Engrave a Ray of Sunshine on my Soul

Is compassion something learned or is it born into us?

I watch the daily interactions between my children. Sometimes I see moments that engrave a ray of sunshine on my soul. Other times I witness acts that make me wonder if solitary confinement is the only way to successfully achieve peace in a house with three small children.

One of those sweet moments of Bency reading to Cesar when he was a baby

One of those sweet moments of Bency reading to Cesar when he was a baby

We have a basket of blankets in the living room that are for any ones use should they get cold. For some reason my 2 year old, Cesar has formed a strong attachment to the red fleece blanket in the basket. Even though there is an exact matching blue one and my 5 year old son, Bency, doesn’t prefer one over the other he will grab the red one if he sees Cesar entering the room just to start a battle. It’s moments like these that make having more than one child difficult.

But then there’s instances that occur like the one last week. It was my daughter, Iris’s 8th birthday. In the past I have taken Bency to the store to let him pick out a small gift for his sister. However, this year things got busy and I found no time for this outing but I did pick up two ceramic unicorn statues for each boy to give to their sister on her birthday.

As Bency gave Iris her gift I heard him whisper something to her. I saw her give him a smile and a nod. I couldn’t help but to ask what was said. Bency looked at me and in the sweetest voice said, “I told her that I had really wanted to buy her a unicorn swimsuit. Maybe someday I can get that for her.”

Those words melted my heart.

Iris does love unicorns and a honestly, she really does need a swimsuit for this summer. It would have been the perfect gift and this sweet, little 5 year old boy knew that because he loves her and knows his sister so well.

Two days ago another touching moment occurred.

Normally I help Cesar brush his teeth in the morning. When he requested my help Saturday morning I told him I was busy and to hold on a minute. Bency immediately piped in with, “I can help Cesar brush his teeth.” I was a bit taken back by his offer because Bency has not really shown any nurturing qualities in the past but I agreed that he could help.

I noticed that the boys had been in the bathroom quite awhile so I decided to go check in.

When I peeked in, I saw Cesar sitting on the stool and Bency sitting there lightly brushing Cesar’s hair. Bency looked up and said, “I already brushed his teeth but I’m just trying to get his hair looking good too.”

As I stood there speechless just taking in that moment, Bency also asked if he could help Cesar get dressed for they day. I proceeded to witness Bency remove Cesar’s pajamas and help him into his shorts and button-down plaid shirt.

Bency wasn't always a hands on kind of brother. Sometimes he would ask, "What's wrong little guy?"

Bency wasn’t always a hands on kind of brother. Sometimes he would ask, “What’s wrong little guy?”

Later that day, my two older children and I went to the grocery store. As I pulled in, I noticed an old lady struggling to push her shopping cart across the parking lot. By the time I got parked and got the children out of the van, she had made her way to her car. I immediately went over to her and asked if she would like help putting her bags in her car. She said she did.

I helped her and we talked for a few minutes before the kids and I headed into the store. I did not discuss this with my children and they did not bring it up.

Should I have explained why I did this or do my children already know.

To lend a hand when you can. To lend a smile or a nice word. To buy a unicorn swimsuit…or at least tell someone you would if you could!

You're never too small to lend a helping hand

You’re never too small to lend a helping hand


Older Sisters Are the Dickens

Older sisters are the dickens I tell you! They are by nature…bossy, controlling and nurturing all rolled up into one pretty package. They are a breed of their own as far as I’m concerned.

My daughter, the oldest of my bunch, derived straight from this mold that I believe exists in the “oldest sister making factory.” She has all of the characteristics that I mentioned above. She can be scolding her little brothers one minute for acting like a bunch of hooligans and hugging and kissing them so sweetly after they’ve fallen and got hurt (from acting like hooligans) the next minute.

Now, the other key factor into being an older sister is you must, I repeat, YOU MUST make your younger siblings do many stupid things and catch it on film so they can be traumatized with it in later years. This is absolutely essential.

Here are some things that older sisters like to do:

Here is the first time Iris made Bency wear make-up

Here is the first time Iris made Bency wear make-up

She has also made him dress up as the Tooth Fairy many o’ times!

Dress them up in girl baby clothes...This is Cesar at 6 months old

Dress them up in girl baby clothes…This is Cesar at 6 months old

And more baby clothes...Cesar was such a good sport!

And more girl clothes…Cesar was such a good sport!

Put a flowery kerchief on their head is always good too!

Put a flowery kerchief on their head is always good too!

Yesterday, Iris decided that she no longer needed Dora the Explorer barrettes in her hair accessory box anymore….so she gave them to Cesar! Not only did he let her put them in his hair but he just loves them! He has wore them for 2 days straight now and if any fall out he requests that they put back in!

Cesar with Dora barrettes in his hair!

Cesar with Dora barrettes in his hair!

I know all about this older sister business because I had one of my own. She is 12 years older than me:

My sister and I

My sister and I

Since she was older she did even more elaborate things to me…like give me home perms! For heaven’s sake why didn’t my Mom stop her?!

Check out this gem dandy of a hair-do!

So yes, older sisters are bossy and controlling. They will do things to embarrass you…intentionally or not. But through it all they will be there to hug and support you when things get tough and will love you no matter what…even if you have been acting like a complete hooligan!

Thick As Thieves

A few weeks ago, I saw my 7 year old daughter, Iris, and my 5 year old son, Bency walking up the driveway from their walk home from school. Iris was slightly bent over carrying something about the size of a newborn baby. After further inspection I realized it was a huge chunk of ice.

As they entered the house I inquired about the 15 lb. block that Iris deposited in our backyard. She said Bency found it on the sidewalk 2 blocks away and really wanted it, but he wasn’t strong enough to carry it home so she did it for him. She stated this with a bit of exasperation and an eye roll.

This little tidbit of information made my heart sing. I know that sounds crazy. Why would anyone be excited about a block of ice?

You see there was a time when I wasn’t sure how the relationship between Iris and Bency was going to play out. Iris could be very bossy and controlling. Take for example this conversation I overheard in 2009:

Iris: “Bency, what headband do you want to wear?”

Bency: “No, headband Iris.”

 Iris: (in an irritated, louder voice): “I SAID, WHAT HEADBAND DO YOU WANT TO WEAR?”

 Bency (in a forlorn voice): “The pink one Iris.”

Iris making Bency dress up in 2009

Iris making Bency dress up in 2009

Iris dressed Bency up for an adventure...she even made him wear her shoes

Iris dressed Bency up for an adventure…she even made him wear her shoes

Iris made Bency dress up like the Tooth Fairy

Iris made Bency dress up like the Tooth Fairy

I took this as a sign that Bency would forever bow down to his big sister and forever be sentenced to a life of playing tea party and dress up. Over time they have found their balance and it has been a relationship of give and take between the two. Bency no longer is submitted to dressing up like a girl and Iris indulges him by playing Super Heroes and dinosaurs. They are partners in crime and thick as thieves.

Iris & Bency summer 2012

Iris & Bency summer 2012

Last winter, Iris and Bency had the bathroom occupied for a long time applying temporary tattoos. Bency abruptly ran out and started heading upstairs. I asked where he was going and he said he was suddenly very tired and needed a nap (unheard of). Later I discovered a lower of three shelves holding towels in the bathroom was knocked down. I questioned both children and no one knew what happened but kept giving each other sideways glances. I then told them I would be reviewing the video footage from my secret spyware. Bency caved at this point, throwing his hands to his forehead shouting, “I confess, I confess. It was me.”

Why didn’t Iris give him up when she had the chance? Maybe she knew this was in her future:

A few months ago, the children had been playing in Bency’s room. A few days later I noticed the black wrought iron curtain rod bent down on one side that I’m sure could have only been caused by someone swinging or pulling on Bency’s cowboy printed curtain. When I asked Iris and Bency about this they tried to mask their guilt with a halfhearted attempt of disbelief and shock. I got nowhere with my continued questioning or little white lie of reviewing my secret spyware.

Later that night, my husband called the kids into the living room to ask them about the bent curtain rod. Both kids stood in front of him with their arms behind their backs and again claimed their innocence and tried their best to act appalled that anyone would possibly think it was one of them. As they stood there fumbling with their words and sweat starting to pop out on their brow; Bency put his arm down to his side and nudged Iris. Iris then grasped Bency’s hand and I saw Bency give her hand a squeeze and give her a look out of the corner of his eye.

My husband and I both witnessed this and we looked at each other with an amusing smile. I had to leave the room before I exploded with laughter and my husband dismissed them from the room.

Later than night, Iris came to us and admitted it had been her and that she was sorry she had pulled on the curtain.

We weren’t mad. In fact we were happy (we didn’t let her know that). It was amazing to see that show of support from Bency; that little squeeze of her hand to signal that he had her back and he wasn’t about to give her up for nothing.

Everyone needs someone in their life to give their hand a squeeze during hard times and to carry the load when things get too heavy. We all need someone to have our back. We all need a partner in crime.



Super Duper Dumb Arguments

Really DUMB Arguments.

These fill our house on an almost daily basis between my 7 year old Iris and my 5 year old Bency. I think I would be better suited for “real” arguments over sharing or perhaps an occasional fist fight. EASY…send them to their rooms or take away privileges. No, instead I have got stuck with a multitude of dumb arguments.

Here are a few from yesterday and a few of my past favorite arguments!

Early morning argument yesterday:

I can hear escalating loud voices coming from the basement where the two kids are playing. Soon after, I hear pounding feet coming up the stairs and Bency yelling, “I’m going to tell Mom and you’re going to be in BIG trouble.” Bency enters the room I’m in and in a frantic, irritated voice tells me,” Iris doesn’t believe I love her and even though I have told her over and over that I do in fact love her, she won’t believe me.”

Me: “Iris…Bency really, really loves you…PLEASE believe him.” (Seriously, what do I do with that one?)

Early evening argument yesterday:

The kids are playing some imaginary game outside. They have brought out some stuffed animals and are putting them in the outside toy box. Iris is using a baby toy that has different colored keys on it and pretending to free the animals from the toy box by finding the right key. Iris and Bency begin arguing over which key will open the pretend lock…Iris screeches that it is the blue one…Bency tells her she is all wrong and that the only way the animals will be brought to freedom is if she uses the yellow one.

Me: I roll my eyes and walk back in the house. I refuse to get in the middle of imaginary lock and keys.

Argument from when the kids were around 5 years old and 3 years old:

Bency: “MOM!!! Iris is calling me a COFFEE CAT!” (Iris used to pronounce a lot of words wrong and he was indeed a “copy cat.”)

Me: I couldn’t say anything for a good long while because I had to sneak around the corner and laugh for a while.

Another argument from those 5 year old and 3 year old days:

Iris: “Bency, did you know those things that look like mountains. They are called pawncaynos (remember, she mispronounced a lot of words) and they spurt out hot coffee.”

Bency: “Iris, I believe what you are referring to is a VOLCANO and it spews fire which is called lava.”

Me: As much I was enjoying hearing this argument escalate, I did have to set Iris straight.

Iris was mad because she wanted to sit in the middle when I was taking this picture!

The other day I witnessed Bency accidentally bump Cesar (our almost 2 year old) as he was walking past him. It made Cesar lightly bump his head on his highchair. Cesar immediately looked to me and said, “Momma, Momma, Bency did it. Bency hit me head.”

I’m so super excited that little Cesar wants in on the arguing action. May the DUMB arguments never end!!!