This week, God called me out on my "word of the year" for 2013. Remember that word?
I meant it, or at least I think I did.
The year has begun at an alarming pace, and I have an anxious, back-of-my-mind feeling that I am falling behind and will never catch up again.
Gone are my lofty ideals of somehow organizing our house, decorating it, "spring-cleaning it".
It's basically all I can do to keep it from being a bigger disaster every day.
At work we are short-staffed by 5 nurses. Which means, on work days, hitting the ground running after a full sprint to get out of the door, and not stopping until the boys' heads finally hit the pillows (whenever that may be)- and still having piles and piles of clothes everywhere, sippy cups littering the floor and a kitchen that desperately needs cleaning.
Then there's the needs of my children, The guilt revolving around them which has been biologically and culturally programmed into my identity.
In discussions with his teacher, we decided to put off an eval for OT for Aquaman until fall of next year- since he still has another year of pre-k anyway. His teacher graciously provided me with a kit full of games to play with him in order to work on his fine motor skills. Considering he hates to "work" on anything that is difficult for him, I am going to have to be creative. And the house is going to have to get dirtier.
One of the games involves actually writing letters.
I think he's going to smell a rat. :)
His behavior is mostly under control. He is an active boy, and that will never change. I don't want it to.
4 has found him to be incredibly silly. He is mightily persistent but neverendingly tender. He has been pushing my exhausted boundaries further and further lately, but 2 1-hour timeouts in his room on Sunday seem to have temporarily solved that issue. (FYI, time out in his room means he gets to play with his trains and whatever other toys are in there, he just can't come out. However, by his howling for me you would have thought he had been deprived of all basic necessities). But after that last one, he came to me and said "I am going to obey you the 1st time now every time, because I don't want ANY more time outs!
He is becoming increasingly easier to reason with.
Then there is The Dude. Almost 2. Wild and impulsive and temperamental. He is gorgeous and fun-loving and an absolute charm, but he is time-and-energy consuming. I occasionally wonder if he is slow or something, because all the books say you should be able to begin reasoning with them at this age, but when i try to he just stares at me with his eyes half-crossed and a crazy grin, then takes off all his clothes and runs the other way.
Last night he demanded that JT pour him some drinkable "wogurt", then before he could even finish, disappeared into the next room, shouting "WATCH IT!" because he heard Praise Baby music playing. He never did come back for the yogurt.
He's not slow. He is stringing 2-3 words together regularly now. He is counting. He knows some letters.
He is The Dude.
I did better with Aquaman. Aquaman was energetic and fiesty too, but there was only one of him. I was painfully consistent and patient. If he needed 50 timeouts in a day, I was there for him.
The Dude needs at least that many, but I'll admit it...sometimes I am just too tired.
He swings open the refrigerator and dumps out the sugar. While I'm cleaning that up, he takes off his diaper and pees on the floor. He bangs his head dramatically on the tile in a temper tantrum, then looks at me accusingly as he rubs it and screams.
I believe that, for the most part, if we are faced with a temptation...we should run from it. Since an almost 2 year old doesn't have enough sense to even do that yet, I am trying to teach him by removing him.
We spend a lot of time at the playground these days.
We are trying to wean, really we are. Daytime is down to only nap nursing. We're going to tackle that one when he turns 23 months.
And then the third and final attempt at night weaning. When I will go, once again, from not-getting-enough-sleep, to getting-way-too-little sleep. I don't know how I am going to survive that one.
To be really honest, this week I have felt like I am failing.
Am I reading to them enough? Working with them enough? Disciplining them enough? Giving them the one on one attention that they need? Not giving them everything they want? Teaching them the way the world works? Teaching them the way God works?
The list of demands are endless. The comparisons to others can go on and on, only compounded by the expansion of life in the Facebook world. Why can't my 4 year old read yet? Why doesn't my 22 month old use the potty yet? I must be doing something wrong.
Which, in turn, communicates to my children that there is something wrong with them.
Which is exactly opposite of what I want to communicate to them.
There is nothing wrong with them. Even if the Dude was slow and his eyes were always crazy like that. Even if Aquaman doesn't learn to write his name until he's 8.
Labels are important these days in order to make needed interventions. But all the diagnosing leaves people feeling that they are somehow flawed.
When really it's just our wacked out system of comparisons and competitions.
I am reminded again and again that loving my children, while it may appear at times to be selfless, is often a purely selfish act.
How they turn out is a reflection on ME. And their successes and accomplishments are internalized as a part of me.
This week, in moments of being completely overwhelmed, I frequently asked myself: "what can I let go of in order to invest more in my children?" I began to think of all the extra responsibilities, and wondering what I could pare down in order to benefit my kids. But was I really looking out for them? Or was I doing it because it would be easier and more comfortable to do life in my own strength if I was released from other responsibilities?
God met me at the altar
Where, just a few weeks ago, I told Him I wanted to surrender all of it. Not just a little of it. 100%.
And what He told me there was not that I need to let go of the other things in my life in order to give more to my children. But that I need to fully let go of my children. His children.
We studied Jehovah-Jireh this week in Bible study. We read Genesis 22 where Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son to God.
Abraham had faith. He had faith that God would provide if he was willing to surrender.
So, this week, as I have before, and I will again: I have surrendered my children to Him.
Because what I want to be is a stay at home mom who is always there, who home schools, who provides everything my children could possibly need.
But He is a better provider than I could ever be. He is a better teacher than I will ever be. He is a better Mother than I have ever been.
He loves me. He loves them. He has compassion for the other souls that sometimes call me from the needs of the ones that I most want to serve.
He has a plan. I'm going to trust it.
"As you and I take on His character more and more, we will reach out beyond ourselves to manifest to others what He is to us."
I've been reading an old prayer journal again, one from the month before I got pregnant with Aquaman. I said to God "when will peace be my FIRST response?"
It's still not my first response. But by the grace of God, it is coming sooner.
“I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world; but still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am."