Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Dear God

Dear God, Father in Heaven.

Please help me.

I have a handful of three-year-olds that do the exact opposite of whatever it is that I ask them to do. One of them in particular is making me loopy.

We sit down for a picnic and when I see one child running their peanut butter and jelly sandwich along the bottom of their shoe, I'll say "There are tiny bugs and dirt and maybe dog poop on your shoe that you can't see, but that if you eat, might make you sick. Please don't do that."

The one child stops.

The other child, looks at me with a gleam in their eye and says "Mommy. Look." And then waits for me to see that they are rubbing their peanut butter and jelly sandwich along the bottom of their shoe.

This child will go poop in the potty. I ask them to wait before flushing it so that I can wipe their bum and flush the paper, too. As soon as the words leave my mouth, I wish I could take them back, because they immediately flush the toilet.

So what do I do?

I snatch away one of the two M&M's that I gave to them because they went poop in the potty and I eat it and say "THERE! That's what happens when you don't listen to me!!" And then I want to say "Nah, nah, nah, BOO BOO!!" But I don't because that would be cruel. Although, probably less cruel than taking away a piece of hard earned candy from a three-year-old and eating it in front of them.

In retrospect, that little piece of chocolate probably saved me from doing something that I might have really regretted later on.

I ask them to sit down in their chair. They stand up.

I ask them not to climb a seawall, for fear they'll fall off the other side. They scale straight to the top.

I ask them to stand next to me while I load children in to the car. They run to the front. Then, once they are in the car, they will scramble to the driver's seat - because they know I don't want them to - and they will frantically touch whatever they can, before I pull them back with threats of bodily harm.

I ask them to not touch the light switch. They wait until I am sitting down nursing their baby brother, and then flick it on and off as fast as they can.

From their seats at the table, they will reach out and touch things that are on the counter. Anything, everything. I will ask them to please not touch something and they will very slowly ... reach ... out ... their ... fork ... and ... touch ... it. And maybe, if they're lucky and have a good enough reach, push it straight off the counter.

They will take their shoes off in the car and throw them in places that I cannot easily reach, even though we discuss this in length each time we enter the vehicle.

They are the slowest moving people you ever did see whenever you're in a rush - but when you need them to stop moving and stand still, they take off in a frenzy.

If I didn't know that they would get seriously hurt, I would encourage them to run out in traffic and see what happens.

These three-year-olds that you sent me are seriously messing with my mind, Lord.

They will play with toys that belong to other children at the park, but if someone comes to play with their toys - you'd think they were pulling off their toenails.

They are so smart and they have these extraordinary moments of sweetness. They know exactly what it is that I want them to do, they just like to do the opposite. They like to see my reaction. They like to see just how frustrated they can make me. They want to hear me yell "Step away from the three-year-old, Jen. STEP AWAY FROM THE BERRYIN' THREE-YEAR-OLD!"

I know what they are up to - they want me to act crazy like them - they want to see me have a psychotic event. It is for this reason, my new mantra is "Sweet Molasses. Sweet Molasses."

Slow it down, sister.

Slow. It. Down.

I am sweet and slow - just like molasses.

I don't pummel three-year-olds. Even though I could and sometimes want to.

I don't need instruction. I don't need books. Or lessons - or any of that stuff. I know that this is a phase and that it will pass. But until it does, what I need God, is more patience.

Borrowing from something I hear a million times a day, I need lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots more patience.

And lots.

And lots.


I also need more M&M's.

Because for every one that I give our children, I eat 30 myself.

Thank you. Amen.

24 comments:

  1. Dear Jen,
    have you heard the phrase what doesn't kill you makes you stronger? I did that for a reason.

    God
    translated via winecat :)

    Please note I do not intend to offend anyone. I know Jen will get my bizarre sense of humor.

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  2. Mark and I just tell Shayna to do the opposite. My mother hates when I do that, but if it saves one ounce of my sanity, I'll do anything. Good luck... we're all going through this!

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  3. words fail me - what can I say to top it or better still comfort you
    but here , here sister
    and Oh God - after you have given Jen her fill please save some for me.

    I mean both M& m's and patience Lord !

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  4. You be careful about praying for patience now! My mom told me that's why God gave me twins. Twice.

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  5. I am responding because..
    1. I would be the first to respond to one of your posts.
    2. Just wait until they become teenagers!
    Your brother-in-law in Santa Rosa

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  6. This is such a true post. You are the best at writing post. Tabatha
    www.minishfamily.blogspot.com

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  7. Oh Jen.....if only we lived closer.....we could check into the looney bin together for a little respite!! Oh how I love this age!!
    :)Katie
    Mom of triplet girls- 3 years old
    www.lenhartfamily.blogspot.com

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  8. Wait. You mean this isn't going to get less frustrating at 3? WTH?!!!

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  9. Look at the bright side: at least they're sleeping well :)!

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  10. Dear Jen....3 is worse than 2.....far, far, far worse than 2....I only have 1 child in that stage, he's 2 1/2....and sometimes I think God is punishing me! God give you strength, cause I KNOW I couldn't do what you do every day!

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  11. You just described my life with my 3 year old. I know it doesn't change the frustration, but it sure it nice to know there are others living this insanity as well.

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  12. I guess it's time for 3 year old behavior boot camp. Hopefully, you won't get approached in Target with ASSvice from othe "meaningful" parents.

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  13. And this is why I keep saying, "It's cocktail hour somewhere in the World. It's a fine balance between caffeine and alcohol (and chocolate) Jen. You're doing fine. We all made it through with most of our sanity. And a few more gray hairs.

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  14. Oh Jenna, you just described my Annie! I once told you that you're going to be in for it when Henry reaches this age!

    Maybe God is socking it to you so that when Henry is driving you crazy, it will seem so easy!

    ...or maybe it won't. It still drives me batty when Annie behaves so defiantly!

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  15. Karen in Buffalo2/27/08, 1:23 PM

    Although I am sorry you are dealing with the defiance, it is sooo good to hear that my kids aren't the only ones doing this to their mother! Thanks for the post and for giving me a new mantra (and I guarantee my just-turned-two year old girls will be saying "Sweet Molasses" by bedtime tonight!).

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  16. Jen, I am in the middle of reading this website:

    http://www.parenthacks.com/2006/11/tell_strongwill.html

    It'll be awhile before I need to utilize these tips, but I know I liked it enough to bookmark it. Maybe it'd be helpful to you?

    Andi

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  17. Jen, I am in the middle of reading this website:

    http://www.parenthacks.com/2006/11/tell_strongwill.html

    It'll be awhile before I need to utilize these tips, but I know I liked it enough to bookmark it. Maybe it'd be helpful to you?

    Andi

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  18. Oh no! They know they've found your weaknesses and they won't quit until you're down!
    Only one solution. Boarding school. What? They won't take toddlers?! Ok... then give in to the chocolate and may it give you strength!

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  19. But, they're really good little sleepers. :)

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  20. Karen in Buffalo2/27/08, 5:18 PM

    Me again...a side note...I thought of you last weekend while looking through the coupon section of the Sunday paper. Dixie had an ad with a woman bathing her child in the kitchen sink! Its as American as apple pie!
    :)

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  21. Wait, was that ASSvice comment a dig toward you?

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  22. They are testing you, Jen. They want to see what will happen if they do the forbidden behaviour.

    Consistency in your reaction is the only thing that will work, but sweet molasses, it's hard not to lose it.

    It will take time, but you are right to explain to them the reasons why you are forbidding something. And if you can't think of a good reason, it might be one thing you can let go.

    And if all else fails, go for the cab sauv! It's the only way I can get through the day and I only have two!

    Kate

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  23. Did I just type that? I said that EXACT same prayer last night. (And every night). There is nothing more annoying than age-appropriate behavior for a 3/4 year old. Honestly, my son is my greatest joy. But he is SO annoying. I truly understand.
    Michelle

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  24. Be very, very, very careful. During all of our trials and tribulations of infertility treatments I prayed HARD for patience. God gave me triplets. While very thankful now...I see the humour.

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