Jack's officially bordering on his teen years. Okay, maybe it just seems that way. He's started talking back recently. For instance, I'll say, "Jack, clean up your puzzles." And he'll say, nay growl, "No, don' wanna keen up puzzles." Or I'll be singing while washing dishes, "Mom, stop singing!" Except he sounds like a bitter old man when he does it. Almost like he knows it's wrong so saying it under your breath, with just the right amount of volume, makes it not so rude. But it's still rude and still wrong. So we attempt to correct it. And usually in the course of leading him to another room for correction he'll start batting at me with his free hand and growling "Mom, stop touching me, stop touching Jack!" *sigh* I once said the 2's could be nothing but sweet. Well I concede. They really are terrible at times, not always, but occasionally.
We have had some really terrible, horrible days lately. It's a good thing I've been a little too busy to blog these past few weeks, because now I forget just how bad those days were. And Jack probably appreciates the occasional bout of forgetfulness. There's one event we won't forget though, and that would be the broken TV. Daddy's beloved, 42" flat-screen TV. If it was an isolated event that would be one thing, but this was the culminating event in a long string of misdemeanors that day. I think I had a reached a point where I couldn't take it anymore on my own and had passed the torch off to Jon. So he put in "Chicken Little" for Jack to watch before bed. I didn't see anything, but apparently Jack was crawling around the TV stand with his Little People truck when the "scary alien" scene came on. According to Jon, Jack threw his truck at the TV and yelled "scary aliens!" and Jon told him to get down and not throw toys. Later, long after the movie had ended and I was upstairs putting Jack to bed, Jon went downstairs to watch TV himself and realized that the screen wouldn't turn on ... and that there was a huge spiderweb crack across it. Daddy was livid, or maybe seething is the right word. He didn't yell or attack anyone, but you could see he was struggling on the inside. And I just remember going to bed with the sinking feeling of, "We're total failures. Somewhere we've done something horribly wrong and now we have a crazy, out-of-control child to show for it." It was a very.bad.night.
But the next morning was church and the sermon title was "Parenting: 101." It was only our second time there and the pastor was totally preaching AT US. And it was a really.good.morning. Honestly, a lot of it wasn't new. Just some of those things you need to hear over and over again. And it was encouraging, too. Even though we can easily point to areas we've failed in or areas that are a constant struggle for both of us as parents. At least we know we're on target. We're doing our best, and praying fiercely for God to cover the bases we can't. Because this toddler thing ... hardest job I've ever had. And this is only the first one.
But I won't end on that note. Because I really do love this little guy like crazy, and just like any other mom I'm amazed daily at his newest accomplishments and budding personality. He's a ball of energy from sun-up to sun-down. As soon as you open the door to his room he jumps up in bed and says, "Good morning, Mama!" and then he takes a few bounces, leaps off the edge and lands on the floor with a bang big enough to wake up the rest of the house. "Wan breafest Mom, wan breafest!" And he's off. Our entire day is made up of Jack moving from one activity to the other. Stopping only for potty breaks when I remind him, and even then causing a mess all over the floor because he can't stop his feet from moving and his mouth from talking. So I find myself constantly reminding him to focus. "Jack, watch where you're peeing!" or "Jack, pay attention to where you're walking" or "Jack, stop dancing in circles around your brother you're scaring him!" "Jack, sit on the couch, put your hands together, and take a few deep breaths!" And this is usually the part where he runs up to me, wraps his arms around my neck, plants his lips on my cheek and says, "Mom, you so cute! You so cute Mom!" Gets me every time.
He's a charmer. An energetic, observant, smart, chatty, charmer. And I am so looking forward to seeing how God is going to take all these little characteristics, these traits that make me collapse on the couch at the end of the day with a huge sigh and a "What should I be doing differently?!" directed at the ceiling... and use them for His glory. Because that's what we pray for every night (after Jack has jumped on the bed, bodyslammed the wall, landed upside down, kicked his covers off the edge and finally, after a few threats on my end, laid his head on the pillow) - "... God use his gifts for your glory, and may he fulfill all the plans You have for his life." Amen.