Thursday, September 28, 2006Step-by-Step: Called to More
So much changes when a child reaches that wonderful, yet hard, stage of knowing right from wrong! My son lately has been so delightful, as always, but so trying on my nerves!!
~He has a new scream-or shall I call it a screech!- that is so high-pitched and awful that I have to cover my ears.
~A long time ago he started to do the rolling-thing when I would go to change his diaper. He'd roll over and crawl away, giggling. I'd tease him and play with him, finally getting him to play with a toy as I quickly changed his diaper. I actually looked forward to this time with him. It was fun and it was satisfying: we had a good laugh and then got him "all clean and dry!" (our little happy family phrase for post-diaper changing time.) NOW I dread changing his diaper. First of all, his hand goes down there the minute I open up a poopy diaper. He too often gets his hands dirty. Second, he dislikes being in one place. He rolls and twists with more strength than I have to keep him down. He is stronger now than my one free hand can handle. Diaper-changing time is usually disasterous and exhausting, and has to end up in a quick plunge in the bath. Rarely is it sweet and fun as it was only a month or two ago.
~He has also started that "I'm mad you won't let me touch that!" face and even crawls AWAY from me in a temper. It's funny but heartbreaking at the same time.
~Sometimes when he touches something he knows he's not supposed to touch, he looks my way... "No, Aidan- nono. don't touch" I say sweetly, giving him the eye. In response, he's really sweet at times, smiling and moving on to something else. Yet there are times when he gets a look on his face, and goes at it, seeing what he can get away with. I get sterner: "Aidan, NO." -The eye gets sterner. He does it again. Then comes the face-to-face: I take his little face in my hands and look into his big beautiful eyes: "look at mama. NO." There are times when this works and times when this doesn't. Then there's the firm fist-hold, the VERY stern NO, and the taking-away/distraction with other toys and activities. The latter way I deal with such situations is the way which I always strive for. However, I too often lose my patience and grab him away, rather than taking the time to TEACH him right from wrong and obedience.
I mention all the above events because I'm partly looking for imput on how you all deal with these times in your own lives, but also because I feel so WEAK lately. It is vital that we respond to every child's actions and words with total love! Temper runs in my family. I don't mind sharing with you all that in my first year of marriage my husband and I had a few pretty violent fights leaving bookshelves emptied and my pottery broken. This year (our second year) of marriage we really grew a lot and matured more in these areas. We have both let go of a lot of pride, too, that's for sure. And we also have both grown in our prayer life, I think, which is probably the most effective means of grace for these times. We haven't lost our tempers like that with eachother in a year, I don't think. Anyhow, I have to pray hard that my temper never gets the better of me. Temper is sometimes a more powerful force than I realize, and can suddenly surge up and result in a bad mistake.
My point? I feel that at this stage of being a mother, I am called to a whole new level: I need to pray all the harder for grace to sustain me through every moment of motherhood. The peaches-and-cream sweet innocent magical time of a new baby is behind me in certain ways. All these little scenes with my son which I've mentioned are tests of my patience, calls to further virtue, calls to a deepening in holiness which is so vital for becoming a good parent. I suppose this is just the beginning of countless challenging stages in my life as a mother. I am grateful, in a way, to be humbled by my own weaknesses, and for these opportunities for conversion and growth. I just hope that I will be strong enough to really pray through these times, responding to the call to further grace and virtue, and not just be beaten down by them.
May our Lady teach us her gentle ways throughout our daily lives. May we imitate her in all we do, treating every child with dignity, love and reverence as we would Christ.
~ Sia, up on Whidbey Island with Ellie this week