Friday, September 18, 2009

Enjoying my boys...

It's a gray day on Suburban Saga court... We had a friend and her two boys over to play this morning. I'm trying to keep us home so Evan can nap on MWF, so people are graciously coming to us for this season.

Her boys are 3 1/2 and 1 1/2, just about the ages apart that Seth and Evan are. It was kind of a rough morning. Seth is learning to share, and some days, it just doesn't go so well. He spent a lot of time in time out and had some other disciplinary action for throwing, screaming, and taking things away. It was tiring.

Some of our conversation revolved around how difficult it is for her to have two boys who fight a lot of the day, every day. She said, "Just wait until Evan can start taking things away from Seth. It starts then, and it doesn't let up."

After she left and things calmed down, and I put Seth into his high chair to eat, I started thinking... "Does it really have to be this way? Is it really hopeless?" See, I really want to enjoy my boys. And I don't want to believe that what I've got to look forward to for years and years to come is a bunch of fighting and arguments and people showing their sin natures all over the place.

Didn't Jesus come to save us from all that? I hope that by the time Evan is old enough to want to share the toys that Seth has come to think of as "his," Christ will have mercifully taught me how to teach him to share mostly graciously. I'm praying that our home will mostly be a place of harmony where we all, (and I do mean ALL of us), learn to live less selfishly and more gently with each other.

But tomorrow has enough trouble of its own. Today I will remind my toddler to say "thank you" after I give him a cheese stick, kiss his sweet head, praise him for asking to go down for a nap when he gets frustrated instead of crying inconsolably... I will kiss the chubby cheeks of the gummy smiling baby that I cradle in my arms, and I'll read him my Bible study verses as he sits next to me on the boppy and coos. Yes, I want to really enjoy it. These days are precious...


Powell Owens said...

Someone gave me a book called "Siblings Without Rivalry". I haven't had a chance to read it, so I don't know what it says, but maybe it could help you. It's by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. Lots of people recommend it on Amazon.

Perry and Amanda said...

No easy answers but I will tell you my boys do sometimes fight over toys but they also don't want to go outside without each other and when I seperate them to different rooms for fighting they are dying to be allowed to play together again. And sometimes they are great together hold on to those moments.

Momma B. said...

We go through the same things. We decided early on, since our kids are so close in age, that we would teach them that stuff is not OURS. Everything we have is a gift, not a right. So it can easily be taken away, and we do that when they argue. We also decided early on that all the toys would be everyones. We just share. They each have one thing that is untouchable like Elise's snuggle bunny, but it makes everything else easier. That's just our take on it. Judson and Olivia are right in the middle of this hard lesson right now...but if you deal with it early you can eliminate some issues later. You guys are doing great! SOunds like you are planning ahead and doing some great ground work. Love you!

Ellen said...

Thanks for the tips, guys. I also really appreciate the encouragement, Kelli. It's easy to wonder if you've been coddling too long and that's how they got so selfish some days. Sigh. =)

Brandy said...

Ah, fighting. I specialized in that when I was a child. :)

We have a lot of fighting in our house just because there are so many people (people to fight with! ha!), but I wouldn't say that fighting dominates the landscape.

Kids are going to fight, but what I did as a child (constant, constant bickering) was beyond appropriate.

I don't think that I'm doing this all "right," but one of the things I thought my parents did wrong was not to confront my sin. I remember being spanked for doing something in particular to my sister, but I don't remember being taught God's will--for me to be a good sister.

So, besides the normal disciplinary route, I've tried to add in real correction and instruction. It's hard with tiny ones, but I'm amazed at how a little goes a long way. I remember one day when our girls (4 and 2) were really going at it. I sat the 4-year-old down and explained God's will to her. God gave her to be a sister, and her job is to be a good one. We talked about how to please the Lord in being a sister, and also how to ask the Holy Spirit for help when it gets hard.

It helps that, during Circle Time, we've been studying Christian manners, like loving one another and forgiving one another, so we have this as a foundation to work from when things go wrong during playtime.

But I do think that, though a perfect home is (of course) out of reach, a peaceful home is totally possible. But it takes training. We are still in major training, and with the baby about to take off walking, I know there will be retraining that comes with the new dynamic.

I guess I'm just thinking that putting God's will in their minds goes a long ways when compared with discipline alone.