“Oooh, that was just so much fun! I can’t wait to deal with a flailing, screaming, breath-holding, snot-dripping toddler again! I hope this happens again soon!”
Said no parent. Ever. =)
My babies are 21 months on the 1st and they are quite expressive these days (to state it mildly). Lately it seems that when one is set off, a second or a third quickly follows suit. It’s as if they all get together and discuss how and when and why to attack me.
I know they don’t really. Probably not…right?
Because they are all at the same level of cognitive learning, their ability to reason (or lack thereof) is also all the same. Many times I simply have to wait the tantrums out because I cannot work through it with one when another is beating on me or kicking me and screaming so loudly I cannot be heard. Half the time I cannot understand what they say, anyways, since they all have their own little language and are introducing new words to their vocabulary at lightning speed.
And oftentimes they incite the other one (or two) to join in their disobedience(s) and do the current “no-no.” Which is fun. Loads of it. Attention spans are so short, still, during this season. There’s no telling one: “Head to your room and wait for mommy.” Nope. Each one must be walked through the process of understanding what they’ve done; and often I just don’t get to one…or two.
Which is fine, I know. There are, and will be, plenty of training opportunities where I will be able to help them understand what’s going on and how this or that behavior is unacceptable.
But in the moment, it is often ultra-frustrating to be unable to give all three attention – as is dealing with the same disobediences and temper tantrums times three. Many days I feel as if all I do is keep one from biting, one from hitting and attempt to train each one when they do (and certainly that feeling is not uncommon to any mom!).
Where’s the Fruit?
What’s so helpful for me has been to identify areas where our attempts at training and guiding our M&Ms has yielded fruit already. And it’s amazing to see how much fruit these little boogers can produce in their (so far) short little lives! Already I can see recognition in their eyes that what they’re about to do is wrong. Even if they continue on to it, at least they are aware that it is wrong! (Hey, it’s the little things, people! =) And many times they choose to stop altogether! Oh, how I want those moments to be so much greater in my eyes than the ones where they choose to disobey.
God has given us everything we need for training them in growth in godliness, though at times it can feel like somebody’s gone and run off with every single one of those tools and is laughing at my attempts at training. Scripture says it is loving for me to be firm and train these little treasures, that it is good for me to model Christ’s love and call to obedience to them. And that my efforts will not be in vain (Proverbs 31:28). And He’s promised me the wisdom I need to handle each spit-flying, kicking and screaming face-off. Even if I don’t feel it, it’ll be there if I ask for it. As will the grace to handle these moments and the ability to extend grace and forgiveness…and ask for it, even. (Oh yes, I’ve asked their forgiveness already!) And this book has been so helpful to use both in learning how to do this!
Of course, these are only the first of many years of head-scratching seasons. I realize that. And if I focus on it, I become very overwhelmed. There is grace for me today to deal with each tantrum. And there will be grace for all those tomorrows. And there is grace for you and your little ones!
What parenting resource has really helped you lately?