It was one of those moments where my Mommy radar kicked on. The house was too quiet. As I was making lunch I had a sinking feeling , and sudden whiff of urine and fecal matter. Poop y’all. I smelled poop.
I left the kale and lemon slices on the counter, they wouldn’t fill me up anyway and proceeded to sniff my way to the baby. It didn’t take long before I stepped right into what I was looking for. Last nights corn and all.
I rounded the corner, trying not to throw up and hopping on one foot to find Rhema dragging Adah onto the white shag living room rug. One foot in hand. Adah was in a state of shock, as if Rhema bribed her with a cookie if she cooperated. I don’t know where Rhema would have gotten that idea, as I never use bribery as an incentive. Unless I need to. Which is often. And I’m sorry.
Adah had poop on her face, her hands , legs and feet. There! Rhema had done the job, it was off her butt.
I wasn’t sure how to react. Spray her with Lysol? Go ahead and put her in the bath? Let her run outside in the rain? Cry? Pray. Drink a beer.
Rhema, taking advantage of this time where I was as brain dead as a squirrel ran into the kitchen. I didn’t notice as I was taking globs of wipes trying to remove poop from my daughters tiny hands. Oh wait I still have poop on my foot. That will have to wait as I hop from place to place cleaning up the trail, so the other kids don’t need a bath too.
Do you know how much work baths are?
Meanwhile, while I was distracted Rhema took it upon herself to keep me further in my toes. Mom will surely be bored after she cleans up crap, so I’ll find something else for her to do. I’m not so sure who took my child today and replaced her with Hilters daughter, but bless her.
The baby was clean and so was my foot. Onward into the kitchen to eat my kale and be hungry in 20 seconds. But wait I hadn’t had my morning coffee yet. How could I have forgotten? Oh yeah children.
I go to get the raw honey I JUST bought yesterday out for my sweetener. It seemed slightly more liquified than I remembered. This could be a side effect from the stress of the poop. Or maybe I finally need glasses after hours of squinting at my. iPad. I opened the lid to find water all in the container. Rhema.
I turn around to my lovely, mischievous daughter staring at me.
” I didn’t mean to mom. I’m so sorry! It’s ok. You forgive me.”
It’s on days Iike these, that I have to remind myself that YES I am ultimately responsible for my children’s behavior. BUT, they are learning just like I am.
I surely do not let them ” get away” with bad behavior. No. There are always consequences, or special toys taken away.
BUT WHAT I AM LEARNING IS THIS: I cannot continue to take my children’s behavior personally. I just can’t.
I know what is right and wrong. I have a relationship with Jesus. I try hard to show people his love and treat them with respect. But I sin. Do you think Jesus is sitting up in heaven, arms crossed, fingers waved saying:
” I’ve taught her soooo much. Ugh. I just can’t believe that she disobeyed me today. It must be MY fault she sinned. If only I had taught her better. ”
Yes. Children learn by example. Yes, it’s our job as parents to teach them right from wrong. But when you live your life like Jesus, your children see it. But the beauty of his love for us is the fact that he lets us choose.
We can choose right or wrong, in each situation. So can our children.
And half the time I really do think they are testing us, to see how far they can go in the name of being ” creative.”
I’m cool with arts and crafts and singing and dancing, but not poop on my rug. Not water in my honey.
Putting Rhema to bed tonight I asked her.
” honey, why did you disobey me today?”
” because I was mad when you didn’t let me play in the snow.”
Oh. Four months ago. She was just making something up . And that’s ok. She’s learning where her limits are. And so am I.
I heard the Holy Spirit say so clear:
You cannot take her actions personally.
So I won’t. From now on when they sin, or rub poop on the floor I will know that I’ve done my best to teach them that’s not ok. I mean I shower most days and they don’t see me poop on the floor.
Because my love for them outweighs their sins, I can enjoy being their Momma. And continue to teach them what’s right without my pride being stepped on.
As I watched her stare out the window right before bed I could feel in my spirit she was reflecting over her day. She was remorseful . She’s trying to be a big girl. She’s trying to find her place here. Three is a hard age to be. You want to be in Mommas lap, but now you use the potty and help brush your own teeth. You aren’t rocked to sleep, as your baby sister still is. Maybe she really was in her heart of hearts trying to help me today. I’ll never know. But I do know how precious she is to me. I always want her to feel loved. Regardless of her mistakes.