If you have kids, then you will know that just because they are “family,” that does not mean they are going to like each other all the time or get along. My two youngest girls have a love/hate relationship. They can go from loving each other profusely and being extremely helpful to one another to wanting to gouge each other’s eyes out, seemingly in the blink of that eye.
These two are 9 (almost 10) and 7. They have completely different body types. What does this have to do with anything? As one who grew up being smaller than a younger sibling, I’ll tell you, body type means a lot as a kid. How would you feel, getting hand-me-downs from not just your older sister, but your younger one as well?
Middle dd, J, has my body type. She has always been my “mini-me.” In all seriousness, the only time she was ever on the growth charts was when she was born. Really. At 7 lbs, 4 ozs, she was a pound smaller than baby #2, but heavier than baby #1.
Fortunately for me, my ped was willing to listen to me and accept my proof (my own growth charts, which were a mirror image of hers) and after a “mandatory” iron test when she was 6 months old, he was able to say her weight was not a concern. At two years old, we finally got the green light to turn her forward-facing in her car seat even though she was still 19 lbs. She was longer, though, that the guidelines for the car seat. Do you know that it was literally impossible to find (at that time) a rear-facing car seat for a long baby under 20 lbs??
Along comes baby #4, weighing in at 8 lbs, 14 ozs. While she didn’t fit in many of the newborn clothes, she wasn’t gargantuan, either. Normal growth; normal weight gain.
But in comparison to dd #2? People still think they are twins, even though they don’t look much alike, past the blond hair and blue eyes. They are, however, maybe an inch or two different in height. They wear the same size shoes, and the same size clothes. While it’s hard to find clothes that don’t fall off dd #2 (because she is skinny), it’s usually not a problem to roll up pant legs.
And this, I think, has fed into the frustration dd #2 has felt for a really long time. If you remember being a kid, you remember how fast you wanted to grow up, and how important it was to be recognized as your own person. Well, at least that’s how it was with me. 😆 I was tired of being small, and people thinking I was considerably younger than I was, just based on size.
Much of the time, my two youngest girls get along relatively well. You may recall that a few years ago, we tried selling our house. Notice the key word: tried. That was right about the time our housing market here started to slow down. Once summer came, I had *zero* interest in trying to sell the house and worry about keeping it ready to show while having 4 kids summering. Not gonna happen.
The primary issue with this house, of course, is space. The layout is fine; there are parts of the house I totally love. We’ve been here a while. So long, actually, that we hadn’t actually started homeschooling yet. This is our 9th year of homeschooling. We knew, moving in, that we were losing some storage space, but didn’t think it would be a big deal. Ya, it’s a BIG deal. I don’t have enough space; and always need more bookshelves. We also didn’t have 4 kids when we moved in, either.
And I have all three girls sharing a bedroom. While you recover from that shock, let me add that their bedroom is decent size and they have a walk-in closet. As my oldest nears full-fledged teenhood (she’ll be 13 in a few months), the issue over space is a constant, all-out battle. She really needs her own room. With the housing market the way it is, I don’t see a move happening any time soon. If the market starts to move at some point, we would, of course, try selling again. But at this point, I can’t handle having the house on the market for a year (or more.)
The bulk of the issue that my older two girls have is with the youngest and her stuff. Our philosophy has always been that at the younger ages, kids NEED a lot of play; that their learning happen primarily through play. Can you see where this is going? 😆
Keeping that one room really clean (read my Stuff post to see what I’m talking about) is an ongoing, losing battle. The conflict always revolves around whose “stuff” it is, primarily between the two younger girls, the youngest always getting the brunt of it. And while that’s not entirely untrue, the room still needs to be cleaned.
I am completely sick and tired of the arguing. Much of the time, the arguing over cleaning the room spills over into everything else. While we don’t tolerate name-calling, that doesn’t mean it’s not happening. (If you are a sibling, you probably know what I’m talking about.)
And it is frustrating. And maddening.
Kids these ages, even if they know the particulars (which mine do) of good conflict resolution (as in: “when you do “x”, I feel “y”), can often get into all-out war.
And it is frustrating. And maddening.*sigh*
Some days are better than others, but this is something are constantly “working on.” While there are things that may work for a short amount of time, I haven’t found the “magic bullet” that will work consistently long-term.
Yesterday, though, I hit upon something that I think might work, if anything will. The bonus is, it has nothing to do with *me.* Yay!
You may recall that we do a weekly Bible study, where I have been in the children’s department for several years. Last year, I graduated to the homeschooling class, as my youngest moved up. I anticipate being there for a while. 😆
This year, we are studying Acts. Acts is about the spread of (the church) Christianity, post crucifixion and resurrection; the acts of the Apostles via the Holy Spirit. (Ya’ll know there is more to it, but that’s a general summary) Chapter 2 is titled, “The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost.”
Part of what I love about this particular Bible study is that every study takes you all over the Bible. So, this week, we went to Galatians, to learn about the “fruits of the Spirit.” Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.” (NIV)
As part of our conversation, we talked with the kids quite a bit about the fruits of the Spirit. Not only did we talk about what they were (see the verse above), but to think about concrete examples of how they show/demonstrate each one. What fruit of the Spirit are they most like? What ones can they work on? My challenge to them was to think about fruits (of the Spirit) in particular that they could work on during the week.
Can you see where I’m headed? 😆 What’s interesting to me is that my two younger girls were still thinking about this long after we came home. Hmmmmm. Fruits of the Spirit.
“To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit….” (1 Corinthians 12:8) “All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.” (1 Corinthians 12:11)
Fruits of the Spirit…. gifts of the Spirit………
Last night I had a dream. If you’re anything like me, your brain doesn’t stop, and actually works through the night, resulting sometimes in really bizarre dreams. Last night’s dream wasn’t so much bizarre as utilitarian.
I dreamt of a tree. On that tree, there were fruits that could be stuck on at the end of each day. Each child (in my case, my two younger girls) had a tree. At the end of each day, they could stick on the fruits of the Spirit they consistently demonstrated throughout the days.
Ya’ll know I’m not crafty, right? 😆 While I have visions dancing in my head (’cause a plum is a fruit, too!), making a huge tree with appropriate fruits of the Spirit to stick on isn’t something I can throw together quickly. Or maybe even at all. 😆
What I did find, though, was an image of a “Fruit of the Spirit” tree. I haven’t completed the whole thing, but you can see what I’m trying to do.
Each day has a tree. I need to make a header for each child using the verse, which tells what each fruit of the Spirit is.
At the end of each day, they can write in below and color each fruit they think they demonstrated the whole day.
Maybe a little “competition” to be “kind,” “love”(ing) and have “self-control” can be a good start in working on developing better attitudes and “patience.”
Maybe a visual reminder will give them pause and get them thinking about how they want to act? Maybe I need to just totally turn this one over; you know, “let go and let God….”
I’ll keep you posted!