Friday, February 27, 2015

Taking Out The Trash

I have friends that have kids super close together.
I have friends that have kids that are within a few years of one another.
I have friends that have raised a set of bio kids only to turn around and begin all over again with a few precious adopted kiddos. (And to them I tip my hat, and offer caffeine.)

I would say I fall somewhere in the middle of that.....sorta....kinda....maybe....I don't know. 
Jason had just turned 5 when the twins were born.
Jordan is 12 months and 2 weeks younger than Jason so by my stellar math abilities he had just turned 4. So 4 boys in 5 years.

This was my life back then.

My ovaries are overachievers. 
And this was me back then:

No really. See

Fast forward one or two or 13 years and Jason is now 18 and about to graduate from high school.

Jordan is 17 (see that math I did there again?!) and a junior.

 And those squishy squishy baby boy twins are about to turn 13.

So 4 boys in 5 years but nonetheless a gap between twin town and the teens.

And then I adopted.

Now my youngest 5 kids are within a 22 month block of time.
5 kids within 2 years.
Which now looks like 11,11,11,12,12.

So I guess I fall somewhere in the middle.
Some of my kids are really close 6 minutes apart(Push em out, push em out, waaaaay out!).....some are 12 months apart.....some are 8 months apart.....some are 6 years apart from one another.

But nonetheless I have learned that coveted wisdom of doing things a bit different the "second time around". Though I haven't raised a set and are starting over, the difference in ages between the teenagers and the youngest 5 is enough of a span of time that I have gained some perspective and tweeked/revolutionized/realized I was screwing up their work ethic how I operate and what I expect of them. 

Case in point:
Jason and Jordan nary lifted a finger when they were young. 
I would get them off to school and with toddler twins behind me I would travel around the house picking up their dirty clothes, positioning hot wheel cars just so in the appropriate garage, lining up the tonka trucks under the window, straightening their rooms and making their beds.

Did you hear that?

Why did no one stop me?
Sister got no posse. 

Young moms, lemmetellya. Please don't make their beds. I am begging you.
These kids are capable of so much more than we give them credit for.

Because here's the rub,  those cute little kids with the firetruck pillow sham very quickly morph into teenagers that haven't a clue nor motivation to pick up a thing.
And since they will read this one day, I'll leave it at that. Wives, I apologize.

Now there is a new sheriff in town.  Wives, you are welcome.

You made a mess?
You'll clean it up.
You have dirty laundry?
You'll bring it down.
You walked into the house with baseball cleats on?
You'll sweep the dirt.
You peed all over the toilet seat?
I'll clean it up because you are a boy and don't seem to notice and by the time I notice I have to tee tee really badly and I'm hopping mercilessly up and down with my legs crossed realizing I don't have the time or bladder control to find which child lacks proper aim. Wives, sorry again.

These days there is a TON more accountability up in here.
And it's working.
They are learning responsibility, hard work, how to sweep/vacuum/dust/properly load the dishwasher. 

My latest mantra is "See a need, meet the need. This is what men do."
When a laundry basket of clean folded clothes is sitting at the bottom of the stairs you carry it upstairs! Without being asked! This is what men do!
When you see the sink is full, you load the dishwasher! Without being asked! This is what men do!
When you see a towel on the floor you pick it up! Without being asked! This is what men do!

And though yes it has taught them a lot in practical real life operations of a house with this many boys in it, it has also done something else for them....

They now take pride in meeting the need now before they are even asked.
Oooooo a heart change. 
This is what I'm after. 

Because eventually little things like carrying a load of laundry upstairs will morph into bigger areas of their life.... and that heart that bends to serve will bend toward the weak, toward the weary, toward the lost, toward their wives and that is what I want from them. A heart tuned toward service for Jesus and they will carry that load and meet needs that are way beyond a sink full of dishes.

The youngest 5 have stepped right on up to being more responsible for themselves, their things, and being aware and considerate of what needs to be done, the teens are still overcoming years of their mothers enabling behaviors. Wives, yeah....again....I hang my head.
But even still I can see the light beginning to shine through. When I used to go into their room every couple of days armed with bleach, trash bags, and pink feathered rubber gloves and clean their filth, they instead now chose to live in the filth temporarily BUT eventually acquiesce, stage a cu, realize their mommy isn't going to do it and clean it themselves.
It's brilliant.

Jordan(17) is responsible for taking out the trash.
Jordan has been great at this, he doesn't wait for me to nag encourage him, he sees the need and does it. Love.
Jordan also likes to eat.
Homeboy is 6'2 and muscles the size of Rhode Island.
Wait....Rhode Island is the smallest insulting....let me start over....
and muscles the size of Alaska. (Your welcome Jorge)
So not much will stand between him and dinner time.

My biggest in stature and littlest. But never never too big for the cart
So when said man-child arrives in the kitchen to see that the trash is full but also that dinner is on the table he is faced with quite the sticky widget.
To trash or not to trash.
To delay the eating, or to not delay the eating.

Because he is smart, he improvised.
Exhibit A:

New Trash Bag On The Floor

With notes that read, "Temporary Trash" arrows and then "Have a nice day".

Love that kid.
Wife, you are welcome.
I certainly don't get it all right but dude, I'm trying. 


  1. Sonia
    Soooooooooooooooooooooo glad you are back. Love reading your blog. Perfect blend of humor, real life and love for all your kids :) Your contribution on No Hands but Ours was a true heart warming, tear enducing witness to what wonderful treasures and blessings our kids are.
    PS Please don't go private....... hope you have reconsidered.

  2. Loved this...... You made me laugh and yes we do learn as we parent. I only have two boys, but also wish I had expected more, they were older when adopted and came with many issues so at the time it seemed to much to also get them to clean up. As a parent we know energy is limited.. Both my boys are teens now and it is much harder to get them to do it (clean up after themselves) on their own now. (except for one who came home from China with a love of having a job to do and is a natural worker, the other one has ADHD and organization comes hard for him) Having a sense of humor is the best survival tool any parent can have, and you obviously do. Thanks for sharing, it makes this parenting journey more fun.