Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Child Swap Experiment -- Day 2

Would 48 hours make a difference? The kids actually wanted to swap siblings for 5 days, but prior commitments prevented that from happening. On Tuesday at 3 PM, I picked Pearce up from Lori and Michael’s, and Catherine and Erin were delivered to their house by our babysitter. Once I collected the two children God had given me and was headed home, I asked each of them what was the best thing about the past 2 days. Erin said playing with Catherine and going to the movies. Pearce said playing with Madeleine and playing in the sprinkler. Erin quickly added that she missed her brother though. She said she still wanted a little sister but didn’t want to give up her brother. Pearce said he missed playing the Wii with Erin. The warm fuzzy feeling lasted about an hour until Pearce in his exhaustion had a meltdown. He was in bed and asleep by 6:10 PM. This adventure had worn him out.

Lori and I do a lot of single parenting due to the jobs our husbands have, and when we are together, Lori and I do what we call “cross parenting.” It doesn’t matter if it’s my kid or hers, if I catch them then I get onto them. If she sees the need to discipline, then she takes care of business regardless of the child. It works for us. When the older ones were smaller, we were together so often that it was common to hear them get confused and call one of us “Aunt Mommy.” I’m so thankful to live so close to my family and to have such a wonderful relationship with them. We also try to use the “RAPTURE AND TRANSFORMATION form of discipline.” That is when you rapture the child away from the situation to transform their behavior by whatever means is the most effective. I remember being raptured out of church one time as a child, so my daddy could transform my behavior – it makes an impression. On more than one occasion I have escorted Pearce out of a situation or place. His high-stepping or tiptoeing out to be transformed has made an eye-opening impression on him as well.

Each of our kids is so different, and it’s been interesting to see them develop and relate to one another.

• Erin is the oldest of the four and is VERY phlegmatic with a dose of sanguine…meaning she is laid back and her sense of comedic timing is impeccable. She talks incessantly. She and Madeleine are in the same grade, and up to now, we have requested separate teachers. We did this after we heard that Erin was convincing the kids on the 3 year old playground that she and Madeleine were twins. We thought they needed to have their own friends, since they were always together anyway.

• Madeleine is the melancholy of the group…ever the serious one who likes things to be in order. She can be silly at times, but she’s more prim and proper than Erin ever thought about being. Madeleine would never go out in public and not match – this little issue doesn’t seem to bother Erin.

• Pearce is the only boy in the group and is primarily choleric with a touch of sanguine. He will be a charismatic leader one day. He is an instigator, agitator, and aggravator of the girls (primarily Erin). He is one who has known what he wants out of the world since he was a little person, and whoa be to the person who gets in his way which is normally me.

• Catherine is the sanguine with a dose of choleric. Catherine is very matter of fact, and she cracks me up. She finds beauty in Mohawks and gold teeth. She loves her monster trucks, dinosaurs and baby dolls. And just when you think she can’t surprise you, she opens her mouth and out it comes. She can also hold a grudge like nobody’s business…

Being able to accept the differences in each other has been trying at times for them, but they work it out. Learning to accept each other, working out differences, and forgiving one another is what family does. Family is about teamwork. If there is a self-centered person in the mix, the family unit struggles, but when we put Jesus first and others second, the family can flourish.

It’s fun to think that our kids think that their lives are “normal.” Lori and I thought our family was normal when we were growing up, but when we became adults we realized just how different our family was. We were a family who accepted different characters to be part of its membership. We were a family who pulled together when there was a crisis – each one doing what they can to contribute. We were a family who made it through the hard times thanks to our relationships with God and each other.

I’m sure we will do other experiments along the way. Some will be at the suggestions of the kids like this one, and some will be from us as the parents. Here is to living and learning from one another!

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