Monday, April 7, 2008

Son of a Preacher Man

I admit it. I have a deep seeded phobia that my son will grow up to be stereotypical preacher’s kid. Rotten and proud of it. For centuries, preacher’s kids have walked the fine line between perfection and hellfire and brimstone. I, myself, became a neurotic overachiever with a warped sense of humor and chip the size of a small semi-truck on my shoulder. All in all, I am one of the lucky ones. I won’t and really can’t get into my theory of why preacher’s kids have such a hard time of it. Mostly, it can be summed up in one little ditty from the eighties, “I always feel like somebody’s watching me…”
My son, bless his little heart, is well on the path of becoming one of the Rotten. He is remarkably intelligent. Beautiful beyond words. Charming. And has managed to do all the things that make me want to hide in the choir robe room for the duration of a Sunday Morning service.
For generations, young boys have discovered the thrills of wee-weeing in places other than that marvelous invention, the toilet. I have heard many tales of little fellows dropping their britches and proceed to water MeMaw’s rose bushes. I don’t know why I thought my son would be any different. First, there was the pee pee on the platform at church. One Wednesday night I had stayed home from church, laying in bed with some ailment. When Troy and Josiah came home, Josiah came into the bedroom and proudly informed me, “I went pee pee on the platform.” “Why?” I asked. “Why didn’t you go to the bathroom?” He scratched his baby soft hair and looked at me with those big dark eyes. “It was dark in there.” How could I argue with that? I wouldn’t like to tinkle in a dark room either. It became apparent however; that Josiah also used his pee pee has somewhat of a scientific experiment. One evening, at a ladies meeting, one of our little girls came and informed me that Josiah had wee-wee’ed down the floor drain in the woman’s bathroom. I found Josiah staring in amazement at the floor drain. The look on his face said it all…”What a cool place to use the potty!” A handful of paper towels and a bottle of disinfectant and a pop on his bare bottom soon dissuaded him of trying that little experiment again. Now in Josiah’s defense this happened when he was much younger. He is now a sophisticated 6-year-old.
Preacher’s kids spend hours upon hours at the church. Prayer meetings, work days, revivals…just ordinary “Dad needs to be in the office today” days. The church is our second home. I, myself a PK, am well acquainted with a bottle of pledge and how to dust a pew (work days). Josiah has learned to occupy himself, good or bad, during those times I can’t sit on him. For example, when he was littler and accompanied me to the weekly Morning Prayer meeting Josiah would flit from person to person, gathering any gum and candy he can. He played with the lights, swung imaginary golf clubs and sang to the praise music that comes through the speakers. Maybe all that praying done around him eventually rubbed off.
This week we’ve moved into a season of our lives that is oh-so-common for the pastor’s family. In the next few months we will be searching for a new position. That is the part I don’t like for my little guy. I wish we could offer him more permanency…Being a PK myself I can’t imagine how it must be to graduate from the same school you started kindergarten from. Oh well…I know God has a place for us. It’s my job not to let my uncertainty and conflict about this part of the life God has called us to affect my family.

Perfect Poptarts

I wrote this a few years ago. My little guy is now 6-years-old and in kindergarten. A few things have changed...He's potty trained at least. Some things haven't changed so much...He still loves poptarts and I am still an imperfect parent...:<)

Here is a thought. Perfection is impossible. There is a devotional in my Woman’s Devotional Bible entitled, "Happy are the Adaptable." Ain't that the truth. Most importantly, perfection in parenting is impossible. Again, "Happy Are the Adaptable." I had lofty ideas and opinions before I became a parent. My children would be obedient, well-rounded little individuals. Because of my experience as a teacher and numerous years of college I would have the skills to fill their days with unique learning opportunities. My children would eat plenty of vegetables, be potty trained at an appropriate age, share well with others and of course, be well prepared for kindergarten by age 3. HA, you say! Let me tell you about a day we had earlier this week.Early in the morning I woken up by a little face who comes into the bedroom and asks for a poptart. "There are no pop tarts Josiah. You and Daddy ate the poptarts." Josiah throws his body onto the bed in a show of disgust. "I need a poptart." “There are no poptarts, Josiah. How about cheese toast? You like cheese toast." Another dive across the bed. Is it too early for time out? Eventually we settle on peanut butter toast and chocolate milk. Josiah then proudly sits on the potty, does a tinkle and proceeds to run around the house, without the pull up...while I run after him. "Josiah, put on your pullup. Josiah stop playing with your pee pee." "It's a penis." Josiah informs me.
Later in the morning we have a visit from a Parents As Teachers Instructor. Now if I do say so myself Josiah is a smart little guys. He counts, knows his colors, and can carry on a fairly intelligent conversation...despite me. One by one toys are brought into the living room. After all, we must show off our stuff. During our visit Josiah comes out of his room waving around a pop gun that he found in the basement. "Pow Pow." He says, aiming right for the Instructors head. "Josiah," I say, "Don't point that at people. Give Mommy the gun." "Pow Pow", he says…this time aiming right at my head. The Instructor giggles and I am thankful that she herself is the mother of boys. Later in the day I sit Josiah down at the table with his bucket of crayons and a Wiggles coloring book his daddy bought him. While I am folding laundry and talking to my sister on the phone...Josiah methodically tears every page out of the coloring book. Dozens of papers line the floor of my dining room with our two boy cats and Josiah gleefully running through them like a pile of leaves.At some point I realize that I have neglected to take Josiah to the potty and he is now telling me that it is time to change his pants. So much for consistency. My mom thinks the poor guy is going to have to train himself. It's lunchtime. I fix Josiah a grilled cheese sandwich. "I want a poptart." "Baby, we don't have any poptarts. You and Daddy ate all the poptarts." "I want a poptart." "There are no poptarts, Mommy made you grilled cheese."Another dive onto the floor. Mommy digs out an Oreo cookie to appease the poptart eater.During naptime Josiah wants to watch Veggie Tales. Against the advice of every education professor I have ever had we put a television with a VCR in his room. This TV only will play movies. I put on the Veggie Tales, "Dave and the Giant Pickle". I stretch out beside him on the bed to wait until he goes to sleep. An hour later I wake up from a groggy sleep to find every toy out of the toy box and yellow play dough ground into the Rescue Hero tower.The rest of the day is more of the same. At one point he decides to pour my bottle of water on the couch to clean it off. I spend the next few hours looking like I have wet my pants. Later in the afternoon Josiah takes all of the cushions off of the couch and does cannon balls with them over the hardwood floors. He tells me that Daddy took them off. Poor Daddy. 42 years old and still playing in the couch cushions. It's time for supper. I make Chicken Alfredo and a tossed salad. "I want a poptart." "Josiah, we don't have any poptarts." Another dive onto the floor. Later, while cleaning sticky noodles out of his cup and off of the TV (don't ask) I realize that Josiah has not had a vegetable all day long.
It is later that night. Josiah has stayed up way past the appropriate hour for a two year old. He is snuggling next to me and I am reading "Good Night Moon." Josiah loves this book. We have to read it over and over and over. He leans over and kisses my shirt. "I slobbered on your shirt, Mommy." "Thank you, baby." This busy baby is growing into a thoughtful, intelligent little person. Despite the fact that we might not get a vegetable in during the day. Despite the fact that I now have a colorful mural drawn on my bedroom wall (about his height). Despite the fact that when I got him I forgot all that 125 hours of early childhood education had taught me. I am thankful that God has allowed me the experience of potty training and ground in playdough. How blessed am I? Perfection is not all that it is cracked up to be. I am the proud mother of a fun, busy, smart little boy. This little guy is doing just fine...poptarts and all.
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