Tuesday, November 18, 2008
I left the room for two minutes
This picture is of my nephew. It's a little old as he's over two now - but it helps make my point. His name is Max.
My sister left the room for TWO minutes and Max very quickly made his way to the bathroom. Now stop... think about the picture... see what Max is getting in to... laugh your head off!!
My sister could easily write a blog entitled "I left the room for two minutes". In the short time that Max has graced this planet, he has pushed every single one of her buttons! He likes to get in the fridge and help himself to oranges - peeling and all. He loves anything in the bathroom cupboards. He likes to go outside by himself. One of my favorites was when he locked my sister out of the house when she went to the curb to get the mail. Max is a handful.
Backing up a bit though...
I was full of parenting advice for my sister when Max was born. One of the biggest things I tell new moms is that they WILL reach their breaking point. It's not an "if" - it's only a matter of "when". Babies are hard work! I fully believe that's why God designed it for a couple to get married and THEN make babies. You're not supposed to have to do this alone.
I remember many times when I reached my breaking point. One that clearly sticks out for me was when Cherub 1 had been screaming and screaming for what seemed like hours. I had met every single one of his needs. There was nothing I could do for him. He didn't want to be held. He didn't want to be alone. He didn't want to eat. He didn't need changed. He was the right temperature - not too hot or too cold. I was completely stumped. And it was frustrating! Very frustrating! I remember holding on to my husband and whispering, "Now I understand why some people shake their babies."
What a horrible thing to think!
But it's true. Babies push our buttons and sometimes, evil thoughts come in to our brains.
That doesn't make us bad parents. How we handle the situation defines who we are as parents.
For me, I hugged my husband tighter and cried a little. (OK - I cried A LOT!) Eventually, Cherub 1 settled down and we all got some sleep that night. Whew!
Back to Max...
My sister had a bad day last week. A really bad day. Max was supposed to be in his bed, like a perfect little cherub, taking his nap. Instead, he decided it would be a good idea to get out of bed and get in his brother's dresser. He then found a bottle of tea tree oil and proceeded to open it and dump it out on his comforter. He knows he's not supposed to get in his baby brother's dresser. This rule is pretty cut and dry. But like I said, Max likes to push his mom's buttons.
I'm personally not familiar with tea tree oil. My sister, through her tears, informed me that it smells like camphor. It stunk up the bedroom something fierce! It was all over his brand new comforter. She was worried that it was going to leave a stain. She's also dealing with a new baby at home and is horribly sleep deprived. She lost it on Max.
I'm sure the story I got from her is worse than what really happened. In no way did she abuse Max. She obviously didn't scar him too bad. After she gave Max a what-for for getting in his brother's dresser, she left the room to try and clean up the comforter. Max thought it would be a good idea to get BACK into his brother's dresser and dump out all of the clothes. He's a handful I tell you.
My point is - kids (not just babies) push us to our breaking points. And I just don't think that the parenting books prepare you for stuff like this. My sister and I talked about things she can do differently to help Max understand his boundaries. We talked about things she can do when she's reaching the end of her rope. She knows that she can call me day or night. Her husband is wonderful, but he can't be at work and at home at the same time. She needs to have others to help her out.
My advice... surround yourself with a support system. God did not design us to do this parenting thing alone. Have people that you can call or visit. Utilize folks when they ask if there's anything they can do to help. It takes the whole village - it really does.
My other advice... don't beat yourself up. Parenting is a very difficult job. I've got my share of parenting books and I must have glossed over the chapters that talk about these things. Either that, or I convinced myself it wasn't going to be that way with me. But I'm here to say that being a mom is HARD work! It's an awesome job and I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world! But you can't beat yourself up if you don't enjoy every part of it every day.
I'd like to leave you with one more Max story...
I was on the phone with my sister yesterday. She was nursing her baby. It got VERY quiet in the house. Nothing is more dangerous than a quiet house that contains a two year old that isn't sleeping. She hollered, "Maaxxxx - what are you doing? Max, come here." Max toddled in to the living room where she was at. She asked him again, "Max, what were you doing?" He answered, "pushing buttons".
At least he's honest.