Sunday, May 31, 2009

I've never liked tests

Ava has brought a new meaning to the word "testing" this week. I guess it is a new "stage" and sucks. She disobeys but does so as minorly as possible. Here are a couple examples:

Friday, She and I were at the grocery store and she touched the self checkout stand. We all know how ridiculous these self checkouts can be. The minor touch of a toddler causes it to register the incorrect weight and it freezes until a Clerk FINALLY notices the red blinking light and meanders on over to punch in some magic code, allowing you to finish your "quick" check out. I clearly told Ava not to touch it anymore and even added the "Do you understand?" to make sure she was listening. She understood, but she had to touch it with HER PINKY anyway, forcing me to follow through on the threatened discipline but acting HEARTBROKEN about it (as if she was surprised).

Today, we were trying to get her into the car. She was picking Dandelions. I try to let her do this as often as possible but I already was holding 15 of them (LITERALLY) so after telling her twice to stop picking and get into the car, I began the counting to three thing that all moms do (who started this practice and why did they pick the number three? ever wonder that?). She stopped picking and starts walking to the car (smart girl) but right before she reaches the car, she stops and picks a leaf. She picks this leaf WHILE looking at me, so it isn't as if her free spirit self "forgot" and was caught in a moment. She was trying to see what I'd do. I told her "give me the leaf and get in the car now!" She put the leaf in her mouth. Now, she is not stupid- before I even had time to react she spit it into her hand and handed it to me. Again, she acted surprised that she got some priviledges taken away; I had to listen to crying the entire way home.

While crying, she's become quite good at laying on the guilt by saying things like, "But I am so tired, mommy" or "I miss my papa (or grandma or whoever else is not present)" even sometimes tagging on "He (she,etc) loves me".

It is just stressful for a parent and frustrating because quite frankly I don't WANT to be disciplinging her ALL Day, but we all know consistency is key and testing is really her making sure boundaries are in place and it's all important to her security, blah, blah, blah. She can't obey 99%. I mean really, if there is a train railing down the tracks and she'd told to get away and she just lays her head on the tracks, she's a goner- she needs to obey fully! I'm still navigating this new stage and I don't always know if I am reacting appropriately but I do know, IT IS EXHAUSTING!

Yesterday, she threw a tantrum after her friends birthday party. I'll spare you the long story about what lead up to this tantrum. The bottom line is, she is in the "testing" phase AND she missed her nap. It wasn't pretty. The party host's neighbor looked at me as I walked over to pick Ava up and carry her inside for a litttle "chat" and the look she sent felt like darts to my heart. It was that look that says, "what they heck is wrong with your child." I actually think I handled the tantrum really well. It was a discipline moment that was meaningful to both Ava and I in the end. She got it, I wasn't angry while disciplining, etc. But on the ride home, I couldn't shake the terrible feeling I had. I hated that someone thought poorly of my child and probably of me, as well. I literally felt like crying at one point. I mean, I don't like that someone only knows my child for five minutes and all they see is a nasty tantrum that is actually not common place, but for them "defines" my child. I found myself frustrated and sad, etc.

I just started praying as I drove. I didn't want my evening ruined and wanted to focus on the positive of discipline gone right. What I realized is, again, I'd fallen prey to focusing more on what PEOPLE think than what GOD thinks. I raise my child not for a neighbor lady, I don't even know. I don't raise her to impress ANYONE, actually. I am raising her to have a heart that honors and glorifies God. HIS opinion is all that matters. She is a work in progress, as am I , but He already knows how precious she is. He is her creator and adores her even more than I do. He also is the only one who saw my precious moments of discipline with her and as I drove in the car last night, he clearly said to me, "well done, beloved, well done." That's all that matters in the end.

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