I was alone at home with the kids (like a lot of you guys) and Sammy kept picking on Nathan by putting buckets on his head, pushing him over, etc. They've both been sick with colds and nasty coughs for over a week but Sam is feeling worse today and SUPER whiny so that didn't help either. He threw a tantrum because he wanted to keep playing in the water and "wash" dishes and I told him that he could take a bath...making a long story short, he dumped water outside of the tub a few times, on Nathan's head and eyes a few times, and then bonked Nathan on the head with a big, hard plastic boat putting water in his eyes and spilling the rest of the water outside of the tub and I was so frustrated that I swatted his bottom. I never do that--I didn't do it hard at all but he looked at me in disbelief and then I tried to calm the screaming 10 month old and then the crying almost three year old and then tried to keep my cool. I felt awful--I don't like the whole hitting thing! Anyway, I calmed down, Sammy said sorry, I said sorry but I still kept thinking how awful I was that I couldn't even handle TWO kids! (I have always wanted more but I really don't know if I can do it!)
Oh yeah, the inspirational, cheery part is coming... so I got the kids down for naps and was still on the verge of tears when I thought, c'mon Allison, you have been awful about reading the scriptures. So I got out my scriptures, read my patriarchal blessing which provided me with a lot of comfort and then read two chapters. Then I remembered an email from Cassie after my last breakdown. She read an article in the August 2008 Ensign titled, Grasshoppers, purple bathtubs and other surprises, and thought of me. I read that and wow, that really made my day seem easy compared to hers, but more importantly it made me see that my two year old probably isn't trying to ruin my day by doing everything that I ask him not to, and that my clinging 10 month old isn't trying to drive me crazy by not letting me do anything but walk with him around the house.
Here is the article or you can read it by clicking on the Ensign link (it will open the PDF on the church site)
Thanks again, Cassie for helping me out with your kind words, and the article that you found! Keep me in your prayers. I start back to school in a week and I think that my outside the home job is waaay easier than my inside the home job!?
Grasshoppers, Purple Bathtubs and Other Surprises by Wanda Allen
When our first child was born, I felt confident in I had studied child development in college, and I was firmly convinced that if I applied scientific principles of child rearing, everything would go smoothly.
As we welcomed four babies into our family during the following six years, I began making discoveries that weren’t in the textbooks. There were some things no one had told me—some important things!
My knowledge of child development had prompted me to welcome the assistance of little helping hands when baking cookies, for instance, but it hadn’t told me how to keep four pairs of hands and feet out of the batter, give everyone a stirring turn, remember to add all the right ingredients, save enough dough to make the cookies, and keep calm all at the same time. That problem was mine to solve.
When, in a day’s time, I was confronted with a crayon decorated purple bathtub, a pound of margarine smeared on the carpet, a quart bottle full of pears broken on the kitchen floor, and a tearful little boy whose pet grasshopper had escaped, I felt overwhelmed and frustrated.
In the middle of turmoil the answers began to come— not all at once, but little by little, just as the problems had come. When our four-year-old borrowed the wrench and dismantled his tricycle, I was upset and indignant. Questioning him, I received his answer, given in all sincerity: “Well, they shouldn’t make tricycles so children can take them apart!” When I could see humor in the situation, the problem shrank before my eyes.
The morning I found a newly opened box of cereal completely emptied on top of the kitchen counter, I resisted the impulse to scold two-year-old Melody long enough to hear her explanation: “I was just trying to get Heidi some breakfast, and it kept coming out!” A scolding for that episode would have deprived me of seeing a spark of love and kindness being developed in a toddler.
When Curtis broke into his new savings bank, at first I saw only the intent to damage and destroy. After a calm, understanding interview with our son, my husband, Dell, learned that Curtis was simply trying to disprove a statement he had heard—that this bank was one nobody could open. Having proved his point, Curtis hasn’t disturbed the repaired lock since.
I’ve learned some of life’s most valuable lessons from preschool children: to greet each day with enthusiasm and eagerness; to pursue adventure despite obstacles; to delight in new discoveries; to enjoy spontaneous fun; to regard the eating of toothpaste and the emptying of sand-filled shoes on the carpet as minor problems, not major catastrophes.
I had thought my college classes prepared me to control my environment so things would always go smoothly. But I’ve learned that when five children are hungry or tired or both, things don’t go smoothly. When I accept this as an inevitable—even adventurous—part of daily living, I can be more flexible and less demanding. When I can scoop my mud-covered two-year old into my arms and deposit her into the bathtub for an unscheduled bath—and remain unruffled—I know I’m making progress.