December 09, 2009

love him...

to the sweet mom at the mall (with a familiar little guy)...

i used to think that my mom loved me best because i was her easiest child.
you love the kid most who needs you the most.
and drew... for many years... was my favorite child.

he was a beast of a toddler.  a kind, tender-hearted beast.  he followed jakob, who was very obedient.  [once my mother-in-law was tending jakob and when i came home she was crying... she thought he was so good that he might be one of those perfect kids who die young...  he's still here.  not perfect.]  jakob would NEVER step into the street.  he wouldn't even step onto a dark colored piece of side-walk.  once a mom asked me how i did it... i replied with grand pride "You just have to TEACH your children."  HA!  I would take drew to the street, say No, No and let go.  BAM... he was running and laughing.  
I had "learned" with jakob that the reason children are noisy during sacrament is because parents don't expect them to be quiet.  if you just TEACH them to sit quietly they will.  I would NEVER take him out, and he was perfect.  Then I had drew, and i tried to teach him, but he cried when the bread was passed out because he needed a handful of bread, not just one piece... he was "VERY, VERY HUNGRY!!"...
once i remember whispering in his ear that if he wasn't quiet i would take him to the parking lot and feed him to the dogs.  nice!!
[sorry drew.]
he prayed that God would make him strong so he could beat up all the bad guys.

Once, i saw a baby leaving church with red, bloody slices down his cheeks.  When we got into the car the professor calmly explained that drew had gotten into a fight in nursery.  [sorry Aaron!]
MY KID did that...
he clawed babies!!
He had so much energy he didn't know what to do when he saw another kid... so, he just shoved them down and laughed.
I died of humiliation.
i tried punishing him, but the more i punished, the more embarassed and vicious he became.
i prayed and prayed over that poor child...
the answer i ALWAYS got was, "Love Him."
So, i loved him.
when he pushed down babies, I held him and told him to be sweet and soft to babies.
[i learned "give him five"... it's PERFECT for crazy boys... sometimes they have to hit something, and a high five works wonders.]
When he was headed downstairs with a butcher knife to "Kill Jakob", i moved the knives higher and held him.
and... i didn't let other people reprimand him either.  i had a rule, do not tell him what NOT to do "Don't Hit the baby."  tell him what TO do... "Be soft, kiss her head".
i was pretty strict about this, not because i was a perfect mother, but because i had learned through trial and error that yelling at drew didn't work.  he had a good heart in an energetic, rough, body.  i wanted to tame the body without destroying the heart. 
When he SCREAMED himself to sleep, I rocked him and tried not to get angry... for hours, bouncing, singing, rocking, nursing...  he nursed all day and all night long.
once he was out of the crib we spent nights laying by him till he fell asleep.
oh... the horrid bedtimes we endured...   
horrible.  super nanny bad. with four kids in four years we were a night-time circus.
and, when we locked drew in his room, he'd PEE all over.  he won that battle.
[he won MANY battles]
oh, that child.

he ate dirt.  lots and lots of dirt.
i couldn't stop him,
i just acted surprised when a mother pointed it out to me, "Oh, thanks." i would say. "Mind your business" i would think...
he cut things.  lots of things.  and one day, i cut his favorite superman shirt.  i still regret that.
[sorry drew.]
he climbed everything, jumped down and really hurt himself.  as soon as he stopped crying, he climbed again.
i don't know when it happened, but i don't worry anymore about him jumping naked off my kitchen table.  he learned.
jakob and drew were bad together... very bad.
they combined everything they could open from our year supply of food storage into two huge boxes...
maple syrup, flour, sugar, honey, rice, and cups of water from the kitchen... they were 'making cookies'
i cried.
they found blue spray paint and spray painted my house... the OUTSIDE of it, the trampoline and the rocks in our landscaping...
and poor anna, she got the ponytail on top of her head cut off [that was cute!], she got covered in desitin and PERMANENT MARKER... more than once.
once, i found colored spit marks all down my hallway.  i followed them to the bathroom where drew, jakob and anna had blue,  pink and green mouths and were spitting out ink.  they had found an easter egg dye kit and eaten the dye pellets.  Drew said, "Mom, i don't yike dat candy."
everyday my boys would fight about who was stronger, Jesus or Heavenly Father.
once, drew walked into the bathroom where the professor was brushing his teeth.  he pulled down his paints and peed on the bathmat.  the professor asked what he was doing and drew calmly replied, "Oh dad.  Sometimes i do that." 
i couldn't catch them, they were fast little buggers.  once, jakob and drew ran away from me, down the street, yelling "We don't need a Ruler."
when they got home i set them on the porch to wait for the police and explained that if they didn't want a mother to teach and protect them they would have to go to jail where they would be safe.  they cried and cried, telling me "We do need a ruler mom, we do."  i finally 'called the police back' and told them they could catch robbers, my boys were going to obey.
[nice... not sure it was the best way to handle it, but it's a funny story.]
when i got M&M's to teach drew his colors, i said, "this is red, say red and you can eat it".  he screamed "NO, IT's GREEN!" and if i gave him one he SCREAMED more cause he wanted to eat all the M&M's.
he cried every time i brought him to preschool. "i don't yike sku-wool."
at the time i really needed him to go to preschool, because i had a new baby and anna had daily doctor's appointments. i was worried that he would never leave me... but, my aunt carol had given me advice and
i decided to keep him with me if he wanted to stay with me. i'm SO grateful i did this.
once he was yelling "Mom!! Mom!!!"  i yelled back, "Hold on a minute!"  He said, "OK, I'll hold on REAL TIGHT."... he was hanging from the top of a bookshelf when i found him.
that child.

drew, he was hard.
but always adorable, and cuddley and learning.
he really did learn.
i wondered if it would ever end.  i wondered if he would be a beast forever. 
and, he's not.
i LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this kid.
i thought he would always be my hardest.  and he's not.

he's sweet and kind and obedient.
VERY smart and VERY funny.
yes.  he's still a stink sometimes.  they all are.  but, he's not a beast.
and, no one believes me when i tell them he was my hardest toddler.

so, if you have a little guy who is climbing your walls...
just love him.
and know it gets better with age.
on the hard scale, all my kids are pretty easy.  but drew, he gave me a run for my money.
i learned so much from him.
and, even though there were MANY years when he helped me learn humility.
now, i am so PROUD of the young man he has become.
he is a GREAT kid.

and, your little beast of a boy, i bet he'll be a great kid too...
just love him.

edit-- the whole time i was writing this i was trying to remember the funny thing drew said to his cousins...  i finally remembered... one christmas he was sick of sharing his christmas toys with his cousins and he threatened them, "do you want a piece of me?"
what a stink.


Kirstynn Evans said...

WOW! Thanks Jen. I don't know if I should laugh, or cry. I am two weeks from delivering my first boy, and I can guarantee I will read this post for specific advice in the future. Thank you soooo much!

Lanette said...

Was is Providence that I read your post after my posting my latest? Check it out.

Mach Momma said...

I have two little boys who are 14 and 17 and I just love them too! You have a dang cute blog

ashley said...

oh how i love hearing about the stories from past years! and always love the kind & wise & hilarious words you share. thanks! :)

Taneil said...

SO well said. I love your way of expressing! i love him too!

beckyjune said...

Matt and I read through this and just had to laugh because your son sounds so much like Sarah- she is constantly finding ways to get her- and her sisters and the house- in trouble. But, Hailey has been a stinker, too. We walked into the kitchen one morning and found Hailey had somehow opened up a bottle of childrens' tylenol (up high, of course, but not high enough apparently) and poured it into a cup from which she had a drink. We had no idea how much she'd had until we poured the rest back into the bottle. So, besides coloring themselves with markers and the regular kid mischief, my girls get into things like that. Makes life interesting, doesn't it, and then we can just laugh afterwards :)

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