“They Love Him.”

On Friday I walked into Owen’s classroom with him so that I could have one more face to face reminder with his teacher that someone else would be picking him up. I carried his booster seat to his room for him and as we walked in he was immediately surrounded by his classmates and literally screams of “Owen! Hey, Owen’s here!” went up as he made his appearance. I had started to speak to his teacher but the bellows were an interruption and I looked at the small crowd and then back to his teacher with questions in my eyes. She smiled knowingly, and said softly, “They love him.”

I had no idea I was escorting the Kindergarten rock star to his room.

It made Kris and I laugh when I told him about it and I was relieved a bit. The first few weeks of school, Owen talked mainly about the kids who wouldn’t play with him and I began to wonder if he had been singled out as the weird kid or something. I know kids can be cruel and I didn’t want to have to deal with that sort of emotional crud that can happen to kids. My response to his hurts in those first few days was to let him know I hurt for him, but to assure him that letting those hurts fester would do him no good.

We talked about confidence, about whose love and attention are most important and how to portray himself around others. I don’t think he had to have a pep talk, I think he just needed to get to know people better. I knew things had gotten better for him, but I had no idea what a rise to stardom had occurred.

Kris said that now we’ll have to talk to him about the great responsibility that comes with great power.

Six!

Owen turned six on Tuesday. We took him out for breakfast before school and he limped his way into his class soon after. Yes, I did say limped. He jumped off of something up in the playroom the night before and landed on his foot in such a way that he must have damaged something. I am confident that nothing is broken but there is definitely a bit of trauma going on in there. Nothing swelled, nothing turned purple, or even pink…it just hurt. Honestly, it reminded me of when I tore the ligaments in my foot when I was young. There wasn’t a lot of physical evidence for anyone to look at and feel sorry for me, just a LOT of pain. However, I couldn’t put any weight on my foot for a week and he seemed to be much better in a few days so I haven’t taken him to the doctor. I need to schedule his annual check-up and will definitely mention it then.

He had a nice birthday. Grandpa was there in the morning and went to breakfast with us. I took a bunch of chocolate, chocolate chip cookies in for his class. His Grandma and Mema showed up that evening and he had chili for dinner. We waited until Thursday to have his party because a) We rented the church playground and Thursdays are better for that in terms of fewer other things going on in the building and b) Grandma and Mema could be there. Unfortunately Grandpa couldn’t be there, but they got to spend some fun time together before hand. I’m still hoping he’ll come back to Nashville after his trip to Oklahoma. He said it depends on how homesick he is. 🙂

Thursday finally came and almost everything was ready. I forgot two main ingredients to a good birthday party. 1) the camera and 2) candles. Pretty crazy huh? All I can say is…I had a lot on my mind. I did have my little camera with me and Kris’ mom took a few with her camera.

He wanted a Lego party and I just knew that I could make him a cake that looks like a Lego block. The closer we got to party time though, the more intimidating it all became. I finally decided on putting Lego blocks on top of a simple cake and it worked just fine. He loved it. I had a slew of ideas for a Lego themed party that could have been really fun. All of them required some time and money though and he wanted a lot of people. I gave him the choice of cool games or a big crowd and he went with crowd as I expected. He loves people around him. So we took some of the large Lego blocks we have and after pizza and cake Kris went and hid six green Legos in the playground for the kids to find and win prizes. I picked up some toys and such in the $1 section at Target and they enjoyed it. That was pretty much all we had time for anyway.

There were around 40 people there and the playground was a big hit with his friends who had never been there before. We had a lot of help with everything and I’m so thankful for family and friends and neighbors who are ready to roll their sleeves up and be a part of things.

I don’t see a lot of difference in Owen so far in the transition to age six, but I did overhear something this morning that made me smirk a bit.

“That was when I was five Ivan…I’m six now and I don’t like that anymore.”

Why I Don’t Need Mommy

Owen…is such a wonderful thinker. The other day in the van he said something about his cousin Hope preferring to ride with her family in their van instead of ride with him in our van. I said that sometimes little girls just want to be with their mommies. He said that little boys do too sometimes. I thought that was sweet but said, “yeah, but you wouldn’t want to be with me all the time, right?”

Ivan made me laugh when he piped up. “I don’t want to be with you all the time.”

Owen thought it was mean but I encouraged it. I explained that it’s good to be independent and learn to take care of themselves because I won’t be around forever and when they become adults they will have to take care of themselves. We talked about that for a while but after a bit of silence Owen added one more thing to the conversation.

“Mommy, I know why else we don’t need to be with you all the time.”

I asked him why and he replied, “God.”

I smiled. If there is one thing I want my kids to know it’s that God is ALL they need. His love is greater than my love, His resources deeper, His knowledge more profound, His truth more dependable and even His presence more tangible.

Owen has heard me say before and he understands, even at not quite six, that he needs God more than he needs me. It may not be a daily, applicable truth for him yet, but when He needs that truth to stand up and take on his questions, fears and sorrows it will be ready in him.

Observation

The other day Owen approached me in the kitchen with an observation. He communicated the fact that he’d finally figured something out.

He said, “Mommy, when I’m down here Ivan and Aron are always playing upstairs and they aren’t crying. But when I go up there and play with them, then they are always whining and crying.”

I had already made this observation some time ago and had tried to subtly give him advice on dealing with his younger brothers, encouraging him to not always push his agenda through and to speak to them with respect. He is gaining understanding in this area but doesn’t apply it on a daily basis by any means. Hoping though, that he had possibly moved from simple observation in this matter to an actual conclusion about his own behavior I asked, “What do you think we should do about that?”

He replied, “I should just stay down here.”

Last Day

Today is the last day of Pre-School.


Today


August 2008

I took some pictures to show some of the change in him and I think the biggest indication of change is when you look at the shorts he is wearing in today’s picture and realize they are the same shorts from the picture in August. His legs have definitely grown.

The little brothers are certainly bigger too.

Owen really enjoyed school. He had a few issues that we have tried to address and take care of. I really think that as he matures, he will desire to change those things himself. He has learned so much. I can honestly say that he knows how to read. He doesn’t pick up anything and read it, but he knows how to do it and he will soon be buried in books I am sure. I expect that this summer will be a lot of fun with trips to the library and trips out of town as well. We will be sure to see a lot of changes in the next couple months and Kindergarten will be an exciting adventure as August approaches.

He is getting more and more brave in almost everything. The way he plays, the things he says, the concepts he grasps are broadening and more daring. I like to see him grow in his independence. And I love that he still likes to sit in my lap now and then.

We gave this address to his school friends and his teacher so I am going to try to keep our summer updated here. I’m also hoping that as the days progress I can dictate some of Owen’s thoughts onto this blog. I believe that we will soon see a transition on this blog from my observations to Owen’s own rendition of what’s going on.

Conviction

Owen came home from church Wednesday night with a paper plate decorated with foam stickers and a bright orange rectangle cut out with the word “CONVICTION” printed on it. He told me it is the word for the month. The teachers are explaining what it means to be convicted and yesterday Owen was feeling it first hand.

I’ll back up to Wednesday and explain that he had brought home from pre-school a note on an unfinished worksheet and his teacher had talked to me as well about his lack of motivation to finish his work. I could tell that she was somewhat frustrated and he seemed completely unaffected by our attempts to get him to do his work.

That afternoon I talked to him about the importance of finishing and the practice of being focused and not allowing himself to be distracted by the other kids or whatever may be going on around him. He had this problem earlier in the school year and we thought we had corrected it, but he seems to be falling into it again. He didn’t seem to respond to anything I said and I felt like I was wasting my breath.

The next morning I decided it was just going to have to be brought down to brass tacks and I told him in the van on the way to school that if he didn’t finish his work at school he would get a spanking when he got home. He heard that.

When I picked him up that afternoon his teacher patted his back and looked at me smiling. She said, “much better today” and I knew that he must have been more focused. I was glad. However, when I followed him out the door of the class room he was looking at me with an expression that may forever be burned into my mind. His eyes looked sorrowful and pained. He was just staring at me almost expectantly and wouldn’t respond when I asked him if he were okay.

I asked him several questions, even questioning whether or not he got his work done. He looked right at me and with that same painful expression said that he had finished his work. I continued to investigate his troubled look and he finally said that his eye was hurting. His eyes did look puffy and I attributed all of what I was seeing to an irritation in his eye.

He seemed fine except for being a bit sensitive to things. I attributed that to being very tired and made him take a nap. This upset him greatly as Tuesdays and Thursdays I normally let him stay up. But we were looking at a full schedule with leadership dinner at church that night which always means a late night and I didn’t want him to be completely useless for school today. I put his brothers down first and then took a book into the guest room where he was lying down and I read him a story to calm him down so he could sleep. He responded very well and after the story I laid down beside him and we talked for just a few minutes. We were quiet for a little while and suddenly a confession came.

“Mom, I’m sorry I told you I got my work done. I’m sorry I said I finished my work.”

I questioned all of this, and he confessed to lying to me. He confessed to having unfinished work in his backpack and then telling me a lie to keep from getting a spanking. I could see the hurt draining from his face and I wanted to just say…”it’s okay…don’t worry about it,” but I didn’t.

I thanked him sincerely for being honest with me and then told him that he would still have to have that spanking for not finishing his work. I hugged him and told him that we would take care of it after his nap. He slept hard. Guilt is exhausting.

I went downstairs and looked in his folder. He had done all the important work and there was even a note from his teacher emphasizing his good work. The only thing that was not finished was a coloring sheet with no activity associated with it. Kris and I talked about it and decided to just make sure and talk to him about the entire situation and not give him a spanking for not finishing a coloring sheet. His teacher had even told me that coloring was something she didn’t care too much about and that if they were inclined not to do it she wasn’t going to require them to do it.

When he woke up we sat and talked about lying and how it made him feel. He admitted his pain in telling a lie and the subsequent relief in confessing it. I was so proud of him, and told him so. I explained the difference in schoolwork that was important to finish and focus on and work that wasn’t as important and then talked to him again about finishing. This time I explained that the reason he felt bad about lying was because Jesus is in his heart and Jesus wants to live in a place that is pure and good. It makes Jesus uncomfortable to live with a lie and that’s why He convicts us to confess those things. If we want to show Jesus love we live lives that are good and right. As he has expressed how much he loves his teacher I used the same reasoning with his school work. I told him that because he loves Ms. Marilyn he could show her that love by being a good and obedient student. When he focuses on his work, he is showing Ms. Marilyn that he loves her and respects her. He nodded and I’ll be interested to see if there is a change in his focus.

Logic

The other day I thought it was funny to hear Owen’s logic. He has noticed my tendency to be a bit more lax about the family diet on Saturdays. I allow them more sugary cereal in the morning and dessert is more available after meals, etc. So on Monday morning he approached me in the kitchen and said…”mommy, what if we didn’t have any healthy food to eat.” I started to answer but as I was forming a sentence he interrupted and said in all practicality…”I guess we couldn’t eat until Saturday.”

Loud and Helpful

This Owen quote came from the back of the van yesterday and I’m not sure what prompted his observation. I suspect it may have been a comment I may have made about him being loud and that it wasn’t helpful to me. I say things like that.

“Mom, loud people can be helpful too. I saw some of those big kids, ya know, the ones that look like parents, and they were being loud. They were with their teacher and she dropped something and one of them picked it up for her. So, that’s how I know that loud people can be helpful too.”