Sunday, February 26, 2012

Three Ways to Unravel

Don't you think it is remarkable how fast a perfectly good day can devolve into something you'd sooner forget? (Well, before you learn how not to repeat it, that is)

Maybe only slightly more remarkable is that I'm not talking about catastrophic events that we don't expect and are ill-prepared for.

No, I'm talking about the drip-drip-drip of daily life that occasionally has the power to break through our sandbags of sanity and make us cra-a-a-zy.

Lately, these little drips have been known to push me a little closer to the edge than I like to be:

1) When Landon is in a good mood, his ready reply is, "Why?" Now before you bash me as a woman who does not nurture her child's natural curiosity about the world, imagine hearing that word after everything you ever said, regardless of context.

"It's time for dinner,"  Why?  "Please don't climb on the table," Why?  "Do you know where your shoes are?" Why?  "Would you like me to read a story to you?" Why?  "Are you hungry?" Why?

The word doesn't even make sense half the time.  But this is not what makes me is when I hear myself and Bill actually trying to answer each one of these "Whys" (and the subsequent "whys" our answers solicit) with all the seriousness and earnestness of the educators we are trained to be.  I'll catch myself doing it and feel a little tricked, like I'm some kind of talking robot with a lame logic chip: hear-word-why-must-answer. (And I hope you read that in the staccato robot-voice I  just imagined)

Or I just get grumpy with the fact that my little free-wheeling toddler's sense of autonomy far outweighs his desire to please.  It seemed so much easier when it didn't matter what we said, it was a good idea, without question.

2) When Landon is in any mood that is less than good, his ready response is "Stop it!" (Usually said in tones that would make you think he is practicing for a self-defense course.)   After awhile, I start to feel like a naughty puppy in obedience school being trained by an impatient taskmaster.  The trouble is, I'm not making any headway.  I still must change his diapers, dress him, buckle his seat belt, or insist that food not be thrown around.  Again, it is not this behavior that is the crazy-making part.  It is, after all, coming from a toddler.  No, I feel like I am losing it by small degrees if I catch myself answering back impatiently, "Stop telling me to stop it!"  Did I really just say that?!

3) In between being ready to give an answer for not just my faith, but every detail of our daily lives, and being told to stop everything short of breathing, Landon can be a gem.  A bundle of hugs and love and lots of "I like you, Moms," and smiles that melt my heart.  But lately, there's one hour in which we cannot escape a trial, no matter what: bedtime.

If my nerves aren't already frayed from the above two things, bedtime is becoming a guaranteed shredder.  (And I remember feeling proud of all our routines, rituals, consistency, boundaries, etc....Pooh pah!  Dumb luck.  Do we ever really SOLVE these things or do our children just move past them?!)

Maybe in another post I'll describe the saga that is bedtime.  Maybe you can conjure your own images of the ordeal.  Bill and I know we don't want to lose our patience with him.  We don't want to give him a show of a good reaction.  We don't want him to see us get frustrated and upset.  We know all these things, so Landon gets the tight-jawed, quiet version of ourselves as we struggle to wrap up the day.

And then we go in our room and snipe at each other and uncork all the frustration we were trying to conceal from Landon.  It's a real mature moment.  It might be funny if I wasn't so busy trying to figure out how to do a mind-wipe on Bill so he would instantly forget he ever heard me saying the irrational things I tend to say when I'm annoyed.

A lovely day: filled with family, fun, and good food, and at the end of it Bill and I find ourselves holding onto each other in a helpless hug, saying a humble prayer, and hoping we get another chance tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. And because we serve a compassionate God, you do get another chance the following day. You are exhibiting Herculean efforts to raise a man of God in a manner that is gracious, fair, sound and inspired. Keep celebrating the successes!!!