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Playing the Game

The other day I was playing Chutes and Ladders with my kids. Well, I was attempting to play Chutes and Ladders with my kids. I’ve written before about what it’s like to play a game with a four-year-old. Playing a game with a three-year-old is a completely different story. It requires a lot of patience. Playing a game with two three-year-olds requires sainthood.

Three-year-olds have the best of intentions when playing a game but a complete lack of comprehension when it comes to the rules. No matter how many times you remind them, they will not be able to anticipate who’s turn is next. They will always assume it’s their turn. They will spin a “3″ but want to move to the pretty pink square on the board.

Five minutes into the game, I found myself talking over. I dictated every move of the game. I held the spinner and told each child when to spin. I moved the pieces for them because it took them forever to move two spaces. I told them when to go up the ladder and when to go down the chutes (can we just agree that the game should really be called Slides and Ladders?). Basically I was playing the game and they were watching.

While my intention was to be helpful, my interference was doing more harm than good. By taking over, I was robbing my kids of the opportunity to play the game. They might not play the game with the same level of skill that I can. They might come across some problems without me. They might get confused and start moving towards the start instead of the finish.

But, at least they get to play the game.

I’m thankful that we have a God that lets us play the game. True, God can probably play the game a lot better than we can. God can anticipate the problems that we can’t. But if God always played the game for us we would be missing out. We might as well be watching a movie. We wouldn’t have the pain of the lows, but we wouldn’t have the joy of the highs either. More importantly we would miss the chance to ask God for help. We wouldn’t appreciate how awesome it is when God helps us with a move.

I’m glad God lets me play the game.

 

Why I don’t miss dealing with Aflac…not even a little.

A few weeks ago, I cancelled my Accident Insurance with Aflac. It’s as if I just got out of a very dysfunctional relationship. I feel so free. No longer will I have to deal with Aflac. This is not a break-up I will ever regret.

You might be asking yourself, what in the world happened between Susan and Aflac that made her so eager to break it off? It was a series of poorly handled interactions that each left a bad taste in my mouth.

1. Don’t tell me you can take care of something, if you can’t.
In the 12 months that we held an Aflac policy, we submitted one claim. My son had fallen while on vacation and we took him to the ER to make sure his head was okay. When we filed our claim with Aflac, we received a letter saying that the bill we had sent with the claim was not the right form from the hospital. I can’t say this letter surprised me. Being a mother of premature twins, I have had my fair share of back and forth between doctors and insurance companies. I consider getting a claim approved and covered on the first try to be just as difficult as getting a hole-in-one in golf. I called Aflac to make sure that I knew exactly which form I needed to request when I called the hospital. Imagine how happy I was when a very polite Aflac representative told me that if I just faxed in a piece of paper, they would take care of all the correspondence with the hospital. I faxed in the form and began the wait for my check. Keep Reading…

The Value of a Secure Mailbox Door

Let me start by saying that I’m not good with Thank You notes.  Please know that this is in no way a reflection of how I was raised.  My parents raised me to be a Thank You note writer.  Many times the Thank You notes had to be written before the money could be spent or the toys could be played with.

But in my adult years, the practice of writing Thank You notes has slipped.  I’m not proud of this.  I’d like to be the type of adult that writes her Thank You notes within a week of receiving the gift.  This is not the case.  It has gotten so bad that, for the past two years, I have put off Christmas Thank You notes so long that I was able to combine them with my kids’ birthday Thank You notes in February.

Last Thursday night was Thank You note writing day.  My husband and I split up the list and took the time to write the Thank You notes.  I must admit, it felt good to check it off the list.  We addressed and stamped them and they were ready to mail.  We missed the mail on Friday so on Friday night my husband put them in the mailbox so that they would go out on Saturday. Keep Reading…

Happy Birthday to My Favorite Set of Multiples!

I’ve spent all week trying to decide how to write this post.  I struggled with whether to make it one post or two.  It doesn’t seem fair that you would have to share your birthday post with your twin sibling, but it also didn’t seem fair  to post two posts on one day. But then I remembered how awesome the two of you are.  I remembered how you have had to share most everything from the moment you were born. It’s not always fair, but it’s the only life you’ve known.

To My Wonderful Baby A:
Do you know how amazing you are? You are so thoughtful and caring to those around you.  When your brother or sister get in trouble, you regularly apologize for them.

You are constantly wanting to run around and play, so when you ask to cuddle with me, my heart melts.

You are the most independent two-year-old I’ve ever known.  You literally potty trained yourself. Keep Reading…

When a two-year-old reads you a book…

When a two-year-old reads you a book, you are in for a treat.  Similar to playing a game with a 4-year-old, you never know what you are going to get.

1. It’s different every time. Those of us that can read feel restricted to saying just the words on the page.  This is not the case for a two-year-old.  Two-year-olds are bound only by their ability to form a complete sentence.  Sure the book might be about Goldilocks and the three little bears but if your two-year-old spots a flower on the page, the book is suddenly about a little flower.  Tomorrow it might be about the house that the three bears live in. You will never get the same story twice.

2. Don’t plan on going anywhere too soon.  When you sit down to have a two-year-old read a book, you might want to clear your calendar for the next 20 minutes.  Sure there might only be 5 pages to the book, but when a two-year-old insists on turning the pages herself, you might as well be reading War and Peace.  I imagine that the effort it takes for her little fingers to turn each page must be similar to the effort it would take me to tie my shoes wearing mittens.  It doesn’t matter if it’s a board book or real paper, turning pages is hard when you are two-years-old.

3. They really do listen to you. I live with two two-year-olds and there are days when I feel as if they have already mastered the skill of completely ignoring me.  I can ask them to hang up their coats five times before they even acknowledge that I’m talking.  That’s why I like to hear them read me a book. They will turn to a page and begin to say the words that they’ve heard me say over and over when I’ve read the same book to them.  My heart melts as I hear my daughter’s voice mimic the phrases she’s heard from me.

4. It’s a glimpse into their mind. Admittedly, our house is pretty crazy most of the time. With three preschoolers all trying to be heard at once, I’m pretty sure I only hear 50% of the words that are said by my children. This is not the case at story time. Usually it’s nap time or bed time and the chaos of the day has settled. Each child now has their moment to be heard while reading a book to me. When reading Dora books, my daughter likes to mention that she does not like Swiper. My son would like to ride in the animal train with the monkey. As a mother of twins, I often wonder if I lump the two of them together too often. Sometimes there is just no other way. Perhaps that’s why they like story time so much. It’s their turn to be heard.

As they get older, they will learn that there are words on the page that tell the story.  Slowly, they will begin to refrain from adding their thoughts and instead stick to the author’s version of the story. I’m sure it will be amazing to listen to them read and sound out big words that seem out of their reach, but I think I’ll always miss the way they told the story when they were two.

I Wear Jeans to Church

Growing up we had a phrase in our house to describe nice clothes.  We called them “church clothes.” Church clothes were the clothes we wore to church but didn’t touch the other six days of the week.  On every other day, jeans were acceptable, but not for church. You couldn’t wear jeans to church. I was a pretty obedient kid, so I never really challenged this idea, but in the back of my mind this concept always confused me.  Why was it so important to God that I come to church wearing a fancy dress and itchy tights?

I thought maybe it had to do with the fact that if you were uncomfortable in what you were wearing, you would be constantly aware of the fact that you were at church to worship God, not to relax. Perhaps when worshiping God it was best to not get too comfortable.  There is nothing like a pair of itchy tights and shoes that give you blisters to remind you about the pain that Jesus endured on the cross for our salvation.  Is it too much to ask of a little girl to sit in a puffy dress for an hour to say thank you? Keep Reading…

Just eat the cake.

The month of February brings a lot of conversation about cakes in my house.  That’s because all three of my children have their birthdays in february. So around mid January, the conversations begin about what type of cake each child wants for his or her birthday.  Based on the amount of time they spend talking about their cakes, I’m pretty sure the theme of their cakes is the highlight of their birthdays.

This got me thinking about the popular phrase “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.” We commonly use this phrase to warn people that they can’t have the best of both worlds. But I reject this phrase.  I think this idiom is dumb. Here’s why: Keep Reading…

Was Your Valentine’s Day A Bust?

My freshman year of college, a guy that I really liked invited me to a Bare Naked Ladies Concert on Valentine’s Day. It was December and we were on our first day. I mentioned that I liked the band and he said that he had tickets to their concert (two hours away) on Valentine’s Day. Then he asked if I wanted to go with him. I was super psyched. A month later, upon returning from winter break, he told me he liked me too much as a friend and didn’t want to ruin things by dating. Reluctantly, I agreed to being just friends knowing that my chance to see Bare Naked Ladies was gone. Imagine my surprise when he said that he still wanted to take me to the concert. I reminded him it was on Valentine’s Day — two hours away. He said there was no one else that he’d rather go with (To this day I believe that was a lie. I believe that his mother found out that he asked a girl to a concert two months in advance on a first date and told him that he had to live with his mistake and under no circumstance was he allowed to disinvite me to the concert). Keep Reading…

To My Husband

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I’d like to honor my husband with this post.  He’s amazing.  I sometimes have feelings of guilt for removing him from the dating pool because he is just that awesome. But unfortunately for all the single ladies out there, I did. I’m not sorry.  I love him too much to give him back. And because I’m busy and don’t say it enough, I’d like to thank my husband for all the things that he does that are so amazing. Keep Reading…

Why Is Taking A Shower So Hard Sometimes?

Why are shower faucets so confusing?

We live in a world with cell phones that a two-year-old can use but we have yet to simplify all shower faucets.

I am all for creative design and am not suggesting on a universal shower faucet that everyone must use, but some of these shower faucets are just ridiculous. I consider myself a pretty savvy person, but it seems that when I find myself showering at someone else’s house, I am completely at a loss.

A confusing shower faucet is not something I expect when getting into a shower. Perhaps it’s because I shower at other people’s houses so infrequently but it’s only when I pull back the shower curtain and look at the faucet that I remember that I am completely ill-equipped to figure these things out on my own.  At this point there is always an important questions to consider: How long do I stand here and try to figure this out before I admit defeat, put my clothes back on and find my host to ask for help? Keep Reading…