February 17, 2012


Having a toddler is a whole new way of life. It makes all the my-child-will-never-do-thats make you laugh hysterically on your therapist's couch.

(Kidding about the therapist.) I don't really laugh hysterically on their couch per se, it's more akin to sobbing hysterically in their chair.

(Kidding!) I don't really sob hysterically... (OK, I don't really have a therapist.)

In fact, I'm learning very, very quickly that my child will indeed do x, y, and z. The better question is what will I do?

I thought since I have such years and years of experience you'd be well served to glean from my wisdom. Let's start at the beginning. The year is 2010. It's a ways back, stick with me here. This is what I thought motherhood would look like. My child would be born pain medicine-free into a cocoon of warmy-dovey loviness in which we would bond skin-to-skin, our beings so interwinably intertwined that our intestines together would form a heart. I would prove every naysayer wrong (wrong I tell you!) who dared suggest otherwise to my plan of Motherhood Utopia.

Actually, the truth is that once I got over my postpartum blues, finished moving and being unpacked into our new home (Micah was four weeks old), had my ridiculous pain-inducing gallbladder removed (when Micah was six weeks old), got the hang of his routine and finally (mostly) sleeping through the night I truly was in Motherhood Utopia. One of the happiest seasons of my life was when Micah was about 4 months old to about his first birthday. I remember thinking almost every day (literally), Please let this moment/day never end. I was completely head over heels in love and could not get enough of him. I used to wait impatiently for his naps to end so we could be reunited. It's not that I ceased being happy after that, but by then I was pregnant again and sick all the time and once I got over that I was flung headfirst, floatie-free into the swirling abyss of Toddlerlandia.

Somewhere over the hills and in the plains McNuttMobile has four flat tires smack dab in the middle of Toddlerville. I wonder if God makes toddlers funny so that when you're saying No for the 175th time that hour you would have a reprieve in the form of their sweet voice telling you what a  "fwog" sounds like.

In all seriousness, I am learning that consistency in discipline, grace in instruction, and lavish amounts of affection and laughter are much-needed. This verse continually helps me stay on course, "Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart" (Prov. 29:17). If we're faithful to discipline (which I'm also learning doesn't always mean correction of wrong behavior, it also just as often means instruction in right behavior), then this proverb tells me that he will be a delight. I want my child to be a delight (and I think he is).

The absolute, most important thing that I can do however is pray. In the same way I can't change anybody else's heart, I most certainly cannot change my own children's heart. So I pray continually for them that God would soften their hearts, draw them irresistibly to himself, give them his wisdom and a heart for him; that they would respond to discipline and instruction, and a myriad of other things. This parenting gig is another real time example of the collision between his sovereign action and our humble obedience.

How about you? What are some valuable lessons you've learned from Toddlerlandia?

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