Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Injured Dork

This I did not need! I do not have time for it! All I can say is, at least the small child in front of the school bus is ok. As I picked up the kids from school I saw a toddler, separated from it's mother, wander into the path of a speeding school bus. Of course I had to make a mad dash into traffic and rescue the child from certain death just in the nick of time. How could I live with myself if I hadn't?
And how could I live with myself if I didn't tell you I was lying through my teeth? Really, I accidentally stepped halfway off the curb in the front circle of the school and toppled into the line of traffic waiting to pick up their kids. There could not have been a more visible, busy place to stage one of my epic falls. The dork meter is off the charts on this one. Oh, why, oh, why couldn't it at least be a better story behind it?
The good news is that I was carrying Williams at the time of the tumble and he was perfectly fine. He's also too young to be embarrassed by me yet. Give him time, give him time.

Friday, September 12, 2008


One of the things that families traveling back home from Eban House in Ghana would tell me about Williams was that he was quiet. I thought it would be great to have one quiet kid because the other 3 not only talk A LOT, but they also talk very loud. Especially 7 year old Adam. Remember the Loud Talkers on Saturday Night Live? That's my kids.

Well, I spent plenty of time worrying how a quiet child would get lost in the noise of our house. Would he become frustrated at never getting to be heard? Will his sisters and brother scare him?

Let me tell you something. Williams will never be at risk for not being heard. He is loud just like everyone else here. He can yell "Mom" at decibels to rival is siblings. He can talk incessantly when he has the notion to. He can screech out the "girl" scream just like Adam's "girl" scream.

There are 2 intensive talk times in our house when everyone has the most important information that Mom must know immediately. The first one is right after everyone gets up in the morning. Everyone has had a dream that needs to be told. Everyone has the piece of information for this day of school that they forgot to tell me yesterday. Everyone has an issue with their clothes. Everyone needs help with something.

The next time is when everyone gets in the car right after school. We literally have to take turns to let each person speak and tell their story of the day, what they need to get for school IMMEDIATELY, who's mad at who in their class, what they drew a picture of today, what they want to eat when they get home, and can "so and so" come over and play. There are days when we are one of the last ones out of the parking lot because I have to sit there and referee the talk times.

Tonight as the boys were going to bed in their bunk beds, I was reading to Adam on the top bunk with a book light as Williams laid (I use this word loosely) on his bottom bunk going to sleep, having already had his book and prayer. Understand, Adam is notoriously loud and can speak for what seems like many minutes without taking a breath. As I was reading, Williams started whispering, "Mom, Mom, Mom" each a little louder than the last. When I finally said, "What?" he told me his pillow had fallen on the floor. I told him to pick it up. (duh!) Adam was flabbergasted saying, "He has to tell you EVERYTHING!" This is the child who almost turns blue trying to give every detail of an imagined battle.

I now sleep well at night, secure in my belief that all is well in the lives of the 4 Johnston children. I know almost every detail that they can remember and it has all been relayed at a volume level that will inform Grandma and Grandpa across town also.

Monday, September 8, 2008

NonGhana-like Weather

Unfortunately, this sight is going to be a thing of the past. Fall has arrived in Missouri, and way to early I must say. Typically, we will maintain the pool until the end of September and even into October with the help of the heater. Instead of swimming, I have been scavenging stores looking for 4 slim jeans.
Williams is in great shape for warm weather. I had all his drawers ready for the nice warm days of late summer and early fall. The problem is, we aren't having that. I don't have a single pair of long pants that fits him! I had bought 2 pairs of 4T's at Old Navy on their $7 sale day and they're both too short. I have now been to Penney's and Kohl's in search of loner 4 slims for 2 days in a row, and tomorrow will make it 3. I wonder if there's a limit on how many returns you can make? I keep explaining to them that as big of a hassle as it is to return and exchange, it's a LOT worse bringing 2 boys in to try them on. Adam's outgrown all of his since last spring too.
So the goggle-eyes are going to go bye-bye until next spring, and Williams will be experiencing his first autumn just a little sooner than expected

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I'm Learning

Tomorrow Williams will have been home 3 weeks. How is that possible? At this rate, he'll be graduating from high school in 6 months! After 3 weeks I'm starting to feel the "baby" fog start to lift, and I'm constantly amazed at how the emotions and uncertainties are so similar to birthing a baby.

For instance, you don't have enough history and experience with this child to know what to expect from him. If he gets mad will he cry, sulk, or run out of the house and down the street? I don't know! How LONG will he cry, sulk, and how FAR will he run down the street? I don't know! Will he stay in his classroom at school or will he think it's ok to wander around the halls? I don't know! Will anyone see him if he leaves? I don't know! Will he be polite to a stranger at the store or will he make an embarrassing face at them? I don't know!

Another example is that I can't really enjoy time away from home by myself when he's home with my husband. Will Scott feed him the right foods? Will he undo all the hard work I've done in "training" Williams with one unfortunate decision? Will he watch him closely enough to make sure he doesn't run out of the house and down the street (see above)? I really do think we're on the same page, but sometimes I just can't help wonder what happens when mom's gone.

I have definitely learned that there are a few more things you CAN'T force a child to do, or not to do, for that matter.

  1. You cannot make them not spit.
  2. You cannot make them yell at you in English instead of Twi.
  3. You cannot make them not run from you if you've already lost your grip on them.
  4. You can't force them to smile.

Although this list makes it sound like all our times are bad, that certainly is not the case. Most of our times are good and the bad times are getting fewer every day. (Pretty much non-existent today :-) I just really have to keep a sense of humor about the tough times and situations. We already think about how we'll enjoy telling Williams when he's 15 some of the things he did when he first came home. I'm sure he'll be proud of his resourcefulness.