Thursday, April 15, 2010

Don't. Look. Away.

Because if I do, *I* is sure to exercise his freewill in ways I will not appreciate.

Right now, for instance, he is pulling every dvd and vhs tape (yes, we still have a vcr) off the shelf. He will eventually put them all back, if I ask him and he's in the mood. Sometimes the stars and planets line up just right, and it happens. Really. Sometimes I get that lucky. Other times, I cajole one of the other beasties into helping pick up or I just do it myself, because it's easier than the nagging (by me) and the whining (by them, "I didn't make the mess"...which receives the response, "I don't wear your clothes, but somehow I manage to wash them for you. It's called being a member of the family blah blah blah "..because you know at some point they stop hearing the words I'm speaking and I start sounding like an adult from a Peanuts cartoon.)

Last night *I* was dancing on the table (fully clothed, so that was a new trick) and he threw (and I do mean that as in he pitched) the drink *E* had left on the table onto the floor. I asked *E* to leave the drink on the counter because I, seasoned mother that I am, expected something like this to happen. But why listen to me, I'm only the mom. Maybe it's the poor lighting (I prefer the term mood lighting ;) ) but I do not see a stain.

It's all small stuff really. I tell him "No", I remove him from the situation and he knows I am not pleased. I can look back and laugh. I try really hard not to laugh when it's happening because, well, that might give him the wrong idea.

Then again, sometimes it's good to laugh at small stuff, because life shouldn't be all frowns and rigid rules. I don't want any of the kids to be mean or destructive, but sometimes they're being goofy and an accident happens. Sometimes they're just being and an accident happens. I break glasses and spill drinks too. Sometimes they're tired and cranky. Sometimes I'm tired and cranky and not the nicest person (Like last Saturday).

If I try to be attentive (not look away...for too long or too frequently) I can usually catch the little things before they turn into big things. I don't hover and if it's a little thing (like the dvds) I don't get uptight unless he's taking them out of cases and using them as Frisbees. If it's something dangerous (dancing on the table) or destructive (holding a marker with a gleam in his eye and no paper in sight) I jump in and redirect.

And when the bigger things happen, there is redirection, sometimes discipline (ever tried to give a time-out to a 2-year-old? That's a workout!) and always ALWAYS grace. I don't hold grudges and there are second chances and more...just like God gives me second and third and thirtieth chances. God never looks away no matter how often I disappoint Him. God never gives up on me. God is the ultimate parental role model. I can never be as perfect in my parenting as God is, but I can look to Him for guidance, pray to Him for wisdom and lean on Him when it gets hard (because parenting is not for wimps...or perfectionists ;) )

So I keep my eyes and ears open, hoping that as the beasties get older, they will make better use of their freewill 15 yo does not draw on the walls or dance on the tables...I'm trying not to think about when he goes away to college though. ;)



  1. My Youngun was what ya call "strong-willed" and boy were her toddler years fun ones! Like you, I don't hold grudges and I don't sweat the small stuff. I was a spanking Mama though not a time out Mama, though I didn't have to use that particular parenting tool very often. I wanted to be absolutely certain she knew what NO meant in case it was ever a life and death situation (ie, running out in the road after a ball, even though we lived waaaay out in the boonies at the time). My daughter loved to be wherever I was when she was little. She had a cupboard in the kitchen that was where I kept my pots and pans. She knew she could get in that cupboard and her favorite thing in the world was to empty it out and climb inside. That was the only cabinet she was allowed in and she seldom tried getting in any of the others. I guess it was enough to know she could do whatever with that one! You are so right, parenting is never easy but you are so right to look to God for the guidance! :) Have a wonderful day!

    Sorry to write a book......LOL!

  2. Please do not apologize for "writing a book". I love the feedback. I have a few "strong willed" children. They keep life interesting and me humble. ;) I have found that different techniques work better for different one that loves going to his room, never gets sent there when he's in trouble. :)

    Thank you for reading and responding. I hope you have a marvelous day.

  3. This was such a marvelous post. i do much of the same here... trying to balance training with understanding with patience with keeping myself in check.
    Warm wishes, Tonya