So, Erik and I have been much more aware of our language these days. As well as being more intentional about spending time with each child and encouraging their individual interests.

All of this is easier said than done. Comparing our kids is a natural part of being a parent. But even though we know that their differences don't affect the amount we love and value them, our kids may not understand.

We haven't seen any major changes in our house yet. There's still a lot of fighting. And teasing. And threatening to "hate each other for the rest of the day", or better yet, put the other in prison (still not sure why they haven't figured out that their sibling does not have the legal authority to actually do this). The pamphlet did not contain a miracle cure (despite my high hopes...) BUT, it did help me see some small changes we can make that will - hopefully - help decrease the frequency of fighting in the long run.

And as much as I sometimes think we are the only home in the world that endures this much fighting among siblings, I know I must be wrong...


Friday, October 15, 2010

Food Fight

Sometimes I think a habit has to get really bad before you're willing to address it. You have to hit the breaking point before you realize that something's gotta change.

That's how I felt a few weeks ago when I realized that my kids were getting pickier and pickier about what they were eating. They've always been pretty decent eaters - eating certain things that other kids won't eat. But it was getting to the point where I was starting to make separate meals for them (something I thought I'd never do) and a few of the staple meals that they used to enjoy were suddenly becoming a fight. I hated the whining when we would go to someone else's place for supper - a basic meal like pizza was an issue because it tasted "different" than ours at home. I sensed we were on a downward spiral and I knew it would only get harder to change the longer I waited. So, one day the inspiration/motivation came to me. It was time to do something.

I decided that from now on the kids would eat what I serve them. The rules for myself (& Erik) were no nagging, no spoon feeding, no doing countdowns to coerce them into taking each bite. The rule for them was if they didn't finish what I had given them by the end of the meal then they would get it at the next meal or snack before they could have anything else (with the exception of breakfast). Keziah wouldn't eat her carrot soup the other night for supper. So, I heated up her bowl for lunch the next day and she still chose not to eat it. Finally, for afternoon snack, she grudgingly polished it off. I've always hesitated to "deprive" them of food - since my children fall in the "featherweight" category, but really, they are NOT going to starve themselves.

As for Silas, I can't quite reason with him yet so he's exempt from the rules - but I'm still serving him whatever I make, instead of assuming that he won't like it. He's surprised me a couple of times by eating something that I wouldn't have thought he would.

I'm not typing this to boast at what a wonderful mother I am.

OK, maybe a little bit of bragging - because last night I saw that my efforts were starting to pay off. I pulled out an old recipe I hadn't tried in awhile - probably stuck in the back of my recipe box because I figured the kids would NEVER eat it. One of those chicken & rice casseroles with mushroom soup and onion soup mix. A very non-descript colour of mush all mixed together (but tasty!). The whole time I was mixing it up, I was also gearing myself up for the fight that would surely ensue at the supper table shortly after.
But, to my surprise, it went relatively... well.

Micah took a bite and said, "it's not that good, but it's not that bad either" and he proceeded to eat the amount I told him to without a fight. Keziah was a bit more hesitant but ended up eating her serving before meal time was over. It, once again, reminded me that with a little perseverance (or maybe stubbornness?) on my part, we can conquer some bad habits.

Next challenge - sibling rivalry. Any suggestions??

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Erik and I escaped to Seattle for one night over the long weekend to celebrate my 31st birthday. We've lived in lower mainland BC for nearly 8 years and have never really experienced Seattle - so it was due time!

I found myself coveting a MUCH nicer camera as we walked through the colourful public market.

We got to see a few "flying" fish at the fish market :)

I couldn't resist the beautiful $5 flowers and brought one home for me and one home for Erik's parents who watched the kids for us - found out later that I shouldn't have been able to bring them past customs! At least I can plead ignorance... this time :P

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Fall Days

Here is where we ate lunch today:

Erik's been working on a beautiful property overlooking the Fraser River. Today I packed up the cooler and the kids, picked up Micah from school and joined Erik for a picnic lunch.

Micah spying a train through the trees:

Silas hit the 18-month mark last week and, just like his older siblings, it seems to mark the explosion of vocabulary. In the matter of one week I've heard him say a dozen new words. I'm having a hard time believing he's old enough to start talking already!

We've been enjoying a string of sun-shiney fall days. This past weekend we joined the Toews family for an impromptu trip to Birchwood Dairy to enjoy some warm weather, ice cream and friendly farm animals :)