And then, I've tried to get 10th time obedience. Because even when I am very consistent to discipline him for disobeying, it never makes him obey more. He's so extremely passionate about his naughtiness! And we could spank this kid 15 times and he'd still get out of bed at night...or hit his sister when he's mad, or run away when we call and he really wants to go somewhere else.
And I've tried spanking, ala Sheperding a Child's Heart, and I've tried timeouts ala 1-2-3 Magic, and a host of other ideas as well. I've tried Get-off-your-butt parenting and I've tried trusting my own instincts (as in "I think he's feeling this particular way and that spanking won't help here...I'll try soothing him now rather than being confrontational" etc) and I've cried. And cried and cried.
Especially when you realize that other people don't like your child. His gymnastics coach wouldn't give him a stamp after class the other day because he "wasn't listening" (he can't resist running and doing a few extra vaults when he's supposed to be crawling like a crab). And when Sam got in a fight today with a kid at school who was telling him that he would "poke his eyes out" his teachers politely told me that I should take him home now. Sunday school teachers have had it with him, friends don't ask him over that often, and I can't help but wonder if it's my fault completely. Or at least partially. Mostly I think. He's just extremely hard to "break". And then, sometimes I wonder, if I'm supposed to be "breaking" him. I'm not, I know. I'm supposed to be guiding him. Training him.
And I'm trying. And Matt's trying. But he's kinda agressive...and sneaky...and emotional...and a little obsessive-compulsive, which he gets from my side of the family. And I may not ever get it right. It may be that if I picked any one of the above parenting resources and did them perfectly for 3 years that I'd get an obedient child. Or maybe I wouldn't. And some days I die trying. I correct and spank and put in time-out, and try to speak Scripture to him. And other days, I just am so darn tired of the battle that I'm lax, or I yell, or I cry instead.
But I love him. I love him so much. Sometimes I wonder how I'm ever going to spend any time with Claire while I raise this child, but I know God's grace is sufficient for all of us, so it's definitely sufficient for my children.
And he's so cute. And precious. And he smells like a baby still sometimes...mixed with grass and sweat. So please, teachers and family and gymnastics coaches: love my son.
But if you don't, I do. And I guess that's why God gives us moms.