Monday, January 16, 2012

Getting lemons

Greetings friends and family,

I caught a flu bug so the view from my bedroom hasn't changed much the past 3 days.  My body gave me a few warning signs saying, "please take a break".  However, my invincibility superpower did not kick in when I stayed up until 2:30 AM.  The next morning my body said, "I triiiiiiiied to warn you, but Noooooo.  you had to go and do this the hard way."  So here i lie, Nyquil'd up, resting peacefully so I can head back to work with a healthy system.

The part I struggle with the most is how my absence around the house puts stress on Kendra, who took care of Easton and Layla without many breaks over the past three days.  I'm grateful for their preschool days during the week to provide the much needed rest and chance for her to focus on something else besides the twins.

I stopped Easton and Layla on the way out the door for school to capture the moment.  They looked so adorable with the over-sized backpacks I couldn't resist.

I'm tempted for Kendra and I to dress up like Easton and Layla and make a mirror "grown-up" picture complete with backpacks and her pigtails.

Getting into our new house sucked our entire life savings dry, but it may be paying dividends already through our bumper crop of lemons! Easton and Layla gladly helped me fill up a bag so Kendra could make a lemon pie and lemonade and lemon curd and 20 other lemony treats.  As a side-note, I didn't even have to say, "Strike a pose" for Layla to do it.  

Our lemon tree is drooping from the weight of all the fruit.  Now we're waiting for them to ripen.  I never knew how to tell, but luckily I have friends like David and Tam who were willing to show me the ropes.  From what I understand, if you turn the lemon a half-turn by hand and it falls off in your hand then it is ripe.  So much to know...

You may have noticed Easton's muscle shirt from the lemon picture.  He flexes his arm muscles when anyone mentions the muscle shirt so I knew it was high-time he started working them out... one trash bag at a time.

Easton was psyched up to help with the trash and I was beaming with smiles at the thought of one day turning over trash duties to him.  Some of the fringe benefits of having kids is starting to show fruit.  literally.

That brings me to my tip-of-the-day, which is:  How to teach a skill (yes, taking out the trash is a skill).  Sounds simple, but so many people get it wrong.  Here's how I believe teaching should be done:

First, talk about it and explain what to do, how to do it, and what is expected.
Second, do it by demonstrating correctly and explain while showing
Third, allow the learner to do it while watching and assisting
Fourth, allow the  learner to do it complete from start to finish

I lean heavily on this because of Galations 6:4, which says, "But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another."

There is a similar guideline I live by for parenting:  "Don't do anything for children once they can do it for themselves."  Examples are:  climbing up into the car seat (let Easton do it himself since he was strong enough to step up) and brush their teeth (Layla was thrilled to take this responsibility).  On the other hand, Layla asked me to carry her to bed last night and I gladly complied.  I walked extremely sloooooow because she hugged my neck tightly the whole way.

I don't think these are controversial concepts, but just tangible examples of what Kendra and I use as guidelines.  Wishing I had a parenting guide with this stuff in it 4 years ago...

See you soon!


Anonymous said...

so glad you are instilling a good work ethic in those twins and yes, the way to teach skills is just what you explained!! You and Easton look like cute "hunks"
Love ya gobs, MOM

The Four Webbs said...

Thanks, Mom! I hear nothing is more attractive in a man than when he is doing house chores. I'm teaching Easton to be hunky one chore at a time.