My oldest is at the fun age of almost 3, but not quite there yet. She is a beautiful, funny, smart (!!!) little girl – who has a very serious issue with anger. I have no idea if this is normal for her age or if this is a personality thing. It’s so interesting watching her grow, though, and seeing her getting closer to understanding her need for a Savior. I’ve taught kids for a long time and so you could never convince me that children are born perfect. Now that I have my own, I know for a fact that is not true! Everyone is born a sinner. Everyone needs a Savior.
A few weeks ago, E. threw a giant, over-the-top temper tantrum at bedtime. Brian and I were tag-teaming it, trying to get her to calm down. Brian finally came out of her room, completely exhausted, and said, “It’s your turn. I can’t go back in there.” A few minutes later, I went into her room and somehow managed to get her to calm down. I held her, whispered to her, and rocked her. I got her to start breathing calmly and then I asked her what happened. She got off my lap, looked at me and then, in a very loud, angry voice, told me all she had done. She started to shake and she kept repeating, “I was bad! So bad! I was naughty! I can’t stop! I can’t stop!” I held her and shushed her, all the while explaining that yes, she was naughty, and that it makes Mommy, Daddy, and Jesus very sad when she acts that way. We prayed and she asked Jesus to forgive her. And then we started over.
It struck me that even at this extraordinarily tender age, she knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that she was bad and – more importantly – that it was out of her control to stop. And it scared her. I hope I never forget that look in her eye – that look of sheer hopelessness. She wanted me to fix it, but I can’t fix it either! Only Jesus can! Oh, that she comes to that realization soon!
We’ve been noticing lately that she’s just been plain mean to her baby brother. She’s out-of-control jealous and it just keeps escalating. She normally refuses to obey me; it’s like talking to a wall. Earlier this week, I sat her down and asked her straight-up, “Why are you so mad??” She looked at me and said, “I don’t like Joe-Joe.” I asked her why and she said, “He’s with Mommy.” My heart sank. I felt like such a failure as a mom. Baby J. is miles easier than E. these days and I had most definitely put him ahead of her more often than is correct. I have spent the rest of this week focusing much more on her, in lieu of some of my other responsibilities. Today, I took baby J. to Grandma’s and E. and I went shopping, just the two of us, all morning. She was amazingly good! Not one issue the whole time! She just needed mommy-time, I guess! I will be doing that more often, that’s for sure.
When I was a kid, I always dreamed of having four kids (including twins named Esther and Vashti. Hmm….). Now that I have two, I wonder how in the world would I manage with four?! I want so badly to be a good mom and so often, I feel like I’m such a big failure. Then, I have moments like two days ago — I was gone for a few hours over lunch and when I came home, I was greeted with E. running through the yard, arms wide open, yelling, “MOMMY!!!” and baby J. sitting on Brian’s lap, flapping his arms in excitement, and squealing with glee to see me. Maybe I’m not such a failure after all.