“In these hard moments, I must remember that much of my parenting and training results in invisible seeds in my child’s heart instead of immediate changed behavior.” –Triggers by Amber Lia and Wendy Speake
Phew. There is a lot of development happening in the Hoagland House right now. Margaret is sitting like a champ, loving solids, and has discovered that she can move to whatever she wants. She has started doing a little inch worm army crawl, but mostly rolls to her desired object. There’s no more walking away from her for just a moment to grab something. She seems to know when no one is watching and takes full advantage of the situation.
Caroline’s imagination is exploding. She wants to play pretend all day long. She pretends she’s at the grocery store, the barber shop, the library, and school. She “drives herself to the farm to feed the cows”. My favorite is when she pretends to be at church. Caroline “drops us off at the nursery” and then “goes downstairs” to church (our bedroom) where she sings hymns out loud before returning to “pick us up”.
I’m convinced that some new challenges also appeared exactly when the pretend play showed up. Caroline has been much more apt to whine and pitch fits in the past two weeks. The frequency of time outs in the Hoagland House have skyrocketed. The most frequent phrase coming out of our mouths is, “Caroline! I need you to stop. I need you to listen!”
I’m sure the fact that our lives have been a little chaotic isn’t helping any of us. I know she picks up on the stress and exhaustion. I also know she understands that big changes are coming. When we were driving home from working on the new house last night, Caroline said, “I’m going to cry when we leave our house. Will I get to bring Dolly to the new house?” We assured her that Dolly would move with her. “I’m going to need her, because I’m going to be sad and I’m going to need her to help me feel better,” she explained.
Ben and I have been slowly listening our way through the audiobook version of Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions For Gentle Biblical Responses by Amber Lia and Wendy Speake. We have found it full of helpful reminders and encouragements. We’ve needed reminders that Caroline’s immaturity is part of her learning process and that we want her to make mistakes and learn in the safe context of our home. It’s been encouraging to consider that some of her God-given characteristics, which can be challenging right now due to the corrupting effects of her little sin nature (such as her strong independence and assertiveness) may be very useful and positive in her adulthood.
Toddlerhood is quite the challenge, but the older parents around us remind us that this time will be gone in the blink of an eye. Caroline tells us what she looks forward to about being an adult almost every day. “I’ll drink coffee, and eat pistachios, and cut with a knife.” That time will come faster than we expect.