Whoever came up with the term “Terrible Twos” was dead wrong.
First, two is where it’s at. It rocks. Totally.
Secondly, they must have made up this term before they hit the threes. That is where the parenting challenges really kick in. (Says the mom of two kids under 6. Just shush. I don’t even want to hear it.)
On days like today, when the “threes” are rapidly approaching (we’re a mere 25 sleeps away), the “threes” make random appearances. I’m assuming to test the waters. And also to find our parenting weaknesses so they can be better equipped when they – the threes – are officially “a thing.”
Let me just give you a sneak peek into this very average day…
7 a.m. The boy awakes. This always happens simultaneously with, “The boy is raring to go” and “The boy’s mouth begins to move, not to stop until nap time… or much, much later.” I get to spend some quality time snuggling and reading with my sweet – and extremely chatty – two-year-old.
8:45 a.m. The girl awakes. This only happens because her brother and/or the dog has disrupted her sleep so much that she has no other choice but to drag out of bed to find a quieter location in which to continue her rest and – if absolutely necessary – wake up. S-L-O-W-L-Y.
9:15 a.m. Preparing Breakfast. (It’s Spring Break. I can serve it when I want. So what if we’ve been up over 2 hours already and are supposed to be somewhere at 10?) Greek yogurt, toast, carrot sticks, and an egg for the girl. She wants butter on her toast. He always gets peanut butter, because: 1) He’ll eat it. 2) It’s at least some protein. And 3) He’ll eat it. This time, he requests “the other butter.” I ask him 43 more times which butter he wants, just to be sure. Each and every time, he wants “the other butter.” Still not believing he actually wants regular butter, I carry the butter container and PB jar over and have him touch the one he wants. He picks regular butter. So be it.
9:18 a.m. Breakfast now in front of the kids, the “threes” make their first appearance. The boy looks at his plate and gasps. “But! But! I didn’t want that kind of butter!” Typically, this results in the removal of his plate, but I give him a second chance. (I was feeling particularly gracious, since he had to wait so long before I made breakfast. And also because we had to leave in exactly 32 minutes. No time to waste.) He eats his yogurt quietly (I assume to avoid losing it) then throws a fit about the kind of butter on his toast. While I know better – totally and completely know better – I engage in a discussion of “reason” with the boy about his toast, the butter, and why it is he got that kind and should eat it.
9:20 a.m. The “threes” are in full force. Demanding. Throwing fits. Refusing. Sassing. Stomping. Glaring. “Humph”ing.
It’s not even 9:30 and my patience is gone. So is, by the way, the rest of his breakfast. Not permanently, mind you. It will return when he is hungry again.
Which happened about 30 minutes later when we were supposed to be walking out the door. Thankfully, the “sweet twos” returned by then, and he ate his toast without complaint.
The rest of the day was fairly typical. Siblings playing nicely. Sibling rivalry. Some good parenting moments. Some parenting fails. Some random appearances of “irrational threes” mixed in with the sweet twos. And the “grown-up fives” (which are occurring ever more frequently) outnumbering the “selfish fives.”
And then a few situations came up that caused some stress for Matt and I. Don’t worry, all is well. But the added stress resulted in: a few extra parenting fails, arguments (which caused more stress), unkind tones (my own), and an overall down mood for me.
To avoid the downward spiral this “overall down mood” can often cause, the kids and I set out on a walk to the library. The boy rode his bike. The girl and I walked. I carried about 20 books (no joke) in a backpack.
The library is 1.5 miles away. I didn’t really think much of it, but that was probably a bit of a stretch for a 2 year old who just learned to ride. Yet, he was happy. And my girl, who had some heart-struggles today, too, was content the whole way.
It was nice, the walk. Quiet talk. Happy sounds. And a chance for me to reflect on the day…
This day. Not terrible. Not great. Slightly-below-average-with-no-major-life-stresses kind of day.
Yet, lots of mistakes. I made them. Matt made them. The kids made them. Avoidable and Regrettable.
After today, (and every day), Thank you, Jesus.
Because all my mistakes? Yes, avoidable. And yes, regrettable. But also? Forgivable.
All this to say..
This day, and days like today… they make me realize just how much I need a Savior.
And Thank God for this:
“The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love…” ~ Psalm 103:8