Monday, March 30, 2009


If you were to glance at my nightstand today, the three books you would see are

Teach your child to mind, without losing yours!
Fussbusters at home; an everyday guide to keep children happy
and finally
How to BEHAVE so your Preschooler will too!

Can we tell I've got a problem? Right around the time Bentley was born things went South with mine and Gwen's relationship. Lots of frustration, lots of anger, lots of hurt feelings, and one person left feeling like they were a horrible mother and the other likely feeling like she wasn't much of a daughter. I even caught myself sometimes having to remind myself "I LOVE GWEN". I knew it deep down, but sometimes in the midst of the anger and frustration it was hard to feel. I still knew I would do anything for her, but something had gone horribly wrong in our relationship.

Blaine thought it was interesting that I picked up parenting books. I didn't read any when Gwen was a new baby, things went great. I relied on advice from friends when I was struggling with Bentley. But no one can help me with this problem Gwen and I have. So, I thought I would turn to the experts (or at least to someone's amazon list of the top ten parenting books) and give it a shot.

If anything in this world is worth fighting for, it is my relationship with my daughter.

I've been trying harder to be more patient with Gwen, and I have definitely seen rewards for that.

Yesterday I tried particularly hard. I knew that Sundays are hard days for us. By the time we get out the door for church; ten minutes late with mismatched shoes and uncombed hair, we are all frustrated with one another. So I got up early. We have 11 o'clock church for cryin' out loud, it shouldn't be impossible (keep in mind we have to leave about twenty minutes early to get there on time). I had three hours. I fed the kids breakfast (avoiding the trap I often fall into of making homemade waffles or something, that's a big time suck!). Got them dressed, 100% ready, from head to toe. Then I stuck them in front of a home video while Blaine and I got ready.

It all was going fine until our neighbors dog, who we were pet sitting, ran into the house from the backyard and out the front door just as we were walking out the door to leave. We chased her around (she was just trying to get back to her house) and she was ticked when we caught up to her. So ticked that she pretty much attacked me.

After that fiasco we hopped in the car and still made it to church on time! Amazing. It was a great feeling to get there and not be mad at anyone and to be all groomed properly and what not. Definitely going to try to make that more of a habit!

Then in the afternoon I took Gwen and Ben on a little walk to hunt for rolly pollys. We had a great time just toddling up and down the street.

I was on a roll! Gwen and I hadn't had a bad interaction all day!

At night I wanted to read each child a story and spend some personal time with each of them. I don't know that I have ever read Bentley a story (that's another emotional drama for another day, poor poor middle children, seriously). It was so sweet to sit with him on my lap and read him a story.

Then it was Gwen's turn. I read her a story, and then seeing how sad she was that our special time was over so soon, offered to read her another. We read a Barenstain Bears book about the "wishing star". Then we had a great discussion about wishing stars and I took the opportunity to be mom of the year and take her outside to find a wishing star, recite the little poem and make a wish.

She made her wish quietly and when I could tell that she was saying it outloud in a very hushed wisper, I leaned in close....

"I wish....I wish I wish for a pink and purple teddy bear".

When we got inside she asked Blaine how wishing stars give us things. And Blaine took the time to explain to her about how really we should be doing our best to work for things and then ask Heavenly Father for them.

He came in from saying her personal prayers with her to say that she prayed for a pink and purple teddy bear.


Hmmm. Well it was Sunday night, couldn't really run to the store, but I thought it would be sweet for her to get her wish. So I found a coloring page online and meticulously colored a pink and purple teddy bear, after all, I didn't want her wish to go unanswered.

I left it on the table for her to see during breakfast. I knew it wasn't exactly what she wanted, but I had hoped that it would help her feel loved and perhaps like the wishing star had heard her hopes.

This morning I woke up to the sound of toy boxes being dumped out. I went in to Gwen's room to find a disaster of toys; all the bins had been dumped, closet sorted through, and she looked at me with a big smile and said, "I'm searching for my wish!".

Despite the mess a big grin spread across my face as I led her downstairs. She got so excited when she saw the picture. I've never seen a smile so big. My heart was full, my sacrifice hadn't been in vain. I was making progress in our relationship. Then she studied the picture carefully and said, "this must be a MAP to my real pink and purple teddy bear!" and proceeded to go and look outside for the real deal.

I better keep reading those books eh?


Janssen said...

I have to say, Gwen just totally makes me laugh.

This post makes me want to laugh and cry, Kristi. I think you're terrific.

Bart said...

Ditto to Janssen's comment. And I'll add that this is a thoughtful, well written post. Thanks!

Gretchen said...

I know it won't help much, but remember that I'm so there. I know how you feel ;) Let me know if you have any epiphanies so I can try them out!

Laurie said...

Totally know how you feel. Who knew 4 year olds were mini teenagers. I think that sharing special time makes a big difference, so way to go! And good luck finding the right teddy bear. However, if there's anyone who can do it, it's you! you can find anything on the internet!

Allison said...

That's the cutest thing ever! I think you're a great mom, Kristi. James and I are always talking about how impressed we are with how you and Blaine interact with your kids.

Tom and Tami said...

At least she didn't ask for a real pony or something.
Gwen reminds me a lot of my Lily.

Joe(y) Speredon said...

Wow Kristi! I'm a pretty manly guy and that story brought a tear to my eye. You are a great mom.

julianne orth said...

I have read a few parenting books myself, me too out of desperation for some sanity. I really liked the supernanny book myself. me and sydney have butted heads too, i feel bad for the oldest child cuz they get to experience us figuring out this whole parenting thing, I think that giving each child alone time is important though. madi has had a hard time lately and I think she just needs more mommy time, but that usually ends up with kyler crying and me holding him, but you just do the best you can. I think people like you and me that have three kids that close together are just insane though, that is what it comes down too, so just hang in there! ( I just found out rochelle is pregnant with twins.... so try having five kids and the oldest will be five! that will test your sanity!)

Bret said...

I believe that your relationship is stronger and more positive than you let on! Mom said it was so delightful to spend a week with you guys...she said she only saw love and joy between the whole gang.

Aimee said...

I think it's okay for kids to not get everything they ask for. I think you are doing the right thing to really explain the wishing star. What will happen if you give her the bear and then she goes out and wishes again for something else. Then what happens if she starts wishing EVERY DOGGONE NIGHT. You will be broke and very tired.