Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Repent, ye sinners! Or just you, Ally.

Hey. This is Ryan.

After my buddy made me aware that maybe the length of my posts are scaring away readers, I'm trying to consolidate my writing. That's why I'm splitting my "Emma-isms" into two. The whole reason I wrote about Emma's candor is from the episode I accidentally overheard yesterday.

Our oldest daughter, Ally, was baptized on Saturday. I hadn't felt the Spirit like that in a long, long time. I was emotional as was Lisha (read here for her reaction). Apparently, the baptism meant one more thing: something with which to hold over an older sibling.

We try to have Family Home Evening (FHE) every Monday night. This is an hour (or 15 minutes, depending on how long it will take Lisha or I to finally give up in exhausted frustration) dedicated to singing a song, teaching a short lesson on a Gospel principle, maybe play a game and have treats. Guess which part the kids beg for the minute we finish singing the song?

Our FHE's usually begin this way:

The self-appointed head of household dishes out the assignments for the night, usually to spite the rest of the family. "Emma, you pick the song," Ally begins. "Mom, you say the prayer, Daddy has the lesson and Luke, since you called me a poo-poo head this morning, you get to vacuum the crumbs from the treat out of the carpet with your mouth."

Of course, we reassign the kids. Emma is much too shy to offer the song, but Luke's assignment is just about right. After we sing the famous hymn, "Old MacDonald," Lish gives the prayer, asking "to bless all children in this house with their eyes open to be struck blind so as to learn the hard way to be reverent during a prayer" and we have an important family meeting about flushing the toilet and leaving the seat down since half the household consists of girls, it's time for the lesson. This is the children's cue to start rolling around on the floor, hiding in the corner or taking interest of what treasures lie under the couches.

I guess one of our lessons on baptism and the Holy Ghost sunk into Emma's brain somewhere between digging so far into her nose that blood oozed out and smelling Clark's bum through a tissue-stuffed nose about 10 times to see if he was poopy because the other day I caught her finally getting the best of her bossy, older sister.

Nothing can start a blood feud in our house faster than asking the girls to clean their room. Which I did on Monday before cousins from Salt Lake City arrived. I now know why Lish tells them to leave the door open as they "clean." I did not follow her example and shut the door. As any mom will tell you, the minute the kids are out of sight, they quickly become "in sound." As in, the resulting screaming and gnashing of teeth could have the Devil himself stuffing cotton balls in his ears.

Emma uses the shut door as an excuse to play with the toys on her floor instead of picking them up. This infuriates Ally. She will not clean by herself and Emma's refusal to clean just adds injury to insult. Having remembered that I had blocked out Lisha telling me this, I strode back over to the door and cracked it so as to be privy to this conversation:

"Emma! Get off your butt and start cleaning!"

"You said 'butt,' Ally. You need to repent," Emma replied, taking a sudden interest in the naked Ariel doll she held in her hands.

And then it happened. Silence from Ally. Through the door crack, I saw the wheels turning in Ally's head and the sudden realization in Emma's eyes that she finally had something with which to shut out her sister's constant bossing.

"You better start cleaning or I'll tell Dad," Ally finally said, knowing the Parent Card always got some sort of reaction.

Emma, with new-found confidence, looked her in the face and said, "I think that's tattling and now you have to repent for that, too."

Again, Ally considered her sister's spiritual advice. She ripped Naked Ariel out of Emma's hand and threw it against the wall. I wondered if I should step in, but was so delighted that Emma was finally standing up for herself and actually winning, that I stayed at the door to see how it all played out. Of course, Emma was indignant but remained in control. "Whoa, Ally. You just were mean to a princess. That's gonna mean you have to repent so much now!"

That was the final straw for Ally. I saw her face contort as she turned to stomp out the door. I quickly ducked inside my room across the hall and acted like I knew nothing of the impromptu spiritual welfare meeting. Suddenly, Ally burst through the doors, crying and wailing, "Emma. Won't. Stop. Telling. Me. To. REEEEEEEPPEEENT!!!"

It took everything I had to keep from smiling, but I forced myself to keep a straight face. "Well, maybe Emma's right," I said. "Do you have something you need to repent about?"

"No," she cried. "Ijustwaswantinghertohelpmeclean'cuzshe'sjustsittin'there, playin'withherstupidArielandI'mdoin'everyyyytthhhing!" It came out in one big sob and I couldn't keep my laughter hidden anymore. That set her off even more. "NO ONE EVER BELIEVES ME!" This is her new rant when we call out her drama.

Hoping to satisfy her and at least get them working on the room again, I called into Emma's room, "Emma, quit telling your sister to repent!"

"Okay, Daddy," she sang from her room, checking over Naked Ariel to make sure she was unharmed.

"There," I reassured her. "Emma's done telling you to repent. Can you go clean your room now?"

Ally turned toward her room, but threw me a withering look. "If she tells me to repent one more time, she's dead."

"That's a death threat and I'm pretty sure you should repent for that," I said.

She slammed the door on me and any notion that repentance will ever be easy.


Terresa said...

Fun stuff. Are you sure you guys weren't over at my house for FHE?

Because the same stuff happens over here: enter big sis, a bit bossy and informing loudly enough that all the neighbors can hear that our youngest has a poopy diaper, when, no, we've checked and there's no poop, thanks. ;) And the bloody nose, etc., it goes on and on like a broken record.

Ahhh, the joys of kids. Can you just imagine FHE without kids? I've tried. I can't.

Jill said...

You do have a gift. and it should be published into a book.

Cannot wait to read the entry on inappropriate step-parent cougar behavior.

Oh, and happy anniversary you two love birds. I'll always remember how many years you've been married because we'll follow you shortly.


Susan said...

Ryan, I too enjoy reading and agree with Jill about the book.
Love the repent story. Gotta love the second oldest. They do get bossed around a lot.

Tandee said...

I need to listen in to my girls' conversations more. I might hear some of the same fun stuff - especially while cleaning their room! Oh, what a responsibility we have when we're newly baptised! By Emma's birthday, though, she might have it all down and never need to repent, though, right? Don't we learn better from example? =)
And yes, you need to just bind all your posts into a book when summer is through. =)

Sandi said...

I don't think your posts are too long! But poor Ally. (I was the oldest too.) She is doomed to never receive a temple recommend because she can't bring herself to repent for being mean to naked Ariel.

Find More Free Custom Color Layouts at April Showers