Learning from my child
Tonight as I was
making dinner heating up leftovers, Greta made some kind of crash-bang-boom noise around the corner, and then came wailing to me. She flung herself into my knees as I stepped out of the pantry, and I picked her up. Since I know Drama Wails vs. Real Pain Wails, I was nonplussed. As she cuddled into me I rubbed her back and said, “Greta you are just having all kinds of problems today, aren’t you?”
As we breathed each other in she sighed pitifully, “Yes, I am having pwobwems (problems).”
I swayed back and forth for a moment, savoring the snuggling. That’s the thing with Greta: she can make seven seconds the best moment of my day.
Suddenly she sat bolt upright in my arms and began listing all of the injustices that occurred this afternoon with a strong emphasis on the last word of each event. She said, “I crashed on my knees, I opened the pantry when you said no, you put me in Time Out, I had a fit, Mawen took my wobster (Leapster), and I made messes with my sketti (spaghetti) and the cweam (cream).”
It was a long list and I was impressed with her memory.
She finished with an exasperated sigh, “Mom. I had wots of pwobwems today.”
As she began to squirm to get down, I said, “Well, Greta, I love you.”
She threw a “Wuv you.” over her shoulder as she bolted off.
Yes Greta. We’ve got love going for us. Let’s try again tomorrow on the rest of it. No fits would be a good place to start. Specifically, let’s not take forty-two screaming kicking hellfire minutes in Time Out before you say you’re sorry. I could have done without that “pwobwem” today. ‘Kay G?
That little scene struck a cord with me. Today, Greta kicked and screamed and wailed and raged against the injustice she perceived: a time out for not listening to Mommy. No joke, it was forty-two minutes before she finally muttered “sorry”, and then another eight before she stopped crying.
We were both exhausted.
The whole time I’m sitting there with her, I’m wishing she would just give in. I ache for her to just settle down, accept her situation, and do her best to move on with a happy heart.
I think I might have less compassion than other mothers of two-year-olds because there are moments when I feel entitled to kick and scream and rage against the injustices that I have been dealt. But I don’t. I’ve accepted it and I move on with a happy heart. It’s my choice, and as I watched Greta rage today, I felt affirmed that I’m making the right choice. As I watched Greta today, I felt sad for her: it took so much energy to articulate her rage, she was missing out on the joy of an afternoon. As I watched Greta today, I had a glimpse of how God feels when He looks at us in our situations.
How do we handle it? Do we rage or do we move on with a happy heart?
I think God has me parenting my strong-willed G so that I can remember my task: Do Today Well. The joy is there, but it can be missed if I’m not willing to see it. To rage against my situation is as pointless as Greta’s tantrum today. So God, I got the message you sent via Greta via tantrum. I could go without another reminder tomorrow, ‘kay God?
My heart is happy. Very happy.
Greta is two. She’ll learn eventually. I love her will; I know it will serve her well as she grows.
And let’s all pray for no fits tomorrow. Let’s be relentless joy-seekers tomorrow.