I am having some serious struggles with my little man today. Disobedience, defiance, laziness, back talking...the list goes on and on. We had to leave the house today. The days inside on the sub-zero days, I know we need to stay inside. I can barely let the dogs out without my skin instantly freezing. It would be too difficult for me to take I & F anywhere productive, and there is always that thought in the back of my head: "What if the car dies? What if we get a flat tire? What if someone else slams into us as we are driving around?" The confines of our warm home are fitting on those days, but with the forecast today...we could reach 20 degrees and the sun is shining, it was time for an adventure.
There are all sorts of things in our community for those cabin feverish days. I had been reading through our community datebook and found that there was a story hour at the nature lodge. We went a couple of weeks ago, and this over critical Mama was very disappointed at the organization (or lack thereof) of the program, the wasted time during this "story hour" that the coordinator spent eating her microwaved lunch and sucking down her Diet Coke for 30 minutes of the story hour did not sit well with me. We were in a rather small room which housed many different creepy crawly creatures on the perimeter. The rodents that Iain was interested in, I was disgusted with, and the reptilian and amphibian life that didn't bother me as much was terrifying him. He couldn't listen to the two stories that we heard because he kept realizing that he was "scared" with this little snake that was 4 feet away from him, in a rather thin looking plastic type cage. The sun was starting to hit this cold blooded guy, and he was becoming quite active in the short amount of time we were sitting there. We then cut out snowflakes, but in my cloud of negativity, I couldn't handle the spray adhesive fumes that were apparently necessary for the glitter on the snowflakes, so we high tailed it out of there, grasping for fresh air.
Today, I was directed to a Christian bookstore, that had a story hour, with coupons for purchases made, free cookies for the kids, and a very fun, fume free craft for the babes. We had true Christmas stories that were beautifully illustrated, full of truth, and oh yeah! lots of words! I forgot that the lady at the nature lodge, picked up a book, but put it down after she started it and said, "This book has too many words in it!" Iain did not want to participate at this story hour at the bookstore. Fiona was sitting on my lap, and being relatively good, and she patiently waited while Iain fought with me during our candy cane pipe cleaner craft. Iain was pouting and complaining, if a two year old can pout and complain...yes they can! and asking to go and ride the choo choo train at the mall. I promised that if he behaved and obeyed we would go after the time we had looking at books. Fiona diligently strung alternating red and white beads onto the pipe cleaner, and would only allow me to hold it steady for her. Any time I tried to help her, she would say, "No Mama! I-do-it"
Iain continued to do everything I asked him not to, and after the final fight to get into the car, I told him that there would be no train ride today. He had a mini-tantrum, and as we got closer to the house, he told me "I bad. I choo choo train." When I told him he had been bad, he finally realized the fight was over. We had situations during lunch, and then he went down for an early nap with Fiona.
The ritual started, and he needed to be tucked in, a kiss, a hug, and "Pray Mama." We prayed, and I asked Jesus to help Iain with his attitude and to be obedient. About 30 minutes into the nap, he came running down the hallway to tell me he had to peepee. Excellent! Let's go! We were productive, and then it was time for the nap. In the bathroom, he asked for another hug and kiss, and for me to pray again. It is all very cute and sweet, and his requests do tug on my heart strings, but I also know that these requests are stall tactics and he will take hug after kiss after prayer all night and all day so he doesn't have to go to bed. So I had the idea to have Iain pray on his own.
He took my hand and said: "Jesus, a bleda rocha (toddler babble) I bad today and a no choo choo train, a blah blah bleh bleh (more babble) and Poppa working, at the jewelry store, a diamonds, a be good, and Jesus Amen!"
About 20 minutes later, more frantic clambering down the hallway, "Mama! I go kaka!" Excellent! Great! Let's do it! Again, he was productive, but kept starting and stalling, and there was lots of wiping, and getting up in between...more stalling. "Iain, time to get down to bed and take your nap." "Ok Mom!" He starts to run into his bedroom, and turns around to asks to be tucked in, another hug, another kiss, and more praying. Again, I know that I will want him to ask me for hugs and kisses someday, and I love it when he does, but he is sooo clever with the stall-outs! I told him to pray again. "OK mom! A dear Jesus, I bad today and no choo choo train ride. Mama! A close eyes and down head! Babble babble...and Poppa working, at the jewelry store, and Foner asleep, and Eenie asleep, and Jesus AMEN! I pray Mama!"
I am amazed to see how his little heart was convicted, because during our first prayer today, I prayed that the Lord would work on his heart so that he would be obedient and follow directions on the 1st time and not waiting until the 5th time...it seemed that he must have understood that my final resort, and should have been my first resort, was to talk to Jesus about Iain's behavior. The little man is sleeping, and obediently staying in bed. The nap interruptions today were those wonderful bathroom requests that we have been working so hard to accomplish, and praise the Lord for those heart changes as well! So my little sponge was outpouring today, and from his mouth there is truth to be heard and growth in his soft little heart.