I can’t believe I’m finally writing a post about my younger child…LittleBit.
I am so tired. Tired as in sleepy. This has NOT been a good week*. It has been another week of smashing my sandcastle. *Side note: I first began writing this post on March 6th.
One area that I was always proud of in our home was in the area of sleep. After 2-3 months of the newborn stage, both my children have always slept through the night. That is, until this past week.
I’m not naming names, but the only member of our household we refer to as a “he” decided that it was time to tackle LittleBit’s thumb sucking. We covered her thumb with liquid that was designed to produce a nasty taste. First night, she woke up once complaining that it tasted “yucky” and she needed water. She then didn’t seem to have problem with it for a few days. Around the same time, she seemed to have hit a challenging season (I’ve heard other parents call it the “terrible three’s”), where I began to see a change in her attitude and behavior. She began to throw ridiculous fits. Even though she’s mostly our easy-going child, she always had a dramatic streak to her when she got upset. Well, this past week, she took it to a whole new level. She may not have as strong of a will as her older sister, but she can throw a temper that’s even more expressive than her sister. I didn’t believe that was possible. Peanut kicked, screamed, banged on doors…but so far, she never took her anger out on stuff. LittleBit, within this past week, has smashed her sister’s piggy bank, yanked out the drawers from the dresser, and dumped out all the clothes out on the floor (twice). She basically found anything that she can damage or make noise with to express her anger.
Really? I have TWO aggressive, overly expressive kids? Of course, the first thought that came to mind was, What in the world am I doing wrong?
The biggest disappointment: she was supposed to be my “easy” child.
There goes another sandcastle.
In midst of my agony and fatigue, I called my mentor mom. As always, she gave me a simple yet profound reminder. Even the easiest children need correction. Otherwise they wouldn’t ever have the opportunity to learn anything. I loved how she put it: “You don’t want a Stepford child.” The truth was, I did…or I thought I did. I realized I was only seeing it from my perspective; I was only concerned about my convenience. But these moments – as crazy as they were – gave LittleBit opportunities to learn and grow. I would much rather have her learn how to have self-control at age three than as a teenager.
A good friend of mine gave me another timely reminder. She said if we’re unwilling to sacrifice ourselves (of our time, our resources, our desires, etc.) in whatever area God has called us to, we are choosing to be selfish. God has called me to be a mother – not only to my strong-willed Peanut, but also to my easy-going (or maybe not so easy-going) LittleBit. I can choose to sacrifice some of my own comforts and desires to fulfill this calling, or I can choose to be selfish.
Funny thing is (and this is where I’m convinced God has a sense of humor), once I decided to not focus on my convenience and instead make the most out of this opportunity, her major fits subsided and she began to sleep through the night again.
So here’s what I learned: no matter how inconvenient the surprises/changes are that parenting brings, they provide opportunities of growth for my child…and for me.