Unfair Treatment

Owen has been getting in trouble at school lately. Not big trouble. Not embarrassing trouble. Just a more frequent note home, time on the bench at recess or points taken away in class. When I ask him, he says he just gets distracted, he gets bored or my favorite…”they thought it was funny.” Apparently, his teacher didn’t think it was as funny as “they” did.

I’ve punished him at home. discussed options with his teacher and looked at it from different angles. Though I admit to being a little worried at first I am not anymore. He’s just exploring the boundaries again. I think we all do it at different stages and in different ways. I was so rarely in trouble in school that it shocked me to think of him misbehaving or causing problems. However, he’s not me and he’s a boy. It’s different for boys, because, well, they are boys I guess. They have to bang their heads against more walls for some reason. I don’t know.

I also admit to worrying over my parenting and whether I were overlooking something, but his teacher reassured me that he is a very good boy and that it has nothing to do with me. I like her.

One of his complaints since the beginning of this “getting in trouble at school” phenomenon is that one of the other boys is often doing the same thing and doesn’t get chastised nearly as quickly or severely.

I haven’t talked to his teacher about this, but I doubt it’s as different as he perceives it and even if it is…there’s a reason.

After asking a few questions about the other child and the things he did I felt I understood. I remember this same issue from when I was a kid. Another girl and I would be involved in the same activity and I would be scolded more harshly. It infuriated me as a kid, but I understand it now. It’s unfair treatment based on expectation levels.

I explained it to Owen as well. If you have been a well behaved child on almost all occasions and then suddenly act out of character, you will be punished quickly because it is well known that you can do better. Being disobedient is NOT who you are, and therefore discipline comes to correct the difference in your behavior. If you are a child that consistently misbehaves you will eventually be ignored and your punishments will be dealt with less disappointment. There is a differing expectation level between you and the other boy. The upside to this comes when something special happens. If there is an opportunity to handle a special project for the teacher or the class and you and the other boy are the only two available to do it, who will she choose? You, of course.

To my utter amazement, an example of what I was telling him happened the very next day.

Today, when I picked him up from school his teacher walked him to the van and explained that the National Day of Prayer would be observed on campus this week and each class is expected to have one student represent them with a prayer. She asked Owen to say the prayer for their class and he accepted the responsibility. (That’s my boy!) She also said that he had a very good day and didn’t get in trouble once. Yay!

I love it when God orchestrates circumstances and then makes it look like He’s backing me up.

A Room of His Own

Finally…it is done. He has moved into his own room. It didn’t happen the way mom wanted it to, but it happened.

Owen has been asking for his own space for almost a year and I wasn’t ready to move him. I didn’t feel he was ready to take care of his space and as long as I was picking up his dirty socks as well as his brother’s, I didn’t want to have to do it in two rooms. I told him this. I explained that when he could show me he was responsible enough to take care of his own room, I would allow it. He has shown improvement. Not as much as I was hoping, but I tend to set my sights pretty high.

My criteria also involved some changes that had nothing to do with him. I wanted the room painted, the old dresser that is literally falling apart from age and use, to be replaced. A different bed or set of beds for him is in the plans as well. Of course all of these things take money. Money that I could spend, but I have other things to spend it on as well. You know how that is right? It’s not always that money isn’t available, it’s that money has too many directions to take at one time. Well, that’s what’s going on here. Spending money to replace items that are still functioning is kind of low on the priority list. So we have been waiting for a while and finally, on Monday, he came to me and drug me into that room and he made his case, and I bought it.

I could have made the move right then. It only took about 45 minutes to get my things out of the desk and chest in the room, and move his dresser into it. I was beginning to feel emotional though. It makes me sad to see him move out of the room with his brothers. I made the excuse that I needed to wash the sheets on the bed in there (which was actually a good idea since Aron has been napping in there a lot) and told him we may be able to move him in the next day. He was happy with that.

While he was at school on Tuesday I cleaned my things out of the desk and found a box for the items I had stored in the cedar chest in there. I moved his hanging clothes and his little framed birth announcement. I hung a couple of his school projects on one wall and replaced the battery in the clock on the wall. I vacuumed and brought the clean sheets up to the bed and then I left it and waited for him to get home from school because I knew he wanted to help.

Once he was with me, we made the bed together and I told him he needs to know how to make it look nice himself. We moved his pillow pet, his pre-school nap pillow and his favorite blanket into the room and then collected all his “treasures.” He has little boxes of trinkets and broken items that are what he calls “special” and we found a place for all of it. I moved his dresser while he arranged his books and together we dusted things and made it look moved into. He was so excited, and I was glad I had waited one day so that I could be excited with him.

That one day gave me time to mourn the loss of three little boys in one room. A happy little mess of short people on bunk beds with their names and artwork plastered on the walls. Not a room about one, but a room about them. I love them together and though I believe with all my heart that they will always be friends, I also know with a broad clarity that there is only a short time in life that they will be brothers the way they are now. They are going to, all three, go their own way. They will follow the destiny and commission that God has ordained for them and it will be wonderful to see them follow those paths with confidence and determination, but I will miss this. I will miss the every day, the every night, the squabbles and giggles and whispers and whines. I know Owen is only moving into the next room. Logic tells me it’s really no different, but somehow…it is. I’m thankful there is a next room before there is a dorm room or apartment. Baby steps are good for mom’s to take too.

This morning he was up but sitting on the floor, still in his pajamas and wrapped in his bathrobe, reading by the lamp before breakfast. He had made his bed all by himself and it looked great. It’s funny how little it takes to make what, to me, was a very empty colorless room feel cozy. A great 7 year old is a good start.

Young Warrior

Owen is asleep on the couch. He is in such a stage of growth and maturity right now. His 7 years are strained by the wisdom he displays at times. He often melts my heart with his insights and concern for others.

Other times he just acts goofy and I know he’s not ready to move out on his own any time soon.

Today I watched him calm my frustration. His poor tummy had him all twisted up and I had no idea he was sick until he came pummeling up the front steps and threw himself against the front door unable to open it fast enough and crying loudly enough for me to hear him and run to his aid. I got the door open and was able to almost finish the sentence, “What’s wrong?” when he stuck his head as far into the foyer as possible and “spilled the graham crackers” all over my floor.

I was stunned. I knew that I should feel bad for him, that he probably needed some sympathy, but all I could say was, “It’s okay to do that in the grass, you know.”

I spent the next 20 minutes mopping up, wiping down, and inspecting everything within three yards of impact for splashes and smudges. It wasn’t pleasant, but every time I felt the frustration getting the better of me he would come around the corner and say something. First it was, “I ate too much junk food mom. That’s all. I don’t need to eat any more junk food tonight because I had too much at the party on Friday. It’s just really hard to say no. I mean, at first it’s just soooo good and then, well…” He nodded as if I knew exactly what that “well” should mean. Of course I did.

Then as I’m loading my front door mat, his shoes, my pants and socks, his jacket and gloves and a few other splattered items into the washer he came up behind me and announced, “my temperature is 96.7 mom. What does that mean?” He had the ear thermometer and was taking his temperature to make sure he didn’t have a fever.

Then while I was looking for another laundry basket he told me that he’s just going to put his pajamas on since he might want to lay down. When I finished mopping the foyer I found him curled up on the couch, completely out.

A bit of calm and respect came over me as I realized that as aggravating as it is to clean up that mess, to smell that smell, to wish I could have told him sooner to just leave that outside, I was blessed. This little man had taken care of himself. Yes, he still needed me to pick up the messy pieces, but he had looked the situation over and found a way to walk himself into the warmth of clean clothes, a cozy blanket and the rest that he needed without any assistance from me at all.

I am pretty proud of my young warrior tonight.

Thanksgiving Recipe

Owen’s school invited the younger classes to write Thanksgiving recipes for a contest over Thanksgiving week. Owen is out of school this week and will miss out on all the festivities planned for his class, but I encouraged him to write his recipe even though he would not be part of the contest.

My Thanksgiving Recipe – By: Owen Kelso

Get a 100 lb. turkey, cut it up into drum sticks.

Take out the fat.

Get some corn on the cob, take the corn off.

Blend the turkey fat up with the corn.

Get some potatoes, and some butter, cut up the potatoes.

Mix it up with the corn and turkey fat.

Cook it in the oven at 300 degrees.

Grab some pizza to eat separately.

That’s just for people who don’t like the turkey.

It will probably turn out like dough, so we could probably just make cookies out of it.

But that could just be a surprise.

Going Bananas II

Where was I?

Oh yes…Sunday.

On Sunday afternoon Kris and I took the boys and Bananas to the greenway. Owen pushed the monkey in the stroller and I snapped pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. I won’t bore you…with all of them.

It was such a nice day and the scenery was beautiful…but I’ll save some of those pictures for my blog. This is about Owen…mostly.

Our instructions were to bring Bananas back to school on Tuesday. That gave us Monday to print some pictures and create a bit of a narrative for his scrap book. I procrastinated waited until I picked Owen up from school so that he could help. We snipped and cut and got all creative and I came to the conclusion that I will NEVER scrap book in real life. I get way too involved. I didn’t intend to go crazy…but who does?

So here are my very first and very last scrap pages for your viewing pleasure.

All in all, having a fake pet in the house was a fun experience. I know Owen really enjoyed it. He’s a great kid.

Going Bananas

Each of Owen’s classmates gets the opportunity to bring home the class pet for a weekend. Owen has been waiting patiently for his turn and finally Bananas the monkey got to ride home in our van last Friday.

He had a blast.

I had a very busy weekend so I was hoping Owen wouldn’t be too disappointed in my lack of time for pictures and playtime. Part of the deal is doing something unique with Bananas that can then be shared in the scrap book that comes home with him. Bananas has traveled, flown in helicopters, ridden in boats and spun in the washing machine. He has been to the zoo multiple times, he’s gone to ball games and he is faithful to go to church every single week. That’s a lot of pressure.

If you know me, you know I have a tiny little competitive streak in me that likes to find a way to out-unique others. I don’t mean to do it always, sometimes it’s just my innate desire for something different, I see the world as full of opportunities and creativity…God has more ideas than we’ve begun to tap into…ask Him for some. That’s what I do. However, I do admit to now and then trying to push the limits of all things clever for the sheer joy of hearing “how did you come up with that?” I’m not proud of that, but I might as well just admit it. I’m sure some of you already knew that about me. I’ve known some of you way too long.

I don’t like factory produced, available to anyone artwork, or the standard on almost anything. I want uniquely me, uniquely mine and preferably created by me whenever possible. Is that wrong? It sounds a little selfish when I write it out, but somehow I’ve justified it for years. We can discuss it over some homemade bread (my own recipe that I refuse to share), on my hand-painted plates, next to the curtains I designed and on the table I plan to re-make into an entry way art piece. Just kidding.

Anyway…back to Bananas and Owen. Owen played with that monkey like it was a little baby he was watching. He changed it’s clothes and took it with him everywhere. As soon as we got home from school he made sure Bananas had a cookie.

Friday night we went shopping and he made sure that a camera was available at all times so that we could chronicle Bananas’ adventures. Kris took Owen and Bananas to Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Saturday I was hosting a Baby Shower at the church. I knew I would be gone all morning and I also had plans for the evening with a friend. I had this planned long before we knew we were hosting Bananas so it couldn’t be helped. I was afraid that Owen would be stuck at home and have nothing to show for his time with Bananas because of all this but I forgot how creative my husband can be. Saturday morning the boys and Kris played with Legos and Kris built a throne for Bananas to sit in. They played “Hide-n-go-Bananas!” and Kris took pictures of all of it. Even at lunch, he prepared an extra corn dog just for Bananas. They slept together at nap time and watched a movie on the couch together in the afternoon. It wasn’t all that unique in terms of a wildly exciting outing, but it was different than anything Bananas had been photographed doing before. Especially that chair! I was pretty proud of my boy’s daddy for that one.

On Sunday we did NOT take Bananas to church. I set him up to watch the service online. Not really. But there has been a rule put in place by our children’s pastors at church regarding toys brought in to Sunday school. Just too much distraction with so many kids. We didn’t even ask if Bananas could be an exception. I was a little sad by that because I thought a picture of Bananas going down that huge slide in the indoor playground at what I affectionately refer to as “Chuck-E-Church” would be really fun. But we didn’t want to cause any issues, so we left Bananas at the house.

Post to be continued. I need to make dinner.

Outside

Just thought I’d share a couple photos from the last couple months that were taken from the back porch. Foggy mornings and camouflaged visitors were too sweet to pass up.

These outside photos make me think of Owen today. Owen is experiencing his first retreat today. He and all the elementary students at his school are having their annual Spiritual retreat. They hang out outside and talk God. I can’t wait to hear his thoughts on it. He also wants to join the nature club at school. Once a month they go on hikes and learn about plants and animals, insects and more, but they also help around the school with flower beds and gardens. I think he will enjoy it and I love the hands-on learning that goes with that. By next year he can be helping me in the flower beds around our house.

Poor Owen

He has been sorely neglected in regard to keeping his blog up to date. Thanksgiving pictures were last to be posted and surely I have more to say about my eldest boy. Yet…here we are in the throws of summer vacation and I have just now made the time sacrifice to update. I will simply post what is most recent and try to catch up with more in the days to come.

Owen had field day on the 18th of May. They had a medieval theme and the kids sported matching t-shirts as they went through aptly named obstacles and challenges. It was a cold day for students in their t-shirts and shorts, but oh the poor teachers who were sent to the dunking booth. I felt very, very sorry for them.

Here is a glimpse of some of the fun:

The events ended at noon and the little brothers and I stuck around to have lunch with Owen as he had requested. The school day was nearly over and naps were not going to be had anyway so I got permission to take Owen with us a couple hours early. This opportunity provided us time to visit the zoo on a very cool afternoon and we had a blast. We didn’t get very far into the exhibits though before we went home because of Aron. He continuously tripped and fell. We didn’t bring the stroller with us or we would have rolled him around and saw more animals, but after 6 scraped knee incidents I was done.

So…I have posted…but I am not finished…I intend to do better.

Good Stuff

I have a few pictures I wanted to post from Owen’s class Thanksgiving party.

He is reading more and more all the time. He loves to know things, so being able to better interpret things around him is a big deal to him. He sometimes wishes he could be home more because he feels that he misses out on what his brothers are doing, but he would never be satisfied to miss out on the fun at school for long either.

After missing one sight word on his very first spelling test he has scored perfectly on all the rest. It sort of irritated him I think, to make that first mistake and he now realizes the importance of being quizzed on those words a couple of mornings each week before the test.

At church he loves having Ivan in the same Sunday school area that he is in now that Ivan has graduated from the nursery. The three of us walk to Ivan’s room together after dropping Aron off at the nursery and they discuss what color tag they will each get so that they can sit in the same section during the children’s church service.

My favorite thing of late is that Owen is so interested in the Bible. He has asked me to wake him up early so that the two of us can sit down together in the mornings and read the Bible together. So far we have done this about three mornings each week. When we are up very late on a Wednesday night or for some other reason I let him sleep. But I have tried to be faithful to that desire and we usually go through about three verses, breaking them apart and finding the creamy center of God’s sweet message of love for all of us.