Saturday, November 18, 2006

A "Brilliant" Evening

For many years now, Dan has taken charge of putting the boys to bed. His bedtime rituals with them are sweet, but they take a lot longer than I seem to have the patience for. They read at least one chapter of Harry Potter together. They snuggle and talk about their days. He often tells them a story. It takes over an hour. On the rare occasion that Dan is not home to put the boys to bed, they get me. This is how I put them to bed. Me: "Get in bed, now." Boys: "Mom, can't we have a story, pleeeeeeease?" Me, barking: "No! Get in bed right now!" This bedtime routine I have developed is part of my bid to be named Angel Mother of the Year.

In the past few months, Dan has had to spend more evenings working late at the office. I finally broke down one night and decided to attempt to replicate at least part of the bedtime ritual they are accustomed to. I didn't want to read them Harry Potter because Dan is really into the books and wouldn't want to miss a chapter. So, we sat on the couch and I read them a picture book. It was a much gentler bedtime than my usual, so I've been trying to repent and change my ways. Now on our weekly trip to the library, I spend part of the time searching for picture books that look fun to read so that I won't be bored when they ask me to read Lyle Lyle Crocodile for the 40,000th time. This has greatly improved my attitude toward putting them to bed.

Two nights ago, I was particularly on top of my game. It started out with a package the boys received in the mail from their Aunt Bug. Taped to the outside of the package were six starbursts. I used the candy as a bribe to get them to eat a good dinner, so that was our first step in the right direction. After dessert, I put them in the bathtub. At the end of their bath, I opened their package for them, revealing a brand new Sudoku for Kids book. I used the new book as a bribe to get them out of the water. Once they had their little underwear and wife-beaters on (they won't wear pajamas), we sat on the couch together and Eli proceeded to explain to Adam how to do Sudoku. It was really touching to see him kindly showing Adam what to do, especially since they seem to spend a great deal of their time trying to kill each other. After each Sudoku puzzle that Adam completed, Eli wrote "Great Job" on the top and put a big star in the middle. After a few puzzles, I decided that instead of our usual library books, I would read to them from the new Friend (the monthly magazine for children published by the Church). We opened to the inside cover and read "An Embarrassing Arrest" by Quinn D., age 10, North Carolina:

One day in my class I had to "arrest" a girl in another class for a mock trial we were doing. I was really embarrassed and prayed for help. My teacher said I had done better than anyone she had seen do it in 18 years. Later that night I thanked Heavenly Father for His help.

I asked Eli and Adam to tell me about what had happened in the story. They both did a good job of identifying the main points--the boy had something hard he needed to do, he prayed for help, and received it. They both wanted to know what 'arrest' meant, so we talked about the police and the courts for a bit. Then I asked them how they could apply this story in their own lives. Eli said that he could pray for help with math. Adam said that school is kind of hard for him because he's never done it before. I asked what kind of things are hard for him. He said "reading, writing, talking about pictures..." I felt such a warm feeling there on the couch talking with them about prayer and about how they could ask for help with the things they were struggling with. Dan got home from work then, and when he walked in the door, Eli jumped off the couch and said, "Dad, we are having a brilliant evening!" We don't have evenings like this very often, but when we do, I feel like the best mom in the world.


marizasmom said...

It sounded golden. Way to go!

NanaTeresa said...

Now I'm all teary-eyed. Love, Mom

Carma said...

I love it. Thanks for a brilliant story.

Carly said...

I am so excited that you are a blogger! It is good to see what is new with the Richards clan. Love the precious comments your kids make. Nate and I miss Ann Arbor so much...

Rebecca said...

I am only more convinced that we are practically the same person! I could have written your blogs myself and I laughed out loud many times! Even Eli is SO much like Nicholas. It's uncanny! Plus, you are such a good writer, you should add 'author of really good blogs' to your list of life experiences!!
See you soon!
Becky :)