Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hidden Opportunities.

My kids crack me up...

We have 4, and the last 2 have had this very distinct trait.

Beginning with the older of the last 2, when he was the baby of the family, we noticed he had this tendency to be very particular about doing things "right". And by "right", I mean forever doing things the way he was taught or shown the very first time.

Of course, we weren't aware of this until we were in over our heads.

Doing simple things that shouldn't require much thought or things you just do without realizing you're doing, became things we had to pay super close attention to. Because the way it was done in front of the baby (this trait first showed itself at about 1 year of age) was the way we would have to do it for a long time.

Case in Point: Reading him a bedtime story.

His first memory of us reading him a bedtime story must have been a time when I did it, and I happened to be all snuggled up next to him, and I happened to use a variety of different voices, and I happened to sing half the sentences, and so on. In other words, I happened to do stuff you just do on a whim without planning or thinking about.

Little did I know, from that memory on, he would always require me to do the exact routine the exact same way. The same book, the same snuggly position, the same voices, the same tune, etc. And if it wasn't that way, it was "wrong".

"No, that's wrong! Daaaad! You can't read me that book! Mom reads that book!"

So I would come in on that particular night and take over for Dad. But if I didn't or couldn't, and Dad continued with the nighttime tucking in, then boy was there a story to tell afterwards when I went in to give him his final kiss goodnight.

"Moooooom? Dad did it all wrong. He didn't even put his arm around me like he's suppossed to, and he didn't use the right voices, and he didn't even know the right part to sing...."

And you know when your small kids do something that you KNOW is going to cause trouble if they continue to do it, but it's the first time they're doing it, so it's actually CUTE? Well, this character habit was cute to me at first because I loved seeing my little boy take notice of things. Or be so immaculate about a situation. I mean, this trait came in reeeeeeal handy when he watched us clean a room or put something away because it meant he would continue to do THAT forever more (or at least for the next several years). But situations like the bedtime story got a little challenging sooner than later.

At first I would sympathize with him, "Oooohhhh, I'm sorry. Here, Mommy'll come in and do it right...."

But over time, it became real clear that I was planting seeds of allowing him to believe "Dad was wrong", when in fact he wasn't at all. So it's become an opportunity for me not to just correct my son that stories can be read all sorts of ways, but that "the way Dad decides he's going to read a story is Dad's decision and we're going to follow it."

I love declaring that! Because not only do I have the opportunity to declare it over "little" things, but over BIG things. And I especially love it when I can declare it and top it off by saying, "...Daddy listens to Jesus and we listen to Daddy. So if Daddy made this decision, then he talked to Jesus about it first."


OK, well, all this to say...we now have a new baby of the family, and I just noticed for the first time yesterday that we'll potentially be put to the same test with him, as I'm getting ready in front of the bathroom mirror and watching him reeeeeaaaaach for a small bathtub toy that was placed on the lid of the toilet by someone without thinking.

He reached it, pulled it down, played with it, and then when he was done, my heart broke as I watched him practically risk his life by reeeeeeaaaaaching again to put it back on the toilet lid. Because that's were it goes since that's were he found it for the first time....just like his older brother.

I bent over to save my son's life and grab the toy to put it were it really goes, in a bin in the bathroom closet.

This DID NOT sit well with my baby, and quite frankly, confused him I think. Because he proceeded to attempt to literally pull his hair out. He got really mad, fetching the toy out of the bin and trying to place it back on the toilet. And when I tried explaining to him that it doesn't go there and that it's OK if that's where he found it and it goes back somewhere else, he physically dropped everything. The toy and himself. He dropped to the ground, screaming his small, little scream, face turning red, legs kicking, arms above his head with fists full of hair, pulling and clawing. I immediatly reconized these symptoms and knew right away I would be given the same daily opportunity to gently correct this child God trusted to put in our care, build up my husband, submit to his role in this family and glorify the Lord all at once.

Thank You, Lord, for pointing out Your opportunities to me in my everyday life to follow after you and build up this family!

But that mini-tantrum from the baby was SO. STINKING. CUTE. ...


Captivated said...

i love "seeing" stuff like this in my kids, too. the way bryson is so particular about the lines in his down comforter being straight when he's in his bed, etc. so funny. and that's totally a dad trait in this house... neat and tidy. and kev, too, i happened to put a racecar in the tote with the other cars and kev said, "no. mum, der." and took the car out and put it in the correct tote. yes, sir. (so that's good that we at least have always had a place for toy categories... our kids don't like things mixed up.)

and i really liked what you said about your husband:
'Because not only do I have the opportunity to declare it over "little" things, but over BIG things. And I especially love it when I can declare it and top it off by saying, "...Daddy listens to Jesus and we listen to Daddy. So if Daddy made this decision, then he talked to Jesus about it first."'

right on, girl.

Will and Krystal Irwin said...

boys after my own heart! I've been OCD since birth. Wouldn't walk until the day my mama put the right shoes on my feet so that I knew I would walk with perfection. Did it that day! ha! That's only one example, there's a lifetime more. I can share all the goods and bads of this lovely personality trait with these boys.:) It can be used for His glory or our destruction for sure! Thanks for sharing, I needed this laugh. I was sitting by myself laughing over it b/c it was so reminding me of me and Will kept asking what in the world I was laughing about. Just a silly lil post I said...