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Eagle Mountain, Utah, United States
My name is Lauren, and I live in the bubble. I am wife to Marshall, the biggest BYU fan in the world; and mother to Carly, our big girl, and Wes, our wild man, and Calvin, our new addition. I graduated BYU with a degree in Social Work, and I went forth to serve at LDS Family Services. I like scrapbooking and going out to eat at nice restaurants. I am fascinated by new cleaning products at the grocery store, so I have to shop in wide circles around the perimeter to avoid the temptation to buy. I love chocolate.

Monday, March 28, 2011

You know what I can't wait for?

Carly to get older. 
But only for one reason- Girl Scout Cookies.


I live in the land of large families; in a state with, most likely, the MOST 8-year-old girls per capita.  But somehow I don't know a single Girl Scout. 

How can this be?!
I don't know. 

And usually I don't think about or care that I don't have any 8-year-old girls in my social circle.  Except for today.  When I've got a terrible craving for Girl Scout Cookies, and I realize that cookie season has come and gone, and no one showed up at my door soliciting.  And then I nearly tear up, because how could I have missed yet another cookie season?  How did I not work harder to make 8-year-old friends this last year?  I had these same feelings of regret last March!

And, I mean, it's not just my loss.  It's really a loss for the Girl Scouts of America too.  Did any of you sell cookies?  Do you remember those color coded order forms?

If a Girl Scout were to come to my door, I would make hers look like this. No joke.

How can that not be win-win?

 So now, I wait.  For Carly to hurry up and get old enough to sell cookies.  I still remember when I sold cookies, and my mom was the cookie coordinator (is that a real title?) and our living room was 3 feet buried under cases and cases of cookies. 

Like Christmas. 

Someday, I'll be that cookie coordinator mom.  I can't wait.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Death and three-year-olds

As I mentioned previously, we are reading the Book of Mormon with Carly. It's been going great and has given opportunity to learning more about many life and gospel topics. Sin, repentance, baptism, temples, obedience. It always surprises me which topics or stories spark her interest.

The topic that has had the greatest impact on her?  Death.

It all started when we got to the point where Lehi died. Carly was devastated.
"Nephi's daddy died?! Noooo!"  I explained that, yes, Lehi died. Everyone eventually died.

Wrong way to go.

"Are you going to die?" Yes, Carly, someday I'll die.
Full blown tears and sobbing. "I don't want you do die!!"
Don't worry, I won't die any time soon. People get old before they die.
"Old like grandpas?" Yes, yes! I'll be a grandma first before I die.
A little more hysterical "Will my grandma and grandpa die?"
Ummmm.... yes, someday they'll die. But not anytime soon.
Sobbing. "I don't want them to die!!"
Honey, everyone dies someday. It's a normal part of life.
"Will my daddy die?! I don't want my daddy to die.  I love him too much!"
Yes, he will die too, but not until you are much older. And when we die it's so happy! We get to go to heaven and see all of our family who has already died.
"I'M GOING TO DIE??" Fully distressed at this point.
Yes, someday you'll die too, but not for a very long time. And dying isn't scary or sad.

We hugged it out and I thought that conversation was over. I was wrong.

She has brought up death and questioned Marshall and I repeatedly in the last month whether we are still going to die. Always hoping we'll just lie to her. We've repeatedly acknowledged her fears and then reminded her how normal death is, and how our family is forever so we'll see each other again soon after death. And we've talked about life after death. And about temples and eternity. About how this life is 3 parts, and we are in the 2nd part now, and how it wasn't sad when we were born and left the pre-existence. We've compared it to going on a trip and being reunited later. And really done everything we can to calm her anxiety and not traumatize her any further.

But she still brings it up randomly, and bursts into tears at the thought of one of us or her grandparents dying.

So today we're finishing up 2nd Nephi, and we get to a part about Christ dying. It was just awful. Worse than Lehi dying. "Jesus DIED?! Waaaaa!"

I stopped and we talked about death again. About it's necessity, normalcy. We talked about why Jesus offered to die, because He loved us so much. Talked a bit about the atonement and being free of sin. She was still sniffling when we moved on.

The next chapter was about Resurrection.

Am I really THAT stupid? Really? Why didn't I bring up resurrection any time in this last month?

I explain to Carly that after 3 days, Jesus woke up and His spirit went back into His body, and He was alive again. I explained that Jesus overcame death, and that because He did, we ALL will overcome death someday. I explained that after we die, and our spirits go to Heaven and hang out with our families, after a while we are allowed to go back and get in our bodies again and not be dead anymore.

I watched the BIGGEST smile come across her tear stained face. Puffy, red eyes looked hopeful. "Someday, after you die, you won't be dead anymore?" That's right! After we die, we get to be resurrected and come back to life. Because Jesus did it first.

And it's over! After a month of drawing out my 3-year-old's traumatizing exploration of death, I finally have the answer to her fears. And of course it was the most basic answer. I mean, what comforted Christ's friends when he died? They knew about life after death, but they were still sad. Sad is normal, even when we know how temporary this state is. But seeing resurrection, seeing the promise of eternal life in real-time, that was what comforted Mary at the tomb. And just knowing that it happened comforted my Carly.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Wes has been busy

The difference between boys and girls is just amazing.  Especially since we treat them pretty much the same.  We never tried to "girly up" Carly, and Wes just plays with all of Carly's toys, so he has access to dolls and dresses and the like. 

Anyway, the little guy is just such a boy.  He is so busy, and so laid back, and such fun to just watch.  Lately the new phrase I hear all day is I bonka my head (gibberish gibberish) and then the offending object or person.  So I hear a LOT of "I bonka my head em..o..wa Carly!"  Then he demands kisses.

            I love this little guy!

Getting bit in the face by fellow toddlers

Making faces on the screen

Drawing on the steps

Drawing on the screen

Making new "hats"

And just being worn out by it all.

It's been a busy week for Mr. Wes!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

You know those terribly behaved kids you see out in public?

I've decided that they probably aren't normally like that. And just maybe those instances aren't a product of crappy or permissive parenting. In fact, they are probably normally very well-behaved children having an out of character episode.

Yes, must be.

Carly is a bright, articulate, quick little girl. She is normally pretty reasonable, and will comply to a request if you explain calmly why we need to do something. She normally has a desire to please adults and help out.

I can usually walk through stores proudly, while she walks calmly next to the cart holding on to the side. I see the other parents of those terrible children throwing fits and think "see, I'm doing something right!"

Until today.

Yes, today Carly was the WORST child ANYONE has EVER seen in a store. Today it was like a demon possession in the middle of a busy department store.

It started when we first got there. Shopping at 1:30pm without having fed lunch yet = a very bad idea. I was just trying to push through our list and get home, and this was the last stop. And we were just running in to buy one thing! Carly wanted to ride in the cart. But she's way too big, and Wes was in the child seat. So I'm nudging her up the aisles while she mildly whines about what she wants and doesn't want. I'm hissing "come on; we're almost done; we just have to get one thing; I'm sorry there aren't 2 seats; let's go!"

We were buying a spare car seat to leave at the sitter's house, and the box was huge. It teetered on top of the cart and obscured most of my vision. I'm trying to walk down the narrow aisles and not hit anyone while peering around the huge box, and dragging a whiny Carly. I really needed 3 hands- one for Carly, one for the cart, and one to keep the box from falling off.

At this point Carly decides she wants to push the cart. Ugh. Fine. I move up the front and pull/guide from the front so that she doesn't hit anyone.

This really set Carly off. "I want to push it!   You don't touch the cart!   I want to do it ALL BY MYSELF."

I stop, get down on her level, and explain that she can't see and that I need to steer so she can push. We start out again, and once again I hear shrieking "Mommy!  Don't touch the cart!  I do it myself!" I back off a little, and she promptly hit a rack of clothes, over corrects and hits an old lady in a wheelchair. I grab the front and straighten us out and hear "MOMMY!   NO!   I DO IT!"

My urge to kill was rising. It was 2pm, Wes is trying pathetically to fall asleep in the cart, and I can see hunger all over Carly's face. And were still sooo very far from the front of the store. Why in the world is the baby section always in the very back of the store?? Has any mom of young children ever thought, "I'm sure glad I get to haul my kids through the entire store just to buy a box of wipes!" I grab the handle of the cart, tell Carly she can push with me, and try to set a quicker pace.

That's when my kid became possessed. Like the kind of shrieking you'd hope your kid does if he's ever being abducted. Loud enough to easily hear throughout the entire store. Kicking. Yelling "NO!  NO!  NO!" And "MINE!  LET GO!  MINE!" I stop, get down on her level, and remain amazingly calm. I tell her that no one likes to listen to her, and that she has lost the privilege of pushing the cart because she's acting like a psycho behaving poorly.

It doesn't help. Reasoning won't work. There is snot and angry spittle everywhere.

New plan: get out of the store as soon as humanly possible.

I half jog to the registers, dragging a feral, rabid dog behind me. All efforts of maintaining the image of a mother-in-control are gone. We reach the registers, and start waiting in line. Why isn't there an emergency check out line?  Like for when no one else wants you in the store either? You know, screaming child, if you're about to puke, or your water just broke.  Those kinds of things.  Then Carly starts throwing herself bodily against the cart. Man, she's strong when she's mad! I'm doing all I can to brace the cart so it doesn't shoot into the person in front of us.

I grab Carly, plop her down against the magazine rack, and tell her its time for a time out. Remember, still screaming this whole time. In non-English. She spreads out, laying on the ground, and winds her arms around the cart's wheels, still screaming "No!  MINE!" It's been like 10 minutes of screaming, most of it unintelligible. I'm just surprised at this point that it's still about the cart. That's some focus!

And I'm noticing the looks. The ones I would normally give. The ones that say "Whew, glad that's not my kid. My kid would NEVER do that! I must be doing something right." And I want to say "Oh! I know! Where is this kid's parents?" But instead I ask the checker if she wants to keep my child, pay quickly, and grab Carly out of that store.

The screaming continues. Voice hoarse at this point, face red and shining with tears and mucous.


We get to the car, and I release my death grip on Carly's arm. She immediately sinks to the asphalt and begins the thrashing in the parking lot. Great. I lift her up into her seat. She's kicking and hitting...and of course still screaming. I nearly break her arms getting her buckled into her seat, shut the slider, and

 :::sigh::: take a deep breath and enjoy silence for the first time in 25 minutes.

I stood in the parking lot at my cart for a few minutes gathering myself before opening the doors again to get a sleeping Wes into his seat, and wrestling that box into the back. Then I climb in myself and surround myself once more with the horrible noise that is my possessed child.

A quick trip through the drive through feeds the demon and silences her for the first time. As we pull out of the parking lot, I see a police car slowly driving up and down the rows of cars, no doubt looking for the reported child abuse. Then I look in my mirror aimed at the back seat, and see Carly's mottled face, tears still wet on her cheeks, and realize that my perspective has been permanently changed.

Never again will I judge the mother of a screaming child in a store. Never.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Picture of a Tuesday morning

1. It's 11, and we're still in pajamas. I'm obviously not in the office today. Oh, and Carly sans pants? The norm. If I've managed to force her into pants, it's because we are leaving soon to go somewhere.

2. These two are inseparable. Carly wants to dress up in Daddy's shoes? Of course Wes has to then!

3. They just can't leave that shoe basket alone. Or anything else for that matter. Yesterday I spent the day scouring the house. I wonder how long it will take them to destroy it once more.

A closer look

4. We've all been sick around here, and one major symptom has been goopy eyes. All that eye rubbing has led to Wes having infections in his eye lids. Don't worry- he's on antibiotics. But doesn't he look pathetic, like he lost a fight?

5. Carly decided Wes would make a good canvas last night. This is what he looks like after his bath. He was (and still is) head to toe marker.

6. We were lucky enough to have my sister-in-law and niece stay with us for 10 days, and they just left on Sunday. We have been trying to get rid of Wes' binky, but Kalen still has hers, and also he was sick so we give in out of pity. By the time Kiernan and Kalen left, they couldn't find any of their binkies. I guess Wes was stashing them away, because he keeps sporting pretty pink bling now that we're working on taking away his binkies again.

A picture is worth a thousand words, and can sure sum up my morning.

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