Friday, December 5, 2008

Sometimes It's Hard to be a Duck!

A few years ago, the kid's went through this phase where everything they were doing was getting on each other's nerves, which then lead to them feeling the need to tattle. It was driving me crazy!! This word picture came to mind, and this is what I told them...

"What happens when you put a sponge in the water? It soaks it up and holds it inside, doesn't it? Not everything is like that though. Did you know that God made ducks in a way that when they get in the water, the water doesn't soak into their body's, but it rolls right off of them. Pretty neat, huh?"

I then proceeded to tell them they had a choice. If one of their siblings was doing something that was bothering them, but wasn't a sin, they could act like a sponge-soaking it up and holding it in, or start acting like a duck...letting it roll off their backs. Even to this day if they're arguing or tattling, sometimes all I have to ask is, "Are you being a sponge or a duck?" :)

Well, everyone gets a chance to practice what they preach, right? Yesterday was one of my many opportunities!

Paul and I take turns going on dates with each of our kid's to give them some one-on-one attention...and last night was Noah's turn. He wanted to go to Wal-Mart for a couple of reasons. 1. He knew he could get a treat (around $3) and 2. He wanted to buy a small gift for Christmas for his brother and sister. While Noah may struggle with reading, he has math down!!!! He can add, multiply, count change, etc. in a heartbeat...sometimes much faster than Jamie, Ericson, or even Paul and myself! It's kind of funny to watch. Anyhow! He had been busy calculating, adding, exchanging what was in his hand for a better deal on the shelves, etc. and finally had made his decision. As I mentioned in a previous post, he has a sugar craving unlike any other child I've ever known! Let me tell you, that boy chose quite a few junk food items for $3! He had peanut butter bars, strawberry wafers, gum, cookies, etc. While waiting in line to check out, we saw a teacher from the kid's school coming in the door. Noah immediately thrusts his arm-load up in her face and says, "Look what all I got!!! My mom lets me eat this all the time!" I must admit, I felt the need to clarify, but due to all the people coming and going, it made it next to impossible as we parted ways.

Lesson in humility #1.

We then go to HEB so I can pick up some items for a Christmas party tonight. Noah loves pushing the cart, but he took off through the crowded store, whipping the cart in and out while hollering, "This is like a real video game!!!" Keeping the safety of the other shoppers in mind, I then proceeded to push the cart myself.

Lesson in humility #2.

We went down the aisle where the chips are so I could buy the corn chips that go with my shrimp dip...which also happened to be directly across the aisle from the alcohol. As I stopped to decide which chips to purchase, Noah rounded the corner, and exclaimed (quite loudly), "No! We are NOT buying beer!!!!" And then runs down to the end of the aisle...leaving me surrounded by lots of looks on humored strangers faces.

Lesson in humility #3.

Lastly, we were on our way to the check out line, when Noah looks in my cart and asks, "What are you making for the party tomorrow?" Before I get a chance to answer, he said, "Oh, I know!!!! Only what you know how to make! Chips & hot sauce!"

Lesson in humility #4.

For the past 7 years Paul & I have been questioned, judged and criticized a lot in regards to our son, his behavior and the way we parent him. And if you don't know me, you're likely to think along the same lines simply by reading this story...7 years ago, I would have too. But there's more beneath the surface...Noah is handicapped. His handicap may not be visible to the naked eye, but it's there. If you're reading this, you've either seen pictures of him or know him personally and you can attest to the fact that he's a cute, boisterous, inquisitive, stubborn, hyper, funny, bright, "normal" looking 8-year-old kid. But in reality, his brain has been damaged by the alcohol that was in his birth mother's system while she was pregnant. Noah struggles with Fetal Alcohol Effects. These are but a few of the symptoms of FAE and will affect him for the rest of his life:

The most serious characteristics of FASD are the invisible symptoms of neurological damage that results from prenatal exposure to alcohol, These symptoms can occur in FAS and FAE:

· Attention deficits
· Memory deficits
· Hyperactivity
· Difficulty with abstract concepts
· Poor problem solving skills
· Difficulty learning from consequences
· Vulnerable and naive
· Stunted social development
· Immature behavior
· Emotional outbursts
· Poor impulse control
· Poor judgment

You can read more on this website:

Before we were blessed with adopting Noah, I used to look at all misbehaved kids and assume it was the result of poor parenting. When we were younger,my parent's always told us to coat our words in chocolate because we never knew when we'd have to eat them! ;) Let's just say I've become a Chocoholic! Ha-ha!! :)

You would think I would have my "Duck performance" down pat and memorized, letting things just roll off my back. But truth be told, sometimes I still act like a sponge...allowing certain behaviors, looks, worries and fears of the future to soak in. I know in my heart that the only opinion that truly matters is that of my Heavenly Father, but occasionally I still feel compelled to give explanations or excuses to the outsiders looking in, in a vain attempt to keep myself from being embarassed. Like tonight, I wanted to tell everyone that we really do NOT allow the kid's to eat junk food every day & he did NOT have the free reign to eat it all in one sitting, that we do NOT in fact keep alcohol in our home, that we do NOT condone or make excuses for his behavior, that I DO know how to cook...NOT just make chips and hot sauce...that we DO discipline him (and our other two kids as well)...and on and on it goes.

God tells us in His word (Psalm 127:3) that children are a gift from the Lord...Period! They don't become a gift once they learn to behave, comply with all the rules, stop arguing with their parent's, make their beds without being told, stop smearing toothpaste all over the bathroom mirror, willingly put on underwear every morning without being forced, stop using inappropriate language, stop lying or exaggerating with nearly every story told, etc. It says, "Children are a gift from the Lord."

Present tense.

No matter your circumstances...whether you're dealing with a difficult child, personal insecurities, financial strains, etc, I just want to encourage you to stop looking around you for approval, and look up!

Last but not least, learn to be a makes the puddles in life a lot more bearable!


Lori said...

Oh how I need this reminder!! I worry way too much what others think. I have learned more in this last year that we have to do what we believe is best for our kids and family. Period. And that I don't "owe" anyone any explanation for our decisions. Thanks again for reminding me to be a DUCK!!

Love you!

Bethany said...

It's a continual struggle I know, and sometimes it's hard to see for yourself, but I can see feathers sprouting on you, Lori! ;) Hang in there!