Sunday, May 31, 2009

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

Tonight I lay down next to Mim and asked her to tell me what she's going to dream about. This was something we started doing a while back because it helps her focus on sleeping, and helps her get some good images in her head as she heads off into that nebulous realm.

Well, that was the idea anyway...It hasn't worked out quite that way. It turns out that my children are actually a bit blood-thirsty, so when she talks about what she'll dream that night, it usually involves animals eating each other or butterflies impaling their victims...all sorts of strange things.

Yet her actual dreams are much more familiar to me than the other-wordly fairy tales of her waking mind, and more frightening. She said that last night she dreamed she had to drive the car all the way to Grandma Lilibeth's house, and she was afraid, but then she woke up and realized it was all a dream. That is exactly the kind of dream I had constantly as a child.

I would dream that my little sister and brother, Claye and Elijah, were in a vehicle, and I had to drive them somewhere to safety, but I didn't know how to drive. It would be a desperate attempt and often ended badly. Once I really did learn to drive, of course, I no longer had those dreams, but since I didn't get a license until I was 18, they lasted for a while. I would also dream that I had to get them out of a burning house, or find my parents, or protect my family from various disasters...always there was something I had to accomplish for which I was ill-equipped. I always supposed that those dreams were the curse of the typical first-born, but maybe not, because Mim is the youngest of two, not the oldest of three, as I was.

She also prayed tonight that Jesus would not let Mommy die, and apparently that was her request at Sunday School this morning too. (I probably ought to make some phone calls so people know there's nothing we've been keeping secret from the church family.)

I wish I knew how to ease her mind, because a three-year old shouldn't have these concerns, but I can only tell her to do what I have to do, over and over and over. Lay it all in the hands of God and try your hardest not to take it out again.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Whirlwind Continues

Zaya is officially finished with Pre-K, as of yesterday's school picnic, and I would like to say that the crazy, care-free hedonism of summer has settled into the Teeson household, but it simply isn't true. Not quite yet, anyway.

Tomorrow I'll be setting up for the school garage sale, of which I am in charge, and then Saturday will be the big event itself. After the garage sale, Art and I will go to Oklahoma City for the wedding and reception of one of his coworkers. It ought to be fun and interesting, as the couple are both Vietnamese, and we have no idea what to expect as far as traditions and events.

The kids will stay with Grandma Lilibeth all Saturday night, and we will go pick them up after church on Sunday. They are alternatively excited and nervous about their sleep-over, and I imagine Grandma is probably feeling about the same way, but the parents are definitely grateful for the free evening and morning it will provide.

Then next week...DUM, Dum, dum...VBS. Always the most hectic week of summer. Wait, no, that's VBS at Grandma Lilibeth's church. At least this one is at our home church and will not require driving. And, for the first time in my life, I am doing snacks. Snacks! I will not have to herd, discipline or teach small children! Do you know what kind of freedom that is? It's incredible. My only worries this next week will be if Mim is handling being on her own well.

On with life and motherhood. I will be incommunicado for a few days as I try to pretend I have some kind of organizational abilities and know how to run a garage sale. Although, on reflection, it's probably too late for that now.

(I'm reminded by the picture that I've included that Mim used to call that particular playground toy a "teeter-tot" which was always a funny image for me.)

Tonight Mim prayed that there would be good parents to take care of all the old horses, and that they wouldn't trip and fall.

And Zaya said that Strong Skunk was so strong he could even lift up the Spinnicks. When I asked him what in the world a Spinnicks was, he said, "You know, that big lion with a man's head." Oh, right, the Sphinx!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Kipling and Eliot

Here are a few crazy things that have been heard in the Teeson home recently.


Dear Jesus, Thank you that you died for our sins...and the bad soldiers killed you and put a sharp, pointy necklace on you...amen.

(Conversation in the car a while after Mommy explained to the kids that even when we go to Washington D.C. someday they won't let us just go see the President, because he's very busy and they have lots of men around to protect him.)

Mim: Did you know Goki's president died?

Daddy: He did? How?

Mim: Well, he didn't have anyone protecting him, so some soldiers in the town made him die.

(I told Art it sounded like a military coup)

Daddy: What was Goki's president's name?

Mim: Barack Obama, just like our president...(I started writing it down in my notebook and Art said if I blogged it our daughter would probably get arrested.) Goki's Barack Obama had a wreck a long time ago when Goki's family was fighting giants, but he's feeling better now. He just got four or five pieces of blood.

And no, for the record, we do not teach our children that soldiers are bad. In fact, I go out of my way to explain what soldiers are and are not, but they have developed their own view of it. Maybe I need to show them some of the pictures of soldiers helping people in Iraq or something.


Prayer 1 - (At Tina's house, while we were about to eat some enchilada casserole.) Dear Jesus, thank you for today, and thank you for milk that made this delicious cheese..this delicious cheese.. that's on this..this..thing...I wonder what it is. (This was all said in a very sincere little prayer voice.)

Prayer 2 - (Tonight at bedtime) Dear Jesus, thank you for the inner planets, and the outer planets, and earth...and even Pluto. Amen.

(I feel sorry for little Pluto too. Maybe he's picked up on that.)

The other night he thanked God for everything in an ever expanding circle in our universe, starting with our core and moving in an expanding circle to encompass all the levels of our earth, the planets, the solar system and galaxy and on out o nebulae and new stars. It was quite a long prayer, so the verbatim is gone.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Blogger Formerly Known As Babystepper

It sounds fairly unanimous, so I think I'll go with Carina. Now I need to figure out how to change all of my information and how to let people know that it's still me. I say that as if there were a lot of people out there who cared. What can I say? Delusion gets me through my days.

And now, onto new developments in the Teesan household (That's our new family last name. See how I just slipped that in there?) Zaya talked me into buying him his first goggle and snorkel set for the summer. Who knew that Wal-mart made snorkels for 4-5 year olds? He was so excited to use it that I decided he could try it out in the bathtub last night.

The whole adventure was a great success.

The reason the water is an unnatural shade of...purply-gray-green, is that we put in bathtub coloring drops that I found on clearance, also at Wal-mart. What would we do without it? You notice in this next picture that we believe in having lots of obstacles in the water when the children bathe. You can see two different poufs and a play salt shaker. I suppose they make fantastic underwater creatures for certain snorkeling pre-schoolers.

When it was time to get the kids out, Zaya said, "Oh Mommy, I need to do just one more dive!"

I may have started something.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Blogger, By Any Other Name...

So, after a few confusing incidents, I've decided that I need a new name for myself on my blog. The rest of my family have names, so why do I have to be Babystepper? It doesn't make much sense. It was sort of an accident of fate, as people I knew from other blogs gave me the name in lieu of any other.

I need help, though, in deciding what my new blog name will be. My sister has provided a couple of ideas and I thought of a few myself too. What do you all think?

1. Elaine
2. Bella
3. Noel
4. Carina
5. Mari
6. Claire
7. Elaine Goki (Mim helped with that one.)

I also need a good last name for our family. Any ideas for that one?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

In Which the Future is Contemplated

If my children were poets, Zaya would be Kipling and Mim would be T.S. Eliot. I say that to explain why there are so many more posts about funny/strange things that Zaya said than that Mim said. Unless I get to the computer right away, and I mean immediately, I cannot remember what it was that Mim said, because it can be so crazily disjointed and off-the-wall, but fraught with meaning. I will do my best to start writing down those moments I have with her during the day, but it will not be easy.

All that to say, here are a few of Zaya's classic lines from the last few days.

"Mommy, I bet the astronauts trust in God when they are out in space." I told him that some of them did, but some of them didn't know about Jesus. "Mommy, do you think Neil Armstrong knows Jesus?" Which stumped me, of course, because I am completely unaware of the state of Neil Armstrong's soul.

Today he said that he's going to pray to Jesus that he can be the first man to land on Mars. He desperately wants to get to Mars, for reasons known only to him. Tonight when I tucked him in I told him about the first Lunar landing, and how his Grandpa watched it as a little boy on his TV set.

I told him how the whole world watched and cheered and cried as Neil Armstrong stepped out of the Eagle and touched down onto the moon, and about Armstrong's line, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Then I told him that maybe someday the whole world would watch him step down out of a ship and onto the surface of Mars.

"Zaya, what do you think you will say to the whole world when they watch you put your foot onto Mars?" With not even a second's hesitation he said, "Wow! This sure is a red planet!"

Which ought to give everyone back home a little grin, if not actual inspiration.

Here's another little gem from our walk home tonight. We were discussing evaporation (again) and he said, "The water cycle will keep on until Jesus comes back and calls it to Him, because the water is His."

Which is actually a really cool image, I think. Maybe not technically scriptural, but awesome anyway. (In the original meaning of the word, of course.)

Global Conscience

This little strip was sent to me in an e-mail and, having the soft spot for WWII history that I do, I had to post it. Click on it to see the full size version.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


The other day I showed my children that you can eat the outside layer of a baby carrot and find a little core that runs through the center. Since that conversation, every time Mim eats her "crunchy carrots" she shaves away the outside like a very precise bunny and shows me the center.

Zaya, who isn't particularly fond of crunchy carrots, (He only likes "squishy carrots") decided that it looked like so much fun he had to try one. So he asked his father this evening,

"Dad, do you eat the outside first, and then the spinal cord?"

Daddy explained the problem with his terminology and then gave Zaya his carrot. He's currently in the bathtub eating it while holding his nose.

At least he's eating it. I'm not going to complain, however gruesome the thought of munching on a carrot's spinal cord may be.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Congratulations are in Order!

Today my brother, sister and cousin graduate from college. They have taken different routes to be where they are today, since none of them are the same age, but they made it nonetheless, and I am equally proud of all three of them. My cousin is the little one in the picture above, my sister the taller of the two girls. My brother should be fairly obvious I hope.

My sister, Claye, is graduating with an art major, and I already have several of her works in my home. I'm so proud when people come over and ask about them; I love how surprised they are when I tell them that those pots were handmade by my sister. No, no Wal-mart craft aisle purchases these. There is also a beautiful Celtic calender that I'm trying to figure out how to frame. Claye has her own way of doing things, and she's fiercely independent, but those are characteristics that are not too uncommon in the art world, so I guess it all makes sense now. We drove each other nuts as little girls trying to share a room, home and family, but we're good friends now, and I wouldn't change my sister even if I could. She is not the kind of lady who will ever be forced into another person's mold, which is fine with all the rest of us. I'm not sure what Claye will do next year, and she isn't either, but I hope that whatever it is she doesn't let it make her stop using the gifts that God has undoubtedly given her.

My brother, Elijah, will probably walk today, and his name may or may not be on the list, but he is technically graduating with a degree in Vocal Music Education. We think. He still has a class or two to finish this summer, hence the uncertainty. Those of you who know Elijah will not be at all surprised that this is the state of things the morning of his college graduation, but the important thing is, he is graduating. He made it. Don't get me wrong, Elijah is a very intelligent, talented guy, but he does things on his own time schedule which doesn't always mesh well with the university mentality. I know that my baby brother is applying to teach at several schools (which is a very weird feeling, yes) but he's also playing in at least two bands, possibly three. I lose track. While I am unable to display his compositions on the wall, as I can Claye's, they are in my computer, and I look forward to having them on a cd someday, too. Elijah has been composing music for years now, and I love listening to it. He has written things that made me cry. I don't know what he'll do with his life either, but it's going to be amazing, and it's probably going to be done at the last possible minute of each deadline.

I don't think my cousin has a blog name yet. Hmmm. What about, Suzanne? OK, my cousin Suzanne is graduating across the state from my siblings this morning, at my own Alma Mater, actually. She now has a degree in Computer Programming. I think; well, it involves computers and I do not understand it. And that is just something to which everyone who knows Suzanne has become accustomed, Not understanding exactly what she is able to do, that is. Suzanne is brilliant. She amazed us as a little girl, well, a baby even. She was reading at an incredibly (so incredible you wouldn't believe me if I told you anyway. Really.) early age, and understanding difficult concepts and connections as well. She is very sensitive and easily frightened, and I'm sure we hurt her when we were all children playing together, but we certainly never intended to do so. We were and are so proud of her and her accomplishments, and it doesn't surprise me at all to hear that she is graduating at the tip top of her program, college etc...

The absolute best thing about all three of these loved ones, is that I know they are all still close to God, and that is not going to change. They have accomplished something that is becoming increasingly difficult, and that is making it through our university system with their faith intact. I don't know what the future holds for any of them, and they don't either, but whatever it is will be fantastic.

Today we're having a graduation party for all three of them at my parent's house, so consider yourself invited if you're reading this and would like to come.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Spring it On

Today was Zaya's first track meet, and I have to confess that quite a few of my childhood bogeymen came slithering out on this cloudy, thundery spring morning. Don't misunderstand, Mim and Zaya both did their best, which is what I told them was important. They did not get upset when they didn't win...again and again. They have now forgotten all about it and are running around the house playing, but the cold, dark spring day, and the memories, have opened up old wounds, and I have to confess I ache a little bit today.

I'm not sure if it's so much for my own past as for the future I see in front of my little ones. Every child has their strengths and their weaknesses, and every child must learn to cope with each of course, but to be brutally honest, physical weakness is held in much greater scorn here in Western Oklahoma than mental or spiritual weakness. If a child cannot shoot a basketball, run a mile, throw a football...they get that look. The same look that I remember as a child. Pity, thinly veiled disgust, or worse, no look at all. The child has simply blipped off of the radar screen. They did not qualify as anything, therefore they do not exist.

I'm sure it isn't as bad as I imagine it to be. I'm sure that all of these well-meaning people have no idea that it even happens, or that they encourage it in their own children, but ask the other kids who came in last today, and they'll tell you about it. Or ask their parents.

While it's tempting for me to sit back and indulge in self-pity, God nudged me today and taught me a little something: It is true that here on earth cheering crowds will always be reserved for the athletes. That will not change because of the nature of our world and who we are as a culture. My children will find their gifts as they grow, but they will not be likely to achieve greatness in a roaring stadium or a field of fans and supporters. They will probably find that the room is silent when they do their best work, when they excel.

But that's alright; it really is. Because there will not be cheering crowds when they are asked to do all of the most important things in this world. Integrity, honesty, compassion, humility...none of these things attract an audience; not the kind of audience that is raucous, with shrieking whistles and boisterous yells. As my children run the race that is set before them, they will be running only for the Author and the Finisher of their faith, and the Great Cloud of Witnesses in whose footsteps they are racing.

And if it takes years and years of experiencing the scorn of this world in order to achieve success in the race of their lives, then so be it. If I can teach that to my children, it won't matter how many little ribbons they win, or how many cheering crowds they ignite, or how many laurels this world sets on their heads. I will have true pride and joy, because they will be running for their Heavenly Father.

So even though this morning's clouds finally did begin to bulge and fall, and even though I had to watch my sweet little boy with tears trickling down his cheeks as all the other children received their ribbons, today was a beautiful spring day, because I know that at least two little hearts were being purified, and underneath the dross of this life, they are pure gold.

Hebrews 12:1-3

1.Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

2.Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

3.For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

This post is entered in Scribbit's Write-Away contest.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

And the Peasants Rejoiced

Great news for all of you out there whose second toe is longer than your first:

There is hope! Malformed though you may be, you, too, could wear FiveFingers shoes, because Art bought a pair after all and he really loves them. He says they are very comfortable and he had no adjustment time to them either. It turns out that the long second toe is alright within reason. The website has instructions for measurement.

(You all know I'm kidding about the malformed part, right? Art? Kidding?)