Lest by Her Continual Coming She Wearies Me

Above: Adi shows off the camera she earned by doing chores around the house.

Family Snapshot. 9/27/2021

Adi is four years old. Elliot is two. Janice is 35 weeks pregnant with Baby #3 (We’ll find a better name). We’re currently living in Coshocton, OH serving at MMS Aviation. The big A&P test is about 4-5 months away.

Janice Gets Coronavirus

Adi’s preschool was closed for two weeks because a staff member tested positive for COVID. A week or so later Janice started feeling sick. I didn’t feel great myself. At that point it wasn’t bad enough to panic, shut the shades, and hide under the couch but I still had the sneaking suspicion that maybe the virus found its way home with Adi somehow. She never showed any symptoms though. Still, before I went back to work I thought we should get tested. Sure enough, Janice’s test came back positive. Mine came back negative. I’m not sure how this virus can be so contagious yet I can kiss an infected person repeatedly and never get sick. It’s an odd thing. Still, Janice wasn’t that sick and we thought this would be a walk in the park. And since I was in contact with a positive COVID case, I was to stay home from the hangar for two weeks per the CDC guidelines.

Then Janice got worse. And started coughing like a chain smoker although I suspected it was from the coronavirus and not cigarettes. And I got worried, honestly. You never know, especially with Janice being 35 weeks pregnant. The cough was intense for five days. Janice would barely whisper and it would set off a coughing spree. It’s kind of like a shooting spree that involves germs instead of bullets. It was bad enough that we became concerned that it would trigger labor. And that would be really bad because Janice could hardly stand up long enough to take a shower, let alone push out a baby. Thankfully, the cough subsided quite a bit yesterday. She even started yelling at the children again! That’s a good sign. The fatigue remains. It’s a stubborn virus for sure.

I’ve been keeping track of her blood oxygen saturation levels and her blood pressure. It all is in the green, so to speak. Trend monitoring is an important maintenance discipline when you’re dealing with aircraft or sick wives. The trends indicate future performance. So for now the plan is to sleep, rest, quarantine, and keep checking the instruments to see if we may need a major maintenance event. I don’t think we will.

Everyone has been throwing their remedies at us; Essential oils, horse dewormers, vitamin cocktails, malaria medication, burning effigies of the coronavirus virus. I’m open to ideas but being that Janice is pregnant we’re treading with caution and following the midwive’s recommendations. Also, Vaporub. Our house smells like a Vaporub factory. We are modeling all their products right now. The Vaporizer humidifier, the Vaporub humidifier liquid, Vaporub cough drops, and the classic Vaporub ointment smear. Typically I’m a store brand kind of guy (like Equate) but this occasion demands some name brand products. You never know if someone in our house is crying because of an emotional breakdown or because the Vaporub fumes are tickling their eyeballs. The whole family is taking some extra Vitamin C and D with zinc.

I’m thankful that, although Elliot and I felt slightly sick for a day or two, the rest of us are fine. That sounds kind of selfish but someone has to take care of the kids! (Related: An Airplane Mechanic’s Guide to Raising Children)

Since I’ve been taking care of the kids, my head has been spinning. I always respected Janice for being a great mother but I’m finding that I didn’t respect her enough. I’m not half the woman that she is! The other day Elliot pooped in his diaper, took it off, laid it on the rug, and then sat on the potty. Then he tried to wipe himself, got it on his hands, and the disaster zone grew exponentially. Adi woke me up from my nap (being a good parent demands a lot of energy) and pointed out that Elliot was “Yucky.” Indeed. I respect the effort. We have been telling him to poop in the potty after all.

Pray that Janice regains her strength quickly and sufficiently by the time she goes into labor. We have about a month before that happens, Lord willing. Thank God that our whole family isn’t sick.

In an effort to get the kids out of the house while not exposing others to our infectious diseases, I took them to the local creek where we got wet, poked crayfish with sticks, and even picked up some litter.

Adi’s Discovers the Earthly Power of Money

Adi has been wanting toys. Now that’s not really a surprise but the problem is she’s found out that we can get them on Amazon. Don’t ask me how she figured that out. She’s incredibly observant. Maybe she’s noticed stacks of Amazon packages on the porch and wanted in on that action. You know, the funny thing is that when you have your first child you want them to be the smartest kid in the world. As they get older you realize that smart kids are a lot of work! Dumb kids are less work. Now, I’m not wishing to have dumb kids, I’m just saying that you don’t have to teach your kids so much so fast. It’s OK to appreciate each phase in life before shoving them on to the next. It’s especially important for me to space out my wisdom because I need to make it last about eighteen years. There’s a real possibility that by six years of age my kids will realize they’re smarter than me and will move out on their own. You’ll regret standing at the starting line of the marathon called “Parenting” with your eyes twitching and legs pumping showing everyone how fast you are going to go. The marathon is eighteen years long and you’ll already be out of breath after the first four. Then you’ll be all red faced and embarrassed as you start to let your children do what you said you’d never allow them to do. Slow down a little. We’re potty training Elliot right now and I’m not sure we should be so eager. In many ways it is easier to keep them in diapers. Imagine going on road trips where you never have to stop to go potty!

But potty training is easy compared to teaching children good stewardship. What started this toy drama was Adi’s obsession with trumpets. Out of the clear blue sky she started to asked for a trumpet every morning and every evening, every day for weeks. That wears any leader down, no matter how tightly he rules his fiefdom. Then, the Sunday after all this started, we had a fine standing member of our local congregation play a song with his trumpet during the service. I’m sure he had good intentions but little did he know how much he inspired a small member of his audience. The trumpet requests intensified. Every night Adi would cry because we would tell her that a trumpet won’t be coming in the mail tomorrow. And, like the Bible says,

4 He would not for a while. Yet afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I do not fear God or respect man, yet because this widow troubles me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she will weary me.’

Luke 18:4

We began shopping toy trumpets on Amazon. I don’t like buying my kids whatever they want but it was obvious this really meant something to her so I bought a cheap specimen that promised to deliver something resembling tuned notes if blown through. It would come in two days. I was excited that we were able to get her a special gift. I even convinced myself that, with some encouragement Adi might learn to play “Hot Cross Buns” or something iconic like that. Why I might be on the cusp of fostering the next musical genius of our century!

That night, when we had our daily going-to-bed ritual, Adi said she wanted to pray. She always prays the same thing: “Thank you for the sunny day (even if it rained all day). Thank you for the food (even if we aren’t eating any). Thank you for baby in mommy’s belly (that one is always on point). Keep us safe, amen.”

Knowing about the trumpet I ordered earlier, I suggested to Adi that maybe she should pray for one to come in the mail. As soon as I said it, I realized I was out of line. I don’t want my children to believe in God and prayer because I manipulated them into it. That isn’t the kind of theological training I want to give them. So I quickly backtracked. “Well, no, don’t pray for that. I mean sometimes God doesn’t answer prayers the way we think He will.”

But it was too late. I had given her the idea that God was an ATM machine that dispenses whatever we wish. After that her prayer requests grew into an Amazon wish list.

Two days later the trumpet showed up, technically answering her prayers. She played with the trumpet for a solid half hour and then, after realizing that a trumpet doesn’t just automatically spit beautiful renditions of “How Great Thou Art” whenever you blow into it, suggested we return it and buy something else, like a toy computer!

Adi’s trumpet

“Let’s return this and buy a toy computer. We can buy the trumpet again for Christmas,” Adi said.

That made me slightly annoyed. The word “NO” was heard several blocks away and may have even registered on some local earthquake monitoring stations. After all that drama, she decided she wanted something else! It was time to end this dependence on government handouts and teach her the rewards of having a job.

Now, we weren’t going to send her to coal mines in West Virginia to work for minimum wage just yet. Instead we made a chart to hang on the fridge. Every time she completed a task that we deemed worthy, she would get a quarter to put in her piggy bank and a corresponding sticker coin on her chart. After her chart was full she would have to empty out her piggy bank and give us all her quarters. Then we’d help her buy whatever she was saving up to get. Then the process could start over again. In this way we could encourage her to help with chores around the house and she wouldn’t just descend into a spoiled, self consumed brat who doesn’t appreciate what she has. That’s the idea anyway.

I think the best way to show appreciation for what you have is to take care of it. Plus, whenever she asks for a new toy we say, “Sounds great Adi, we’ll have to make a chart so you can save up and buy it.” The ball is returned to her court and it’s up to her to do something about it. Most of the time it fizzles out.

I want my children to learn to wait for good things. I think that’s a key principle in life because most good things require waiting. I didn’t learn that until I was in my mid-twenties which is why I spent most of my early life chasing low value items. Waiting isn’t any fun and I wanted to have fun. But by chasing fun I was avoiding the very things that brought fulfillment. I don’t want my children repeating my mistakes. They need to learn the value of delayed gratification.

Of course, wanting things fast is a trait common among all humans. Adi would ask to get a quarter for doing literally anything. “Mommy, can I get a quarter for watching Paw Patrol?”

“Umm… No.”

“Daddy, can I get a quarter for cleaning up my toys?”

“Sure.”

“Daddy, can you help me clean up my toys?”

“Um… I can provide administrative oversight.”

“Daddy, what is administrative oversight?”

“I will make sure you do it right.”

“But Daddy, I don’t want to do it.”

“Well Adi, you can do it now and get a quarter or you can do it later and get no quarters. You could also choose not to do it at all and get a spanking and then do it.” That’s three choices! Talk about spoiled children.

Adi sweeps the floor under my “Administrative Oversight.”

Eventually, after quite a bit of administrative oversight, Adi earned her quarters. We sat down and looked at toy laptops on Amazon. They were were all very expensive or not worth anything. There’s a fine line between the two and I couldn’t find anything teetering on that tightrope. Then I saw a featured listing for a cheap kid’s digital camera. Adi loves taking pictures and fills up my phone with blurry, tilted pictures of her dolls, out-of-focus flowers, and the back of Elliot’s head. Even though she had talked about a toy computer for weeks, she decided a camera sounded better. Adi definitely has an artistic streak and, since I’d like to foster her talents, I agreed a camera would be a better buy. It’s 12 megapixels and has a waterproof case so she can drop it in the toilet or kick it down the steps. It cost surprisingly little. When I was eighteen I bought a 12 megapixel camera for $850. And mine didn’t even have rainbows and unicorns on it.

Adi was given a very clear ultimatum that, if the camera mysteriously broke, she would be the one replacing it by saving up quarters all over again. Typically when something breaks, she just frowns and then says, “Oh well, we’ll buy a new one!” She even has that reaction with dead pets. I strongly dislike that attitude. I’m hoping to teach her that when something breaks, it takes a whole lot of quarters (and therefore work) to replace it. And, when she wants something new, it’s entirely possible to save up money by working for it and paying for it herself, especially since she’s been wanting to buy hang gliders, electric bikes, and puppies. She even wants to buy a thinking cap (I’m not sure where you buy those or what they might cost but I wouldn’t mind having one myself).

Latest

Related

One thought on “Lest by Her Continual Coming She Wearies Me

  1. Praying that Janice gets well very soon and that no one else gets “C”. Yes, raising children is a life long process. You will eventually discover that Grandchildren are much easier.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s