Tuesday, March 8, 2011

How soon we forget...

I took the boys over to John and Judie's on Sunday afternoon because Jon was working all day and we were getting over the Rotavirus hump and I was so sick of being stuck at home with my wild boys. Bennett had Rotavirus when he was about 21 months old and was perfectly content to lay on our bed and watch Wonder Pets all week. Dawson...not so much. He wasn't happy unless I was holding him, and with Jon traveling all week, I was pooped (no pun intended). Like always, the boys were content immediately upon leaving the house (I try not to take it personally :) and we had a relaxing afternoon.
My first "how soon we forget" moment came when I went to put in a VHS movie for Bennett. I couldn't figure out why it started in the middle. I pressed stop twice and play again (was it somehow resuming "Memory Play"?). Still wasn't at the beginning. Ejected it, put it in again, still not at the beginning. What the??.....Oh yeah. We used to have to REWIND movies! Sheesh...had me totally stumped there for a minute. :)
The second "how soon we forget" moment came from Judie's mom, Laura (aka GG), who lives with them. GG's favorite pastime is Scrabble. Jon usually plays with her (hence the reason she's not shy in telling anyone he's her favorite grandson) but since he wasn't there, we decided to oblige and play a game with her. Right about when we started, Jon showed up so we assigned him "baby duty" so we could play Scrabble uninterrupted (ie: get it over with quickly!). Jon went down to the playroom with them. GG pipes up in her British accent, "its such a shame you're away from your boys." "Pardon me??", I ask. Did I hear that correctly? Is she low on sugar again?? But clear as day she says, "Its a shame you came over here and your boys are whisked away from you. I'm sure you hate to be away from them." I tried to suppress my laughter and spewed out something like, "Uh, no, that's the point of coming here! To get a break! Don't you remember needing a break every now and then?". And she says something like, "Oh, I hated to be away from my children. They meant the world to me". Wow. Will we get to that point someday? Will we forget how hard it is most days? Will we forget that our favorite times of the day are naptime and bedtime? (Admit it...you know yours is too. And if it isn't...you haven't had a two-year old yet). I hope that's true of all of us. I hope at the end of my life I'm filled with memories of the joy and laughter and pride my children brought me in those early years instead of the difficulty, frustration and occasional tears. I hope the good far outweighs the bad.

I'll be totally honest, I'm being tested as a parent. Sure, my life changed drastically when Bennett was born and those first 8 weeks of his life were some of the very hardest of my life but other than that (and a handful of weeks around when he turned two), I've felt confidence, pride and joy in my roll as his mother. He's always taken discipline pretty easily, he's very sensitive and his reaction to most things is to get sad, not mad. He didn't purposefully hurt a child until he was at least 2 and he didn't even yell or scream until he stared mimicking other kids around 2 or 2 1/2. It was still hard- he's always been a boy, destroying everything in his path and hated being cooped up at home. But I'm realizing now more than ever, that he's just never been difficult. My easiest time as a parent was when he was between 12 and 20 months old. He was just happy all the time. I just couldn't sympathize very well with people who had strong-willed children (and was so grateful for that!).
I knew Dawson would be different from the womb. Seriously. That boy moved so much more than Bennett and with such ferocity. I was really nervous, thinking that Bennett was already so wild. But I'm an eternal optimist so I just kept telling myself, how different can they really be? Oh glory. I had no idea. If we don't leave the house all day, It honestly seems like he's crying or whining the majority of the time he's awake. I have so much more sympathy for parents who had colicky babies. That's seriously what it feels like I'm dealing with. This was the easiest phase of Bennett's life and right now this is the hardest phase of Dawson's. How much worse is it going to be when he's turning 2 and 3?? I just get these moments of anxiety, wondering how in the heck we'll make it through. And the other day, I was praying, saying to God, "I just don't want things to be difficult with him his whole life! I don't want it to always be a struggle with Dawson!" Maybe that's a little melodramatic but that's what I fear. So moms out there of strong willed boys, (especially ones who have gone through it recently and actually remember how hard it was :) I need your advice and encouragement! I also need to start reading some books. Parenting Bennett has always come very naturally but I feel like I'm floundering with my second born. Love & Logic is on my list...I just haven't gotten it yet.
And so this post isn't too long any longer I'll do a different post of our happy morning (you guessed it...we did not stay at home today!)


  1. As the mother of two strong willed children ;) There are two books I really love: 'Parenting is Heart Work' by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, and 'Don't Make Me Count To Three' by Ginger Plowman.

    Both take a Biblical 'heart approach' to parenting your children. I love these books...'Heart work' tells you why it's important, and 'Count To Three' tells you how to do it.

    And then last thing: With my kiddos, I give them lots of praise when they make the right choice. This brings me sanity too, because I can rejoyce over them even in the small obedience. I totally identified with the frustration you were expressing...and believe me, I've cried out to God in the same way.

    Be encouraged Have! I certainly haven't figured out the magic bullet, but I do feel like we are having small victories.

  2. Oh girl! I love you and you're a great mom! When I'm in those moments, especially with Dave on the road, I can get so wrapped around the axel in my anxiety over lack of control! I have days that I am a complete failure. And then that little voice of our great, big God reminds me....

    Phil 4:6-7
    Phil 4:19
    Rom 4:17
    Heb 12:1
    James 1:6
    2 Tim 1:7
    Mark 11:24

    I also think the first is so easy because they get ALL of our attention and complete adoration. Chances are, Dawson is just expressing needs he doesn't have the words for.

    After Cooper came along, Dave and I had to really change how we parented together. The game changed and so the game plan needed to change as well. Dave was willing and ready to take on parenting tasks he hadn't needed to when we just had Layla. He took over giving all baths, whenever he left the house for anything but work, he took Cooper, on weekends he took care of all breakfasts and lunches, etc.

    Jon's such a great husband, I'm sure he would be willing to help in different ways too. I simply needed more help!

  3. My son is also very strong-willed or 'spirited'. I've been reading the book, "Raising Your Spirited Child- A Guide for Parents Whose Child is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent & Energetic".
    Here's a review from Amazon: She provides tools to understanding your own temperament as well as your child's. When you understand your temperamental matches--and your mismatches--you can better understand, work, live, socialize, and enjoy spirit in your child. By reframing challenging temperamental qualities in a positive way, and by giving readers specific tools to work with these qualities, Kurcinka has provided a book that will help all parents, especially the parents of spirited children, understand and better parent their children.

    It's pretty good and it's a reference that I find myself going back to from time to time.


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