Mr. Johnny Cash clearly knew a thing or two about parenting. I find myself daily wondering where the "line" is on many issues. How much junk is too much? How many hours can go by without having to bathe them all AGAIN! Is corn an potatoes an adequate "vegetable" serving? Is PBJ still ok even when the kids refuse the peanut butter part, making it a sugar filled sandwhich? Is two movies back to back, too much tv for my three year old before noon? Does running in the hallway count as "physical activity" for today? GAH. Most of which are trivial. But then there's questions that hold more weight. One of which I'm baffled by each night at bedtime with our 23 month old son. He's nearly two, and I remember with my girls that two was like everyone says. Terrible. We had birthday parties for each of them, and the next morning it was as if someone had replaced our sweet baby girls with demons with orders to kill me off by loss of sanity or constant cleaning- whichever came first. An for Wes, it seems that those challenges came about ten minutes after he was born. He had eczema so badly on his face when he was born that he would scratch it and bleed. He had a sever diaper rash, which coupled with his healing circumcision to create the most delicate of diaper situations. He also managed to pee on every clean outfit I had at the time. He's been a handful for his whole life. A cute one. But a Handful none the less. He recently moved into a toddler bed. Not by my choice of course. By his own. He started climbing out of the crib. None of the girls ever tried it. So for safety and lawsuit purposes- we removed the front of the crib and positioned the mattress low to the ground. The first night he did fine. It was new enough to keep him from attempting anything, and he was tired enough to fall asleep. After that, he wasn't. And he hasn't ever been tired- or so it seems- since that day, which was at least 4 weeks ago I can't get him to stay in his bed. I can walk him in, give him bribes, hold his hand and stroke his hair. I can scream louder than an air horn or whisper quieter than a lullaby. I can spank and spank and spank that boy over and over and he will come back out of his room moments later- smiling. So where is the line? Because the struggle is real. And I know in some way or another- you struggle too. Where's the line of discipline and abuse? How far is too far? What is acceptable and what isn't. What is love and what is not? And each time I'm taken back to the cross. Because there isn't a verse where Mary is found spanking Jesus' little white butt to comply. But there is one about letting the little children come. There is one about disciplining those he loves. There is one about loving so much that he gave. So I find myself on my knees, begging for wisdom each night. Allowing the Holy Spirit to guide me as I guide Wes. Some nights- like tonight- are harder than others. And other nights are harder still. But sometimes I just let him come sit with me. Sometimes I let him be a 1 year old boy for another night. Since he will be two so very soon. Maybe- just maybe, the line isn't so much about where I draw the discipline lines. But maybe it's about drawing the prayer line. Maybe Wes is here, with the sole purpose of keeping his mom prayed up. Because of it is, it's working. It's working really, really well.
Bri is the mom to four little people, the wife to a gentle giant, and a lover of Jesus. She's figuring out the best ways to parent by trial and error, and sharing her struggles, successes, and stories with you!