being jiminy cricket

Today and yesterday my little man is in the throes of teething — again. He’s as sweet as ever, but instead of exploring, he’d rather cuddle and stare into space. There are things I had planned on accomplishing, but thanks to the perspective my mother has shared with me (which is why, by the way, younger women need older women), I’m happy to hold my little man close. All day. And all night. I can sleep when he’s grown and gone.

I say he’s happy, but I should qualify that: he’s happy most of the time. He’s also much more sensitive than usual, and little things completely undo him. We had a moment like that after lunch today. He went into hysterics. I picked him up — he writhed in my arms. So I set him down — he lifted his feet and refused to stand. I did my best to make sure I hadn’t totally misunderstood him or offended him in some way, and being certain that wasn’t the case, I assumed my role as parent. Screaming two-year old in arms, I quietly told him that I knew he was exhausted and feverish, and that we were going to sit and nurse and take a nap. I told him that even if he wasn’t sure of what he needed, I was. And I would see to it that he got the sleep his little body was desperate for.

I think often of that position I’m called to take as this little person’s mother.

It seems popular these days to treat children like adults, to reason with them and come to a mutual understanding. The problem is, children are not born adults; they are born babies. And God gave them parents because without strong authority, leadership, and training, those babies will not become successful adults.

Jameson doesn’t need me to treat him like an adult. I will treat him with respect, as a person, but I am his mother, and for good reason.

I know, for instance, that he must develop a liking for vegetables and whole grains. He seems to have been born with a strong liking for chocolate (he came by that honestly enough!), and if he dictated his menu, well, he’d have a health problem on his hands sometime in the future. God knew that, and so He gave him a mother. Me.

I know that minds need to be cultivated and fed and stretched and trained to be curious and fascinated with learning. While Jameson would be as happy as the next kid to watch the LOUD, flashy, high-speed, no-plot programming readily available on any TV station, I desire more for him. I want his attention span to grow. I want him to be entertained by his own imagination, not by stimuli. I want him to begin to grasp stories and logic. And so, as his mother, I choose what and when he watches TV. [Very little!]

If it was up to him, Jameson would never have a clean diaper, pull open hot ovens, climb into the dryer, stand on the piano keys, cover himself in mud, and eat rotten apples found in the far corners of our yard. And he would throw himself onto the ground, screaming, every time something else was suggested. That’s the way we’re all born. That’s why there are parents.

Although it’s not popular to be an authoritative parent — although this strange “we’re peers” relationship seems to be more in vogue — I’m so glad for the example I’ve received from my own parents. I’ll be honest; sometimes I want to cave. Sometimes he’s on his way to becoming a little tyrant because I’ve been duped by thinking I need to somehow understand him better — when really, I just need to stand up and say, “No, I’m the parent, and you will obey. That’s what the Bible says.”

And it’s when I begin to step into that role — when I realize that I am his sense of right and wrong — that I realize parenting requires the grace of God in my life. It requires wisdom from above, as I am continually stepping into his little life and putting his heart where it should be. Short term, it may be easier to just let him eat Twizzlers for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Long term, teaching him to choose what I say is right will result in him someday loving what’s right — by the grace of God.

7 Comments being jiminy cricket

  1. nancy

    don’t let that boy eat Twizzlers!

    you keep being the mom, D.
    Ry can be the dad
    and Jameson can be the baby son.

    that’s the difference between a commune and a family, I’ll say.

  2. diane

    Good job! The hard work now turns out to be the easy way in the end! Kids love it when parents are in control, not themselves. A sense of peace transcends when we all come to terms with the fact we are not in charge, but we are friends with the One who is!
    I have had a lot of parents tell me they can’t homeschool because their kids would never accept their authority in it! Canyou imagine!?
    And don’t expect to never make mistakes in judgement. We’reonly human, but we still have the role of authority in their little lives. Don’t abdicate! Love, Diane

  3. jackie

    It is so hard to not cave sometimes, isn’t it?

    Great thoughts. How great is it that we have such wonderful examples, like your mom, to give us a clue as to how to do this thing called parenting!

  4. Gretchen

    Motherhood is inspiring. I spent 10 years in a career I (mostly) enjoyed, and have never been as challenged and inspired as I am every day being a full-time mother to my soon-to-be three children. (This from someone who “didn’t want children!”) The struggle is in maintaining that inspiration and not letting a) popular culture, and b) exhaustion overwhelm the calling, and thereby, the blessings from God. Counter-culture readings like yours, Danica, will help. Thank you.

    Allow me to reciprocate: having been through age three with an intelligent, energetic little boy, don’t think that all your ground-standing and Bible-quoting has failed you during that trying time. Even if you have to remind him daily who is “Mom” and why — we use the explanation, “Mommy and Daddy are in charge of you and God is in charge of Mommy and Daddy,” at our house — don’t lose heart. It’s just another step in his independence; and it’s, of course, as God intended. (I hope someone comes along to remind me of my own words when we hit the teenage years … :+)

    I’ll look forward to meeting you in heaven someday.


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