29 December 2009

i'm sorry i did that

Sometimes parenting is hard.  I am not talking about those moments you don't really have control over...

...like when two kids are crying at the same time
...or you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror sometime around noon to realize it hasn't occurred to you to get dressed, let alone run a comb through your hair
...or when you've just run out of ______ (milk, bread, toilet paper) and you haven't quite figured out how to "run" to the store with two infants and a toddler. (Tips, anyone?)
...or when you just get the third one down for a nap and the first one wakes up...

No, I mean the moments you do have control over.  The ones where your heart and head are telling you two different things. When that cute, "perfect" little one does something that requires consequences and you don't really want to discipline them, but you know if you don't even more trouble is ahead.  

We have those moments frequently, and a lot of silent second guessing goes on.  A lot of the time I wonder if it's worth it, if it's working, if he gets it. And then a new phrase popped into his vocabulary a couple of weeks ago: "I'm sorry I did that." It was rewarding and heartbreaking at the same time. He knows what he is doing isn't okay, and he genuinely feels bad about it. And I feel bad that he feels bad... but it shows that he is growing up and that even though we hate the time-outs, we are both growing because of them.

And it's always a relief to realize he still loves me afterward. He still wants me to "play trains" or read books or pretend we work at Starbucks (a possible indication of mama's need to cut back).  It shows that for all we're told today about kid's self-esteem and need to be crazy and limit boundaries, they need them, and maybe (just maybe) they even appreciate them.  That's what God tells us, anyway, and I am pretty confident He's got it figured out.  

Parenting is teaching me so much, and I am thankful for it, even when it's hard. 

(pssst, Mom and Dad: thanks for the boundaries.  I figure after 30 years, you deserve to hear that.)

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