We presented on an Engaged Encounter retreat this past weekend – Kayliana’s first! The boys went to my parents’ for the weekend and – sorry, guys – but based on their behavior lately I was definitely ready for a little break! I was worried about a wEEkend with an eight-week old. We always brought the boys when they were babies (up to age one) but never when they were that young. And, not that Kayliana’s colicky or really even THAT fussy, but she’s had her more vocal moments (especially if she’s constipated). Thankfully, as always seems to happen, we had a perfectly-behaved baby for the engaged couples to see. Seriously, she could not have been any better or any cuter. Like, it was a little crazy how angelic she was – all smiles and coo’s; just working the crowd. I think that God must sprinkle these babies with a little angel dust (or God-power or Heavenly-bribery that only babies know about) or SOMETHING that entices this flawless baby-behavior. All I know is she worked like propaganda for the Church inspiring all those couples to go forth, marry and multiply. They’re all convinced after a weekend with her that their babies will surely be as good and cute (ha! Good luck with that. Like it’s even possible!). And I think that we may have even inspired a few to consider adoption as well! Anyway, I am not even kidding you that literally as the last couple walked out the door at 3pm, Kayliana began crying…for the FIRST TIME ALL WEEKEND. She held it together, bottled it up, kept it in and then finally just let loose…and hasn’t stopped a whole lot since. (No, just kidding, she has, but ever since Sunday afternoon she has just been a little fussier than usual).
The boys had a great weekend with my parents – thank you! And Zachary even had big news for us in the car on the way home.
I don’t remember if I’ve written about this, but Zach’s had a bad attitude about something he’s supposed to do in gymnastics. Skipping. During their warm-ups, they run across the gym, bear-crawl across the gym, crab-walk across the gym and, yes, skip across the gym. As soon as Coach yells, “Skip!” all joy drops from Zachary’s face and he shoves his hands in the pockets of his gym shorts and sorta bad-attitude gallops-walks-saunters across the floor. Every week, Coach has tried to show him how to skip. Every week I’ve addressed this skipping predicament with him.
His response: “I just don’t like skipping. I’m just not used to it.” So, I’d explain that he’d never get ‘used’ to it if he refused to learn and practice. Mike, Matthew and I had all, at different times, tried to provide him some skipping-tutoring. However, he stubbornly refused to learn or try.
My parents had heard about this anti-skipping philosophy and had also tried to intervene. To no avail. And then this past weekend, my dad finally broke through. Tired of hearing that he had an anti-skipping grandson, dad basically told Zach that he needed to ‘man up and learn to skip like a man.’
Using the garage as the skipping studio, dad gradually broke through the tough walls of the skip-hater teaching him skipping-skills and skipping-acceptance. Under dad’s careful tutelage, Zachary’s heart-softened to the world of skipping. (Although, dad later admitted to me, that he had thought about taking Zach up to the park…but, uh, thankfully the weather was bad, so they HAD to stay in the privacy of the garage for this manly skipping-lesson. Phew!).
So, after the weekend, in the car on the way home, Zachary casually announced, “D-dad taught me how to skip.” I tried to play it smooth, I really did, but when your child announces such miraculous news, it’s hard.
“REALLY?!” OK, keep it cool. I took a deep breath. “Yeah, D-dad’s a pretty good skipper. He’s got some impressive skipping-skills,” I said, attempting nonchalance.
Trying to still act cooler-than-skipping, Zach shrugged. “Yeah. He’s pretty good.”
At gymnastics on Monday, I leaned over the railing of the viewing-balcony with baited breath. When Coach yelled, “SKIP!” I watched with a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes [actually, I have a cold and my eyes are just watery…no really, I swear…or there was some dust in the gym…or I was cutting an onion] as – for the first time ever – my little boy skipped across that gym floor like a MAN. Coach noticed and congratulated him and I – yes, I was THAT parent – started yelling and cheering for my son. I’ll never forget where we were when I saw my son take his first skips.
After gymnastics, in the car, I – with nervous excitement – asked Zachary, “So, do you like skipping now?”
Acting indifferent, Zach looked at the window, gazing off into the distance, he said, “Mmm, I’m still not used to skipping…but it’s OK.”
I am relieved that our family no longer has to live in shame. The pretense was weighing on me. Knowing that you have a skip-hater in your house is a heaving burden to carry. I was in denial that it had become such a problem, really. But now, I can walk with my head held high again, knowing that ALL members of our family tolerate – neigh even LOVE – and accept skipping. My son skips like a man and I’m ready to shout it from the rooftops!