Thursday, September 25, 2008

All in the Family

I know it has been a full week since my last post because today is piano/guitar day again! Time flies when you're driving around like a mad woman.

We found ourselves back in the can over the weekend! No exotic trip, just our driveway. We hosted Jeff's family reunion and his sister and her family stayed with us for two nights. They're from the Denver area. Since their party consisted of 3 adults and a baby - we figured they would be most comfortable in our bedroom and Camille and Jasper were thrilled to sleep in the can. So the Family Bed had some visitors! Jules is holding precious baby Bohden. Joel is still making faces, of course. Bohden's mommy, Launa, has Camille on her lap, and to her left are her parents, Richard and Susie, Jeff's brother-in-law and big sister.

I believe the final count on the reunion size was 58 people. This was Jeff's mom's side of the family. The food, of course, was great and there was tons of it! I had spoken to my children of my desire for them to appear normal in front of the relatives. They did not share my desire. That's alright. We wouldn't want to disappoint anybody.

Jeff's family is of Czech heritage and his mom, Pauline, should have been a pastry chef. She loved to bake and used to take 1st place in SPJST contests, of course! Luckily, her granddaughters and nieces continue the tradition, and there was a lovely sampling of kolaches, Pauline's signature dessert.

Here is a picture of the aftermath.

The families represented included those of Aunt Gertrude (deceased)

And of Aunt Fritzie (lovely lady on the right)
And of Uncle Bill. This group looks tame and sweet but there was some major monkey business going on just before they settled down for their pose....

And of Pauline's! It was at our house this year so we had the most family members attend. And I think we might have the most family members. Period.

A great time was had by all. We had all the usual excitement of games, gossip, and looking at old photos. The reward for those who stayed late was witnessing Jeff and Joel chasing after 4 of the neighbor's bulls on a tractor. The bulls had gotten into our pasture and were "bothering" a heifer. During this entertainment, Jasper sucker-punched one of his favorite aunts. This raised some eyebrows while a few folks waited for the spanking that never came. You see, Jasper had stepped on a sticker (barefoot, of course) and was trying very hard not to cry. He asked me to take him into my bedroom to remove it. He tends to get somewhat hysterical during sticker removals and didn't want to do it in front of the relatives and detract from the tractor spectacle. I, however, did not want to take him inside and knew I could grab that sticker very quickly. Ellie grabbed his arms and I yanked it. He became hysterical - crying - both from the yank and from the shock that I did it against his will and in front of everybody. Then, he was extremely embarrassed, of course. During all of this, his dear Aunt Liz came up to comfort him and he sucker-punched her. Who's fault is all of this? Well, the way I see it, it is mine. I knew he wanted me to take him in the house to remove the sticker. I knew why he wanted to go in the house. And it was not an unreasonable request. I misused his trust in order to save myself a trip inside. So he was not the one who needed spanking. We talked after everyone went home. He obviously felt quite horrible about the sucker-punch. That was punishment enough, and it was administered by his own healthy conscience.
In my opinion, a spanking would have made no sense at all - not to mention the fact that we believe spankings are violent, pure and simple. The lesson is that it is wrong to hit unless you do it to someone who is smaller than you and totally dependent on you for his very survival. What does that kind of lesson spawn? Looking at the current ills of society answers that question, I believe. Many people say the problems we face come from too little discipline and punishment for children. I say the opposite is true. Children behave as they are treated, for the most part. I'm hoping to raise kind, thoughtful, and empathetic people who feel responsible for their own actions - all the time - not just when the threat of punishment is around. They need to develop a strong sense of right and wrong through their own consciences, with the loving guidance of their parents. They need people to admit when they've wronged them, and to say "I'm sorry. I am not perfect. I made a mistake." I find myself saying this often, unfortunately. But my children also seem to be able to recognize when they've made mistakes, and to apologize when necessary. And to do it sincerely.
Well, enough about corporal punishment. I shall save that soapbox for another day!

The evening ended perfectly, with Jeff's sister and me sharing a couple of tequila shots. It was hard to let them go the next morning. We hadn't seen them in 7 years. They are avid can-readers, though!

Well, I'm off to Neverland. And this is what's waiting for me when I get home.

Sardine Mama


  1. sounds like it was awesome! I actually called in the middle of it (had to try four different phones until I finally got ahold of someone!). Jasper's story is touching and so understandable. Besides violence spankings do not work, pure and simple.

    Thanks so much for dinner tonight! I love the Pavliska house!

  2. wow, that's a lot of Pavliska's! it looks like you all had a wonderful time (minus the sucker punch from Jasper). mmmm..... the food looked delicious! i so want a kolachi (sp?) right now!