Sunday, September 18, 2011

Bookends and Middles

I have two kinds of kids:  Bookends and Middles. Clear as mud?  Let me explain.

I have four children.  Chad is the oldest and Ainsley is the youngest.  They are my Bookends.  I also have my fair-haired blondes Scotlyn and Pierson.  Those two have eyes as blue as the sky.  As neither Peter nor I have blue eyes, we really beat the odds there.  All of my kids are unique (weird) individuals, but since the last one popped out we've noticed some striking parallels with the bookends/middles. 

The middles did all the baby milestones at the same ages.  They had the same sensitivities and a lot of the same psychotic hang ups.  They were often mistaken for twins, despite the two year age difference.  That's probably because Pierson is a hulk of a kid and Scotlyn was a dainty pixie child.  Don't ask if they're twins now, though, because Scotlyn carries a knife. Fifteen of them actually, and she's been watching Swamp People a lot.

And then there are my bookends. They're like Siamese twins separated by nine years. These two are proof that God has a sense of humor and He's not afraid to use it.  We had planned to stop with three kids and decided to have one more.  I guess God decided to show us, huh?  Not that we're complaining.  Life would be awful boring without Itty Bitty Ainie.

When Chad was a baby I was a single mom.  We lived in a tiny, adorable two bedroom house and as Chad walked through it, things would levitate around him and crash to the ground.  We had plastic dinosaurs everywhere.  There were some that I swear I had never seen before that just appeared out of thin air.  And Hot Wheels.  He didn't even have to touch them, and they would fall to the floor.  And tantrums.  Oh my goodness, the tantrums.  And then he'd start and we'd both we wailing away.  I was at my wit's end.

I read James Dobson's book The Strong Willed Child when Chad was 20 months and I thought, "Aha!  Here's the answer!  I must not let this terror control me.  I will boss him around!"

So, the next time he threw a toy on the ground, I very calmly and lovingly (as Dr. Dobson urged) said, "Chad, pick up your toy and put it away."  He laughed at me. Laughed!

Well!  That was a swat with a wooden spoon, right there. By the time the weekend was over, we had spoons in every nook and cranny in that 800 square foot house, but he had picked up that toy.  I. Had. Won. Thank you, Dr. Dobson!  (I'd like to note here that I met Peter just a few months after this episode, so I had reinforcements from here on out.)

It must not have taken very well, though, because I distinctly remember a time when he was nine that he spent the weekend with Nana and Papa, and Peter and I filled three 30 gallon garbage bags of crap in his room.  He came home and threw a hissy fit because "he was gonna clean if we'd given him a chance". Pffftttt.

So how are our bookends similar?  I just cleaned the girls' room.  I filled three garbage bags and two laundry baskets and not one thing was Scotlyn's.  And I only cleared one corner of the room.  As for the boys' room?  I don't think there's a floor anymore, but my sweet Middle has all his clothes neatly put away and his books lined up on his bookshelf.

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