So, here we are at the park. Park outings have been a little more difficult without Isaac. He is my second pair of eyes and hands. I'm very thankful for him! Older children are such a blessing when you continue to have blessed little ones! I'm going to compare and contrast two different park outings, taking a small break from my posts about our trip up north.
So here is the big question....who is in charge?
As it is a known fact, I have five sons. Five children. I've had some practice at this! Yet, here I am, only finally realizing that I need to lead, establish boundaries, say NO and otherwise be in charge of my toddlers. I know that may sound crazy to many of you experienced mothers. I don't know exactly why, but the truth is, I have tended to baby my babies well beyond their babyhood. Just about 3 and under-I have a hard timing saying "no" to. Yet, it is so very important that littles learn authority in their second year of life. Big blooper on my part. I know it has made training in the later years more difficult. I have allowed their sin natures to develop ruts and patterns and habits in their little lives, rather than giving them the gift of learning God's pattern of authority early, in the very beginning.
One thing I learned through Nancy Thomas, when we were delving into the whole attachment theory, is that truly, the first year of life is the throning year. (I like this year-I'm good at this!) When they cry, we meet their needs, quickly. The learn they can trust. This is important for proper attachment. And the second year, is equally as important, as the de-throning year. The year the child learns that the world does not revolve around them and that they will not get everything they want when they want it. (ooohhhh...it's so hard for me to say no! I think the real reason for this is that I know saying "no" will likely cause a tantrum and I don't like dealing with those! oh, the ugly truth-it's all about me-not about the best interest of my child!)
I'm going to compare two different park trips. The first one I followed Samuel around everywhere, and I mean everywhere. I was exhausted at the end and me and the children were fragmented throughout the water play area and the playground. Not a great situation.
I know. This picture is just ridiculously cute.
Thankfully my mom was with me. She went around and documented my following around of Samuel. Of course, I hardly ever get pictures with my children and I would be wearing such a cheese ball outfit. :)
Okay, so next park outing. These pictures I took yesterday at the Suwanee Fountain. I've taken the children there before and it was pretty awful. All Samuel wants to do is go everywhere but the fountain. He'll touch the water and then take off. I just feel exhausted at the end following him around and trying to corral him AND keep an eye on Benjamin too. So this time, every time he started to detour around all the really fun shoots of water coming up from the ground, ie the fountain, I would take his hand, lead him back, and say "No Samuel. We are going to stay in the water area." And I just said this same thing every single time. After 5 or 6 times, one right after the other, he began to hang out around the water. And when he would start to leave, he would respond to my verbal command and go back to the water area without me having to get up and lead him by the hand. How lovely it worked! And I got to spend some time talking to my friend Marietta! It was lovely! Samuel learned boundaries, he learned that he isn't in charge, he learned obedience, and he had fun playing in the fountain! Truly a win-win situation :)
Yes, he is laying down in a tantrum here. It is right after one of the first times I told him, "no", that he had to stay in the water area. I'm just so mean. :)
I'm so glad I'm learning to be in charge of my little ones, because it frees us to go out and participate and visit and do a lot more things. When I know I can say, stay here, and I have the confidence to enforce it, or I have the confidence to put them in their stroller, and realize that they are okay in the stroller for a time period. The reality is, life isn't all about them. They have older brothers too, who I want to take out and spend time at the park with their friends and also on educational field trips, and so they have to adapt to the family that God has given them! Now, does that mean I'm going to put them in a stroller for 3 hours, without getting them out, or even 1 hour? 1 hour, maybe, (with toys and snacks!) but I will also consider their needs as well. But I'm learning that I cannot and should not continue to meet all their wants. After all, aren't we all learning, life isn't all about us???? It's about God!
"But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith-that I may know him and the power of his resurrection and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death..." Philippians 3:7-10