Tuesday, January 10, 2012

when your good boy turns bad...

ever seen supernanny?  you know those episodes when the parents are being trained to stand firm, keep calm, fight the battle to the finish...  in these scenarios the kids are usually kicking and screaming and the parents are taking deep breaths and going through the motions that this british lady has given them...and all the while they are probably playing out in their minds what they would really like to do to their kids if the cameras weren't rolling. {but then again that's what got them into the mess in the first place}

too bad the camera crews weren't at my house today because the last hour of my life was a real life episode of supernanny {minus the nanny}.  
and quite frankly...
i'm    worn     out.

after making a perfect transition from his crib to his big boy bed a few months ago oliver just yesterday discovered that he could actually get out of the bed whenever he wanted.  today at naptime this resulted in the most impressive display of primeval behavior i have ever seen in our household.  the irony of this is that oliver is our calm, peaceful, compliant child.  i seriously thought maybe i had inadvertently picked up the wrong kid at preschool this afternoon.  he was this crazy wild beast of a child - kicking, screaming, crying, throwing himself on the floor, gasping for air...all because i said - 'it's naptime'.  i had no idea of the battle that would ensue.

ultimately i think i won this war but i have to admit that i didn't get off to a good start.  i think that i was so shocked by my 'good' boy's bad behavior that i didn't have a gameplan for how to handle something like this with him.  here's how it played out...

crazy boy kicking and screaming in defiance.  mommy {full of grace} giving comfort, staying calm, gently singing a song to help him relax.  harder kicking.  louder screaming.  mommy {less full of grace} handing out threats - no shows later if you don't lay down!  out of control boy escalates to wild animal.  mommy {with only a shred of grace remaining} threatens a spanking if he gets out of bed again.  the wild beast is not deterred...out of bed again!  mommy follows through on her promise of a spanking and, although it is calmly administered and explained, the animal doesn't even seem to notice the swift pop to his bottom in the midst of the world's wildest temper tantrum he is throwing.  mommy completely devoid of grace enters into the tantrum herself yelling at the top of her lungs to 'get back in that bed right now!'  more crying added to the kicking and screaming.  mommy {with grace replaced by guilt - for yelling - and anger - for not being able to control this situation}...
this is where the battle turns.
as gently as possible {this ain't easy when your kid is flailing around like a wild bass} mommy dismisses urge to combine her dragon roar with another swift pop to the behind and instead places boy monster back in bed, kisses him, walks out of the door, and holds it closed behind her.  
at this point i would have given anything to have somebody ring my doorbell and drop off one of these things...
instead...my hand had to do the job...for F O R T Y minutes.  but guess what happened instantly - the crying and screaming stopped.  that whole time i thought that my presence and my wisdom and my soothing and my negotiations would get that situation under control.  turns out the only thing that could get that situation under control was me removing myself from it.

don't get me wrong...there was still some pleading going on on the other side of that door - please, mommy.  help me, mommy.  no nap, mommy.  open door, mommy.  and my all time favorite - knock knock mommy - you there?  and as much as it broke my heart to hear his sweet little voice making those requests of me i knew that the best thing i could do for him was leave him alone and let him figure out what he needed to do.  it took a while {did i mention - F O R T Y minutes?} during which he even wiggled his little fingers under the door to try and reach me

he also tried a peace offering - here you go, mommy -

that's a dirty sock {on my dirty floor}

parenting is hard.  it refines me more than any other experience in my life...if i let it.  

i don't always make the right choices as a mother.  today i ultimately chose grace {for myself and my son} over anger.  i chose stepping back rather than pressing in.  a thousand different scenarios call for a thousand different responses and i daily plead with God for wisdom and grace as i decide which ones to choose.  it's on the job training...there is no crash course in mothering.  

as i make mistakes and gain redemption and lose battles and win wars, i stand in awe of how God is not only growing my children but growing me.  today as i stood in the hall gripping that door God reminded me of how he parents me.  he allowed me to see myself in the irrational and self-destructive behavior of my two year old...fighting for a freedom that i want.  and he allowed me to see him stepping back and allowing me to wrestle alone until i finally see that the freedom he wouldn't give me was for my best.  
i do that - whine and sulk and throw an internal temper tantrum when things don't turn out the way i want them too.  when will i ever learn that what's best for me is so often beyond my understanding?  that i am under the care of a father who loves me too much to let me make choices that ultimately will harm me more than help me?  
there are seasons in life when i can't feel Him near and i desperately want Him to hold me...to help me.  i can't see that my own behavior is what is keeping us apart.  
sometimes he lets us work those things out...but he never really leaves us.  he's right there on the other side of the door listening and protecting until we are ready to listen and obey.

this afternoon just when i thought my arm could not hold that knob any longer i heard his mickey mouse doll jingle and a tiny thumb being sucked and the soft padding of mini feet making their way across the room and the ruffling of covers and then...quiet...

shhh...i win...