Grayson Oliver Smith (newest member of our tribe) was in the hospital for three days last week. The poor little guy kept having moments where he would choke and completely stop breathing from some unexplained blockage.
Doctors eventually concluded his breathing problems were stemming from an extremely severe form of acid reflux called "gerd." Treatment steps are in place and he is already improving, thank Heaven.
Needless to say, Meagan and Nathan needed to focus solely on him. So Noni and Papa stepped in to monitor the lives of Madison and Noah. Now, please note my carefully chosen phrasing. Noni and Papa weren't directing these two, we were on the scene to monitor and care for only.
Madison Riley is now 3. She could have taken care of them both herself if only she were tall enough to reach the buttons on the microwave. We were also considered helpful for the driving thing. She can't reach those pedals yet either.
Noah is 5 and even as a first born, he's pretty content to go with the flow. Madi, however, has a plan for everything and an opinion about everyone! Frank says she's like me but I know the truth. Her headstrong nature is a perfect blending of the determined natures found in both her parents. (Notice how gracefully I dodged that bullet?!)
The first night, I went into their "sleep over" room (a.k.a. our guest room) around 9:30 to confirm both angels were sleeping. I found Madison sitting up straight as an arrow having a conversation with her imaginary friends, Emily and Jemily.
She seemed completely alert. Noni, on the other hand, was already yawning, groggy and ready for her pillow. What to do?
"Madi!" I spoke in a strong, staccato whisper so as not to wake Noah. "Why are you still awake?"
(Why, oh why, do we ask silly questions at a time like this? Is it because we adults can't evaluate the situation quickly enough? Are we perhaps buying time for our tired brains to concoct a consequence?)
Madison sighed at my lack of understanding then responded in her matter-of-fact voice, "I not sweepy, Noni!" Well, yeah. I guess that was obvious.
I responded to her rationale in my stern whisper, "Well, well, you just better lay down and go to sleep anyway." Oh, that was brilliant. Who else could ever have thought up with such a witty and compelling come back?
Fortunately for us, Nathan and Meagan are strong, no-nonsense parents when it comes to training their children to be obedient. Madi laid down as I'd requested and that was that. (Thank goodness.)
There were a few more times over the three days that Noah or Madi would "test the water" with Noni or Papa. But each time we would quickly remind them we expected obedience just like Mom or Dad would say. Once we established the same boundaries they have at home, everyone settled into a peaceful routine.
The one word that came back to me from my own days with toddlers was: CONSTANT. The talking, the needing, the bickering, the exploring are constantly happening; simultaneously; at all points in the home; without ceasing.
Caring for multiple little ones does not afford the care-giver a break. Ever! Nap times and bedtimes are not breaks. Those short hours are solely for the purpose of recharging the battery of the care-giver.
Usually, the littles wake up and immediately have some dream or some crisis which they need to describe to the care-giver . . . slowly; in great verbal detail. And trust me, they know if you aren't really listening. They will call you on it every time.
Without a doubt, one of my favorite moments happened as we lunched at Noah's restaurant of choice, Chick-fer-Ray.
He was pointing to the letters on his placemat and quoting corresponding scriptures he's been taught:
"A - All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23"
"D - Depart from evil and do good. Psalm 34:14"
Madi did not intend to be left out. She straightened up in her high chair then called out loud and clear in her sweet baby voice,
"A - If you ahr in twouble, dial 9 1 1!"
Can't make it up, friends. Several people at the tables nearest us began to chuckle. At first, she was offended then she flashed her biggest smile. "Isn't she cute?!" "How old is she?"
I'll leave you with one more smile.
First, the background: You may remember John and Joy recently had a loss in their family. JJ, the dog who had been with them over ten years, passed away suddenly. She had been a wonderful pet and it was a heart-wrenching time.
Because they are dog people, they soon began discussing what type dog they would next add to their family. After much research, it was decided . . . a Great Dane! Yep. My daughter who has four children and works as care-giver for two others wanted a great dane.
They finally found the perfect puppy through a local breeder so they could meet the parents and have now added a great dane puppy to their household. Are you ready for her name? "KITTY." Katherine the Great Dane will be referred to as Kitty.
Joy can hardly wait to be in a dog park or at a boat ramp and watch people's faces when she calls, "Here, Kitty!" and a monster great dane comes bounding in response. That's my tribe for you.
Certainly hope this post gave you a smile or two.
Two important reminders today:
- If you're in the U.S., be sure to prayerfully exercise your right to vote on November 6th.
- Our registration for the trip to Israel closes this week. Let us know if you'd like more information.