Yesterday was a rough day.
My little sinner is well on her way to complete and utter rebellion.
You remember those values we had? Yeah… one of them is obedience. Now, I know there is a fine line between blind obedience and wise, life-saving obedience. But not when you’re two. When you’re two, obedience is a make or break kind of deal. Obedience is boundaries, and safety, and respecting authority, and honoring your father and mother, and … obedience is big. It plants a seed for some very important growth in the future. In a few years, if we plant these first seeds right, we will then enjoy teaching our young child to make wise choices, to think for herself, to explore her world without so much restriction. But until then, we have obedience lessons every. single. day. Heck, I’m learning about obedience from teaching obedience so often!!!
Take yesterday for example…
I was excited about running into town, getting a couple groceries I had forgotten to get the night before when we went to pick up Chili’s, and then taking my Pickle to the park. Just us.
But… things changed when we walked out to get in the car and she just kept walking.
And I said, “Get in the car.”
And she just kept walking… on into the parking lot.
And I said, “Stop. Get over here, now.”
And she just kept walking… and turned her head ever-so-slightly to look at me while she did it.
That’s how she lost the park the first time.
However, I told her she could earn it back by being VERY good in the grocery store.
But the second we walked through the doors she began whining and crying that she wanted popcorn. POPCORN. Popcorn. Pop! Corn! Now! Then she wanted out of the cart. And she didn’t want to try on the jacket. And she didn’t want me to help her take the jacket off. And she didn’t want to eat the banana, so we threw it away. But then she wanted the BA-NA-NAAAAAA!!!!!……And… That’s when she lost the park for good.
I was sad.
Then after naptime we were up in her room. She was playing with her kitchen stuff. ALL of her kitchen stuff. As much as I tried to purge, a girl has got to have a lot of kitchen stuff.
But when I told her to pick up, she ignored me.
So I told her again.
She looked at me for a few moments, and deliberately started playing with something else.
So I picked her up, sat her next to the toys and told her again. And again. And again.
Finally she picked up a bunch of fruit and silverware, put them in her pan. Piled them all up. Looked slyly at me…
and dumped them all back out on the floor.
I picked up all of her kitchen toys that she refused to clean up, and I put them all in the closet one. by. one. All the pans. All the dishes. All the food. Then all the utensil containers, the salt and pepper shakers, the mini condiment bottles, and all the spice tins that sit out neatly on her little shelf were put high above in the storage baskets for ‘extra’ food. Not a piece of toy remained in her room. I even put her kitty up! Whoa…
Now, I’ve tried a lot of disciplinary tactics in my time. And none has worked quite so immediately and effectively as this one. I’ve never seen her so upset! She immediately recognized what I was doing. And she immediately began panicking. “My toys! My TOYS!!!” She saw exactly where they went… I did not throw them in the trash or tell her she would never see them again. I just… put them away.
Then I calmly and lovingly reminded her that she did not pick up her toys when I told her to. And if she cannot pick up her toys when I tell her to, she cannot play with them at all. She will get them back tomorrow and she can try again.
Then we came downstairs and I proceeded to do the same thing with ALL of her other toys. I put them neatly away in their baskets and covered the entire toy shelf with a blanket. I put the slide away. And when she got so upset and threw her magnet pompoms at me, I put those away, too. And when Daddy came home we agreed that she would not watch TV that night either. She was shocked and wandered around crying “My toys! My toys! Strawberry! My TOYEEEEESS” for at least a minute….
She came into the kitchen with me.
We made cookies. We put the dishes away. She cut peppers. She poured in the noodles. She set the table. We all ate together as a family. She jumped on the couch. Got the giggles throwing her blanket way up high in the air. Swept the floor with me. Went potty. Folded the laundry. We walked to get the mail. We talked to the neighbor. She rode her bike for thirty minutes before bed. She took a long bath.
And in her empty room, with just the two of us all cuddled up under her blanket reading some vintage Little Golden Books… I felt like my soul could breathe again.