Monday, February 17, 2014

The Fort

The previous post tells you how our Sunday began.
THIS post will tell you how our Sunday came to an end. It seems to me to be a cartoon from start to finish.

I'll preface this story by saying my children are very giving and forgiving and anxious to be friends with anyone and their own ways of course. Morgan is extremely social and wants to experience every friendship he can find. When he was a toddler, he would ride in my grocery cart and start up a conversation with every single person he could get to respond to him. I did say EVERY person,...that wasn't an exaggeration! Jared wants friends too, but his shy streak is so extreme that he will likely NEVER make the first move towards a friendship, but he WILL be right there waiting for it to land in his lap.

All four of my children have a naive streak, probably because of being homeschooled. I'll take leaves a sweetness in them that I am not willing to give up. So anyway, my little boys don't understand a bully. They just don't get what drives them. They will sit and brainstorm about one trying to figure out why in the world they want to act that way when being friends seems so much more fun. I love it that they are so totally baffled by that. Sadly, one of the bullies in their world is a cousin. The kid is their age and somedays is a great person for them to play with. And then there are all the other far more common days where he needs to be dropped off at the another state!

So yesterday afternoon, after the whole ordeal with Morgan "betraiting" Jared, the two boys went outside to work on their tree fort. They worked for hours...literally! After a few hours, Morgan came in and told me how Jared had just "gone off" on said cousin. I get an ear full and I won't even go into just makes me mad. Turns out that cousin thinks building a fort sounds fun, so he and his buddy are going to build one too.,...and the limbs Morgan and Jared are using look easy to use and better what they have handy. So they start taking the limbs away from Morgan and Jareds fort. The boys got upset and Jared saw Morgan start crying. That was all it took....Jared tore out after these older boys and laid into them and demanded their stuff back. He got it too LOL! Ultimately though, that just meant these boys were going to do other mean things to them.

I have long since gotten fed up with this kid. He has stolen things from us and another neighbor, tore up Tommy's equipment, called the kids (and Tommy and I) some rather foul names, shattered the boys by telling them there is no Santa, shot at them with bb guns and airsoft guns, thrown rocks at them, hit them with sticks,....

So "Mama Bear" struck and out the door I went. I found where the boys were building their lean-to fort. It's technically not our property anymore, since family land borders were redrawn and divided up between brothers. The little kids didn't know that, I told them. I also told them (loud enough the 2 pains in my backside could hear me) that they needed to play on the opposite side of our property where they aren't affected by those 2 nasty boys. Morgan said "Mommy, they are hiding right there in those bushes!" I said quite loudly, "I know they are, and I hope they know that not only can I see them, but I'll also see them the day I call the police to come out here and deal with them for trespassing and bullying the kids and tearing up property and anything else I think of when it happens." Yeah, I got told on.... *insert an eye roll here* I'm in Mama Bear mode, remember?

I told the boys to take down their broken limbs and branches. Drag them in the wheel barrow across the property and to follow me....I'd show them a better place. Off we went. And yes,... I know what I'm doing :D

There is a wooded area to the side of our property that we rarely do much with. I showed it to the boys and sent one after rope and one after limbs. They drug nearly every broken branch across our yard to this spot in the woods. They gave me some paracord and tied it around some trees in a circular shape. Then I took the limbs and sort of wove them together around these trees. Then I had the boys use their pine limbs with lots of green needles and fill in the "basketry" I had woven. I wouldn't let them cut anything off other trees, but privet hedge is nasty stuff that tears up lawn mowers, so I sent them after pruning shears and had them cut privet and bring it to me. (That was good thinking on my part....they weeded my herb garden LOL!) Privet is flexible, so it helped tie all those limbs and branches and needles together. We left an opening so they have a door. Then it was a little too dark to mess with and I had them come in. Today though, some of the same bratty behavior started, so I went out to help them a little more. They souped up their walls with lots of pine boughs and I let them get an old wooden chair and stool to put out there. Then I let them move a stack of firewood out there and build a stone fire ring. No fires right now, but this fort is big enough they can both camp out there when it gets warm,...and the firewood will be there waiting for them. It could use a roof, but we'll wait on that for tnow. It is surprisingly well done! Hard to see the kids when they are inside of it! They filled in the walls pretty well. I was proud, so I took pictures.

The moral of this story is,....don't mess with Mama Bears cubs.....cuz she can build a better fort than you and she'll enforce trespass laws AND tell your daddy what she thinks of you AND cause you to get grounded AND anything else she can think of! :)

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Wake Up Call

It's Sunday, and we missed church. Why? *sigh* Well....... the short version is that Tommy has been installing new walls, floor, and shower after ripping out the old from our bathroom. We've been bathing out of the sink for about a MONTH now and he's desperately trying to finish it for us...and his back is charging him overtime for every minute he puts into it. So this morning, he couldn't stand up straight to walk to the bathroom. This also contributes to another problem,... Morgan is a pre-teen....he NEEDS a bath! (I think I'm going to ship him off to Mesa's for a bath later today!) Add to that a little problem with Jared who has battled a stomach bug for a few days and still feels a little nauseated....and then Manti got hurt at work and suffers residual symptoms from a concussion,.... so this mom is worn out and is just gonna stay home.

After I got done putting my "lotions and potions" on Tommy's back and informing the boys what they could make themselves for breakfast, I finally got to go back to sleep. It was nice...until about 11am.

That's when it started....
the yelling....
the smoke...
the child jumping onto my bed and getting in my face so I'd wake up....

Let me stop right here and say,... I do love my boys.

The story goes like this:
Jared got on my bed to tell on Morgan. Last week, we had a rather pronounced ice storm and a lot of trees and branches have come down because of it. We even had an earthquake because of it! Well, we've cleaned up most of the branches on our property, but the boys wanted to leave one because the branch fell right against the tree and made a perfect lean-to shape. Jared desperately wants to build upon it to make himself a play house. He had talked Morgan into helping, but Morgan wasn't helping. He was actually having a shouting match with Manti in the kitchen where the smoke was happening...but I'll get to that in a minute.
Jared is upset and he tells me all about the limb he wants to build a lean-to on and how he got that promise out of Morgan but Morgan wasn't keeping his word and Jared was devastated because his brother had "betraited him." He doesn't like having a "betraitor" for a brother!

He wasn't happy when I laughed, so he left my room and went to the livingroom to cry about my insensitivity, I guess.

The next noise to get my attention is Morgan, who keeps chanting "EXPLAIN - GUIDE - DEMONSTRATE - EXAMPLE!" followed by Manti who says "You're right, but I'm NOT DOING IT!" The giggles started forming in my mind and then bubbled out of my mouth till I had to call Morgan in for a talk. I asked him to tell me what the EDGE method was. So he repeated it "explain - guide - demonstrate - example." I laughed again and told him he was a little mixed up, he switched the d and g and used the wrong word for the last e. "Explain - Demonstrate - Guide - Enable." That started Morgan yelling at Manti again for telling him he was spelling it right when it was wrong.

Now stop here for a moment,.... this is not a true fight. These kids keep laughing in the middle of their screams and yes, occasionally somebody got smacked or something thrown at them, but they were playing as much as arguing----everybody but Jared. He's genuinely "betraited."

Back to the story:
I was really proud of Morgan, because the EDGE method is a scout term. It is a tried and true guide to teach anyone anything. In the boy scout handbook, one of the requirements is to teach another person a skill using the EDGE method. It's something I learned when I went to Woodbadge, and I find opportunities to incorporate it into things I do quite often now. It works! So my kids have been picking up on it and incorporating it also. *PROUD MAMA*

I had to call Morgan back from his shouting match with Manti and ask him what he was badgering Manti about. He tells me that Jared asked him to help build the lean-to, but Morgan has never done that before and isn't sure what to do. Manti has built lots of them and KNOWS what to do. He's a scout, and a scout is "helpful, courteous and kind." [insert another motherly laugh at the expense of my oldest son] That means Manti needs to go outside and EXPLAIN - DEMONSTRATE - GUIDE - and ENABLE his two younger brothers so they can build the lean-to and Morgan can keep his word.

Manti is cooking. I yell across the hallway to him "what's burning?" Manti says "I HAVE NO IDEA! Morgan keeps pestering me!" Who knows.... probably some cleanser on the burner wasn't rinsed off well yesterday when the stovetop got wiped down. I don't know, but no fire. It stopped too.

If you know Morgan, you know he can't stand still for 2 seconds, not even when he's going to the toilet, so he had left the room by now even though we were still talking. He yelled back at Manti his EDGE method definition and then told Manti it was his fault that Jared was crying. Manti yelled back that it was Morgan's fault because HE'D made a promise and not fulfilled it. Manti said "YOU are the one who betraited him!" I had to fall back on my pillow laughing all over again.

I know I'm the responsible adult in this situation, and that I should step in and find a compromise and utilize a teaching moment.... don't judge me.... you would have laughed too.

So now, my 2 little boys are outside trying to lean pine limbs against a tree so they can have a cone shaped lean-to playhouse, Manti is in his room stringing beads and trying to rest, Tommy is STILL in bed and I'm thinking I sure hope the crazy house I get put into has some hot pink furniture and soft stuffed fox toys for me to curl up with when I get there.