Sunday, August 13, 2017

Power Struggles...

They say that every child is different, so you'd think four children into parenting that I wouldn't be surprised when my kids do things differently from one another, but I still find myself getting caught off guard when they don't act like herd animals! lol:) Our most recent "adventure in parenting" deals with our tiniest of T's who apparently is channeling her inner ninja warrior. Her first feat? Scale the baby bed! I should note that while she's not the first child to climb out of her crib, she IS our first to be so persistent with it!

I'll never forget the afternoon that I put Lucy down for a nap when she was around two years old. I went into our living room to relax for a moment, looked up, and saw her standing in the doorway! I immediately put her back in her bed, and she did it again! That's when we knew it was time for a toddler bed and a baby gate at her door! This was a fairly easy fix though with just one child--her room was perfectly baby proofed (after we moved that blue chair out of the way! LOL), and she didn't really attempt to "scale the fence." She would, however, stand by her door and yell everyone's names out when she wanted to get out of her room, like when GiGi came for a visit: "Mommmmmmy!!! Dadddddyyyy!!! GiGi??? MICHAEL! Paula-Beth??!"

Gabriel was the opposite--he preferred his crib so much so that he was in it until he was three and a half years old! We never even converted it to a toddler bed-he just went straight from the crib to his big boy bed, which has pretty high sides so it still gives the feeling of being somewhat enclosed. He knew how to climb out, but her preferred the boundaries around him.

Next up was Annie Beth. She figured the whole crawling out of the crib gig at the usual age of 2-ish, but with correction and the removal of crib bumpers, she stayed put in her crib until she was almost three.

And then there were four...

Everyone told me that adding a third child is the most difficult, so after that, four kids isn't a huge transition.

Those people LIED!  lol!

(I honestly think it has more to do with the age difference in my kids. Lucy is almost five years older that Gabriel, but the other three are 21 months apart in age, so they're all going through big, yet different, stages at the same time.)

Evangeline had the roughest start out of all of my babies. She has remained the tiniest of all my kids (by far! I went from an almost 10 pounder to a 6 pounder!), and she had to spend time in the NICU. The phrase, "Though she be but little, she is fierce!" certainly has applied to her, because she's a determined little girl, conquering all milestones well before any of my other children: rolling over, crawling, walking, teething, and, as you probably have gathered by this point of my post, CLIMBING. I partially (jokingly) blame DH for her upper body strength as she spent a lot of time planking when he was doing a push-up challenge last year;-) I'm sure she's just keeping a close eye on her big brother and sisters and wants to get in on all of the fun they're having, but whatever the reason, "TinyT" is keeping me on my toes by her keeping on top of her own!

...It started a few weeks ago when I put her down for a nap and later found her walking proudly into the living room. She hasn't stopped trying (and succeeding) at climbing out since then. We've found her on top of the changing table (her bed has since been moved away from it), scooting her bed over to the jewelry cabinet and playing with Mommy's beads, trying to climb the oven, climbing on top of the name it, she tries to climb it! The main problem with this is that the bedrooms are far from baby proofed like they were when there was just Lucy, and there's not a space to place Evangeline free from getting into something, because she's just the busiest little girl ever! So yesterday, I made an investment in a wearable blanket, and so far, it has been the most fabulous purchase ever! She can still walk in it, and her arms are free, but she can't lift her legs up to climb around. Of course, she has attempted, but did not succeed!

As I was driving home with my new purchase in towe, I was reminded of my own power struggles with God as I look at the ways my children are determined to do things their own way. On vacation last week, I reminded my children multiple times that the reason Mommy and Daddy tell them "no" to certain things and give them certain rules is because it's our job to keep them safe. It may look like fun to run across the street to get somewhere more quickly, but my little ones don't understand that a car can dart out quickly in front of them and hurt them. Eating a whole bag of candy might sound yummy to begin with, but Mommy and Daddy know that too much of a good thing only ends up making you sick. (Just ask my hubby who can no longer eat chocolate because of a babysitter giving him free reign to a whole bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips!)
We place our babies in a crib to give them a safe place to sleep. They still have plenty of room to roll around and even play a bit, but they're given boundary lines to keep them safe from things they would otherwise get into and possibly hurt themselves with. Sometimes, we can expand those boundaries a bit more, like with Lucy, and sometimes we prefer to stay within the boundaries, like Gabriel. But other times, we feel confined and fight against the restrictions placed upon us. Like Evangeline, we want to taste freedom because we don't realize that what we want is not always what we need.

So we fight with God.

We struggle to be free to do as we please, only to find ourselves with the consequences our loving Heavenly Father was trying to protect us from--like when Evangeline scaled her crib and bumped her head. And sometimes we fight against His perfect plan, until we finally give in from exhaustion and rest. But all along, what He wants us to do is just trust Him and rest in Him, so that we don't have to go through the struggles. God gives us boundaries BECAUSE He loves us.

I love how the Psalmist reminds us here that the best place to be is in God's presence. He desires to shield us from harm and bless us if we will simply let go and trust Him.

"Better is one day in your courts than thousands elsewhere...The Lord God is a SHIELD...and blessed is the man who TRUSTS in You."
Psalms 84:10-12 

 Just as I want to remain patient and consistent with my children, I'm so thankful for a Heavenly Father who is ever gracious and merciful to me when I wander from Him and struggle with my flesh. He may not zip me up in a wearable blanket, but He so desires to cover me in the shadow of His wings.

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