Lessons learned and memories made.
Do you ever start feeling discouraged? Wonder if you're really being the best parent you can be? Your child goes through a phase where they are constantly testing you and you begin to wonder if what you're doing works or if the anti-parenters have it right and we should all just let our kids raise themselves? My daughter has been going through a really rough stage. I have been just hanging in there, praying, trying to stay as consistent as humanly possible, trying to stay as calm as humanly possible... I thought I had the key by cutting out the television but it couldn't be that easy could it? TV was a part of the problem, yes. A large part I believe. She learned some of these behaviors from the television and stopping watching it is not going to undo what has already been done. It will help from here on out, but it can't undo the past. So I have alot of tantruming I'm dealing with and bad behaviors and some days I wonder if I'm getting through to her at all, and if the right things are getting through to her.
Last week I had a woven cotton blanket on her bed and she kept pulling the strings out one by one and then pulling so hard they ripped out. Literally destructively unravelling the blanket, ripping it up. Well needless to say she got in big trouble for that! At the time I wasn't sure if she had gotten the point of the disciplinary measure or if she was just using it as an excuse to pitch a fit.
Day before yesterday she was playing with her dolly Jane. She had made a nest of blankets on the couch and carefully tucked baby Jane in. Then she said to the doll sternly, "Baby Jane, no breaking the blanket!"
A minute later she agains told the doll, "Baby Jane! No breaking the blanket! Breaking is not nice!" and this time she picked the doll up gently with a sad look on her face and gave it two swats on the behind and then put it back down. Then she looked up at me and said, "Mama, Baby Jane is cryin'! Baby Jane is sad!" So I asked her, "What do you think you should do now?"
She turned back to the baby dolly, asked her so softly I could almost not hear, "You know breaking is naughty, right? Are you sorry for breaking?" ...picks up the doll and hugs it... "Awww! I love you baby Jane! I forgive you! No more breaking, okay?" Then she tucked the doll back in with a kiss and tiptoed over to me with a sweet smile.
And I had a tear in my eye because I realized she IS getting it. It is getting through. Even when I don't know if she's listening or paying attention or old enough to understand- she is. And it said to me, 'hang in there, the terrible twos don't last forever!'
Not too long ago, I was sitting on the floor playing with Chicklet (3) and Bug (13 months) came crawling over to me, pulled up to standing, turned around, and plopped his little tush down in my lap. A minute later he lurched off and took off to explore the toybox, then returned to again climb into my lap unassisted. I leaned down and kissed his hair and he basically ignored me except to lean back on me and get comfy, where he say and played for a while. And it made me think how precious babies and toddlers are, thinking particularly about how they don't have any insecurities or hinderances when they know they are loved. How my kids can just climb into my lap uninvited on a whim with 100% confidence that I'm going to receive them with a kiss and a snuggle, and they can leave with just as clear of a concience. Because just as much as they KNOW I love them and won't turn them away, they know that they love me too whether they're in my lap or across town and assume that I know that too. So precious and amazing! I think that is one of the reasons Jesus said that we must be like little children in our faith. Little ones know what they know and they don't overthink like adults do; 'what if I'm crawling into Daddy's lap and he misreads my intentions?' or 'What if I'm not good enough?' 'What if He doesn't love me?' 'What if He turns me away?' Little ones are so precious because they have to pomp, no facade, no mask. They are what they are. They love. It's what they do. Oh to be like a little child in my faith!