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     I'm utterly amazed that by keeping our kids busy to the point of tears, we have greatly reduced their ability to get into trouble, simply because they haven't the time nor the energy to do so. Yesterday, Taylor had her first gymnastics class (pronounced gin-nash-tik). She was so nervous that she had a belly ache and she bit every teeny bit of remaining fingernails clean off! Yet, despite her nerves, she followed the rules, showed surprising flexibity, and she didn't look any less coordinated than the rest of the little girls. (In fact, she was the only one that didn't pick her nose, thank God, or randomly start spinning in circles with an Ecstasy look on her face.) After only 2 bouts of tears on the baby uneven bars and about 30 wardrobe malfunctions (Daddy put her loose fitting shorts on her before we left, so myself and the other mothers spent an hour admiring baby-buttcrack), she came out beaming and ready to tackle the world! Taylor was so confident playing at the playground afterwards that she was like a brand new child. She also sat through an hour and 45 minute PTO meeting with me that same night without incident.... (thank the Lord Jesus for smart phones and dress-up apps!) On the way home, I told her how insanely proud I am of her for being brave and being so good today. You know what that little nugget said to me? She responded, "You know why I was so good today? It's because I love you, Mommy!" (Ok, ok, I'm not crying.....too much....ok, just a little....) 
     And then today, Cameron had his first day of soccer practice. The boy was terrified. TERRIFIED. He refused to put his ball down and kick it, so he carried it around the field on his hip for the first 20 minutes (looking ever-so-slightly flambouyant). And there was a brief melt-down when he buried his head in my stomach and cried because he was scared. I reminded him that this is FUN and that he was going to be AMAZING if he just went out there and did his best. But this kid has never known the confidence that comes with doing something well, nor has he been shown how to let go and have fun without becoming a nervous ball of stress. So as I watched him digging in the field and unearthing a golf-ball in the dirt when he was supposed to be learning drills (which he was way more thrilled with than his soccer ball), I didn't get too excited, because he was at least out there, with his peers, and NOT holding the ball! And everytime he came over for a water break, he made sure to check that his golf ball was still safe and sound in his jacket pocket.... because you never know when a golf ball theif could be lurking at the local soccer fields. This boy also had a wardrobe malfunction when he couldn't figure out how to put the scrimmage jersey on.... neck through arm holes.... luckily the nice girl on the other team re-dressed my kid in the middle of the match so that he didn't have to look like a totaly wreck.... while I sat there video-taping him and poking fun (yes, I'm that kind of parent). But when he got done with practice, he literally ran over to me with his fists balled and a huge smile on his face as he shook with pride. He couldn't wait to see the videos I took of him "playing with soccer". When I saw that sweaty, big grin running at me, I had to blink back a few tears, because I was so happy that he (didn't fail?) overcame his fear and felt a surge of confidence.
     And now it's my favorite time of day. Bedtime. But not for the same reasons that it was over the summer, or even last week.... because before, I couldn't wait for them to go to bed so that I could get a break! Some relief! Time to mentally erase the arguing, handing out of consequences, and screaming of my name! But this week, there wasn't even time for punches to be thrown or tantrums to be had.... they were both too tired, too excited about the new things they've learned, and too.... well, HAPPY! This week, bedtime is my favorite time of day, simply because I'm just as exhausted and happy as they are.