Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Benjamin takes charge

Yesterday was family home evening and Benjamin decided it was his turn to conduct. He proudly stood up in front of the armoire and shouted at the top of his lungs, "Sammy night! Sammy night! Sammy night!" over and over again (that's "Family night!" for those not fluent in Benjaminese).

The first thing we traditionally say when we play the part of conductor is, "Welcome to family night." Benjamin has picked up on this (and apparently only this).

When I prompted Benjamin to invite other family members to choose an opening song and say the opening prayer he did so grudgingly and then when those family members dared open their mouths he charged at them and yelled in their faces, "MINE TURN! MINE! TURN! MINE!" before returning to his place at the front of the room and yelling, "Sammy night! Sammy night! Sammy night!"

I think it's safe to say that the power went straight to his head.

We did manage to strip him of his powers calm him down eventually (though not before he buried his face in the couch to sob every last bit of grief out of his system—because how could we?!) and had a wonderful family night lesson by Rachel and Miriam.

Miriam wrote a talk about honesty for the first part of the lesson and then Rachel planned a little game about honesty to play after.

Here is a transcript of Miriam's talk:

Honesty is when you do a good thing and not honesty is when you do a bad thing with uot telling the truth. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

If that's not just as clear as mud, I don't know what is.

Rachel labeled and old sour cream container as "The Honesty Box" and had a number of scenarios inside. We had to draw them and tell her which number (this step was very important) before reading the scenario and telling how we could be honest in that situation.

I could only find #3: You spilled your cereal. What could you do to be honest?

Andrew and I did our best to explain not every mistake is an honesty issue. Spilling your cereal isn't dishonest, but maybe blaming it on your sister would be (or leaving the table without cleaning up). I mean, I realize that there is always opportunity to be honest or dishonest in any given situation but the situations Rachel drew up weren't your run of the mill honesty dilemmas. And she always wanted part of the solution be "tell your parents."

I don't care if she spills her bowl of cereal as long as she cleans up after herself. She doesn't have to tell me—or apologize—for spilling milk on the table...unless she leaves a sticky mess behind (or if she spills the whole jug of milk, in which case she should probably tell me).

I think part of the reason Andrew and I found her situations so humorous was because each situation she'd come up with reminded us so very much of this quiz. (One of her questions was, I believe, "You called your sister a mean name. What could you do to be honest?" and both Andrew and I had to stifle laughter when that question was drawn).

All in all it was a wonderful (and highly entertaining) family night.

Today I was alone with the kids all day long. And it was a long day. We had preschool (co-op at our house) in the morning and lots of fights in the afternoon. No one was in a very good mood by dinnertime, so our dinnertime conversation was lacking substance. In an effort to turn the tides, Benjamin (who insisted on sitting on the bench instead of in his booster seat (messiest idea ever, FYI)) cocked his head to the side and said to me sweetly, "Part-a-day, Mommy?"

That's the line Andrew and I use to reroute dinner conversations all the time—when they're getting a little too weird or when they're getting a little too contentious or whatever. "What was your favourite part of the day?"

I said that preschool was my favourite part of the day.
Rachel said that going to the park and watching Pocahontas were her favourite parts of the day.
Miriam said that cleaning was her favourite part of the day.

Miriam usually chooses her most recent activity, which in this case was cleaning (not that you can tell by looking at the state our house is in), which might explain why some moods were boiling over. Some of us didn't want to help tidy up this afternoon. Andrew's desk garbage can ended up sitting on its side in the middle of our bedroom floor (rather than tucked neatly under his desk) and I left it there as a testament of how volatile things got this afternoon. He came home and was like, "What? Why...?"

And I said, "In her defense, she emptied the garbage and put a new liner in it, so..."

Anyway, after Benjamin had gone around the table asking everyone what their favourite part of the day was he said, "Mine part-a-day? Hmmm... Mine part-a-day: 'ide wis Daddy. City bus!"

His favourite part of the day was riding with Daddy on the city bus, apparently.

I chatted that to Andrew via IM after dinner and he said, "Yes... We had so much fun on that ride today."

Benjamin was asleep when Andrew left and asleep when Andrew came home so that bus ride was entirely imaginary, I assure you. And Andrew got home in time to hug the girls good night because he hadn't seen them all day either (they were already in bed but were reading, not sleeping).

Benjamin sure is a sweet little thing to have around, even (and perhaps especially) when he takes charge.


  1. So fun to hear about your favorite parts of the day! Your FHE is my new favorite part of yesterday.

  2. We do that at dinner time today, except we ask "tell me something good that happened today" - and, if we're feeling brave or especially desperate, "tell me something not good that happened today".