Tuesday, October 30, 2007

More stretching

And speaking of feeling stretched between the ten years from my oldest to the youngest...

Last night was our "double header" sports night. Neal (12), who has gotten lots of playtime thus far in the football season, last night found himself benched. And, even though Allie(14) played a solid volleyball game, her team lost pitifully against their school's biggest rival. Both kids came home completely dejected.

So, Dennis took Neal out to talk, and I took Allie and the girls out to ice cream (and 6 gallons of milk) at Braums to debrief the woes of being a middle schooler on an athletic team.

Of course, the little girls, now energized by a chocolate-dipped junior waffle cone, were in no mood for bed by the time we arrived home at 8:15. After some serious hog-tying story telling, Dennis finally got the two younger ones (6 and 3) settled in somewhere around 9:00. Allie and Libby (9) were finishing up homework, so I went to tuck in Neal. On my way to his room, I hear Libby call out that she needs to shave her legs (and, yes, this is yet another hill I refuse to die on).

I give Neal the pep talk, about how I love him no matter whether he plays or not, but I want him to have a good attitude and give his best effort, anyway. "I suppose this is the same stuff Dad already told you," I said as I left.

"Yeah, but I like to hear it from both of you," he replies sleepily.

I figured Libby should be about done with the legs by now, and I find her waiting for me on her bed. "Feel how smooth!" she says. I look at her and wonder where my baby went. Can she really be almost ten? We talk a few minutes, and I feel myself beginning to wane. "Let's wrap this up, okay?" I venture.

"But Mom! We haven't even talked about our day!"

I know better than to rush things with this one, so I stifle a sigh and settle in for a few more minutes. It's now 9:30. The chat rapidly moves from leg-shaving to a breathlessly enthusiastic conversation about "growing up." How did this happen? I keep wondering. She is such an odd mix of baby and child and pre-adolescent, and I never know which "side" of her is going to come out at any given moment. Having an older sister has definitely helped, but she still wants to hear it all from me (with a little help from The Body Book), and after a discussion of bras and feminine supplies, I make a mental note that I'm going to have to do Passport to Purity earlier with her than we did with the older kids. After that, I realize she's stalling and I just need to get her to bed.

Allie now comes in (they share a bed) and she is completely over the angst of the early evening. She's now discussing how she needs to wash her feet again, even after her shower.

Uh-huh. Well! I'm not real interested in toe jam. It's 10:00. I'm going to bed!


Kat said...

What a blessing that your children love to talk to you so openly. That is honestly a gift. The one thing that will keep them on the straight and narrow. You have obviously been doing a wonderful job with your kids as it is clear the closeness, friendship, and support they feel from you.
Well done.

Nicole said...

First of all--you are a GREAT mom!! I am amazed at how you do all of it!! And then being sane enough to have deep talks with the kids at that time of night!! OH...pray for me!!
Then...I am CRACKING up at your hill to die on post!! Thanks for a good laugh :)
Finally, I just saw that Passport to Purity earlier today. I found a website called Generations of Virtue and thought it looked really neat. My oldest(9) is just starting this whole process. I saw you did it with an 11 year old. Is 9 too young?? Maybe just stick with The Body Book which I just ordered?
Pray God multiplies your sleep tonight!

Kate said...

I am just laughing so hard at Libby. She and my Faith (also a middle child) sound so much alike. I guess I'll savor the next two years before she turns nine and is telling me she has to shave her legs.


Jen said...

I love great talks like this with Madison. It's great you have such ways with them. I do learn alot from you. You are great. Cant wait to hear how Halloween goes!

Elspeth said...

I know a little something about feeling stretched, as you know. I think it's wonderful how you were able to "stifle your sigh", and take time to listen. It really is all about knowing what each individual child needs, isn't it. i've got a talker, a hugger, and one who switches from one need to the next so I really have to be on my p's and q's *anticipating* what she'll need. I learned that from you, by the way. Thanks!

Dimple Queen said...

You crack me up woman!! I found you today by way of Rachel Anne over at Home Sanctuary. She posted a WFMW about scheduling/organizing and linked to one of your posts with a schedule. Anyway, I couldn't help to read several of your posts. Just going from one to the other! You are hilarious! I will definitely be stopping by more often....your posts help me feel "normal"!


Deidre said...

Katherine, I just love 'being a fly on a wall of your house'. I love that your kids WANT to talk to you. I'm having a particular difficult time with my 5 year old and school right now and it seems I've taught her to be so respectful, she won't tell us how she feels or the teacher. (Or, so she says.....) She's afraid to offend us I know I can always come here and find encouragement. Love you, sweet friend!

Mary@notbefore7 said...

Girl, I just love you and your family! I want the same openness with my kids.

now, I am SO NOT READY for shaving in just 4 years...AHHHH!

Marian said...

Sounds like you have a wonderfully open relationship developing with your kids. Thanks for the recommendation of Passport to Purity. I hadn't heard of it. (BTW,along those lines, Family LIfe is promoting their Thanksgiving CD for the season, of course, and I have to say that it is really worthwhile.)

Beck said...

My 8 year old shocked me the other day by asking when she was going to need to shave her legs. "Not for years and years," I told her, and she very reassuringly looked relieved.
I'm jotting down that book title, though, just in case!

Tammy and Parker said...

I have the same kind of talks with my 16 year old.

Luckily my 9 year old doesn't even want to take the time to shower much less shave her legs. :)

Unknown said...

I think I've mentioned this to you, but my nine-year old (a young 4th grader) doesn't want to talk about "it" at all. However, I'm trying to plant little seeds and I just told her that when she's 10, we're going to go away for a weekend and talk. I'm going to bring Passport 2 Purity and do some of it, as well as some other stuff (have you seen Rainey's So You Wanna be a Teenager book?).

Our district has 5th and 6th as intermediate school, so she'll be going to a new school, so I think that the timing will be good.