My Fitness

Thursday, January 23, 2014

gently loving my 3 year old's horshit

This morning hit me hard. My entire body ached. I'm getting quite the upper body workout from Holly's constant need for attention, even in her sleep. And it seems my older two sons, especially 2 year old Micah, have suddenly developed a need to be held all the time too. In addition, we just put up a baby gate to keep the boys out of the kitchen which seems to be a disguise for my lower body workout. Thus, today I feel like I've been working every muscle group much more than I ever intended this early in postpartum recovery.

I'm sore.

I'm tired.

And after breakfast Caleb wanted something called, "Horshit." While it sounded like he was walking around cussing, I decided there must be something that he is simply mispronouncing. Being rather tired for the above noted reasons, it took my entire will-power to not simply blow him off as crazy. I was also really curious as to what he was talking about.

He was pointing to a cabinet.

Several attempts were made to get him to clarify verbally. All failed.

I lifted him over the baby gate and ask him to show me what he wanted. He walked directly over to a certain cabinet that has nothing of interest to him. He pointed and emphatically expressed his desire for "horshit." That's when I realized his meaning.

Previously, during the Christmas season, I had a bit of a chocolate habit that sustained me. Chocolate-chip cookies, chocolate bread, chocolate candies, chocolate chips without cookies, Kisses, M&Ms, Snickers, it was all welcomed and enjoyed. The last candy we had in the house at that time were Chocolate Kisses. And we kept them in the very cabinet that Caleb was pointing at.

"Do you want Hershey's Kisses?"

Yes, that was it. He was saying, "Hershey."

Too bad, kid. We don't have any. And that's when the fit started.

Normally when I'm this tired, my inclination is to walk away and ignore him. Perhaps lock myself in my room for awhile. But not today. Today I decided that I would put forth more effort despite lacking the necessary energy. Why? Because I love my kid and he deserves a better Mama.

I've been reading how ignoring a child has the same impact as physical injury. Then this morning I read a post on Facebook by "The Way of the Peaceful Parent":

I expressed to Caleb how I understood his grief of not getting his way. It must be very upsetting to not get to eat chocolate (I definitely understand THAT). Unfortunately, there simply is no chocolate. So I cuddled him in my arms in bed and gently stroked his back - his fav.

He was calm. He was still angry, but calm. And eventually he gave me kisses and told me he loved me.

THAT would certainly never have happened if I punished his poor behavior choices. Gently loving him took A LOT more effort. Peaceful discipline took A LOT  more time. My head hurts. My eyes are burning. My body feels like it ran into something. I was nauseated and gagging on nothing for some unknown reason (now presumed to be a certain pollenating tree allergy common in North Texas at this time of year). I was up until 1:30 with Holly and up again at 4:30. I'm tired, possibly exhausted. This was monumentally more effort than I ever desired to put into parenting.

Sincerely by God's grace alone and His on-going work within me, I tried to love my son the way God loves me. Gently. Peacefully. Not through coercion. Not through fear of punishment. He still didn't get what he wanted. But I didn't lose my temper. Nothing escalated. I didn't get angry at my 3-year-old acting like a 3-year-old.

Life, after all, is hard when you can't eat all the chocolate whenever you want to.