Monday, October 4, 2010

No, not MY children!

This fine, cold and rainy October day my mother and I decided to take my two year old twin girls and 3 month old son out for an afternoon of shopping. Perhaps you might think to yourself, "how lovely, 2 capable women and 3 children, that will surely be a fine time." You may think, "wow, those women or crazy to attempt a day out with two two year olds and a 2 month old." Personally, I expected a few challenges but nothing too catastrophic.

You see, my sometimes sweet children recently learned how to crawl out of their cribs and hurt themselves in the process. This has resulted in sleepless night and napless days. Oh, the terrible twos-- did you know that I actually thought that MY children would be angels through this phase? So armed with only 2 strollers, a sleepy wrap and a profound need for retail therapy we set out to shop!

Things started out all right but by the second store the children had started to fall apart. Kaitlyn wanted everything and the clerk at Children's Place could not have moved any slower. I told my mom to take Kaitlyn out of the store. (Because she was wild! And angry!) That way I could manage Eva and Noah, who had sweetly fallen asleep in the wrap. As I was trying to check out Eva kept pulling herself away from me, when I used
my leg to hold the stroller in place she actually bit me!! I told the clerk hoping that she might hurry up that I was being bitten by my child like a wild animal but she barely cracked a smile and was incapable of moving quickly.
We moved on to Old Navy. Kaitlyn had endured enough shopping! She NEEDED everything! So my mother, in desperation to get her to stop screaming offers to buy her a pony. Yes, a pony. Kaitlyn accepts this offer and momentarily ceases the waterworks until we get to the check out, again, with the slowest clerks imaginable. It started out quietly, "grandma, I need my pony
." Then she repeated it again and again until she had the attention of everyone in the store, "I NEED A PONY!!! I NEED A PONY!" Oh my gosh! LOL. Rather than shrink back in shame, I proudly said, to the others in line with me, "oh yes, she's mine!"

My mother noticed the large multi-ethnic mannequin display and took Kaitlyn to meet Mildred the dog and the other mannequins. So my crazy mom is over there talking with "Michelle and Barak" convincing Kaitlyn to say hello to them. I am still waiting in line... By the time I get finished Kaitlyn remembers that she wants a pony and repeats the phrase incessantly until we get to the car where I tell her that the ponies don't like loud noises and are hiding... Really? I just lied to my kid, I feel half bad... and then she moved on to NEEDING a cuppy. Ah, it never ends.

Today taught me a few things. That two year olds can be hedonistic little "ids". That you can read To Train Up a Child, three times and No Greater Joy magazine every month and still have less than "perfect children". I learned that good parents sometimes have kids that are wild and bite and throw fits because they need ponies. This is all part of life. Today I learned that many of the times that I silently judged parents for their children's behavior I was usually wrong.


Kaitlyn and Eva are the sweetest, cookie-baking, helping, loving, song-singing children. Other times they are down right embarrassing, but I know that I am doing my very best to love them deeply, to impart peace, empathy, love and joy to them. I know that I am working to teach them self discipline and boundaries. And sometimes, they may still act like wild animals in public. That's all right with me, I don't need perfection. I am a work in progress and so ar
e my dear ones.

If you've got little ones and you've had similar experiences, don't beat yourself up, keep loving those sweet children and doing your best. And if you've been like me, and looked down on a family whose children were acting out of line, but you don't actually have your own kids, hold your judgement. This parenting stuff is a lot harder than it looks.

"For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6

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