Thursday, October 14, 2010

How Bible study applies to your hair

The girls and I spend every Thursday morning at Community Bible Study (CBS). It's our 4th year and the girls are a major reason we sign up again each year. They LOVE going. Our study this year is on the servants of God and today we finished up the book of Joshua. He gave a speech for all of Israel just before he died in which he says, "But just as every good promise of the LORD your God has come true, so the LORD will bring on you all the evil he has threatened..." (Joshua 23:15). Something to remember.

This morning, L came in and asked if I would fix her hair for CBS. I started brushing it and noticed something. The front section on her right was significantly shorter than it had been the last time I looked at it.

L has an obsession with cutting her own hair. The year she turned 3, she cut her hair 3 times until I finally shaved it into a pixie. She grew it out long and then cut some of her bangs almost to the hairline. At that time, I warned her that if she ever cut her own hair again, I would give her a haircut. Her long hair was her pride and joy, probably because she had to wear that pixie cut. She loved how it hung way down her back. Her love for it, however, was just not enough to convince her to keep her scissors away from it.

When I reminded her of my promise to cut her hair off the next time she tried cutting her own hair and she burst into tears. "I forgot!" she wailed. Yeah, that's probably what the Israelites said, too. But God and Mom keep their promises to do good and to bring punishment.

After we got home from CBS, L sat on our high dining room chair and I cut all her hair as short as the shortest cut she had made. As I was cutting, I warned her that she had to keep her head still or I might mess up. She ducked her head one too many times just as I snipped and she ended up losing another inch of length to fix that.

Thankfully, her hair is still long enough for a bun for dance...if I use enough hair gel and bobby pins. Between the threat of losing her spot on the dance team and the knowledge that I will followthrough with my threat to punish her, hopefully she will remember to not cut her hair.

Surely this time, right?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mom's Taxi Service

We are fighting an invasion. Actually, two of them, but they're related.

First, we have tiny flying bugs that have decided that our kitchen is a fabulous place to hang out. The sink and the pantry are obviously prime party spots for the little devils, so we spent today doing a deep cleaning and getting rid of everything that could possibly attract them.

Second, we have an invasion of entitlement. As in our children have decided they are entitled to the things they want and "need". As in K told me I had to buy her more corduroys because all of hers are too small. As in it's my fault that L's dance clothes were still wet when it was time to get dressed for class because I only reminded her a few times to bring them down to get washed. As in L came down and asked when I was going to be done with the vacuum because she was trying to watch TV. As in one major cause for the bug invasion is the dishes that sit in the sink for days because K doesn't think to do the dishes (which is her main chore) without being told.

After repeated warnings that have proved to be ineffectual, we're going to try implementing a new incentive plan around here. Today I created and printed off a bunch of tickets for Mom's Taxi Service.

From now on, whenever a child needs a ride to an activity, they have to have one of these tickets. Got a dance practice? That'll be one ticket, please. Softball game? I need a ticket. Today is band practice? Gotta have a ticket. If I'm not already going there myself, I will charge for the ride.

And these tickets have to be earned. Not by some piddly little chore they have to do anyway. After all, their activities take anywhere from 90 minutes to several hours. Earning a ticket requires asking me for a job and completing that job to my satisfaction. Since it will take time to complete each job, they have to think ahead and stockpile a few tickets because if it's time to leave and they don't have a ticket, they don't go.

The girls are kinda excited about Mom's Taxi Service. I figure that will last until the first time they have to miss an activity because they don't have a ticket. Today K got her first taste of the new system when I made her clean and vacuum the loft in exchange for a ride to her softball practice tonight. They both are going to need more tickets before this week is out and K is already lined up to make lunch tomorrow so she can earn a ticket to get to her game tomorrow night. We discussed a few other possible jobs tailored to the abilities of the child, like cleaning the bathroom, doing laundry, sorting the big box of socks, cleaning the litter box, etc.

I think this will be a good lesson for the girls. If you want something, you have to earn it, and that's a lesson better learned young.

Of course, there is the added bonus that it does get a few things off my list.

Monday, October 4, 2010

IFT and what that means

"The time has come," the Blogger said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
And the letters I, F, and T."

We got an email on Wednesday. One that I had been expecting any time, then heard it was going to be January, then surprise! It came anyway.

It's time for Cindy Jae to go In For Training (IFT).

IFT means that the guide dog school has evaluated the space in their kennels and they've decided they have room for Cindy Jae and her 5 brothers and sisters. The dogs usually go back with their whole litter, which means that Cindy Jae will have a few friends down there with her.

On November 8, we will load up the car and drive down to Palmetto, FL, where we'll walk on the beach a little, check into a hotel, and get a good night's sleep. We'll get up Tuesday morning, then make our way over to Southeastern Guide Dogs. Around 9:30, we'll meet one of the trainers and hand over the leash. Cindy Jae will trot happily down a walkway to her new life. The dogs go first to a special kennel building just for new IFT dogs. There's a big play yard and lots of other dogs to sniff out and get to know. She'll spend some time there to be evaluated by the trainers and the vets and they will decide where to place her.

Cindy Jae could become a breeder for the school. She's small and I know that's one trait they like since smaller guide dogs fit into smaller spaces. Breeders are placed with host families near the school and they produce a few litters of future guide dogs before they are released from duty. It's a pretty cushy life.

She could be "career changed" to work as a police dog or a therapy dog or put into the Paws for Patriots program where she would be paired with a soldier suffering from a disability received in combat. Cindy Jae does have some allergy issues so this is a possibility.

Then, of course, there's the career she's been training for since birth - guide dog for someone who is legally blind. In this case, she would stay at the school and learn the skills she needs to know to live and work with a blind individual. After 6+ months, whenever she's deemed ready, the school will present her to incoming classes and see if they can find the perfect match for her. The pair will train at the school for several weeks, then Cindy Jae will go home with her new partner. Cindy Jae is fearless, loving, and incredibly smart and I think would make a fabulous guide dog.

Cindy Jae will love "going off to college". Lots of old and new friends in the dorm, lots of fun new teachers, new classes that will challenge her, new places to go and new things to do. Though there may be some tears watching her walk away to her new life, we'll be happy for her and maybe we'll go play with some of the new puppies for a little bit. Then we'll load ourselves back into the van and point our noses north and east.

And then we'll drown our sorrow with butterbeer while wearing mouse ears.

Because Cindy Jae shouldn't be the only one having fun.