nonsensical text

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

killing the yeast

sleeping with bread

Some days are better than others. Friday was an ‘other’.

Over the years, a parent develops a set of warning signs that misbehavior is afoot. Sometimes, out of sheer exhaustion (or laziness), the brain tunes out the warning signs in the interest of five more minutes of quality vegetable imitation. And sometimes the warning signs change.

I sent the youngest three upstairs to get ready for bed. The older kids were already in their rooms achieving lofty goals – or the next level on their games as the case may be - so I planned to let the littles play for a bit before venturing up the stairs. The darlings began playing together with soft giggles and periodic bursts of greater laughter.

There was none of that eerie quiet, you know the one – it signals imminent disaster.

There were no screams and yells or conspiratorial whispers.

No strange thumps resounded through the hallway.

In fact, there wasn’t a single warning until the DK (drama king) quietly came down the stairs in search of towels. I have to admit my curiosity was piqued enough to inspire rapid motion.

That forward momentum came to an abrupt halt upon reaching the top of the stairs. Approximately ½ inch of water covered the floor in much of the hallway and bathroom. Children, with suddenly guilt-ridden faces, grasped surgical gloves and baby wipe containers tightly to their chests. Spongebob played a marching song on a vacuum cleaner tube trumpet acquired from the base of the dyson by virtue of a screwdriver and thirty seconds of solitude.

Fragmented: existing or functioning as though broken into separate parts; disorganized; disunified.

It would be reasonable to say that ‘fragmented’ was an apt descriptor of the momma bear’s reaction. Like a super-sized grenade, the explosion sent shards of recrimination in search of soft flesh. Harsh words flew off the ends of each towel as it was whipped across the floor in attempted damage control. There is a rumor that the words, “I will sell your computers and beds on ebay if I have to buy a new vacuum!” exited the momma bear’s mouth.

The children, exhibiting conciliatory powers worthy of Nobel’s attention, picked shrapnel from their wounds without complaint while simultaneously uttering placating murmurs of apology.

Eventually, the mess was cleaned, the children were bedded, and the momma bear did her level best to disguise any evidence that the sun was indeed going down on her wrath.

The truth about strong-willed children is that the moment a discipline is meted out, the wheels begin turning in their brains, measuring the pain of the punishment against the joy of the misbehavior. If you look closely at their eyes, you can sometimes even catch a glimpse of the machinery at work.

The very next morning as the three were charged with the responsibility of cleaning their rooms, the DK came down the stairs and sadly stated, “They’re doing it again with the water.” Apparently his lack of complicity in the follow-up event activated his tattle-tale function. Apparently his machinery decided greater joy could be gotten from remaining the innocent party. Apparently the momma bear needed to see the destruction first hand in order to gain a little perspective.

Baby wipe containers, filled to overflowing with additional water, flanked the bathroom sink as Spongebob and the pink one engaged in a slap fight with water-filled surgical gloves – each slap disgorging the contents therein. Discipline ensued. Cleaning continued, and the momma bear went down the steps with a thoughtful countenance.

Just when did I start thinking I could do this parenting thing by myself? It is, perhaps, the most important job I have here on earth, and it is the one that I have decided can be trusted to my own fallible reasoning and fickle moods.

They are children. They are creative children. They need discipline and guidance, it is true, but my tendency, when taking the reins, is to react from the biased edge of reasoning. Some part of me occasionally feels the misbehavior as a personal insult, a statement of uncaring, and a judging finger pointing down on all of the ways that I have failed to be the perfect parent. That perceived judgment expands the cracks of insecurity until explosion results in fragmentation.

But I’m not in this alone.

For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. –Colossians 1:16,17

The sooner I remember this, the better my parenting.

As I came down the stairs and related the story to the hubster, a smile played across my lips. How can you not appreciate the creativity that went into their escapades? How can you not tilt the angle of the lens just enough to realize that, hey, at least now the hallway is clean? How can you not remember that God has it all in His very capable hands, and, the act of wresting that control from Him to solo parent exhibits the same kind of defiance played out by those of smaller stature? When that knowledge hits home, how can you not then view your children through different, more compassionate and understanding eyes?

It’s that little glow of love and understanding interspersed with the discipline that makes all the difference in the world. It’s the supporting shoulder of God and the glory in His creation that refits the pieces, erases the seams, and makes that which was broken become whole.



  • T,

    Well, you've done it again--perfect combination of life and scripture.

    Thanks for the reminder of what children and parents need, or rather who they need. This reminder is especially timely as I found not one but two surfaces which to my mind were not art canvases, but to her mind were.

    Deep breaths

    By Blogger Mary-LUE, at 1:11 AM  

  • Isn't it we fumble through trying to parent, the Big Guy continues to 'parent' us.

    I rest knowing I'm not done growing yet.

    *going to look for sugical gloves and a decent hose* :-D

    By Blogger Mel, at 8:49 AM  

  • What a great post on parenting and God. Lovely.

    By Blogger Terri B., at 10:15 PM  

  • It's that utter silence that really should warn us that something Awful is Afoot, shouldn't it?
    Beautiful post - thanks for commenting at my place!

    By Blogger Beck, at 6:42 AM  

  • I was going to say something about the whole discipline/training and teacher relationship and then I thought, "What were they doing with surgical gloves?"

    By Blogger discombobulated, at 11:48 PM  

  • hugs from one mom of strong-willed children to another. love your writing, hunny.

    By Blogger jouette, at 3:12 PM  

  • Have you fallen into the oven?

    By Blogger Heather, at 10:42 AM  

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