Monday, February 18, 2013

Love in hard phases

I'm adding chicken to the soup pot when big one waltzes into the kitchen. What are you making?

Good dinner. I heard years ago never to tell your menu to a toddler so they couldn't decide beforehand that they didn't like it. My trick failed.

I hate it. I'm not eating it.

That's where we're at right now. A very difficult three year old stage. She hates mac n' cheese; she hates the Veggie Tale movie Sister picked out. She is so hungry, but she can't eat that. She wants to play, but there's nothing to play with in the brand new play room.

I think this stage is usually called adolescence. But I'm learning that adolescence starts as soon as baby can exert his/her will. It just climaxes in the teenage years {we can only hope}.

The family sits at the dinner table. PoppaDaddy and Momma stirring cheese and spinach into chicken chili. Small one eating like a recently rescued refugee. Big one staring at her bowl in disgust, whining that she is hungry.

She calls my bluff and loses. At 6:30 she is in bed for the night with no book, an empty stomach, and the promise of chili for breakfast tomorrow morning.

Meanwhile, small one is chatty and cuddly. In the midst of the best phase of two - past the tantrums when the world is opening up. She and I have the evening all to ourselves, just mommy and baby girl. We giggle and snuggle and sing together and read all her favorite books. And I enjoy her crooked smile and her growing heart.

Some days, I don't know how to balance my favor. How to enjoy the child in the difficult phase as much as the one in the sweet phase. I love them the same, but how do I like them the same? How do I show the obstinate child that I wish I were spending an evening singing and reading to her too?


Bursts of my sweet little girl.

That's what I have with big one right now. A glimpse of sun behind clouds, and when the rays shine, I must run and celebrate them.

Watching for those sunbursts requires patience and diligence. And mostly presence. My hardest fought gift for my family. So busy caring and serving that I forget the people I serve. In trying phases, the  hard-liking phases, she needs my attention to her detail. She needs to hear, 'yes.'

Yes, Mommy can put off writing to cuddle you to sleep.

Yes, Mommy will hold you accountable to your poor choices.

Yes, Mommy can put off washing to read one more book.

Yes, Mommy is serious that we don't tear down those we love with hurtful speech.

Yes, Mommy can still see that you are my beautiful girl through all the ugly words you're throwing.

Yes, Mommy loves you and likes you just as much today as I did when you were 2 1/2 years old and discovering the world.

Yes, Mommy will love you and like you just as much tomorrow when your heart hasn't softened yet.

Yes, Mommy is praying for you, today and every day.


  1. I feel you! The three year old stage is challenging here too. We now have a bossy girl who also doesn't want to eat anything. After teaching her to understand her emotions, she now uses them as excuses "I can't go potty, I'm sad :(" The forceful "NO!" comes often after I tell her simple instructions.
    Our little girls are discovering how to have an opinion and how to think for themselves. Thankfully they've got some good mommas who can praise their success and teach in their moments of disobedience. Just remember, you are not alone!

    1. Our girls seem to be partners in long distance crime. We can exchange prayer for each other.

  2. I'm sure I'm not your target audience, but I enjoy your writing and applaud your accepting the calling to be a full time Momma. I still remember the TV interview you did while expecting Afton, when you said (laughing), "I just love being a mom!" That made an impression on me. I'm sure it's easier to love it some times than others, but your girls are fortunate to have a mom who loves being their mom.

    1. Eddie, If you enjoy reading RM, you're my target audience. Thanks for the encouragement. I still love being a mom.


Your thoughts are important. I love to read them.


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