December 04, 2011

parenting 505.

i love this talk-- What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye To Be? by Elder Lynn G. Robbins
A sweet and obedient child will enroll a father or mother only in Parenting101. If you are blessed with a child who tests your patience to the nth degree, you will be enrolled in Parenting 505. Rather than wonder what you might have done wrong in the premortal life to be so deserving, you might consider the more challenging child a blessing and opportunity to become more godlike yourself. With which child will your patience, long-suffering, and other Christlike virtues most likely be tested, developed, and refined? Could it be possible that you need this child as much as this child needs you?

i was contemplating this post... about a child that is continually difficult and yet completely enthralling to me.
i was going to say that i have one child that has taken much to parent, patience to the nth degree.
she's feisty and smart and continuous.  part rotten and part charming.

and then, i thought, oh yeah-- and that child.
pesky and funny and quirky and sleeps in a sleeping bag in the hallway because he has some serious sound sensitivity (sleeps with ear plugs and a fan on high and still can't stand hearing his brother breathe deeply at night)

and then that child came to mind and her particular oddities.
her creative, messy, emotional, sneaky, drama self.

and then i thought of my other two perfectionist children who are really, really good... as long as proper balance is maintained.
but, tip them over a little bit and you open up a damn of emotions that must be carefully coaxed back into place.

and then, the baby.
she is happy and joyful and SO fun... and active all day.
she's crawling and into everything.
honestly, i've never had a baby like her- she's going to be a piece of work.
and, she is NOT a good sleeper.  i really am up many times with her in the night-- she knows just what she wants (to nurse) and she is SCREAMING mad if it doesn't come fast enough or if i try to give her a pacifier.
she's more stubborn than me.
but, she is so delightfully charming all the other times of her life i just feel like i can't complain.
i'll take her-- rotten sleeper and all.

lily is the only one left.  and she really is darling.  she whines and is particular about who can help her out of the car or who sits by her.  she won't tell people her name (she's embarrassed that she says "Willy"), and she still sucks her thumb (is that bad for age 3?)  but overall, she's easy for me to parent.
honestly, i think God sent me my kids in pairs, an easier with a harder...
is that bad for me to say?

all of my kids are completely AMAZING... partly rotten... unique... very, very smart... overall very well-behaved.
i have shiny kids.
kids who aren't afraid to try new things.
kids who think and interact well with others.
my kids are not always obedient, they are not always neat, they are not always respectful, they are not always kind to each other.  some times they are just plain rotten.  and then, two minutes later they are saintly.
i just remembered one of my nephews who used to say often, "I WANT TO LISTEN TO SATAN!!"  :)

(leah and lily just came up from their bedroom again to tell me that they are still awake.  lily said, "Mom, we have some BAD NEWS.  We have BAD NEWS mom."  How can i laugh inside at them, know they are darling and normal, and at the same time be so mad that they are out of bed?  ugh.)

but, oh heaven... i have learned much from parenting the lot of them.
half the time i have no idea what i'm doing.
half the time i want to write a book about all that i've learned.
half the time i'm amazed when i see their goodness.
half the time i'm praying that heaven will teach me how to teach them.
half the time i'm thanking God for my life.
half the time i'm wondering how the heck i got myself into such a mess.

i was sitting by lily at lunch today and she said to leah "ha ha, mom is sitting by me."
leah asked, "are you sitting my me too, mom?"
i said, "yup, see?  i can reach you."
lily said, "oh, you're sitting by both of us."
(my kids are always fine as long as i am close enough to touch them.)
leah said, "you have long arms, don't you mom.  and Jesus has the longest arms, right mom?  He can always touch all of us."
seriously?  i LOVE that kid.
and, i love Jesus with his LONGEST arms.

leah is into sending telepathic messages.
i think it comes from teaching about the Holy Ghost, but i'm not sure.
she was quiet for a minute and said, "Did you hear that message mom?  Did you hear what I was thinking?"
i said, "Yup."
she asked, "What did i say?"
i told her, "You said you loved me.  Did you hear my message back?"
she said, "Yup.  You said you loved me too.  A whole bunch."
then she said, "Did you hear that message?"
i said "Yup."
she said, "So, can I mom?"
i said, "Nope."
she said, "Dang it, I knew it."
so funny.

we went to a friend's house for dinner and a devotional tonight.
my kids weren't very well-behaved, especially when it was time to leave.
i'm afraid i over-reacted putting them to bed, because i'm exhausted.
leah was especially rotten.
i yelled as i was coaxing them into jammies and tooth brushing and bed time.
leah said, "Guys, I'm sorry about this.  Mom's just cranky because I really made wrong choices tonight.  Didn't I mom?"
i agreed, she really was a little stink tonight.
she asked, "Can I say the family prayer?"
in her prayer she said, "please bless Mom that she will feel happiness and joy.  and please bless us that we can be a little bit better so we can help her feel more happiness and joy."
isn't that cute?

what a gift she is to me in my life.
a sweet, precious gift.
they all are.
every minute i thank God for sending me these children.
life is hard-- for everyone.
we are all learning and growing and becoming.
me, i just get to learn from 7 of my most favorite people ever.

i was straightening up last night, after a very late night shopping trip and a fun-filled Saturday at home.
i cleaned up bins of play-doh and odd shoes and unpacked groceries full of teething biscuits and stuff for secret santa-ing.  and i thought again, "This is IT.  This is my FAVORITE stage of life.  I am going to miss these days when they are gone.  I LOVE IT RIGHT HERE, right now, with these guys."

did you hear that?

i love them.
a lot.
and today, i'm so grateful for the lessons i learn EVERY DAY in my parenting 505 class.
i would choose this life again, if i could start over.
life is good.

The Greatest Challenge in the World-- Good Parenting.  by Elder James E. Faust,  Oct 1990
In my opinion, the teaching, rearing, and training of children requires more intelligence, intuitive understanding, humility, strength, wisdom, spirituality, perseverance, and hard work than any other challenge we might have in life.

To be a good father and mother requires that the parents defer many of their own needs and desires in favor of the needs of their children. As a consequence of this sacrifice, conscientious parents develop a nobility of character and learn to put into practice the selfless truths taught by the Savior Himself.

Parental teaching moments need not be big or dramatic or powerful. We learn this from the Master Teacher. Charles Henry Parkhurst said:
“The completed beauty of Christ’s life is only the added beauty of little inconspicuous acts of beauty—talking with the woman at the well; showing the young ruler the stealthy ambition laid away in his heart that kept him out of the Kingdom of Heaven; … teaching a little knot of followers how to pray; kindling a fire and broiling fish that his disciples might have a breakfast waiting for them when they came ashore from a night of fishing, cold, tired, and discouraged. All of these things, you see, let us in so easily into the real quality and tone of [Christ’s] interests, so specific, so narrowed down, so enlisted in what is small, so engrossed with what is minute.” (“Kindness and Love,” in Leaves of Gold, Honesdale, Pa.: Coslet Publishing Co., 1938, p. 177.)
And so it is with being parents. The little things are the big things sewn into the family tapestry by a thousand threads of love, faith, discipline, sacrifice, patience, and work.


CTR Mama said...

Fabulous. I am repeatedly amazed at just how hard parenting really is. And how wonderful. Thanks for the good thoughts!

The Wife said...

I enjoy hearing about the imperfections - makes me seem less alone in my own imperfections. Thank you!

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