Written from a recent day.
Earlier, I was trying to put Judah and Alonzo to sleep. Both of them still get their afternoon naps. Apparently, it was not happening because of a glass of dalandan juice. These boys, they crawled over me, threw themselves over me, wrestled together, laughed, giggled, cried, jumped on the bed, threw pillows, exited and entered the bedroom, ran, bumped on each other, drooled, bit and you get it (insert all active verbs you can think of with the word toddlerS). Lying in bed, I began to think how unproductive this day will turn out to be. (How nega right?) My goal was to put them to sleep so I could do my own stuff. I couldn’t really concentrate on what I am doing, especially that both have gotten more conversational and active. I got tired of asking them to stay still, be quiet and chill. At that moment I was probably the one who needed some chillin’. My plan to literally put my children aside wasn’t working.
I remembered declaring this morning- His grace is new every morning. Brand new, fresh, available- this supply of grace is outstanding, I imagined God pouring it over my head like some miracle water, changing me from the inside out.
It is easy to be in an attitude of resentment when we try to do the things at our own pace and we cannot. My two toddlers are active and they constantly bug me for interaction. My Judah, he loves to show me his kung fu skills, care of Po. My Alonzo, he loves singing, “God is good, all the time…” with all those hand gestures he learned recently from Kid’s Church. If one is asking for kisses, the other is asking for milk. If one needs a diaper changed, the other wants a snack. I’m sure a lot of parents can relate. Hence, the invention of “the quiet game.”
Don’t get me wrong, we value discipline at our home. But there are a lot of things me and my husband do not discipline our children for, like spilled milk, running around the house, jumping on the bed, crumbs on the floor. We let them enjoy being children, we let them enjoy this stage. We do restrain them in a lot of other areas and we put high regard in issues of trust, truthfulness, obedience, love, etc.
How we treat our kids at THIS stage matters. Sometimes we treat them more as little objects rather than little humans, distractions than priorities, annoyances than treasures. Yes they are little humans with fistful hearts with an incredible capacity for love, joy, cheer and the like. I have 2 choices on how to respond to this stage: to resent or to embrace. We need to be cradles of acceptance for them as we usher them to their ultimate acceptance Who is Jesus. They need to feel that sense of belongingness from us.
One time Jesus was asked “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” His answer was, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me…” HUMILITY will get you to love this stage. Humility to put aside your own interests and listen to them, serve them and cater to their needs.
My world does not revolve around my children alone and I do handle roles and responsibilities other than mommying. My husband needs me too. But when I am with my children, there should be no place for resentment. The issue is the heart. When you go home to them from work, from me-time or from a ministry meeting, embrace them not resent. I’ve said it once somewhere and I quote Dr. Ravi Zacharias, “There’s much more we can actually learn from a child(‘s wonder) than that from philosophy books.”
At the end of the day, I resolve to look at productivity this way- what kind of kids am I producing? What character is God teaching and producing in me?