Monday, November 4, 2013

Maybe I AM Doing Something Right...

"One for me, one for you!" Benjamin said, enthusiastically handing a piece of his favorite candy to his sister.
"Wow... he's actually sharing" I thought to myself.

Later that day...

"Hey Ben!" I shout from his room, "Can you get baby T's paci and bring it to me, please?!" I try to yell over the screaming baby. I am mid diaper change and don't dare walk away from the changing table, even though he hasn't rolled over yet and the pacifier is a mere 10 feet away.  Ben looks up and I'm already rehearsing my argument "Please, Ben. Mommy needs your help. Can you be a good big brother? etc, etc"

Instead, he graciously says, "Okay, Mom!" and runs in the room to help.  Uhhh, he listened on the first request? I'm stunned. And that little part of my heart is proud of him, though I'm thinking it won't last.

Then it happened again. I was starting to think my real son had been abducted by aliens and injected with "good boy serum."  We were watching TV as a family and although I don't recall exactly what happened, I do remember Ben saying, "Well, that wasn't very nice!" with genuine concern on his face.  "Hmmm..." I thought to myself.  

Then the ultimate out-of-character scenario... Thad (my husband) took Ben for a quick trip to the grocery store. "Dad!" he said in a loud whisper, "I have to go to the bathroom!" "Oh, you have to pee?" Thad asked. "No," Ben replied, "I have to fart!" Thad, "Ok, so just do it" as there is no shortage of passing gas in this family. "But there are people here!" Ben said. This is coming from the kid who farts on all of our babysitters (and any other unsuspecting victim)... since when does my just-turned-four-year-old have manners?!

That evening, Thad commented, "Man, Ben's been a really good listener these past couple of days." 
"I know, I was thinking the same thing" I said back.  "It came out of nowhere, right!?"

We are used to the boy that tells us "no" any chance he gets. He'll take for-ev-er to do what we ask (if he ever decides he wants to comply), kicks/punches/pushes/trips his little sister, constantly whines for things he wants..... where did that kid go? Not that I was missing it, but the change seemed too sudden!

Then it hit me. This did not come out of 'nowhere.' This was not 'sudden.'

This came from the last four years of us trying our best to raise a kind, gentle, obedient little boy with a heart for God.  I'm not going to try and over analyze what's happening. I think I'll just sit back and enjoy watching four years of constantly saying "you're in time out" "we don't [fill in the blank]," "please change your attitude," "listen and obey," "ask nicely," "no, thank you," "share and take turns...." and every other mommy-ism you can think of (and probably said yourself!) finally start to pay off!

I am not trying to paint the picture of a perfect pre-schooler because even as I type this he swiped something out of his sister's hands who is now screaming and woke up the baby [insert eye roll here]. I know there will still be nights where I cry myself to sleep because I feel like I'm failing them, having that lingering fear that I'm raising monsters. And moments I'll have to contain my anger and not "Hulk out" as my sister says. And I know these kids will still inspire those thoughts that are so ugly I'd be embarrassed to share them with you on here.  BUT, I hope it is some encouragement to all of you. What you're doing DOES matter. It WILL make a difference. You ARE a great mom/dad and before long, we will be watching our own kids navigate through the rough waters of parenting their own children. In the meantime, keep equipping them with the right skills.

It's a work in progress... it's a LOT of work. And there WILL be progress.  I got to see a glimpse of light at the end of this tunnel - hopefully yours isn't as dark these days, either!