Thursday, April 1, 2010

Who's on First?

Hi friends and family,

Thank you for the words of encouragement for Kendra. She really appreciated it and the week is going very well. Welcome back and I hope you're all ready for a big Easter weekend. We could have a surprise cameo visit from Oma and Opa this weekend IF they decide to go out of their way by many hours to swing through Arizona for a few days. I really hope they decide to drive here, but I'll feel bad if they do because I know how loooooong the drive is here and back to NorCal for only a few days of fun with the 4 Webbs. Please don't count the prepositional phrases in the last sentence because I know it's messy. My grammar ain't no good so don't axe me to fix nuthin'.

Anywho, the title of the blog refers to a new minor adjustment Kendra and I are making in our daily life in an attempt to work on Easton and Layla's upbringing. Here's the situation: When one of us parents leave the house or arrive home, we make sure to give each other kisses and hugs in dramatic fashion over emphasizing our words to describe what we are doing and saying, "I love you".

At lunch the other day I was telling this to my pastor, who is teaching a class called, "Growing kids God's way". I mentioned our desire to properly display love and affection and to let our kids know that the most important relationship in the house is the one between Kendra and me. He told me how to take it to the next level: When I arrive home after I get settled and whatever activity going on at home is done (like dinner) the two of us go into the living room, sit Easton and Layla down on the rug with some toys or puzzles. Then we tell Easton and Layla, "Mommy and Daddy are going to talk and spend time together so give us a few minutes without interrupting". Kendra puts her legs over mine and we hold hands and talk about whatever. After 5 minutes or so we stop and I get down on the floow with the kids and we play the rest of the night away.

Why? Why is that so important? According to Growing Kids God's Way and my pastor it is an often overlooked message being sent to the kids. The kids need to KNOW mommy and daddy's relationship is solid and the most important priority in the house. If I come home and give Kendra a quick kiss and then spend the next 2 hours with the twins, they never SEE the two of us together focused on each other and tending to one another's needs. All they saw prior to this week was that we focused 100% as a "team" on them. dinner, park, bath, books, snacks, bed. THEN once the kids were in bed we would sit down together and catch up. Apparently that is the wrong way to do it because Easton and Layla never saw us talking through things and focused on each other.

I know doing this one habitual action won't magically turn our twins into angels and whatever benefits they get from seeing us actively engaged with each other will take weeks to have an impact. However, I completely agree with my Pastor's assessment and importance to ensure the twins know "Who's on first"... that would be Kendra is first for me and I am first for her. Then the twins come second.

I've seen parents who devote their entire life and being to their kids. There is no substance to their marital relationship outside of their kids and once the kids go off to college, they split up because there is nothing left in common. Or if they do have a good relationship without the kids knowing it then the kids believe they are the center of the universe and everything and everyone in the world revolves around them. I despise kids like that and I'm determined NOT to be parents who fail the transition into the empty nesters.

You may think I'm nuts for caring about what life will be like as empty nesters since I only have toddlers at home, but I don't want to live in a reactive mode for the rest of my life. I'd rather build the correct foundation now because I know; "you reap what you sow" is true true true.

Boyz in the hood:

This afternoon I promised the twins we would go the park. We loaded up the Chariot on my bike and as we rode out of the driveway we were all cheering loudly about going to the park. Then Easton piped up and said, "I want to go see train, daddy." I stopped the bike and got down on their level to have some negotiation time. Not sure if you've ever attempted to mediate a debate between yourself and two toddlers, but I thought it went well.

Daddy: Easton and Layla, Do you want to go to the park or to see the train?
Easton: Train!
Layla: Park!
Daddy: OK, we'll go to the train and THEN to the park, OK?
Twins in unison: Yea! (with cheers and applause)

They both got what they wanted and I was a few minutes late to martial arts training. I showed THEM who is boss, eh? I want to be more firm, but it is hard to disappoint one of them when it is possible to for all of us to compromise and be happy.

We arrived at the trains and I got a good picture of Easton and I (as the boyz) in front of the train where some wanna be gangstas put graffiti on one of the tanker cars (in the hood). Just down the street from our exurban neighborhood is... the Ghetto! OK, maybe not, but it sure sounds tough.

Then we also have a picture of Easton looking so sweet holding his teddy bear. This is the opposite of tough guy, but I like it just the same.

And then we have a short video clip of hanging out by the train and hearing the twins explain what they see. Easton says he wants to walk under the train. Then when I suggest it he says, "No". I just go along with him because I enjoy the journey and funny moments like this.

Pictures and videos this week have been sparse to say the least, but Kendra's had a tough week so it's understandable. :) I can guarantee this weekend will be filled with adventures and pictures. Although it will be MUCH more enjoyable if Oma and Opa show up (hint, hint).

See you soon!

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