Sunday, August 12, 2012

the rascal

So I just spent ten minutes sobbing in the corner. After fifteen minutes cleaning up a supposed-to-be-napping child's sticky, stubborn mess. After five solid minutes of yelling my head off while said child wailed. I was so mad, and I didn't hold back. And I toed the line between righteously indignant and out of control and if I'm honest, probably crossed it.

Lucas is my middle child, and he is a picture of extremes. He is so funny, so charming, so sweet and loving and snuggly. He is our entertainer and always keeps us laughing. But man, that kid knows how to push every button I have. And then push it some more. I never understood when my friends talked about their strong-willed children, but I sure do now. If you looked up "boundary-pusher" in the dictionary, you would see his big, goofy grin - and then see the contraband hidden behind his back.

Slobbery and clumsy and perpetually naughty - Luke is my child who is just a little harder to love.

He is sneaky - always taking things from drawers and cupboards and my purse. He ate a leftover Blizzard for breakfast the other morning while I was upstairs changing Madelyn and snuck the empty cup back into the freezer. Took a pack of gum out of my diaper bag and ate half e pieces before I even noticed he had gotten too quiet. And just now, after being spanked once already for getting out of bed at nap time, he found a tube of diaper rash cream and squeezed it ALL OVER his bedroom. I know every kid does these things (I have plenty of photographic proof of Eli's nap time escapades at his age). And they make for some funny stories down the road. But with Lucas, I don't know... I'm just tired of his nonsense.

And Luke is tough to discipline. Everything that worked beautifully with Eli bounces right off of him. He reacts "appropriately" while he's being disciplined (meaning, I don't think he's a sociopath), but often is right back at his naughtiness ten minutes later. And trust me, we're no lightweights when it comes to discipline. I follow through on consequences. We have a spanking spoon and we know how to use it.

Today I felt so unloving toward my sweet little boy. As I hate-scrubbed the carpet I sobbed to my husband, "I think there's something WRONG with him! Like, I think his CHARACTER is flawed!" (Cue husband literally backing slowly down the stairs, wishing he had never come up to investigate.) And immediately, God put a picture in my mind. Several pictures, actually - of me. Doing bad things. Stupid things. Sinful things. Over, and over, and over again. Me, ignoring past consequences and painful discipline and running headlong towards the same obviously wrong choices. 

Of course there is something wrong with him. Of course his character is flawed. He's a person. And he needs his mama to train him up into how to be a better, wiser, more God-centered one.


He still makes me crazy.

So here's where you come in, all of you darling, wise mamas out there. What is your best advice for getting to the heart of a child like mine? And how do you handle that angry, pulling-out-your-hair frustration that comes with parenting? Lay it on me - even if I've heard it before, I can stand to hear it again.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a sad little guy to go make up with.


pjpark said...

Hi Alisa, funny cuz same thing with Ryan! So mischievous and everything's funny to him...he even laughs when he gets a time out! Thought there was something wrong with him too till i read ur blog, then light bulb came on- maybe it's an attempt to get our attention cuz they r overshadowed by their big bros and i barely gave ryan any attention as he was growing up...he learned everything by watching he was always playful and laughed from the first month when he was born! Maybe they r types who just have to learn the hard way in the future or we have to spend separate one on one time with them...he was an angel when andrew went to l.a.for a think it's attention grabbing techniques that they r trying?! Hang in there! :)

Alisa Reese said...

Funny, I was just about to type the same thing. He's our middle kiddo and they notoriously suffer from attention deficit. Not ADD, but a deficit of attention from mom and dad who are busy, tired, and seem to awe at the new baby or the accomplished feats of the thriving oldest. I think that's why my sister is so competitive. She's had to compete to earn any praise. We just need to keep smothering Luke in love and he'll chill I think. When I played the other night with him one-on-one, afterward he wanted to cuddle on the couch more than usual. We connected a bit more just from the valuable expenditure of my TIME. 1 on 1 time. We don't have a lot, but sneak a moment in now and then just you and him and maybe he'll start responding to our discipline. Remind me to do it too. He may be more of a John Mark child than we thought Eli was, where we have to squash the defiance out of him (I hesitated to post "beat" it out of him), but his fighting spirit will pay off in terms of independence when he grows up. He won't be one to fall into complacency. He'll fight for success.
That, or we'll keep "imprinting" success on his bottom, like it or not. :)

Alisa Reese said...

I guess I should have signed that -Ben

Cassandra Schmidt said...

Alisa, I love reading your posts and blog but today it was especially this one. Today, this week or past weeks this is something I've been struggling with. Reading through it was actually like you had taken the words from my mouth. You had not only described your little man but mine to the T. While I have no advice myself to give because God has put me in the same season of life as yourself, I can say it's so comforting to know that it's not just me and my little man. That God is right there with you and Luke too. Thank you for being so honest. I'll be praying for you Alisa.