Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A live coal in the sea

"but all the wickedness in the world which man may do or think, is no more to the mercy of God then a live coal dropped in the sea."                  - Madeleine L'Engle

But how can you explain this to a 4 year old?  We have been battling fear and anxiety lately.  And it does feel like a battle.  The littlest things are life staggering to my little big girl.  She loses a sticker?  "But what if I never ever find it ever again!?!?" and tears inevitably follow.  I laugh that my child has literally cried over spilled milk.  Well, laugh may be the wrong thing...but you understand.

One example of my beloved child - I decided that the table in our dining room was too big.  It took up too much space and wasn't needed at that size for two adults and two kids.  So, thinking I would fix my space problem I took the center leaf out of the table making it round.  It is still plenty big enough for us, and now it is not annoying to attempt to get around it.  Well, my child discovered the table had changed, and she cried hysterically for an hour (my fault for not warning her?).  Same table, same spot, just a different size and it rocked her perfect world.  To say the least, her mean mother had no pity for her.  You see, I have always been pretty steady on the emotions scale (except when I am pregnant.  Then I cry at Sears commercials) but my beautiful daughter?  I believe Mt. Everest might possibly begin to explain it.  This typically will result in me giving her about 3.2 seconds to cry and then it is me telling her that I have heard enough.  This is a little thing and we need to get control....fast.  If she does not get control then she needs to go to her room to cry there.  I don't want to hear it any more.

I have no patience for meaningless fits of emotion.  Ok, I'll admit, I need to get better at this.  I feel like a bit of a failure in this area of parenting.  I am not what one would call a sympathetic parent - well, unless my child truly gets hurt or is really sad about something that matters - then I am all hugs and making it better.  But for heavens sake, when I have just changed the size of the table and we are acting as if the world is over?  Other kids have to deal with much harder things!!  Of course the story of the table doesn't end there.  About a week later my dear child was on her way home from an outing and remembered all of a sudden that she was still sad about the table.  Now I REALLY didn't have any sympathy for her!  I barked out a "Taylor!  This is a little thing.  You know your best friend?  Her daddy had to go away for work.  And he wont be back until she is almost 5 and a half.  THAT is a big thing!  It is ok if we need to cry about little things sometimes.  But we need to get control FAST.  We need to save our real tears for the big things.  Do you understand?  You need to get control NOW!"  Ok, I admit I may have been a bit harsh.  But for goodness sake!  Ok, now I have become one of those moms.  The "Eatyourpeas!TherearestarvingkidsinAfricathatwouldbehappytogetthosepeas!"  Kind of mom. Hee hee, my spell check loved that last sentence!  Messing with my spell check makes me happy.

Today Taylor is getting the star treatment.  Getting sick in the middle of the night means a free pass for movies and books all the next day.  Today I have lots of pity for her. 

I guess as her mom I have been seeking to discover where to draw the line of pity.  It feels like such a fine line to draw.  I don't want to squash her emotions.  I don't want her to start inventing ailments just to get the attention she thinks she wants.  However, I also want to make it clear that dramatics are not to be tolerated.  I want her to have a little perspective when it comes to having REAL heartache...but I don't want to expose her to things that are inappropriate for small minds and eyes.  I work so hard to make sure she gets the one on one time with mom that she needs.  So she is not wanting for attention. I try to give her as many choices in life as I can so she feels some measure of control.  I try hard to shelter her so that there are not evil things in her mind needing a release. But we also try hard to expose her to age appropriate things so she can build a little tolerance.  When I was teaching, I had some kids in my extended care that informed me that they were not allowed to watch the Disney movie Peter Pan.  These kids were in first grade, that means they were 6 years old.  I am all about censoring, but in my opinion that is a little overboard.   They also could not handle Veggie Tales that had a little conflict in it, they would beg me to turn it off.  These kids tolerance for anything not shiny and covered in rainbows was zero.  I don't want that - we need to be able to handle life.  But how much handling of life is reasonable and how much is just a 4 year old learning?  God give me wisdom!

I think I need to bring God into the equation more often.  I sometimes get so tied up in the after effects of her frustrations that I forget to find out what the root of this is.  For instance, it is not the size of the table that matters.  It is that something changed and she was not prepared for it.  Any ideas on how this could be a spiritual lesson?  I admit I am at a loss. Perhaps we just need to read more Bible stories and learn a little more about some hard things that people went through - and how they came out of it with God on their side.  If she could see more success stories like that?  Perhaps she would be more inclined to think on the positive instead of focusing so hard it hurts on everything that has gone wrong in her eyes.   Perhaps I need to be more sympathetic?  Perhaps I need to gain perspective.  After all, in the grand scheme of parenting, this is a small thing. 

I guess her and I are learning together.  Yay I think Taylor is feeling better!  She was just talking to Steve on Blue's clue's answering his questions.  Good sign!  I think this will be the last show for the morning.  Perhaps we will set up a chair outside for her and she can get some air and sun.  That always makes me feel better.  Say a prayer for my sick Taylor.  And may all your tears bring joy in the long run!


  1. oh the things our children put us through. "God give us wisdom" is right! I think you are doing a great job at being her mom. I think the key is to discover what our childrens passions our and than do our best to channel them for good. Maybe her passion is empathy...for inanimate objects...and for others. lol

  2. I'm comforted that I'm not the only one dealing with all this stuff. I honestly thought I wouldn't have to deal with quite this many emotions with my boys, but it seems just as strong as my friend with girls say. In our home group with church, we're going through the book, Grace Based Parenting, by Tim Kimmel. Have you already read it? It's excellent! Giving kids the freedom to be secure, candid, different, etc. As much as I dislike the crying about the lost sticker, I try to validate their feelings, we pray about it, and then I change the subject quickly! Doesn't always work, but it's a step, I guess. You're doing a great job! God gave her to you for a reason, just as I have my boys. Now if I could just remember that more often...


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