The past few weeks, I’ve noticed my tolerance level decreasing and my impatience increasing for my oldest daughter, Peanut. It seems she has regressed behaviorally, stalled academically, but she’s an expert at manipulation, lying, and being an overdramatic, babyish little…well, brat. I hate using that word, but really, she is. Don’t get me wrong, she has her moments where she is the most wonderful, loving, caring, sweet, nurturing, well-behaved child that ever walked the planet. Usually, it’s when we’re out somewhere so I’m pretty thankful for that. However, being a stay-at-home mom, I’m home with her most of the time and that’s where the action is.
I just keep telling Bloke that I can’t wait until Peanut can do this, that, or the other on her own. I can’t wait until she stops asking crazy questions like “Why can’t I marry my brother?”, “Why is it not ok to shoot people?” and “How is God everywhere and in Heaven?” I can’t wait until she can make her own food, pack her own lunch, dress herself (every day, every time), brush her own teeth, wipe her own bottom, eat with a fork and knife all the time, and clean.
Bloke keeps telling me she’s “FOUR YEARS OLD.” Most of the time I could care less about how old she is when I am irritated. I just want it to stop. But after some reflection, I realized that all these things I want her to do or not do, all the ways I want her to behave, all the questions I want her to stop asking…these are all things that will happen as she grows up. I’m wishing her life away because it’s convenient for me. It’s just another reminder of the many ways I am so very selfish and self-centered. I’m not cherishing her the way she is. I’m not accepting Peanut for who she is (a recurring theme in my life I’m afraid) but trying to force her to be someone she’s not yet – an older version of herself. It’s odd. I’m always so petrified of my children growing older, so saddened in many ways (happy too) to watch them change from baby to toddler to little girl, yet I am constantly willing Peanut to do things that will make her grow up maybe a little more quickly than she needs to.
Sometimes I ask my mom about my own milestones as a child. When did I start bathing myself? When did I brush my own teeth? When did I get up and make my own breakfast, dress myself, pick out my own clothes? When did I stop being a baby and start being a little girl, a teenager, an adult? My mom’s answer was, “when you wanted to.” When I was ready, I just did it. I didn’t need prodding, goading, harassing. I just decided that I could and I wanted to. And with that, my behaviors also changed from baby to toddler to girl to teenager to adult (well, I’m not sure I’ll ever really be an adult, but that’s a different story altogether).
My sweet Peanut is quirky and loving and sharing and fairly well behaved. She is just the way she should be. She will grow and change in every way that is needed as God has intended and in the time that He has intended it. I am here to make sure she is safe, to teach, to present information, to love, to care for, to guide, and to cherish her in every stage of that development. In the mean time, I need to stop being a baby, and grow up.