Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Blessing of Discipline

 Sometimes I feel like a big, fat, crabby: 


It may be hard to believe, but my sugary sweet, adorable toddler can sometimes turn a little... sour. Lip pursing, eye squenching, intolerably sour.  And when it rains it pours. When Evelyn decides she wants to be naughty, she is NAUGHTY. One thing after another after another. My daughter possesses the extraordinary talent of bouncing around a single room like a ping pong ball reeking havoc on everything in site: tearing up paper, throwing dvds across the room, waking up her sister, dumping out an entire basket of toys...all in about a thirty second time span. 

But that's not the worst of it. The whining. Oh, the whining. The long, high-pitched, never ending stream of whiiiine...often accompanied by tugging at my clothes or pinching my legs while I'm cooking or have my hands full. I like to think that I have a long fuse. But once my buttons are pushed, they're pushed, and there's no turning back. That's when I turn into Mr. Slime Man up there.

I admit it. I lose it sometimes. I just cannot take it anymore. I want to keep a level voice and get down on Evelyn's level to correct her. I want to use all the nifty reverse psychology tricks I've read about. Turns out it's harder than it looks to be level-headed when your child is smirking at you in open defiance. I absolutely hate having to be a disciplinarian. I hate knowing that my precious baby girl who can make my heart melt in one moment, totally makes my blood boil in another. I'm pretty sure at some point in the past week I said out loud, "I am not cut out to be the parent of a toddler." Babies I can handle. Big kids I can manage. But toddlers? Toddlers are in a class all their own.

Suffice it to say that sometimes I get downright frustrated and start feeling sorry for my situation and I just wish I could have a perfect little angel child...because those exist, right?....and I cry and start to do a little whining of my own. And then the Good Lord whacks me upside the head with a healthy dose of perspective. Like He did today.

Get it together, girlfriend, because you are blessed. And if the worst of your problems is a typical tantrum-prone little girl, then you can just count yourself lucky. Yep. For whatever reason, as my first baby slept peacefully on the couch for nap time this afternoon, I realized how fortunate I am to be able to say that my daughter was sleeping peacefully in our own place, wearing snuggly clean pajamas, with a belly just filled with lunch.

How many mamas will kiss their babies goodnight tonight in someplace that is not their own? How many moms will put their kids to bed with growling tummies and no idea how they're going to feed their babies in the morning? As I looked at Evelyn I couldn't imagine how I would handle that situation. I would feel like I had failed my child. And how many women face tough decisions every day completely on their own? Just the thought of dealing with that was enough to break me down.

Right then and there my frustrated attitude that had been slowly spiraling downward all week completely turned around. I realized that having the luxury of worrying about how to discipline my children is a blessing in and of itself, because my time isn't consumed with finding food, a place to sleep, or a way to keep my family warm and safe. Why did God choose to give me this life while others have such a rough time? I don't know that I'll ever get the answer to that one, but I do know one thing: so long as this current life is mine, I will not waste it whining about my cute little stinker.

I'll do the job that He gave me to do...I'll raise the daughters that are on loan to me...His daughters. And I'll do my best to make sure that while my girls feel the love and warmth of a cohesive, healthy family, that they will also be trained up and disciplined to mind their authority and respect those around them. I can't think of any greater gift that I can possibly give them than the blessing of discipline. I know we all have our own journeys and our own "aha!" moments, but sometimes I think it's important to share those moments with each other. You never know when your moment might facilitate the beginning of someone else's.

So as we approach the day of thanks this month, remember to count your blessings. Kiss your babies even when they're being a pain in the butt. Stop yourself in the middle of "losing it" and take a deep breath. That's a challenge that I'm issuing myself, and I think it'll make for a much more pleasant atmosphere on those "off" days. This is yet another example of how I'm still "Getting There...."  I totally refuse to let a 17 month old turn me into an ogre. :)

I waited a long time to "be the parent," and up until now, this gig has been pretty straightforward. Well, you're in the spotlight now, sister. You are on. It's time to start parenting. Good luck, and don't forget, this is a blessing. :)


joyce said...


Staci said...

with 4 girls within 6 years, i thought i would never live through the "terrible twos" and was so thankful when they got older....until they hit puberty!

Meagan said...

I can soooo relate to this post!! Keegan is a great little boy but he definitely pushes our buttons at times....oh and the terrible twos are nothing, the closer he gets to turning 3 the worst the whining and attitude gets!! Just a heads up!! :)

Kim Luke said...

I am in this same boat Adrien!!!! Great post, I will forsure live by these words!!

Landon has started to get such a temper, and has been hitting lately. Obviously, he is way too little to be spanked, and I would do anything to not have to spank him.. So I tried time out for the very first time. I just removed him from the situation he was it, and sat him down on the stairs and sat down with him, You seriously would have thought I just beat him.. I think the time out hurt his feelings more than spanking him would have. it was crazy, i had no idea what to do. lol i didn't know if i should let him up, or make him sit there longer. toddler years are going to be sooo much fun! HA! :)


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