Friday, April 30, 2010

Anger and San Diego

I wrote this a few weeks back but forgot to post it. Here it goes again...

I'm beginning a journey with a Spiritual Director and she lives and practices in San Diego. Instead of going by myself, we decided to attempt to make a fun family weekend of it. We drove down Friday night and spent a dreadful night in a hotel room with Wyatt. On more than one occasion Garett and I found ourselves huddling together in the pitch dark bathroom as we tried to trick Wyatt into staying in bed. He discovered the ability to hurl himself out of his travel bed and only (thankfully) stopped after a minor injury. (I'm feeling bad about not putting the "thankfully" after minor.)

After a rough night, Saturday was a breeze. We spent the morning at a boating and fishing show in Del Mar. Garett was in heaven and Wyatt liked the jumping dogs and large fish tanks. After a two hour nap, we swam in the hotel pool and Wyatt pretended to jump into the pool like the dogs we'd seen earlier. We found a small brewery called Pizza Port in Solano Beach and enjoyed some tasty brews.

All in all, it wasn't that thrilling of a day but it did such good for my soul to have a bit of adventure. I'm the sort of person who likes to wake up in the morning and then decide what sounds good. I crave spontaneity and am energized by the unknown in most every situation. The simple act of being in a new town without a plan gave me a taste of a "the-world-is-my-oyster" feeling and I love that feeling. I tend to move toward risk and get bored with repetition.

Sometimes I think I fear boredom in less than healthy ways. I can tell by the fact that I mix up my shower routine almost daily just to make sure I'm not in a rut. Admitting that makes me feel a little crazy.

I spent Sunday morning at my appointment and Garett took Wyatt the San Diego Zoo. My heart was full and that allowed me to enter into the spiritual direction process from a better place. I'm learning new spiritual practices (for me, these are becoming refreshing opportunities to connect with God other than my standard reading the Bible, praying for things, and worshiping at church on Sunday morning) and how to grieve.

I've written about this before but it is worth repeating. I struggle with facing up to reality, especially in terms of painful things that are very different than what I was hoping for in life. In my commitment to be a person who deals with things well and is not a burden/downer, I have not even been honest with God about how angry I am. And I am angry. So, I'm learning the simple act of being honest with God and myself. After a particularly intense time of basically shouting to God all of my feelings (mostly anger and sadness) surrounding my health, I realized just how much of this I've been carrying, probably since about age 15. That's too long. And what's really sad is that I have not believed that God is the kind of God who wants to hear from me about this and meet me in the pain. Getting to know God in new ways is bringing light and life to my heart in addition to renewed hope in the goodness of God.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Who's Smarter Than a Two Year Old?

This happened a few weeks ago and I've been meaning to write about it since. Garett and I woke up on a Saturday morning to Wyatt screaming, "Mommy, Daddy, come!" A few minutes later he started frantically yelling, "Poop on hands!" We popped out of bed and immediately went into his room. He was not lying. He also would have not been lying if he had said, "Poop on pajamas. Poop on bed. Poop on floor surrounding bed. Poop on blankets. Poop on sheets. Poop on stuffed animals."
The next day he did the exact same thing. And we did the exact same amount of laundry and sterilization.
By Monday, I was conditioned better than Pavlov's dog. As soon as I heard Wyatt shout, "Poop on hands!" I ran into his room. I found Wyatt standing in his bed holding his clean hands in the air. As soon as I entered he said with a smile, "No." I hate it when I'm outsmarted by a two year old.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Guilt, Pica or Both?

Wyatt's started hiding his eyes with his hands when he's done something he knows he shouldn't. He does it in the moment and then again when I come in to talk with him after a time out. It's interesting. I've been asking him why he covers his eyes and today he said, "Wyatt don't like what Wyatt do." Yes, my boy, I understand. Now, if only I can get past my frustration and disgust after finding him lying in the stagnant, muddy water in the front yard licking up the wet dirt and, instead, see the beauty in Wyatt's developing conscience.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Revealing Moment

Today we had breakfast/lunch at Big Sky. It's currently my favorite restaurant so it was a nice treat. They are consistently great with kids and that makes it a whole lot easier to enjoy a meal out. Midway through our meal, a woman a few tables away pulled her son away from the table and marched him over next to ours to talk with him "privately". She was very close to us so there was no way to avoid eavesdropping. As she finished, my heart swelled with emotion and my eyes filled with tears. Garett and I were then able to have a good talk as we continue on this new, rocky road of becoming parents.
What she said to her four year old son is inconsequential but I will say that the words, "You are really embarrassing me," were part of it, as well as an intense tone that sounded mean from my vantage point. The words, tone and look on the little boy's face rushed over me like a gust of wind on a blustery day - a gust of wind holding up a full-length mirror into which I could hear, see and feel myself. I hope I'm not a mom who looks down my nose at other parents. Rather, I can deeply relate and appreciate the perspective sometimes found when I'm on the outside rather than in the heat of my own parenting moment.
Garett and I talked about how we hope to be parents with Wyatt. We can both feel ourselves getting impatient when he does something (i.e. lick up mouthfuls of sand from the outdoor sand table) for the umpteenth time and we're trying to figure out how to send the right message to him about what is and isn't good for him. We're struggling at finding a consequence that fits the behavior and helps him learn something from his choices. We both agree that making him fearful and obedient out of fear is easy (or easier) and effective in the short run but not really the point in the big picture. But it's a challenge to not use fear as a manipulation tactic to generate behavior that is less embarrassing and more controlled. This is especially tempting with my sensitive boy.
I'm not saying that good behavior doesn't matter, we just hope it's not our main goal. Nurturing Wyatt's heart and loving him in a way that helps him develop his character and, hopefully and eventually, learn to love God and people is the main goal. It's easy for me to get off track with this and allow my own shortcomings of pleasing people or finding significance through achievement dominate my parenting style.
Garett and I recommitted ourselves to be a team as we approach this nurturing process. We have different styles and Wyatt needs them both. We also agreed to continue seeking out ways to demonstrate and generate love not fear (Wyatt's or our own). Part of that entails honestly dealing with areas of our lives where anger is brewing. Another part is noticing when fear is leading us to a certain path and that love might lead us to a different one. It's messy and definitely not a cut and dried formula to guarantee a perfect kid (Is there one of those?) but we are trusting that God is going to give us what we need in each and every moment and that I John 4:18 is true.