Throwback Thursday: Grandpa and Grandma’s house

I don’t usually do the Throwback Thing, but I stumbled across an old photo and I am trying to get back into a habit of blogging, just a little.  So here ya go.  It’s my grandparents’ house, not in its current magazine centerfold glory, but as I will always remember it.

grandparents house

 

I still haven’t gotten over the loss of the red shag carpet, and I hope to see that rocker in heaven.  And is that a Fisher Price Little Person I spy on the floor, just in front of Grandpa?  A tiny cylindrical guy with a bald head and a green torso?  I secretly despise the new-fangled plastic Little People with all their fancy details.  Ugh.  Where’s the imagination in that?

It’s hard to tell when he’s seated but Grandpa is a big guy, so big that his nickname was Harry Gorilla.  The other people in the pic are Mom, me (age 6), and my next two sisters.  That may be a peek of Molly the Old English Sheepdog in the lower right.  She will always be Grandpa and Grandma’s dog in my heart.

4 Moms crack the whip: Teaching Children to be Diligent

4 Moms 35 Kids answer questions about big familiesRead to the bottom to see the winner of last week’s giveaway for a new copy of Large Family Logistics.

It’s Thursday again, and you’re back for more wisdom from the 4 Moms.  This week we’re talking about teaching children to be diligent.  My first tip: don’t wait until 10 PM on Wednesday night to start your Thursday morning post. Planning ahead = good. Procrastination = bad.

The fact that I was busy practicing fiddle songs with the pastor for our church’s upcoming dance is no excuse. Did you know I played the fiddle?

See? You want to know how to teach your children to be diligent, and already you’ve learned something: the mom who who is avoiding the subject has diligence issues of her own. Perhaps if I had paid more attention to my own deadline, my children would have more respect for the deadlines I set for them.

This will be my first time to provide live music for a dance. We plan to play Old Joe Clark, Devil’s Dream, Irish Washerwoman, Boil That Cabbage Down, Blackberry Blossom, and Westphalia Waltz.

I can tell you what I know, but I’ll be talking to myself as well as you.  I need to take my own advice!  We have our moments of brilliance – some members of our house more than other – and some last for days or weeks, but we have not diligently applied the principles necessary to produce diligence. We are sporadically diligent, an oxymoron if there ever was one.

I started the violin in 5th grade, just before my 10th birthday. I chose it because I was new at school and my new best friend was in violin class.  It was my last year in government school.

See? Again I wander. My mind is elsewhere, just like those of my children. Diligence requires the ability to focus on the task at hand. Other subjects may be worthy of interest but we have to stay on target.

Perry and I have a little mantra that we have our children repeat from a very young age when they are learning to follow the simplest instructions and perform the easiest chores: “What does diligent mean?” They are to reply, “It means quickly, without stopping.”  So the children know what diligence is, but the question is how we can we teach them to be diligent.

My interest quickly waned when my friend moved out of state, but my parents made me keep playing and required me to practice daily.  Over the next two years, I learned to love the violin and was immensely grateful that they hadn’t allowed me to quit.

First, we must give them the tools: We must teach them how to be diligent.

When it comes to schoolwork, one way we help our children learn diligence by removing some distractions but not all. Too many distractions certainly slow them down and frustrate them. But in a house with people – a family home – they must learn to work through a certain level of noise, activity, etc. Otherwise they are vulnerable to every distraction that comes their way.  This can be frustrating at first, but it pays off. A child doing algebra while a 4yo tornado whirls about in the next room is a beautiful sight. This skill will serve her well no matter where she finds herself in The Real World.

We began homeschooling in my second year of violin, but that didn’t stop my advancement in violin. There were 5 children in the house, 4 of them 6yo and under, but I found a quiet spot to make my noise.  I continued to practice daily, fitting it into the new daily schedule.  Unlike the first year, I required few reminders. When it came to violin, I was good, and I wanted to get better.

Another way we help them develop diligence is by giving them practice, i.e. work. Childhood should not be all play, and we should not feel guilty each time we require them to work.  The old adage says “Lazy hands are the devil’s plaything.”  All of us need work, and children are no exception.  Read the book of Proverbs if you doubt it.

When I left government school, my teacher allowed me to pay for private lessons by cleaning house for him and his wife 2 hours in exchange for each hour-long private lesson.  He even provided transportation both ways.  It wasn’t until much later that I realized what a huge favor he was doing for me.  Not only was he teaching me to play better; he was teaching me to love work. I considered it a privilege to work in exchange for more work.

Second, we must motivate them to be diligent.

Just being capable of diligence is not enough. We need motivation to use that ability, and for children the motivation must usually be external.
Motivation can be negative (the proverbial stick) and positive (the carrot). In our house, the stick often means loss of privileges or extra work. The carrot may be verbal praise, an ice cream date, or anything in between.

After more than a year of hard work and good progress, my struggling parents scraped together the money to buy me my own violin in place of the loaner from the government school.  My teacher sold them a beautiful old instrument from his father’s collection for the princely sum of $150.  It was the best Christmas I had ever known.

As they grow and mature, they should become more self-governing and motivate themselves.

In the beginning, my motivation to practice was my dad’s command.  I knew better than to defy him. Later, my own desire to succeed took over.  I found myself in tears if I couldn’t play a new piece to my teacher’s satisfaction – not because the kind old man was a harsh teacher but because I was frustrated with myself.  I knew I could do better.  I knew I must work harder.

We must remember the goal and keep it before our children’s eyes as well.

Why is it important to be diligent?  Because in all labor there is profit (Proverbs 14:23).  Whether we eat or drink or whatever we do, we must do it all to the glory of God (I Corinthians 10:31).  We must give it our very best, our all. As it turns out, that’s not a bad definition for diligence.

Many good things have come of my early lessons in violin, and not all are directly related to musical ability.  My character and work ethic were being formed in those long hours, and I am still thankful today for the pressure placed upon that little girl so many years ago.  I am also thankful for the ability to make a joyful noise unto the Lord! (Psalm 98:1)


The other moms are talking about it too:

 


Large Family Logistics book for moms of manyThe winning comment for a new copy of Large Family Logistics is:

My biggest problem is the clutter.

Emily, I feel your pain!  I hope this book proves helpful in your battle against the clutter monster.  I’ll email you about claiming your gift if you don’t email me first.  🙂

Please don’t forget to come back in August and join our linkup as we blog our way through Large Family Logistics.

Everyone else: if you didn’t win, I hope you’ll still order a copy of this wildly popular book so you can join us too!


Upcoming topics for 4 Moms:

  • July 21 – Tips for remaining patient when you have a houseful of kids
  • July 28 – Q&A  (please leave your questions on my last Q&A post if you want me to find them)

Recent topics:

About 4 Moms, including more past topics

 

My days as a feminist

I didn’t vote for the McCain/Palin ticket in part because I don’t think women belong in politics. This isn’t because I take a low view of women or their ability to rule, but because political leadership is not a part of the role for which God created us. Isaiah makes it clear that one sign of God’s displeasure with a nation is when He sets women to rule over them, and I don’t think we need to go looking for that sort of trouble. We seem to find it easily enough without looking.

But I haven’t always felt that way about women holding office.

When I was a kid, we moved very frequently. In my first 5 years of formal education, I attended 6 public schools – one of them three different times. I was always the New Kid.

I was also very tall and mature for my age, and most of the kids seemed to assume that I was older than they were. This caused them to look to me as a natural leader. Though I had no real drive to lead, I didn’t mind taking on the role when it suited my purposes. I was a firstborn, after all.

One example comes readily to mind, and everything I said so far was really only a weak excuse to tell the following story.

In 5th grade, I was once again the new kid in the class. We had moved just one month into the school year, taking me away from the school where I had finished 4th grade, and now I was a month behind everyone else in the awkward process of getting to know each other. To make matters worse, this was a middle school made up of 5th-8th graders with 400 students in all. I had not just one new teacher and class to adjust to, but 8.  I had skipped a grade early in my education, and now I wasn’t just the youngest in the class; I was the youngest student in the entire school. Fortunately this wasn’t apparent to those around me.

Because of my size I was never a victim of bullying, but I was painfully shy and slow to make new friends. I hated starting at a new school, and this may have been the first time I didn’t just crumple into a sobbing heap for the entire first day. At least I was getting older. Nevertheless, I took my place at the back of the class and quietly plunged into schoolwork because I certainly wasn’t going to plunge into any social circles.

My first week there, my homeroom teacher announced that since we had all gotten to know each other over the past month, it was time to elect a class president who would represent our group for the rest of the year in the body of the student government. The class president would spend the 5th period of every day in Government Class with the presidents of all the other classes, where they would learn about, well, government.

There was a buzz of excited chatter as the bodies in the room divided and coalesced into two groups: boys on one side, girls on the other. Nobody knew who should be president, but we all wanted to elect someone of the proper gender: our own. Boys wanted to choose a boy, girls wanted to choose a girl.

I sat quietly on the sidelines, listening to the other girls discuss who should be nominated. As I sat, an idea came to my 9yo brain. The teacher had said we could nominate anyone we wanted, and we could each nominate anyone in the class but ourselves.

I spoke up. “Why don’t some of us nominate some boys, and everyone agree to nominate just one girl? Then the boys will all be voting for different people, and the girls will all vote for the same the one. Then a girl will be president.”

My idea was immediately adopted, and the rest of the girls set about deciding exactly which boys and girl to nominate. I don’t know exactly how it happened, but I found myself selected as the girls’ candidate. My best guess is that my great idea and apparent maturity impressed them.

I wasn’t excited about the idea of making a speech in front of the entire class, but my supporters were convinced that I was the right one for the job. I scrabbled out a quick campaign speech and did as I was bid, and so began my last year as class president.

When I told this story to my children, they all roared in laughter and disbelief at the scheme I had pulled off. “Manipulation!” they cried. “Cheating! We can‘t believe you did it!”

I say it’s just politics.

A fun story from way back

I was just telling the children a story from the old days, back when we could count our children on the fingers of one hand.

In fact, we only had one child on the outside and one on the inside.  Deanna was about 19 months old and I was 7 months pregnant with Kaitlyn.  Actually, I’m just guessing about the 7 months part, but I do remember being very pregnant, and it seems like all of our best stories happened when I was 7 months pregnant so I think it’s a good guess.

So…

Back in the old days, hubby worked in a chemical warehouse up in Ohio.  One day he was moving 55 gallon barrels of chemicals by tipping them on edge and rolling.  They weighed around 500 lbs each, but he’s the kind of man who moves 500 lbs. around when it needs moving.  He just does it.

This particular day, it didn’t go so well.  I think the contents inside one barrel sloshed, sending the barrel off-balance.  It tipped back onto hubby, its weight pressing onto his leg and forcing his right knee and shin to the floor while his right foot remained firmly planted on the floor.

This required a trip to the doctor, where they found one or two dislocated toes and some crushed bones in his foot, not to mention a hyper-extended Achilles tendon.  It would heal, but he needed to use crutches for at least 6 weeks.

Fortunately, his employer was able to assign him to a different job that would allow light duty for the 6 weeks that he was unable to do his regular job.  It required a slightly longer drive, 45 minutes from our home instead of 25.

That brings me to the subject of transportation.  Here’s where it gets fun.

Our only car was a very small hatchback with a manual transmission.  It was a Toyota Tercel from the early ’80’s like this one.  Have you ever driven a vehicle with a manual transmission with one foot?

So I would have to drive him to and from work. This much was clear.  It was winter, and I was very pregnant, and we had a baby, but that’s ok.  We do what we have to do, and I could do this.

But maybe I should mention some of the car’s other quirks.

The passenger door was jammed shut by a recent wreck.  The lady who hit us didn’t have insurance, and we didn’t have the heart to ask her to pay to fix our$400 car, so we were waiting for her to cough up $150 to make the door work again.  As it turned out, she was good for the money, but at the time we were still waiting.  So the passenger door and its window were non-functional.

We had also learned that winter that if we opened the driver door on a very cold day, it wouldn’t latch again.  This was rather inconvenient, to say the least.  I know exactly how inconvenient it was, because we tried it a few times.   Those were some of the longest 45 minute drives I’ve ever experienced.  They were also exercises in coordination and creativity.

Have you ever tried to shift gears while holding the door shut with one hand?  For that matter, have you ever tried to hold a car door shut for 45 minutes?  It’s very difficult to get a good hold unless you (gulp) roll down the window.  This was winter in Ohio.  This was the sort of weather where we sometimes had to use a snow shovel just to find our little hatchback in the morning.  I’m not kidding.

I think we’ve established that both doors were non-functional.  In our car, 2 non-functional doors only left one option.

The hatch.

So every morning, I would hoist my very pregnant self in through the hatch and crawl to the front of the car.  I would start the engine to warm the car for the baby, and crawl out the driver window, reaching inside to roll it up as far as I could.

When we were ready to leave, hubby would hobble out and climb in through the driver window with his broken foot and recently relocated toes, struggling over the gear stick and into the passenger seat.  It was very difficult for him but easier than coming through the hatch.

Then I would hand him his crutches, buckle the baby into her carseat (probably through the hatch?) and hoist my pregnant self in through the driver window.  Finally, we were ready for the 45 minute drive to work.

We did this twice a day for 6 weeks.  I don’t remember much about those 6 weeks, but I sure hope we laughed about it.  It’s hard not to laugh about it now.

I wonder what we’ll be laughing about in another 15 years?

Happy Birthday

lydIt’s official.  We now have 3 teens in the house.  Not content with 3, hubby is counting down to the day we’ll have 5 teenaged daughters at the same time.  But is it just my imagination, or is there a haunted look in his eye when he contemplates those days?  hmmm…

Lydia turned 13 yesterday, but I took her out for a birthday trip earlier in the week since I was going to be in town anyway.  At her request, we visited several thift stores and used bookstores.  This is my children’s idea of a perfect shopping trip, and I love it!

Then we splurged and split her first-ever prime rib dinner at Outback Steak House.  I say we splurged, but the entire meal was just over $20, including tax and tip.  I’m not sure introducing her to prime rib was such a great idea, since she enjoyed it just as much as hubby and I do.  Expensive taste isn’t always a good thing.  But prime rib is always a good thing.  Oh, yes it is.

13 Memories for Lydia

  1. Remember when you used to play hide-and-seek with Cinder the cat? You always chose the cat’s hiding places.  I’m not sure we ever convinced you just how much the cat despised this game.
  2. Remember the nickname we used to tease you about loving animals to the point of cruelty?baby-lyd
  3. Remember when your sisters convinced you that they were going to bury you in the 4′ pit they dug in the backyard?
  4. Remember when you were too short to turn on the bathroom light?  You would leave the door open for light, and short chubby little Megan would grin and slam the door, leaving you in total darkness.
  5. Remember when somebody wrote your name with a rock on Grandpa C’s van?  But it wasn’t you, was it?
  6. Remember when you wedged toothpicks upright into Grandpa B’s chair?  And he actually sat on them?
  7. Remember when we were learning about Egypt and you got to be the mummy, all wrapped up in toilet paper?  Everyone wanted to be the mummy, and then you got too scared to go through with the job.
  8. Remember when you helped a certain young aunt eat a cheesy stone-fried stick bug?
  9. Remember when Deanna dressed you up like an Indian?  And years later, she found the old pics and posted them to the blog? And dad was shocked and made her take them down.
  10. Remember when you woke up and found your pet caterpillar all wrapped up in tape-y stuff?  And you unwrapped him to save him?  Poor lil guy.
  11. Remember the stink bombs from Grandma’s old barrel of rotten horse grain?
  12. Remember when you and your sisters tried to drown the rats out of the walls of the upstairs bathroom?
  13. Remember when you threw a peanut shell in another customer’s drink at Texas Roadhouse?

Do you remember all those, Lydia?  We do.  Happy birthday!

a childhood story: The Pool

I was wondering aloud what to blog today, and 5yo Rachael suggested The Pool.  I don’t know why that story came to mind, and she doesn’t know either, except that all children love to hear stories from their parents’ childhoods.

I had intended to write down some childhood stories and even created a category for memories, so now, like my own children, you’ll know the story of the pool too.

The Pool

We were very poor when I was a kid.  We ate a lot of beans, and luxuries were few and far between.  Our idea of luxury was having our own pillows – something that didn’t happen until I was a teen.  Before that, we used pillows in shifts: the older ones waited until the younger ones fell asleep, then took their pillows.  It worked for us.

When I was 8 or 9 and there were 5 of us, Mom somehow managed to save enough money to buy us kids a pool.  I don’t know how she did it.  It was just a kiddie pool, the kind that was $15.44 this summer at WalMart, but we couldn’t remember ever having had one before.  We hadn’t even thought to hope for one.  We were indescribably excited, and Mom was excited for us.  This was going to be the best summer ever!

We bought the pool, and had to carry it home on the top of our vehicle.  Mom drove as slowly as she could, but once we got on the divided highway she had to pick up the pace a little.

Then the unthinkable happened. The pool blew off the top of our vehicle. We knew the instant it happened, but there was nowhere to pull over.  Mom did the best thing she could think of: she hit the gas, took the next exit and came back around.

As we crossed the overpass, we looked down and saw our pool by the side of the highway.  There it was, just a few hundred feet away.  But as we watched in horror  a truck on the other side had pulled over right next to our pool.

They got out, no doubt delighted at their luck.  Why would anyone throw away a perfectly good pool?

To the best of my memory, Mom pulled over and got out right there on the overpass.

“HEY!” Our shy, quiet mother yelled at the top of her lungs.  She waved madly.  “That’s my pool!  THAT’S MINE!”  They were oblivious.  With 8 lanes of traffic thundering between us, we watched helplessly as they loaded our pool into the back of their truck and drove away.

There was no happy ending.  We didn’t get a pool that summer.  I don’t know how many years passed before we finally had a kiddie pool of some sort but I suspect that first one had been long forgotten by most of us.

I often wonder why the memory stayed with me.  I forget so many things; why did I remember this?  And why did Rachael think of it tonight?

I think it’s because my mom cared so much.  She seemed more disappointed than we were.  The pool itself couldn’t have meant a thing to her, but she desperately wanted it for our sake.  Our gentle, softspoken mother was willing to stand there like a crazy lady on the overpass bellowing at strangers, so that we could splash around in a kiddie pool.

Our mom loved us and we knew it, even though we lost the pool. Maybe losing the pool gave us a clearer look at how much she loved us.

The Need for Proper Communication

We cleaned out the shed last Saturday and found a couple of my old school papers.  This one brought back memories!

Back when I was 17, Dad and I were having a debate over some forgotten topic.  I was frustrated and felt he was misrepresenting what I had said.  “But that’s not what I meant!”  His reply was one that I thought I heard far too often: “Really?  Well then, I want you to write me a paper…”  As usual, he provided the title, and I did the rest.

Here is the result, which I typed up on Dad’s new-fangled word processor nearly 20 years ago.

The Need for Proper Communication

by Kimberly Brown

March 21, 1990

What is the need for proper communication?

The dictionary defines communication as “the imparting of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing or signs.”

Though oration (i.e., communication by speech) requires some additional skills, communication in general is simply the application of reading and writing, two of the three basic skills taught in education.  Without a proper education it is nearly impossible to communicate well.  Without an instructor capable of effective communication, it is just as hard to acquire a good education.  However, with a good education and some effort, almost anyone can learn to communicate well.  Since communication is both a prerequisite to and a result of education, the two might be considered mutually dependent.

Now we know by definition that communication is the interchange of ideas or information, but the question remains: Why do we need to be able to communicate effectively?  That could best be answered from the Scriptures: First Peter 3:15 say, “Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that lies within you.”  Similiarly, the Psalmist declares that he will “speak of the testimonies of God before kings and will not be ashamed.”  [Ps. 119:46]  Surely a witness before either peers or royalty should have at his command the ability to skillfully reveal the basis of his faith.

One called upon to defend his faith would do well to take as an example the apostle Paul.  Being a lawyer, Paul’s profession was communication.  In this he excelled, and he eloquently answers for his own faith and exhorts others to similar faith many times in the book of Acts and in his letters to the churches.

Since God has blessed us with a written revelation, it seems our duty to develop to the greatest possible extent our ability to understand, act upon, and transmit the information contained in His Word.  The Great Commission demands communication; To go back even farther, how could we more effectively subdue, replenish, and have dominion over the earth.  Acquiring a good education would better enable us to understand God’s revealed will and the workings of the world around us.  Remember, only through another’s ability to communicate can a person obtain an education.

Inseparable from today’s education crisis is the appalling state of communication in America.  The average “literate” American can hardly complete a grammatically correct sentence, let alone employ the tools and skills required to express himself clearly.  But it hasn’t always been that way; The literary works of early America witness to a different approach to education.

The widely used McGuffey Readers put great emphasis upon such unheard-of skills as articulation, accent, enunciation, inflection, and careful pronunciation; the speed, quality, pitch and force of one’s voice; and proper expression and rhythm in reading both poetry and prose.  All this came as the child was learning to read, not later in courses for especially motivated students.  These skills, in addition to a wide vocabulary, the ability to connect thoughts smoothly and flutently, and basic arithmetic all combined to form what was then considered the most rudimentary education.

As the early Americans must have known, the best way to improve communication is through practice.  Compositions, essays and reports were frequently required and were often presented orally.  Although this is still practiced to some degree, in many cases the teacher’s own ability to communicate is so inadequate that he or she cannot intelligently criticize the student’s work.

The solution is in the home.  Both the reasons for and methods of communication must be taught from the beginning.  President Lincoln is said to have begun with the Bible as his textbook, and he is legendary for his talents of communication.  Defense of the faith and spreading the Gospel are together one lifelong duty presenting a need for proper communication.  That ability must be developed and exercised throughout life, from the first words uttered to the last.

Homeschool Kids Write Assignment 51

My Dad was very rotten when he was young(when I say rotten I mean ROTTEN). He told us hundreds of childhood stories, most of them rotten things he did to his brothers.  Here is my favorite. 🙂

When he (Dad) was eight or nine  and his younger brother (Christopher) was four or five there was a big oak tree in his back yard.  They live on a hill so the yard sloped away from the back deck.  Dad, Nathan (Dad’s friend), and Christopher went out back to play with a rope that was tied to the back of the tree.

They tied Christopher up with the rope so they could swing him off the deck. At the last minute Christopher freaked out and wanted to be untied. Nathan and Dad didn’t untie him.  When they were about to push him off the deck Nathan slid the rope under his neck so that if you saw it from the right angle it would look they were trying to hang him. Unfortunately Grandma saw it from that angle just as they pushed him off the deck.

Grandma went running out screaming, thinking that they were trying to hang Christopher. When he swung back to the deck he had rope burn on his neck. Nathan ran and hid while Dad got in trouble, and still if we ask Grandma then she’ll tell us of how Dad tried to kill Christopher by hanging him.

This post is part of this week’s Homeschool Kids Write project. Go see more!

Lydia C. 12 years old

Writing assignment : Stories from your relatives.

OK, I’m a little bit behind on this assignment but I still want to do it. So without further ado, here goes!

When my Dad was 12, the pastor of his church and another man named Mr. Tippery took all the kids around his age in the church out camping.

Mr. Smith (the pastor) took all the boys in his car, and Mr. Tippery took all the girls in his car.To tease the boys Mr. S would drive right up next to Mr. T and then slow down and drop behind. To make matters worse for the enraged boys, the girls would grin and wave as the boys dropped behind.

Now before we go any further 2 things must be understood, #1. My Dad was very  rotten when he was younger. #2 It just happened to be my Dad’s turn to sit up front. Can you see where this is going?

My dad decided that he was the only way to catch up with Mr. T. He crawled down onto the floor boards and and pushed the gas pedal down.   He floored the gas pedal! All the boys in the car whooped in excitement as  Mr. S grabbed at Dad.  Dad shrank down against the floor.  Mr. T’s car sped behind them, and the car in front looked as if was going backwards. When Dad let up they were way ahead of Mr. T, and about 3 ft behind the car in front of them.

Dad sat in the back for the rest of that trip. I wonder why?

This post is part of this week’s Homeschool Kids Write project. Go see more!

From the mailbag: Bedtime for kids sharing a room

From Shannon

Hey Kim.  We enjoy your blog a lot.  A few months back, you mentioned your bedroom arrangements.  I was wondering since you have big and littles in the same room, how you handle bed times. Like does everyone go to bed at the same time? Or do the littles got to bed earlier and listen while adults and bigger kids laugh and talk etc?  We currently have all the biggers in one room and the littles in another so the olders can stay up a little later and read etc.  But, I like the idea of having an older one in charge of each room.  So, I was just wondering your thoughts on this.

Shannon,

Our little ones usually go to bed before the big ones, but this doesn’t pose a problem as far as we’re concerned.  We’ve never worried about the children going right to sleep so long as they are lying quietly in bed.  If you can let go of that concern, the whole dynamic of bedtime changes.

We do expect the general noise level in the house to decrease once the younger children are in bed, but our house is small with a very open layout so they can hear everything that happens and can even see much of  it.

There may be an adjustment period, but we think it’s worth it.  If they are genuinely tired, they will doze off.  If they’re not tired yet, no amount of tip-toeing will help.

The only drawback we’ve experienced is a certain inevitable limitation upon late night treats.  I just can’t get past the ovarian guilt when I know a little one is still awake and can smell what we’re up to.   That’s why there’s still a whole bag of cheesesticks in the freezer even though hubby surprised me with them 2 weeks ago.  Not enough to go around, and little noses everywhere.  sigh.

This reminds me of my little brother.  One night long after he was in bed, Mom and we older girls were indulging in a late night treat: ice cream.  As we ate and chatted softly, we heard the swish-swish of little feet in pajamas.  3yo Kyle poked his tousled head around the corner, rubbing his eyes and looking groggy.  He peered and squinted at us.  “I heard spoons.

Kyle

He’s not so little any more, but can’t you just picture him in jammies with swish-swish feet?