Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Bull in my China Shop

As I was making my afternoon coffee I realized that there are mud streaks all over my white kitchen cabinets. What in the world? I then vaguely remembered Hudson proudly telling me that he would get himself cleaned up before naps. Sure enough, he must have used his muddy hands and feet to climb to the counter and wash up. I am confused as to how the mud is on 5 cabinets but I'm sure there's reason.

Let me be clear that my house is far from a China Shop. We believe in durable, kid-friendly, washable interiors. Now that we've completed our home study, it's also extremely safe. We have a hideous baby gate around the fireplace (too bad we waited until the day after Hudson tried to warm his fleece blanket directly on the fireplace. Much smoke, a hole filled blanket, and tears later, we think the lesson was learned), we have a locked medicine cabinet, outlet covers galore, and a fire escape plan in place (Hudson is aching to try it by pushing a screen out of a window).

Hudson, my four year old bull, is not intentionally reckless (usually) and not malicious (mostly) but things have been happening in his wake.

Yesterday in an attempt to find a remote control car, he quickly dumped out 3 large bins of toys. After they were strewn about the house I reminded him that every bin dumped needs to be picked up by the dumpee. "No fair! It's too much! Argh!"
Most of the time I help the kids when they willingly clean, but he has been warned about the massive dumping of toys often in the past week. "Sorry Hudson, it's all you. When you are finished picking up you may choose something else to do."

It took a half hour for him to complete the task between distractions, giving up and laying prostrate on the floor for sympathy, and the whining...oh, the whining.

As soon as he was done he sauntered into the kitchen where Darla was doing a craft with beads. In an attempt to catch her attention and snatch a bag of beads off the counter, he spilled them all.
Another half an hour later the job was done and he was exhausted. Somewhere in there he broke an arrow (more tears). I sent him outside to play (but soon had to discipline him for peeing in the gravel where kids play instead of the designated 'pee tree').

This morning I was hoping for a fresh start for my bull. I was in my room applying makeup when Darla's motherly voice was heard, "Now look! HUDSON! You broke it!"
Do I even want to know?
After a few deep breaths I came into the living room to find a lamp broken on the floor.
"Hudson was climbing on the half wall and being an animal and he knocked that lamp and your computer and he broke it! I know it's broke!"

A broken lamp is expected with a four year old, even in a "child proof" house. Unfortunately it's the third one he's broken this year. The first one was as he reenacted the scene from Lady and the Tramp where the Siamese cats destroy Jim Dear & Darling's house. Were they not thinking of pre-school boys when they made that movie!? Fortunately I stopped him before he ripped my curtains.
The second lamp was broken while innocently stacking books on a nightstand and knocking it over.
Now this one.
More unfortunately, I have yet to replace the others. I now have 3 lamps on my list.

He went to play the drums and I made some lunch. When I peeked my head around the corner I saw him with a drumstick in one hand eyeing the side of the piano (might it make a resounding thump if hit by a drumstick?) and promptly sent him outside again.

I love raising boys. I know that the Lord often uses little wild at heart boys to teach their mothers to hold things (like china?) loosely, to ensure that we have spaces for creative play, to keep us thinking outside the box, and to make us fall in love with muscles again.
I just hope it stays summer forever because while my house remains little, my bull will not... and I can't quite imagine a winter's worth of bucking.


  1. Shilo,
    This sounds SO like Kaleb! I love the "pee tree" what a great idea, and one we will implement! I too have a small house and hold nothing dear anymore. However, I too have been known to yell, "Outside!"

  2. Hang in there. I have two lamps in my entire house, both in the master bedroom, and one of them was carefully patched back together with super glue. Maybe I'll celebrate my last son's graduation by buying lamps again!

  3. The joys of raising boys! As Everett gets bigger some things will become easier and some more difficult. At least when they have each other to entertain and keep themselves busy, outside will become a much more enticing place. But the flipside is this, practicing your faith to an even greater degree. Boys in packs come up with ideas that send us Mamas over the edge - parachuting off barn roofs, Tarzan swings in the most unlikely places, questionable tree forts, sword fighting with anything they can pick up (sometimes those "tools" you would really like to keep whole), broken bones and stitches and bloody noses. But they do it all together and create a bond that makes a Mama's heart so incredibly proud as they become young men who begin to also flex their spiritual muscles into maturity and interdependency.
    Although I have frequently questioned God's sanity in giving me a pack of four boys, I wouldn't trade them for anything - along with the many trips to the Procedure Room at the doctor's office, the emergency room, and the casts. I love my boys and I love how the multiply because they like to gather here at my house.
    I am certain it will be the same at yours!
    And we do have our girls, too. While they do come with their own challenges, at least they help to balance the hormone scale and remind us that we are still feminine and those boys need to understand the differences.
    Peace and grace are yours in abundance! I love how you walk in them!

  4. I had to laugh as I read Lauree's comment.

    While I have my 6 pack of boys, I also have my 6 pack of girls. And ... it has been my GIRLS that have ended up with many more broken bones and stitches than my boys. It was my 24 y.o. daughter that started the stick sword fight with her 17 y.o. brother this past week. And ... those teen girl hormones have been MUCH harder to deal with than the boy hormones at our house.

    I think it has more to do with personality than with gender. Look at my 2 older boys ... couldn't be any more different in personality. Gregg was the one that got our first concussion ... the one who put nails into our neighbor's car tires ... the one who broke lamps ... Jeremiah? Not so much. He is definitely "all man", but not the "wild & crazy" kind of man that his older brother (or dad) is.

    Now, for the girls ... Carissa broke her leg jumping out of a tree (I think?), while Lindsey broke her arm falling out of a hay loft. Lindsey went to the ER after a game of hide & seek; while Hosanna got stitches after rough-housing in the rec. room.

    Oh yes ... just remembered ... it is Lindsey that tore her ACL playing ultimate frisbee, and Carissa that tore both ACL's (hurdling and playing soccer). So, yea, my girls are definitely not the "quiet, sit at home and read" type.

    I have learned to embrace each and every personality that the Lord has brought into our family. I do all that I can to teach and to train, while at the same time understanding that some will be more naturally compliant, while others will push the boundaries. Some will be more sneaky; while others wouldn't ever consider doing something sneaky. Some will break things; while others are naturally more gentle and careful. Either way ... God has blessed us each with the children that He designed for our families. He will give us the wisdom and grace to parent them as He directs.


    Laurel :)