What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Fatigue is the best pillow ~Benjamin Franklin

How true, how true.

Such a horrible mother I am at times. Particularly times when I need to go go quickly up and down the stairs-and I can't have a little Panda following my every step. Only yesterday did we buy one of those jail-like stair contraptions to keep the Panda from killing himself on our stairs. Up until that point, he had to stay in the playpen, much to our detriment (or more often, we just gambled with fate). One day, after crying himself to sleep, I found him this way. So dear.

Our little guy has a TEMPER (not JUST with a capital T but with ALL caps!) and I laugh in spite of myself. If ever there was a challenging child-this is he. He is so sweet and so cuddly and so darling most of the time-but don't get on his bad side and GIVE HIM WHAT HE WANTS-or else.

And then I say, "or else WHAT, my darling? BRING IT ON!"

I refuse to give up authority to a nine month old-because if you do, you will then lose authority with a 2 year old, then five year old, and by the time that sweet babe is a seventeen year old, all respect will be lost. And whatever parent claims that a nine month old is too young to 'understand' discipline has either been outwitted by them or their children are exceptionally dim. I have not been so lucky, for sure. SO-these days I have been buckling down and challenging my dear boy to a competition of wit and endurance.

Example 1:

Andrew began screaming this high pitched, ear-ringing, hair-pulling, eye-popping scream a few months back when he discovered his voice. Of course, I let him experiment with it a bit, but now is the time to nip this in the bud so I began flicking his cheek when he did it and saying "No" with my 'firm face' on. Well that little stinkpot would wait until I was on the phone, scream his scream and then turn around to find me and see what I was going to do about it! Literally, turn himself in his chair and wait to see what would happen! Don't tell me he doesn't know what he is doing!

Example 2:

If he wants food, he will scream and scream (the SAME hair pulling, eye popping scream, mind you). And for some reason, his scream sounds like the poor kid is on fire. I think he may be as dramatic as his sister (if that is possible!). He was hungry so I put him in his chair. Still, he screamed. I gave him a graham cracker and.....stop. Giggle. Gurgle. Goo.


Most Recent Head to Head:

That pesky playpen again... I want him to learn to sit in it for a little bit at a time to stay contained (for a shower, a vacuum, etc.) I have never been a big playpen person but I can see the good in a bit of time to himself here and there. ANYWAY. Christmas decorations were being put away and so I was preoccupied and didn't want my glass ornaments to be trampled by the little pudge Panda so in the playpen he went. The Christmas tree was in the same room as the living room so you would have thought...hey, it wouldn't be so bad, I am right there! Nope. In fact, knowing that his cries were having no positive outcome only made him MORE angry. His cries MORE voracious, his face MORE red, and his outbursts more convincing.

I admit-he ALMOST won that one. But I knew-if I got him OUT of the playpen when he was crying, he would associate his crying with being picked up and think that he had won (and thus, only cry LOUDER the next time, by expecting the same outcome!)

I knew there was only ONE thing to do. I had to wait until he stopped crying to get him out. But since that WAS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN I knew that in order to win, I had to sacrifice myself. SO....I took a DEEP breath, grabbed a book, and plopped down right next to the playpen. He wailed. I pretended to read and go to a 'happy place' while the wailing penetrated my eardrum. He wailed louder. I started humming to block out the wailing, he came to the edge and stood up-now literally piercing my ears. Happy face. Happy thoughts. Smiles. A beach with soft golden sand. Snorkeling in clear blue water. Ahhhhhhh.

And then...giggle gurgle goo. I looked at him and he put his frown back on. giggle gurgle goo. I KNEW I had heard it! I looked at him again and started smiling and talking. And his frown literally, before my eyes, turned upside down. We sat together, on either sides of the mesh for about five minutes and then I got him out. Praised him, hugged him, cuddled him and thanked the LORD that it was over.

I love my Panda. I really do. More than anything. But I will say this-if he turns out to be a kind, respectful and selfless person like I hope he does- I have a hard row to hoe! But at least people can't say to me as they have in the past, "Oh-you just got an 'easy one' this time around...wait until you get a 'hard' one!"

Lord, give me strength!
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smilnsigh said...

This entry does my heart good!!!! Oh my Dear, you are so wise. So wise.

It's so true, that parents can not "let the baby get away with" whatever. {which ever child is then, 'the baby.'}

And it's not even fair _to_ the baby/child!

Someday, some where, some one is going to come down on them and it will be such a surprise, by then! "The world is not my oyster?!?"

No, Dear Little One, the world is no one's oyster. Learn this early, with and from Mommy. Your life will be so much smoother, Dear Little One.


Anonymous said...

Sorry for butting in here - I'm a lerker from a few boards removed (puddle jumping!) But, Have you ever read the book "Secrets of the baby wisperer: for toddlers"? I found it very insitefull and goes into great lengths on how to classify your childs personality and approach discipline to be effective for that child. I found it to be very helpfull - even at that young age - as I have a very spirited 3 year old son myself!! Our struggles have been lessened a great deal.

Mandie said...

Those pictures are hilarious!!!

But I must say, (Ahem)

You did a GREAT job and I am so proud of you Rebecca! Boys are a lot different that our little ladies aren't they? (although they are still sweet) David's gotten popped a few times for just the same thing- the "I'm hungry right now Mama and if I don't get what I want right now I will roar at you" outbursts.

(It seems like the world will never tell you that you did a good job -unless you are over-indulging your kids- so please take from me my highest praises Mama!)

Beemoosie said...

Keep up the good work! My son was MUCH more expressive than my daughter...he was a challenge at times! Keep your eye on the prize!

Anonymous said...

You can do it, Rebecca! My boys are A LOT of work, but they are so worth it. They are ALL high energy, strong-willed little men that make me want to collapse on the couch and fall asleep at 7:30 p.m. every night.

We mamas need to encourage each other and also not sugar coat things to make it seem like we never have any problems raising our children. Thanks for NOT doing that!! :D


Kelli said...

Good for you, Rebecca!! I had to do the same thing a few times when my children were younger. It doesn't take long though, you are right, 9 month olds are very smart. :0)

Anonymous said...

WAY TO GO! I am proud of you...I wouldn't make it without my playpen..We affectionately call it the "rack" in our house =)...but it works. You don't leave them in it all day long, but it helps you get things done sometimes. You are so smart to let him know you are in control...it's so easy to give in. On a side note...I love that you say "stink pot"...I thought I was the only one.
Have a great day. Victoria =)

Rebecca said...

Thanks everyone for the support. You are all right, it can be a trying job but the results are well worth it.

I am glad to see that I didn't step on anyone's toes about discipline, playpens, etc. You never know what you might say that might offend, but at the same time, you shouldn't have to lie or even sugar coat your life either. Anyway...thanks.

Victoria-you say stinkpot too? That is great! I thought WE were the only ones. You know what they say about great minds, right? :-)

svea said...

Found you through a few other blogs, but really encouraged by your journey. Kudos with the consistiency and loving determination to train your little bundle of energy. Sounds like you have a lot of wisdom. My husband and I are really blessed by material from a ministry called No Greater Joy. Great child training stuff. Keep up the good work and thanks for writing about it so detailed, i am sure many mom's need some practical detailed example of training with love. Blessings

Carmichael Family said...

Loved the pictures of Andrew in the playpen! He reminds me of my oldest, Brinna, who at only 4-5 months old already had such a temper that if Daddy came home and didn't immediately pick her up she would get so mad and scream...although she was born with quite a temper, but has turned into such a sweetie...if only I had had your wisdom when she was a baby...

Wendy said...

Oh Rebecca, Indeed you are doing a fabulous job. Hang in there with Andrew! I dont think that I would say that any child is an "easy one"...while it takes diligence and lots of work to redirect a child who is stubborn, it would seem to me that your "easy" child is the way she is because of that same hard work and diligence...personalities are what makes it easier or harder. Another great book is The Five Love Languages For Children though the author slips my mind. You are doing a great job, and have the right idea!!!

abigail said...

Ah, fun.


Fun babies.

Fun, screechy, willful, adorable babies.