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!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

3 little birdies have left the nest

The text came at 12:11 AM. I saw it when Mr. Victor woke me up at 4:30:

"I'm safe."

Good to know.

Since she is now exactly where she wants to be and obviously already doing what she wants to do - just get out there and socialize, apparently. And why not start on your first night alone in the City That Never Sleeps? Got a friend at another college in the city? Sure, just meet up for ice cream. (Personally, I'd go for the ice cream, but not the whole city thing. But that's me.)

They do things a little differently there at Marymount but it's a well-oiled machine.

Start 2 blocks back, get in line, put your flashers on, and wait until you are in position for unloading your stuff. Resident advisors cart it all up to your floor (the 18th, to be exact - at least it wasn't the 32nd!) and you just follow along.

Finally - we're next in line
Good thing her father's not here. Or the two siblings who share his fear of heights.
But this is Mariana's room with a view for the next 9 months.
Five females sharing one bathroom. 
This should be fun.
Not a whole lot you can do when your roommate's last name
starts with a letter so far down in the alphabet
that she can't move in til tomorrow afternoon.
And so our work was done and it was time for 
PopPop and Mom to head on out.
And so did she.

Just in the opposite direction.

Carry the light, dear Mariana, carry the light!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Raising PKs

When you are raising the pastor's kids, life can be a bit stressful. Especially if your family's particular pastor is an extrovert as so many of them are. Everyone knows the pastor. Everyone knows the pastor's wife. Everyone knows the pastor's kids. You can't hide. The PKs are on display whether the pastor's wife likes it or not.

The Good Doctor's call to ministry coincided with the conception of our first child. I'm sure there's a spiritual or Freudian or Murphy's Law explanation but I'm just going to move on. Think of it as you wish. But the take-away here is that our first-born was a PK for the entirety of his life.

That first child had trouble speaking. He was a late speaker. Some told me it was because I taught him to sign. Maybe so. At least we could communicate. Once the speech finally came, he had a bit (okay, a lot) of trouble with the /tr/ blend. He could have substituted any number of letters for that troublesome sound but he chose /f/. This was okay when he pointed out the trees in the yard. It was okay when we stopped for a train to go by. It was even okay when he was in trouble. The real trouble, however, was that he loved trucks. And they were everywhere. And he wanted everyone to know.

"Look, Mom, there's a f*&%!"

"Yes, dear, not so loud, please."

"Mom, there's a fire f*&%!"

"Yes, dear. You don't have to tell everyone."

"Mom, a dump f*&%!"

At least Noah didn't take trucks on the ark so hopefully the subject didn't come up too much on church property. But it did.

Then there was that unfortunate incident during Wednesday night kids' clubs. The preschoolers were asked what they like to do with their families. Since the Good Doctor had just taught his boys to play poker, they were eager to share their good fortune with their leaders. Who had a good laugh among themselves about the Mennonite pastor's kids playing poker. So one of them made a side comment about strip poker to which one of my boys went off on a tangent about taking his coat off. It was too much for those leaders who decided that yes, we must be playing strip poker at the King house.

For the record, we were not and still aren't.

Children's time in front of the whole church can be risky for any parent; riskier yet for the mothers of PKs. It was Christmas time and of course they were talking about the blessed event. The woman leading the children's time that Sunday (who also happened to be my aunt), asked the kids to name the various characters in the story. Mariana raised her hand when the group was asked the name of Jesus' mother and was called on. I wasn't concerned. Who doesn't know the name of Jesus' mother? Especially a PK? Mariana's response? Sally.

The same child told the whole church that the Good Doctor was not Isaac's father as we all assumed. It went like this:

The Good Doctor was preaching about our identity in Christ and how we grow in Christlikeness. Isaac was just a newborn baby so he borrowed him from my arms and held him up asking, "Who does he look like?" That was an easy one. The congregation scored 100%. Then he asked the obvious question, "Why?" Again, the congregation was spot-on with their answer, "Because he's your son." "Yes," said the Good Doctor, "He looks like me because he's my son." At this very moment Mariana decided that her father had had too much of the spotlight so she called out from her seat (too fast for me to clap my hand over her mouth), "No he's not!"

We had a few years of peace, until the Good Doctor pastored a congregation that encouraged audience participation. That particular evening he read a Scripture passage that included the word circumcision. He rhetorically asked, "Everyone knows what circumcision is, right? Is there anyone here who doesn't know what it is?" That same Sally-is-Jesus'-mother-but-Daddy-is-not-Isaac's-father spouting child innocently raised her hand. I think it's okay for the pastor's daughter to not know what circumcision is at a young age. However, the next day her father did take her to McDonald's for a little health lesson. She was duly embarrassed.

And then the peaceful years continued. Until Victor.

Two weeks ago he moved up to his new class for the school year. Later that week I received a message from one of his teachers. It seems as if Victor had made his way up to the front of the room during circle time (I can't imagine my child not staying politely seated during circle time) so she decided to make him her helper for the lesson. They were talking about how God made us. The children were to name body parts and then say, "Thank you God for making (whatever was named)." So, she asked Victor to name a body part. He very quickly and seriously said, "My pee hole."

I'm told that a few of the older kids grinned. Thankfully, most were clueless. And the teacher quickly suggested, "How about your belly? Everybody touch your belly!"

Leave it to the pastor's kid to force all the parents to have a health lesson following Sunday School.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Victorisms - Oh dear

He insisted on sleeping beside his bed at nap time. Not in, beside. 
It took a while, but he finally fell asleep.
And if it bothers you that he's still in a crib, then you can spend a few nights
with Victor and you'll soon see why it's much easier (and safer)
to keep him here until he finally (someday far away) figures
out that he can climb out himself.

Victor's TVI (Teacher of the Visually Impaired): Victor, I love your smile.
Victor: I love your bubble wrap.
Eden made pancakes and gave one to Victor. He promptly stuck it up to his nose, inhaled deeply, and asked, "Do you smell it?".

"Mom, come celebrate me."
Victor, upon awakening from his nap: Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
Me (after the initial shock of realizing he had memorized more of the prayer I pray over him in the morning): That's right. Thank you, Victor.
Victor: What does it mean?
Really, the 3 year old is asking me what this means?
"I'm going to be Isaac when I get big."
One of the issues with Victor's potty training has been the fact that when he does decide to use the potty on his own, the pants come off wherever and whenever the mood strikes. This is bothersome and awkward at home but obviously not acceptable for preschool. One day he made it from the bathroom to the dinner table bench before anyone could get the pants back on him. I caught him just in time as he attempted to climb onto the back of the bench, thereby exposing himself to the neighbors through the window. I asked him to please get down because we don't flash the neighbors. Now, whenever he climbs on the bench, he asks if he can flash the neighbors. Apparently, to him, flashing the neighbors means climbing on the bench. Great. I hope they don't have any benches at preschool.
Once, after a potty success, he came to me carrying a new pair of underpants that he had found in his drawer. "Look, mom, I got pretty undies." (I think he has too many sisters.)

Victor is finally showing interest in his violin. The struggle has been to get the sensitively challenged child to hold the instrument under his chin; he doesn't want it to touch his face. So Isaac gave him a lesson this morning and as they were finishing up, Isaac used his own fingers to play Twinkle, Twinkle while he helped Victor move the bow. I praised Victor for "playing" Twinkle, Twinkle and he yelled, "No, I want to play Orange Blossom Special!" That one will take a little more practice, my dear.