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A Homemaker's Cottage (Sevetennth Issue) by Sonya Haskins.

Sonya Haskins is the full-time stay-at-home mom of Sarah, Micah and Christopher. She also writes magazine articles and is working on her first book. Sonya welcomes comments from readers and constantly seeks to meet new moms to interview for the book.

All this material is copyright protected and cannot be used without the written consent of the author.

The absence of screams was pleasing to my ears. As I hung up the phone, I smiled at the fact that the children had played together for the previous ten minutes without interrupting the conversation. Now I wanted to praise them for their cooperation.

Walking up the stairs, I heard water running in the bathroom. "Oh dear," I thought, "I wish they would play together at something besides washing their hands." It's not that I mind them washing their hands, of course, but they tend to use half the soap, get their shirts wet, and run a lot of water. This was an understatement for the reality that awaited me.

I turned the corner and about the time I heard their delighted squeals of laughter, I saw the wet carpet. Leaping toward the bathroom door, the vision before me seemed to come in slow motion like those scenes they show in the movies where you know something really bad is going to happen.

"What have you done!?!" It was more a statement of disbelief than a question.

My two very wet little angels were sitting one on each side of the sink kicking their feet in the overflowing water. There was about an inch of water on the floor, the faucet was turned on full-blast, the children's clothes were completely soaked, the tissues were drenched and the walls had water splashed all over them.

Of course the first thing I did was turn off the water and remove my fish from their pond. I undressed them, placed them in their rooms, and ordered them to stay there. Quickly proceeding to lay towels all over the floor to soak up the water, I realized that some of it had flowed into the vent. My next thoughts zoomed to the fact that if it can go down the heat duct then it might also be leaking through the floor. Of course when I ran downstairs to survey the damage, there was water tip-tapping all over things in the basement. In one place it was pouring.

After about 15 minutes, I resigned myself to the fact that I would need the help of my dear husband, who would be home at any minute. I not only needed his help with clean-up, but I needed his help deciding discipline in this particular instance. It was completely beyond my realm of understanding.

After having a long discussion with the children that evening about respect - for others, for mommy, for our property - we put them to bed without bedtime stories. This is a drastic punishment in our house because they love reading times.

To be quite honest, I think we handled it very well. I am sure it's not how every parent would have handled it, but I always try to think of how God would handle such incidents. He does punish people sometimes in the Bible for disobedience and I certainly think that parents are Biblically obligated to discipline their children. He is also a forgiving God and while I don't know that He would have done more or less as far as punishment, I think of all the times in my life when I was doing something that seemed fun, but was doing something I really knew was wrong. Frequently I simply need a nudge of my conscious to remind me that I WANT to be good and please my Father. This is what Chris and I wanted the children to experience. We think they did. So I guess it all worked out fine and turned into a good teaching experience for all of us. The children learned a little more, as they do each day, about obedience and respect. Chris learned that he is never going to know what to expect when he comes home. I learned that I have more self-control than I thought when I didn't do some things that immediately came to mind when I arrived on the scene. We all learned that it takes a long time to scoop two gallons of water from a heat duct.

Please give all feedback on this column to the author Sonya Haskins.