Last week was a rough week for me physically. I was hit hard by something. Disease = Uncertain. Cure = the body, Johnna and her naturopathic care, and prayer. In between sleep, not holding food down, and a pounding headache I would hear Johnna engaging in the intensity that is motherhood. I have tried to recapture some of the sounds from the King household. Let this serve as a forewarning to those who plan to visit our home, to those who don’t have children yet, and to those who are curious about life with 6 children under 7 years old.
With six kids in a one-story house the majority of the day is filled with noise. From first light, at least one kid is awake. If they are not wanting food, they are wanting attention. By 6:30 am, if you haven’t already set aside quiet-time, it will be a logistical victory if you figure it out at any point. Baby 5 wakes up hungry. He now eats bananas, but you never know if he wants half or all of it until some of it ends up on the floor. Baby 4 hits the ground running, literally. He is capable of walking, but I think it is more of an inconvenience for him. You will hear those bow-legged steps all day. Baby 3 wants to hold the new baby. The older boys are asking questions, “What’s for breakfast?” “Dad, are you feeling better?” “Are we going to play Wii on Friday?” It is only 7:15 am and the day is just beginning.
Even the silence is loud in our household. Because your body is pre-conditioned to hearing loud footsteps, periodic screams, and the reprimanding of children, when you do not hear those things it is just as alarming. If it is silent during the daytime one of three things has occurred: 1) Nap-time 2) A miracle 3) Maybe they are all reading quietly in the back room… for now. Nap-time is a crucial time for parents. That is your rest, refit, and recovery time. Use it wisely! Do not overcommit yourself with projects, self-imposed demands, and extra curricula’s. Set it aside as “you” time at least 5 of the 7 days a week. While I was sick, Johnna was using that time to check on me. She is underpaid but hopefully adequately valued!
“Don’t touch me.” “Scoot over.” “I’m not playing with you tooty.”
“You two separate, do not call names and do not provoke one another. If you do it again you will receive consequences.” Other common sounds you will hear in our home are kids being corrected and directed (aka disciplined). Our 2 and 3 yr old have a love-hate relationship. Sometimes they shock you by being extremely considerate and caring. Other times it seems they exist solely to provoke the other. This includes one kid determining where another can sit, when one is allowed to drink water, or using Jedi mind tricks to tell the other sibling what it is they actually want to do. These two are constantly being trained and reminded to be kind, not to provoke, to listen and obey. The older boys are being developed for maturity, “Pay attention to…” “Focus on what you are doing.” “Is that a wise choice?” “Serve your sibling…”
Johnna does most of this work when I am gone each day, but when I am home it’s my job. While laying in bed I could hear her energy draining towards the end of each day. Consistent discipline is of course exhausting, but not as tiring as the byproduct of other sounds that we believe come forth when discipline is lacking. You will not hear us “count to three” or question our kids with “Do you want to go to timeout?” Some hard fast rules are no fighting and no tantrums — which of course requires constant training and a lot of energy to process with our kids. The problem with any of those statements or sounds is that they invite disobedience and allow sin. You don’t ask a toddler if they want consequences for their actions and you don’t negotiate with a terrorist. Our job as parents is to reflect the goodness and authority structure of God. I’m briefly touching on discipline, but in essence, it uproots sin and aims for righteousness. Not only do our kids reflect ‘good’ character but they are consistently being pointed to Christlike attributes. We discipline to reflect the gospel — us dying to our sinful selves and living for the glory of God. The fruit of consistent discipline is joyful kids, people who genuinely enjoy being around our kids and a family culture that values a lot of time together.
Lastly, the sounds that I often heard during my sick time were turning pages and family reading time. Books are everywhere in our house and Johnna reads aloud to the kids morning, noon and almost every night. They love it. They ask for it every night. They often cry, again literally, if it doesn’t happen. Our oldest is getting to the point where he can even read to the kids. They want to sit all over you. We’ve torn a page or two to determine who gets to turn the page. But in general this is a very positive environment for the family.
Most homes with small children are slightly chaotic, but we aim for organized chaos. I never want to deter you from having kids. Instead I want to let you in to share what it’s like in our household. Kids have a way of humbling us just when we think we have a hold on this parenting thing. Thankfully I am back to being healthy and our teamwork pays off when we are both at 100%.
Hopefully, this is a little encouragement for the families and future families out their engaged in the battle of raising godly children. God bless and keep fighting the good fight.