lessons from the potty chair: the spirituality of potty training

frog potty training

I was dreading potty training my third son. He’s quite stubborn and he doesn’t talk so I was expecting a horrible weekend*. But as with anything mandatory with kids, I jumped in and did it anyway. Partway through the day I had this sudden realization that it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be, and not because he was miraculously potty trained in 5 minutes. (he wasn’t, just to clarify) I had this little epiphany: God is helping me. He is giving me wisdom and patience (LOTS OF IT) and energy so that I can continue the dreaded P-Day with joy. The revelation surprised me, because I had not thought to pray about potty training. It is easier to remember to call on God when I’m working at church, or leading a Bible study, or praying with my kids. But perhaps I had compartmentalized my … Read More

my boy wore nail polish: questions about gender roles and boxes

On gender roles and boxes

I only own two colours of nail polish: dark purple and silvery blue. About twice a year I paint my toenails because, well, FLIP-FLOPS! So one day when I was doing my toes, I offered to jazz up some little boy nails as well. They were quite thrilled about their spiffy new fingertips, and Cubbie was all over it as well when he got home from school. He was pleased as punch about his pattern: his right hand and left foot were blue, and the left hand/right foot were purple. He was pleased as punch until the next day when he got on the bus and two of his friends (one boy, one girl) emphatically told him “that’s a GIRL thing!” He was embarrassed and upset when he got home, but it sparked some interesting conversations. My husband, great dad that he is, reminded Cubbie that the most important thing about any … Read More

How to be an introvert parent…without killing your children!

How to be an introvert parent

The basic definition of an introvert is someone who needs to be alone to recharge their internal batteries. Of course, being a parent rarely gives one a chance to be alone. Many hilarious posts have been written about escaping from children in the bathroom, and of course, all parents can identify. But for the introvert parent, the struggle is even more real! So how on earth can one be a good parent when your very temperament demands space, both mentally and physically and family itself demands closeness, both emotionally and physically? The following are some of the things that have worked to bring sanity and joy into our own family…without needing to run away! 1) Expect that I will be stretched. Parenthood changes me, refines me. Yes, it is hard when my kids want desperately to do something while I’m in the middle of putting together theological thoughts. Sometimes they have … Read More

the misunderstood introvert

Article on raising an introverted child.

My eldest son has a hard time being with people for long periods of time. He gets rather squirrely: acting out, hurting others, grabbing toys. It drives everyone crazy, and I have often found myself trying not to be embarrassed when with friends. As a studious student in everything about him, I have recently realized that he is an introvert. Introverts NEED alone-time to recharge. They are typically quieter in social situations because they are processing the conversations inwardly, not audibly. Many introverts have the habit of thinking of what they are going to say before they say it, which we need more of in our world, but also means conversations tend to move on before the introvert can have their say. They like to think, they like to be alone. But they are not necessarily shy. In fact, many not-shy introverts are mistaken for extroverts, which is why I … Read More

talking about sex, pornography, and abuse with your kids

The best resources to help you start those conversations at home.

It’s time to get talking about sex. Well, sort of. You and I don’t need to talk about it. That would be weird. But we MUST talk to our kids about it. Unless we want our kids to absorb and emulate the world’s views on the topic, we must beat the world to the punch. Frankly, the world is a quick teacher. Children are accessing pornography at very young ages, often by accident (think about what would happen if they Googled “pussy”, looking for cat pictures). There are also many other children eager to initiate others into the club of understanding. Not sure if it’s actually the right time to talk to your kid about sex? Check out this fab blog post! My kids are too young (at 4, 6, and 9) for a lot of the resources out there, but we’ve already done quite a lot of age-appropriate teaching … Read More

How to stop feeling like a bad mom

Have you ever really blown it on the parenting front? Have you snarked at your kids in public or sarcastically bit into your preschooler when he acted childishly or had such a bad day that you went into the basement and screamed or told a persistently crying toddler to “can it’ or forced a child to do things your way even though you knew it really didn’t matter, you just wanted to win? Before your inner alarms go off, most people would describe me as a good and gentle mother. But there are days, and then there are days-that-drag-on-and-I-can’t-seem-to-get-anything-right…right? I think I see you nodding at your computer. So what do we do with all this unholy parenting? A lot of parenting blogs I’ve read would have me believe that It’s okay, we all do it. You’re in good company. Kids are forgiving, they’ll turn out okay.  Above all, the message I … Read More

Why I’m going to stop saying “NO” to my kids

Yes parenting

If your kids are anything like mine, you get peppered with questions at all times of day. “Can I put this paint in the freezer?” “Can I tie this rope to the banister and swing down the stairs?” “Can we eat outside?” (always asked when the weather is freezing cold) “Can I do finger painting?” “Can you jump on the trampoline with me?” “Can we make a fort under the table?” “Can we pile up every pillow, cushion, and blanket in the house at the bottom of the stairs and jump into it?” (aka ‘the bouncy castle’) “Can I fill up the squirt gun?” (again, in sub-zero temperatures) “Can you watch me do this thing?” I say NO a lot. Sometimes it’s a safety or health thing, but honestly, most of the time I say NO simply because I don’t want to be inconvenienced. It might be the thought of … Read More

when a mommy gets angry

angry mom

When I graduated from high school, my parents got me a gift. It came in a little box, it glowed in the dark, it was….a digital watch. As my dad watched me open it he said, “now you won’t be late anymore!” Thanks Dad. 🙂 Yes, I did tend to lose track of time. Did the watch help? A bit. Now, instead of ignoring time and being late, I was tending to the time and still being late! It’s a problem, I know. I’ve gotten a lot better over the years. But I do still lose track of time, particularly in the mornings. And a mother that loses track of time + three little boys who have no concept of time + a school that has a regular bell schedule = bad mornings. What do those bad mornings look like? They normally go something like this: 7:15 I get up … Read More

What does shopping with boys have to do with faith?

Shopping with boys

I took all three boys on a LONG shopping trip today. I know, I know, I can hear your thoughts from here! Bad idea. These boys (particularly the eldest) NEVER stop moving. They are in the cart, on the cart, under the cart, hanging off the side of the cart, racing down the aisles, and I even lost two of them in Costco for a couple minutes. When someone remarked on my little monkey climbing up the side of the cart, I had a brief moment where I thought “I really should be embarrassed at their behaviour”. Then I answered, “I think it comes with the Y-chromosome,” and discovered that I actually wasn’t embarrassed at all.Frankly, boys are busy. To some extent, all children are busy, but the two cookies in my boy-oreo are busier than most. I let the eldest stay home from school today because he was up half … Read More

Three Truths To Remember When You’ve Been Disappointed By God

baby picture

I scrubbed crusty orange vomit from the white carpet stairs. How had I gotten to the place where I didn’t even have time to clean this up before it dried? For four years, two little boys had filled up my time and heart. I hadn’t exactly been desperate for another child. Two boys seemed like a nice, even number. They could be each other’s best friend forever, making messes and getting each other into trouble. My nose wrinkled at the acrid smell wafting through the stairwell. Both boys had been born via unplanned C-section, and that was enough surgery for me. The world had enough troubles of its own without adding more middle-class consumers. That’s what I told God. Then He spoke back. One day I walked across the parking lot to the gym, and He whispered to my heart: let me give you a daughter. The whisper was so … Read More