Sunday, March 1, 2009

The List

My children are born flirts. Mile-long eyelashes (why is it that BOYS always get them?!) and dimpled grins aid tremendously in their conquests. It helps that they're the only Americans for miles around, too.

We'll just say that they're hot commodities in church.

Usually the Young Women (girls 12 to 17) and even some of the Relief Society (18 and up) are begging to hold them. When I walk in the door, sometimes I don't see Mr. Squishy until it's time to go home.

So you can imagine the fight that ensues when it comes time to pick a baby-sitter for Friday Date Night. (A holy, holy night, bytheway.)

Little do they know the caveats that accompany this blessed privilege.

The List.

Their eyes inevitably grow rounder as we tick off the most sacred of routines.
  • The boys must eat all of their dinner before dessert.
  • ONE dessert. Not two. Not three. Four is right out. Just ONE.
  • After dinner, play time is strictly observed.
  • No hitting.
  • No saying "shut up."
  • No bikes in the house.
  • No throwing rocks in the pool.
  • No movies or TV.
  • No climbing out the window even if it's "just to see the other side."
  • They love playing horse. They love playing with chalk. They love jumping on the mattresses or hide and go seek or tag. They love to just PLAY.
  • At 7:30, warn them that bedtime is arriving. They need ample time to prepare mentally for this drastic occurence.
  • At 7:45, head towards the general direction of the bedroom.
  • Brush teeth. Little Prince brushes his own teeth but Ouro Branco needs help. You HAVE to sing the "Grandpa Gum" song. You HAVE to spit after every line. You HAVE to get a drink of water and THEN swish with flouride (do not swish, and THEN drink. Very important. The world may collapse if done out of order.)
  • Sing the "scripture power song" while getting on pajamas. LP puts on his own pajamas because his body is special and we can't see it. Unless he feels like playing in the sprinklers some morning when my visiting teachers are over - but sorry, that's a different list.
  • OB likes the CARS pajamas and only the CARS pajamas. Do not under any circumstances attempt to put on his dinosaur pajamas. All outer darkness will break loose.
  • Read scriptures. OB sits on the LEFT. LP sits on the RIGHT. THE SCRIPTURES SIT ON THE LAP AND THAT IS ALL.
  • Say prayer. You must be on your knees. You must fold your arms. You must bow your head. You can't lay your head down because that is not what Jesus looks like in the picture.
  • Kisses all around. OB usually needs approximately 392472947 kisses before he is satisfied. And kiss the monkey too.
  • LP wants the door just a LITTLE cracked. Just a LITTLE. Not too much because it's too bright. Not too little because then it's too dark. JUST RIGHT CRACKED AND THAT IS ALL.
  • And most importantly, tell them I miss them and love them and I'll be back before they wake up. If you have any questions or concerns AT ALL - call me.

There is also endless instruction about how to work the TV, the location and use of emergency supplies, and a "situation tree" of any possible deviation from normal behavior. I have never gotten mad when a baby-sitter calls with a question. Ever. But I do get frustrated when a baby-sitter doesn't follow The List.

And it makes me wonder.

What kind of list did Heavenly Father leave for us before giving us His precious children?

  • They must be obedient before the blessing.
  • They date at 16 years old. Not 15. Not 14. Thirteen is RIGHT OUT. They date at 16.
  • After teaching, loving is strictly observed.
  • No hitting.
  • No demeaning.
  • No shouting.
  • No losing your temper.
  • No questioning whether this is really want I want you to do.
  • They like to play. It's okay to let them blow bubbles in their chocolate milk. It's okay to let them splash at bathtime. It's okay to let them run around in the mud. THE WORLD WILL NOT COLLAPSE IF YOU LET THEM.
  • At 7 (or even much, much earlier!), advise them that baptism is quickly approaching. They need time to prepare mentally for this covenant.
  • This child really needs physical affection. He doesn't like to be nagged. Show him lovingly how to do something and let him do it himself. Let me show you how to do it.
  • That child struggles with self worth. Build him up and praise him and never tear him down. Let me show you how to do it.
  • This child loves to play with you. He doesn't like to be told to go play with his toys by himself. He loves YOU to play with him.
  • That child is having a hard time with peer pressure. Reinforce his testimony of whose son he is. Tell stories of when YOU had a hard time with peer pressure at his age.
  • And most importantly, tell them I miss them and love them and I'll be back before they know it. If you have any questions or concerns AT ALL - call me.

Do you think He ever gets frustrated when we don't follow The List?


Deb said...

So very, very true. However, you have totally highlighted why my husband and I haven't been out by ourselves in three years...

Synergy Girl said...

Sigh...He is frustrated EVERY DAY with me!!! I am sure of it!! I wonder why he sent four children under my control...there HAS to be someone better at this than I am...guess I need to "phone home" more often than I thought....

P.S....It is the first three that post the pay it forward on their, there are still two available!

LisAway said...

Hey! I posted my own "The List" post yesterday! Look at us! :)

I love the idea of calling if you have any questions or concerns.

Heather of the EO said...

I've been telling Miles lately that I'm sorry I'm so quickly frustrated and cranky. I tell him I should be more like God because He's slow to anger and abounding in love. The first time I said that, he looked at me with the question mark face. So I told Him I suppose that means God does get angry, but it sounds like that takes a long time. Much longer than it takes me. Thank goodness.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

Love your lists. Luckily I have very bossy little "list keepers" in my house and I know they will keep the babysitter RIGHT in line the whole time..."NO, NOT the dinosaur pajamas!!"

As for God's list. You are so right. This one is my favorite, especially the last line: "That child struggles with self worth. Build him up and praise him and never tear him down. Let me show you how to do it." So important. Thank you dear, for this reminder today.

Kazzy said...

Very cool post. Yeah, being a parent is so enlightening on the whole unconditional love front. We have boundaries because He loves us so much. We all need to built up. Thanks for this thoughtful post.

Annette Lyon said...

And then we wonder why we don't get what we want when we want it.

Boy Mom said...

Are your boys pushing the dating boundary rule or is this a concern with your babysitters? Just wondering where that came from? Interesting that Joseph Smith could experience the first vision at 14 and we get hung up on age appropriate dating...I sense a story behind including that one on Gods list.

Being a parent is a powerful lesson on the work and glory of God.

I'm voting for you over at Mormon Mommy Blogs!

:Jan the crazy lady: said...

I had no idea a list could get that long :)

I was not the parent I should have been. You guys are doing a great job.

Melanie J said...

See, I only have two things on our list. Baby G MUST have a clean diaper before bed, and no playing with matches. That's about it.

Abra said...

You always know just how to put things in perspective! Thank you :)

Real Mom, Real Life said...

I love this! I love the perspective you have on the list!

With my first child, my list was very long. With each child, the list got shorter and shorter. Now, it is down to two things. Keep the safe. Keep them alive. If those things are accomplished, I feel it is a pretty successful night! :)

wonder woman said...

My list for the babysitter is quite extensive, too. The only thing I get frustrated with is when they don't put on clean diapers before bed. Or don't put them on my 4 y.o. at all. (He may be potty-trained, but is not night trained!)

LOVE how you extended it to us as babysitters of God's kids. I of course have heard similar things before, but never really put it in this perspective. Quite insightful. Which is why I'm passing an award to you. (And voted for you! I'm trying to stay honest and not vote many times!)

janae said...

That was fun! I didn't expect the second list at all, so you led into it REALLY well. Very insightful. I hate when sitters (that I PAY $10/hour!) don't follow my list. Sweetheart, you are making a small fortune. You better do exactly what I say!! My in-laws once tended my kids for a week and put them to bed hours late every night, and then I paid for it for an entire month. Ouch.

kristi said...

Wow, your list for babysitters is pretty major!!!! So, do you really get mad at them if they don't follow it exactly or is it just the big ones that bug you? My parents have been the only babysitters lately and we usually go out after we put the kids to bed (I actually prefer this most times) so, luckily I haven't had to make any lists lately.

DeNae said...

Great post! And I totally caught the Monty Python reference. It's from my favorite scene in Holy Grail, the Holy Hand Grenade!

I'm enjoying your blog, and if I have to lose the hotly contested MMB competition to you, well, I can live with that!

(BTW, I've been a misplaced American, too. Wrote a book about it, called "The Accidental Gringo". If you want one, I'll send it to you.)

nikkicrumpet said...

I'm pretty sure he wants to bop us on the head at least once a day!

Jen said...

Uh, yeah - he's definitely frustrated.


Jody Blue said...

Very very sweet!

Kimberly said...

I thought this was just a cute, funny post, and then you went all beautiful and profound on me! Love the parallel.

I often tell mummy friends that we don't need parenting books. We already have the best example of parenthood we could ever need.

Erin said...

That was a cute comparison!

Lara said...

Very astute post. I've thought about this sometimes, too. And I need to be better at the list, because although maybe He doesn't give it to us obviously, He does give it to us. And we should do our best to follow.

The Prices said...

You're good, I just say when bed time is, that they need jammies and to brush teeth and please make sure they're alive when I come home.

Lady of Perpetual Chaos said...

We don't have much of a list since we're lucky enough to have family close by willing to watch our girls. On a completely superficial note, do you guys go out every Friday? That's impressive! Even one Friday a month is good. We're more birthday/anniversary daters...
Loved your post...good things to think about.

kiwibabee said...

We have a saying when we say our family prayers at night it goes.... On your knees or on your feet, but never never on your seat. ... My kids just love to say it to anyone who happens to be around for prayer time.

Susie Q said...

Especially never climbing out the window, running back in the front door, down the hallway, into your rooms, up on the bed and out the window again. And again. And again. And again. And again. Also do not get your younger brother and two cousins to do it with you. Especially NOT when it is muddy outside and you are tracking MUD across the bedspread ;D

Amber said...

Fabulous post. Made me a little teary. I need to be a better mom. Thanks.

Krystal said...

Congrats on winning the MMB March Spotlight! Your blog is fun to read. I especially liked this post. I loved your list of instructions for the baby-sitter and Heavenly Father's list for us. Very thought provoking. Thanks for sharing!!

Anonymous said...

wow this is just totally awesome!! i giggled all the way through but boy did i stop and feel guilty at God's list!
thanks for reminding me in such a fun way!!

Tobi said...

I love your witty style of writing and I love, love, love this post. Keep blogging please cause I'm lovin' it!!