Parenting Sweet Spot

My parent friends who have gone before me sing a chorus to me these days. It sounds like this: “Don’t wish these days away!” “Treasure these moments!” “Enjoy your time with your children while they are young!”

I’m very grateful for their song on days like yesterday, when my fresh two-year old had me absolutely stumped. She was throwing a mega-tantrum and I just looked at her completely lost. Is she sick? Maybe that cold turned into an ear infection and it’s making her into this screaming banshee that is before me. Maybe it’s teeth. Can I see in there? Do I ignore this? Do I discipline her or hug her and try to explain things to her? 

beauty
My challenge these days

My BFF will laugh at me. I know this even as I type these words. She has walked with me through these particular parenting years twice before. For some reason, my kids hit 18 months and they begin to elude me. I can at least recognize the pattern at this point thanks to her. Side note: It is not fair that it takes three plus children to figure things out. If you stop having kids you don’t get to practice your new-found awesomeness. If you keep having kids well…you’ll be tired. (And AWESOME!)

So as I sat gazing at my banshee two-year old daughter,  I remembered what my BFF has said to me (with great love) in the past. And I got up and walked away. Don’t worry – I came back. And we talked, she and I. This little person whom I underestimate. That walking away reminded me that I underestimate the intelligence and comprehension of my children because of their off-the-charts emotions. When it comes right down to it, the lack of emotional self control in my kids is what throws me. I see them freaking out emotionally and I want to console and help. That’s when I’m thankful for their Daddy-who while being emotional is more capable of speaking into and teaching self-control.

I’m really grateful for the people in my life who help me to be a better parent.

I’m also really grateful for Facebook…whining in a public forum is fun. 😉

Wait…who has emotional self-control issues?

As I pondered and reflected on my day in the quiet moments after I put the munchkins to bed last night, I considered my almost nine-year old son. Sigh. He’s dreamy. I adore him. Sometimes I want to drink him in. He’s beautiful inside and out. So handsome and so kind and loving. He is at that age where his personality, his spirit just flow out of him. I especially love getting reports of dreaminess (a.k.a. chivalry and kindness) from other people who see it when I am not around. He is the one who encourages me to keep going. He is the one who I think on and remember what HE was like as a two-year old.

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My big kid and encourager

He was a very verbal child. I have a list of all the words he spoke at 18 months and it shocks most people. He excelled at verbal communication (and still does) at a very early age and being the first born, I didn’t realize the significance. But he was also the one who would hug the other babies/toddlers in the nursery, then body slam them and bite them in an attempt to kiss them. I was mortified when the church nursery had to repeatedly inform me he was biting and tackling kids.

When he was two, my BFF and I would attempt to go to MOPS. Our boys would scream their heads off as we left. And they would keep screaming. Finally at about half-way through the morning, the sweet ladies tending to them couldn’t take it anymore and they would call for us to come and fetch our clingy two-year olds. Every time MOPS would meet I would tell my friend how I just didn’t want to keep putting him in there because of his screams. I didn’t understand why he was screaming. Was he hurt? Was he afraid?

Um, no, my friend would tell me. He’s just a child who wants his way.

Oh.

So I kept putting him in there. And you know what? Eventually it was bliss.

But it was so painful to stay the course.

These memories remind me that parenting is just hard! For some of my mommy friends, this age is their sweet spot. My friend is amazing at this age. She is the most solid rock I’ve ever known. You just don’t mess with that Mommy if you are a toddler. She sees right down to your soul and instinctively knows what you need and when you need it.

I am not sure if the parenting sweet spot is more what you feel is easy for you, where you excel strategically or some semblance of both. I’m pretty sure two year olds are not in my sweet spot though. Maybe one day I’ll figure out what it is. And then I’ll cry a song to my friends who are in my place, “cherish the moments when your kids are young!”.

I Should Not Have Sat Down!

There comes this point in my evening where the children are all nestled in their beds. The day is finally silent. Today I’m exhausted. My littlest one didn’t nap more than one hour -and she needs at least 3 hours of sleep (cursed car nap ruining it all!) and frankly, that takes the wind out of my sails. Two precious hours gone.

But I loved my day today. It was full of joyful activity. I hopped from one role to the next changing hats mid leap and singing Journey songs all the way. So now, in this still and quiet house, all I want to do is go to sleep, or curl up in my bed with my book and read until I can’t keep my eyes open any longer. Tomorrow is another very full day, as is the day after that. Rest and work are both calling me. I look around and my house tells me how full my day was today. I have papers to sign, mail to go through, laundry that didn’t get washed (or folded) today. Tomorrow is a new day but can these things wait?

I’m thinking of the Shekinah of God. Today in our James Bible study we discussed how James lays out the way that Jesus is our Glory. The Shekinah was the manifestation of God’s presence in the Old Testament. It was in the pillar of fire in the desert, it was in the glory of the Lord that filled the temple after it was consecrated in Moses’ time. And then, ‘the word became flesh and dwelt among us’ (John 1). Jesus is the manifestation of the presence of God. He is our glory. And Ann Voskamp said today, “you can always have as much of God as you want”…

Isn’t that a lovely thought to roll around in your head?

P.S. This is my effort to blog something no matter how random or whiney.