So today Isaac fought going down for his nap. Not typical, but it does happen.
About an hour later I heard intense whining coming from his room.
He usually sleeps for a couple hours, at least. I ignored it for a few minutes, but quickly realized that he wasn't going to stop and he was starting to wake up his little brother. I went in and he was soaked from head to toe in sweat! He had been dressed too warmly and had covered up with his blanket as well and as a result woken up early and was not able to fall back asleep. I definitely didn't earn the Mommy of the Day award today and I felt pretty bad. I took off his shirt and turned on his fan and tried to get him cooled off, but it was too late.
He was in a bad mood and nothing was going to change that.
I cuddled, sang, pleaded and begged for him to stop crying, but nothing worked. In fact, the more I tried, the worse he got. It started to get a little ridiculous. At this point, my goal became to keep him from waking up Silas.
I told him to stop crying.
So I whispered with as much passion as I could muster, "Isaac! Stop crying RIGHT NOW! You're going to wake up your brother."
He could have cared less.
I began to feel the anger welling up inside. I frantically tried to come up with a plan to solve this problem... to regain control.
Should I spank him?
That will only cause more and potentially louder crying. (Plus, I was mad and would not have been able to do it with a loving spirit.)
Should I just leave the room?
I was grasping... flailing for some way to force him to stop. I did not want TWO cranky children on my hands. I was not in the mood. (Ha! Am I ever?)
I had a hold of his hands and I was gripping them tightly hoping that the intensity with which I held them would convince him to obey. I could not control him and I was about to lose control of myself. One of the things I have the hardest time dealing with is the fact that my children are not puppets and can make choices of their own free will. Like obeying and disobeying. The Lord is reminding me over and over again that while I cannot control their choices, I can control mine. I can either set an example that control is the ultimate goal and it's a battle of the wills to the end OR I can lead him to the Cross.
So, I had a choice to make.
I can't say this always happens. I can't even say it usually happens, but today I think I made the right choice. I began to pray out loud.
I admitted that I had sinned in letting anger well up inside of me and asked for forgiveness.
I asked God for forgiveness on Isaac's behalf for his disobedience and bad attitude.
I thanked Jesus for the cross. I thanked him that he died for moments just like this.
He died for a Mama's anger and a child's rebellion.
What would I do without that grace? As I prayed, my grip on Isaac's hands loosened and I felt peace wash over me. The problem was not completely solved. He was still whining and crying. I was still really hoping to avoid Silas being woken and having to deal with two tired and on edge boys. But another thing God is teaching me over and over again is that these boys are sinners and so am I. I can't create the perfect circumstances so that we don't have to deal with the normal toddler tantrums, boundary testing, disobedience and all that comes with putting small sinners and grown sinners together in the same room. BUT I can work on my end to have a Christ-like response to these difficulties that points my babies to Jesus.
I could have made the wrong choice today. And I often do. I could have yelled at him that he was being a bad boy. I could have disciplined him and left the room angry. The outcome may have been similar. Maybe even better (from an outside point of view). My point is, having the right attitude in my discipline doesn't make the circumstances different. Isaac didn't hear my prayer and stop his crying and sit and stare in awe and wonder as a halo of light orbed around my head. The results may appear to be no different than if I had made the wrong choice. The difference was that my heart was in a place that sought to honor God. Every time I leave an incident with that attitude, I feel better about the whole thing, no matter the outcome.
Days like this remind me to, once again, thank God for the gift of his Son because ALL of us are in desperate need of a Savior, mama and child alike!