I didn’t get it done. I should do it now. The interview notes with an amazing mom are right next to the computer. But that isn’t what is on my heart. I wouldn’t deliver the wise words of my friend well.
My girls are 7 (Bug) and 9 (Bird). My 7-year-old is in a tough place. She’s been waiting, for weeks for results about a big medical question. She has a big sister. They share a little room. They both play soccer. Bird is no longer a little girl. She likes some little girl things but she is starting to want friend time without sister, quiet time without sister and starting to dislike Littlest Pet Shop and Groovy Girls. Bird is a good big sister to her bossy younger one. But she is tired of playing every game the way Bug wants. Bird is considering getting older. Bug is dismayed. She adores her sister and is not ready for this change. She is angry at her sister for growing, angry at her sister for being better at anything. Bug is jealous because all the girls at church and all the girls in the neighborhood and all the girls on the bus are closer to Bird’s age than Bug’s. And Bug knows about the medical question. She knows what the results could be and she hates it.
I suppose all this is enough to explain the exceptional grouchiness and anger that is bubbling inside my Snuggle Bug. But her regular outbursts are wearing me down. Her toddler-like torrents of tears over little things like injuries or missing toys are erasing my patience.
Last week I told you that the first parenting book you should read is Shepherding A Child’s Heart. In flipping through the pages, just to review it, the book become a mirror and I could see myself. Tired of the battle. Parenting for convenience rather than with wisdom. Trying to change the behavior not the heart. Yelling to get my way. Parenting is humbling. Tell me you’ve been here?
After seeing my ugliness, I asked forgiveness from God and from Bug. Then I started praying about what to do. I knew two key times that Bug and I regularly battle: before school and during dinner. I made a list of expectations for each of the those times. They weren’t new expectations. Bug knew them all, but we both needed to see them written down. And, with the help of my husband, I wrote out the consequences. She needed to see these and having a plan in place keeps me calm and kind.
This morning as I was getting annoyed at my dawdling Bug, I remembered that she knew she the expectations and the consequences. I stopped my nagging habit and said, “Babe, you have ten minutes to departure.” Our morning was more peaceful and Bug got everything done.