Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Best attempts

We're doing the best we can with this parenting thing. But, like everyone else, we're human and we make our fair share of mistakes. As I've heard from another set of parents at McBIC, there's always the Healing Prayer Ministry to help our children deal with our mistakes.

As if having a mother who makes mistakes isn't bad enough, it must be even more difficult to have a teacher has-been as a mother. Not quite as difficult as actually having your mother for a teacher (the worst my children ever had was mother as substitute teacher) but it's a close second.

For starters, she never lets you have a summer vacation. She gave the "all children lose necessary skills over the summer" speech a few too many times to let you become the next victim of this occurrence.

Secondly, former teachers give new meaning to the phrase "family vacation". While other families are going to the beach, amusement parks and camping trips, your family is visiting the Norman Rockwell Museum (with a mom-made scavenger hunt to be filled out), taking a walking tour of the beach through the local nature center, and filling out all of the National Park's Kid Ranger Fact Sheets.

Third, she corrects your grammar. In front of your younger siblings. In front of your friends. On facebook.

Finally, she gets all sorts of learning ideas that she wants to implement in the home. Now. On you.

Unfortunately my children aren't all sponges and don't take to my ideas as I would desire. Like the time I decided we needed to learn the Latin word of the week. Not only did the children need to know the meaning, they also needed to find English words that came from the Latin root. Motivation wasn't really high to participate in that one.

They also don't like my Chat Pack with "Fun Questions to Spark Conversations." When they want to make fun of this one they just start asking each other what kind of vegetable they'd choose to be if they could be any vegetable they wanted.

Object lessons to make points are also often called flops. They didn't like the illustration of playing ball by throwing it back and forth, used to illustrate the need to "throw back" the conversation rather than catch it and drop it with answers like "good", "nothing" and "okay." (However, don't tell them but it has gotten the boys to better participate in conversations.)

Most recently I implemented the "one hour without electronics" rule on all long distance trips. I am frustrated by the lack of relationship building when everyone has something stuck in their ears or has their eyeballs glued to a screen. I understand that long trips get boring and these implements help the trip to go faster. So do naps (and they at least are good for you). Hence the new rule. Now I know that Jesse has vented his feelings about this on Facebook. That's okay. I completely understand the need to vent in my writing and would never deny him this right (and am secretly glad he IS writing). However, his statement that my attempt did not work is incorrect. We had a lovely conversation on the way to the beach. We talked through some important King's Strings stuff and wrote a "beautiful" song in honor of Grandma's collision with a deer. And when the conversation started to get dull, we could always count on Jesse to lead us in a Chat Pack question, starting with, "If you could be any vegetable, what would you be?" Jesse's answer, "A squash." And my personal favorite, "If you could be any item in the bathroom, what would you be?" That's my Jesse.

In the end, no matter how many failed attempts there are, I will continue to mother AND educate my children. I'm told they'll thank me some day. If not, I'll just try out a few ideas on my grandchildren. And then I'll send them home. Speaking Latin. Comparing themselves to vegetables. And conversing more freely. Then my children will sing their gratitude for the mother who made mistakes but did the best she could.


  1. I have to show this post to my girls. They're going to see some uncanny resemblances!

  2. I just asked James if (when we have children) we could send them to the King Zoo school facility