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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Pushing Buttons

I have been back from vacation for 4 days, 1 hour, and 57 minutes.

Some days I just find myself counting...for instance, if I were to take another vacation next year at the same time, it would mean that I have 360 days, 22 hours, and 3 minutes until I escape leave again. Just saying.

I am finally getting back into the rhythm of life, and I have to say that it's been a bit difficult to adjust to being home. This is not normally the case after we vacation; we are usually back in the groove like we never left at all. This time it's different, though, and it's taking some time to work through re-entry issues. 

I was home no less than five minutes and I had to got to feed all three of my kids and change a nasty diaper. Welcome home, Mommy! My kids have been wired since we got back (I am 98.4% sure that the grandparents got them hopped up on something-that-manifests-itself-like-speed-but-is-probably-just-a-gallon-of-chocolate-milk so that they could laugh maniacally as they pulled out of our driveway to escape go home). I asked my husband on Sunday morning, as we drove to church, "have they ALWAYS talked this loud?" Their voices seem louder and more piercing, their questions seem to have increased ten-fold, and arguing amongst themselves AND with me has become their favorite means of communication.

They are pushing my buttons.

And making me want to push THIS button:

Kids know just how to do it, don't they? They don't have to be taught how to push our buttons - it's just in them. 

One of my biggest pet peeves as a mother, if I can share this even while knowing it's so very trivial, is BABY TALK. Don't ask me why, I know there are bigger fish to fry when it comes to parenting issues. It's just one of those things that drives. me. crazy.

My daughter is a world-class baby talker. She does it well. And often. It comes and goes in stages, but when I got back from my trip I realized that the baby talking has once again reared its ugly head when Emerson said, "Mommy, Emerson need to go pot-pot." TRANSLATION: "Mom, I need to pee." I winced immediately, hoping this was a one-time occurrence, just an accidental blip on the radar. 


The 4 days, 1 hour, and (now) 44 minutes since I have been back have been peppered with fun little ditties like:
"Mama, Emerson hungwy and want snacky-wacky." 
"Mommy, me no want to go to bed. Me stay wakey with da mama." 
"Wook, Emerson can eat her yogurt with no hands." (As she sucked the yogurt off of her dinner plate like an anteater)
Pressing. My. Buttons.

I wanted to respond by saying, after she told me earlier today that "Emerson no likey da mean mommy anymore," that Mommy "wants to go bye-bye on da airpwane again, otay?"

I would hate for you to think that I have forgotten about my 4-year-old in this rundown, so I want to mention that he is also an expert at pushing my buttons. He is a world-class loud talker. Even when there's no need, he finds it necessary to speak significantly louder than anyone else around. The worst is when we are in the van, enclosed and trapped. He loves listening to music and is always the first to ask me to turn on the radio. I do. He asks me to turn it up louder. I do. Just as I start to get into a song, singing along and relaxing now that all the kids are strapped into a moving vehicle and have nowhere to run, -----
I turn the radio down calmly. "Yes, son?"
I breathe slowly and resist the urge to rub my now-damaged ear. "Well, son, it's because the air outside pushes against the rain drops when the car is moving and -----"

"Well, son, because God knew that we needed air to breathe and so he -----"
Needless to say, my nerves are usually fried upon reaching my destination. Wowsers.

Having had eight days away to decompress, eight days of quiet, eight days of intelligent adult conversation, these pet peeves are exacerbated right now to the point of me possibly losing my mind. How do they do it? How do they push my buttons with such precision. How can they be so thoughtless, so annoying?

Can anyone tell my patience is thin?

They are children. It's their job to be immature. And they do it like it's their job. 

They are children. They are supposed to talk loud. Anyone who ever said children are to be seen and not heard obviously never HAD children, because that's just flat-out impossible.

They are children. 

And as their mother, I have a decision to make, a decision with weighty consequences. Am I going to allow my impatience, my petty peeves, to set the tone and the temperature for my life-long relationship with my children? Am I going to major on the minors, picking at my kids? Am I going to allow my selfishness to make mountains out of molehills, exasperating my children in the process? Am I going to belittle them and strip away the CHILD out of their childhood by expecting them to function as tiny little adults?

Or am I going to let them be kids? Am I going to gently guide them, in love? Am I going to make them feel valued and important and wanted in spite of and no matter what they do? Am I going to show them how great I think they are JUST AS THEY ARE? 

Lord help me that I do not ever impose MY standards on my children, man-made standards that will teach them from an early age that they don't quite measure up to all that Mommy wants them to be. I feel like nothing will squash their joy and crush their spirits more than this.

"Fathers Mothers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." -- EPHESIANS 6:4

Notice that this verse does not say, "CHILDREN, do not provoke your PARENTS to anger..." No, it's a directive to parents. God knows that kids will be kids. They will be immature. They will do stupid stuff. And they are somewhat off the hook for that, because they are KIDS. We, though, as parents, are held accountable for how we respond to our children.

This verse says that we are to bring our children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. There are times to discipline our kids, most definitely. However, most of the button-pushing in my house is frivolous, silly behavior. Not sinful behavior. I am annoyed. And that is MY problem.

And, by the way, isn't it funny how surprised we can act when our children hit us in our weak spots when we do the very same thing? I know that there are times I pick at my husband, pressing his buttons because I CAN. Because I know him. If I don't always have self-control at 30, how in the WORLD can I expect my children to?

I want to, more than anything, keep my own expectations of my children in check, and instead take on the expectations of the Lord as laid out in Scripture. I pray that, as mothers, we can love our children through the annoyances and the awkwardness that comes with the job description, and that we can see them through the eyes of Jesus. I pray that the Holy Spirit in us, as Christ-followers, will give us wisdom to know when behavior needs to be addressed, when it's a heart issues, and when to just let it go. I pray that we learn to love our children through the challenging moments, following the example set for us by our Heavenly Father who so patiently and tirelessly loves us, His children.

So bring it on. Bring on the baby talk because there are worse daughter could not talk to me at all. Bring on the loud talking, because at least I can always hear my boy's heart loud and clear. Bring it on.

Lastly, if you talk to me soon and notice that I am regressing in my speech and grammar, just know that me no likey da talk like a wittle baby but if me cannot beat Emerson, me might just join her.

Feel free to laugh!