If there is one thing I feel like I will never learn about my kids it is this- they are capable of so much more then I give them credit for. Sometimes it is just easier to expect them to scream and cry about being put to bed, when they are hungry, and when they do not get their way. How many times do I both expect these behaviors, and discipline or lose my cool over them?
The other day Christopher woke up with the dramatic fear of eminent starvation. He had slept in a good hour longer then usual, and so it was far worse then his usual waking up hunger.
The situation was drastic- and what was I doing? Not cooking. I was cleaning!
You see the day before I had hurt my toe pretty badly. I was going to the kitchen to make breakfast when it was attacked by a flying cooling rack. Don’t you hate when that happens?
I spent the next hour and a half on the couch wondering how in the world I was going to get up and fix the kid’s breakfast. Natalia’s dietary needs leaves little room for grace in our kitchen. If I do not cook- we do not eat. If I can not walk- it is hard to cook.
When I was finally able to get up to cook, it was still painful. I got a meal done, but did not even clean up from cooking. Each meal was the same story- stand long enough to cook but not clean. The next morning the kitchen was a wreck. So much so I did not feel like I should, or really even could sanely, cook.
I was short on sleep, so cleaning up the kitchen was a slow process but at least needed to happen partially.
It was far from an ideal situation, my kids really wore hungry. I was not shocked by any means by the crying or begging for the non-exsistant bananas they are sure we were indeed not out of, or at least I can make appear out of thin air. However, that did not stop the fact that I was hungry too, and the crying plus own own slow progress was really stressing me out.
Rather then take it to the Lord, or explain the situation to my kids, I did the opposite of what I should have done and lost my cool “get out of here! both of you! I wish we were eating breakfast now too! I will feed you as soon as I can.”
The kids left, and cried in the other room. *major mommy fail*
Needless to say I felt rotten- and with good reason. I prayed and asked for both forgiveness, and endurance.
Then I needed to apologize to the kids.
I did that, as well as something crazy. I asked for grace from my not even four year old. I told him about how I could not cook yet, because the kitchen was too messy, I told how the kitchen was so messy because while I had to cook the day before walking hurt so much that I did not clean up from it. I told him how I was trying really hard to take care of them- but I was human, I was injured, and I needed his help. I needed him not to be crying at me right then.
I asked him to take his sister upstairs and keep her busy. I asked that they not “remind” me again that they were hungry. I reminded him that I had always fed him before and that morning, though it would be long, was not going to be an exception to that trend.
He smiled. He got it. I was floored.
Why do I forget that sometimes all he needs is a little bit of explaining? That he is capable of far more then I give him credit for. That even though it was understandable that he had been crying and begging to be fed, that he had control over those actions.
Why did I have so low expectations of him, that I forgot he was capable of gracious behavior?
They happily played upstairs for 30 minutes. Then we ate breakfast, and while I can not say we lived happily ever after, our morning was far improved from then on out. Thanks to the grace of my almost four year old.