Back Home; New rules & changes
This weekend we headed South for my cousin’s wedding. She is really more like a little sister to me. The wedding was absolutely gorgeous. It was fun getting together with my mom’s side of the family, just like old times. I was a little sad because my mom is obviously missing from the group. I really enjoyed seeing Nathan playing with all of his cousins. Our children play just like we used to back in the day. Well, except for the iphones, ipods, game systems, and other electronics.
Nathan was an absolute Helion though. He threw tantrums at every attempt to redirect. He refused to sit at the table and wanted to run around. I assumed this was normal toddler behavior until I watched how several of his cousins his same age behaving wonderfully. One cousin who is a year older than Nathan actually came up to me and told me that he needed time out! The others listened to their parents, did not throw tantrums over every little thing, and they sat and quietly played the entire wedding ceremony. I then realized that it is high time that we start raising our expectations of this child and following through with discipline if he doesn’t meet them. We discussed and agreed upon a new set of expectations for Nathan:
- Mealtime rules: He is to sit at the table at meals until we are finished eating. He can play, wiggle around, or whatever as long as he is not standing up on his seat or climbing onto the table. He can not throw food down onto the floor when he gets mad for not getting his way.
- He cannot have free run of every place that we visit unless we tell him so. We are not going to chase him around anymore. If we call him to come back or clearly show/tell him where he is to stay then he must do so.
- Tantrums: We do not expect him to be tantrum-free, however, we are no longer tolerating him throwing mini-tantrums every single time he does not get what he wants. I also will no longer tolerate him kicking me when he is throwing a tantrum. It is embarrassing how many bruises I have on my legs from him doing this. I have had enough of that.
(Goodness! He sounds positively awful when I put it in words!)
This is my first child, so I don’t have a frame of reference for what is normal vs what needs to be modified in terms of his behavior. So we started to enforce these rules and a funny thing happened: he started behaving better! In no time at all, he started to listen to us. If he was running around and I called him to come back, he hesitated but then did so. I praised him lavishly for his good behavior. While we were eating breakfast, normally one of us has to get up and chase him around because he doesn’t want to sit there anymore. We enforced the rule that he is to wait until we are done eating, and you know what? He did it! I am really proud of him. He seems to like having more boundaries to follow and we do too.
I know he is not even two yet, but he is very smart for his age. My cousin and his wife, both doctors, have four kids and they mentioned to me that he is very smart too. All of their kids are different from one another, but one in particular is more head-strong and ahead in her development than the others were at the same age like Nathan is. They shared with me some things that works for them and I found that it seems to also work for Nathan.
Anyhow…Nathan and I will be starting home-school Montessori pre-school education next month if all goes well. Nathan just started to write some of his letters and numbers on his own accord such as two, eight, M, N, O, and L. I have several family members who are doing homeschooling and several friends at church who are also homeschooling. It is so nice to know others doing the same things as we hope to do!
Note: Religious Discussion Below:
For other news, I am actively working on incorporating more religion in our lives. I have very strong faith, but due to my negative experiences with others (mostly fellow Christians) being critical of me, I have always hidden it from others. I realized that unless I lead by example, Nathan has no way of seeing how faith plays in our lives. I am in charge of teaching him and showing him the way. Actually, the husband is supposed to do this based on biblical teachings, but not all husband want to do this and someone has to so the little ones can have an example to follow. So I am working on learning more from the bible and learning in more detail the stories that I already know. I really wish that I had a knowledgable person to ask my self-guided questions to but I will do the best I can. Self-guided is the key with me, less I end up more confused then when I started.
One of the things that I really appreciate is that I am continuing to grow as a person to become more like we are encouraged to be. Like everyone else in the known world, I have my flaws but with His help, they are slowly but surely beginning to get better. The evidence is obvious: I am a different person than who I used to be five years ago.
One of my major breakthroughs lately is realizing that we are like lumps of clay that God has on the spinning wheel to mold and shape us into the people He wants us to be. The ground-breaking realization is that WE are not in charge of shaping others, for example, our spouses. So when we face a quality that we do not like and wish our spouses would change, it does no good to “pray it away.” Facing this quality again and again is designed to shape OUR responses, not theirs, and over time we will finally learn to handle it in the good ways. The key is to pray for God to help you respond to the situation in the way that He wants you to, and for help in accomplishing this task He sat before you. Those uncomfortable situations are designed to irritate us until, like an oyster does, we shape that grain of irritation into a beautiful pearl. This really helped me to see things differently than before I understood this.
Another, more recent, breakthrough came from attempting to study the stories I already know but in more detail. I took a closer look at the story of Adam and Eve and the Tree of Good and Evil, which ultimately led to sin in mankind. The key is understanding that the tree was of evil AND good… meaning it had both of these components. Eve was not trying to pursue evil, but only what she thought on her own accord was good. Thus, the pursuit of self-led ‘good’ led to sin. The lesson is for us to not go off in the pursuit of what we believe to be good for us, but rather to make decisions based on what the bible teaches. For example:
A Husband has a strong desire to pursue something in his life. He wants to become rich and sets out to make it happen for his family but does not include Him to guide his decision making. He gets a great job but it has long hours. His kids and wife are not happy about this and they express how they would rather have him there in a good mood than wealth. He sticks to his belief that the wealth is good for him and ignores them and the signs that it is, in fact, not good for him at all. He ends up lonely and either divorces or has an affair, both of which are sins. Again, the pursuit of self-led ‘good’ leads to sin without the blessings of His teachings.
A Christian man does not do this. While he may originally pursue his self-led desires, he will pay attention to his family’s requests and also to the symptoms that may arise. If his marriage begins to suffer, he addresses it even at the expense of his desires because he knows that God does not approve of him placing his own desires above others, especially not his spouse whom He joined together. He teaches, God first, others second, yourself last.
This article explains this better than I can: