Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Terrible Twos Mystery Solved!

I had an insight today. I think I know the cause (or perhaps just one contributor) of the "terrible twos!" My hypothesis is that two-year-olds can be "terrible" because of how we treat them as 18-month-olds. What do I mean? When children are 18-months they are at the epitome of cuteness, according to my estimation, anyway. Because they are so stinkin' cute, and because of the relatively minimal visible effects of their acts of disobedience (what's a few Cheerios on the floor?), we let them get away with disobedience and don't do enough to stifle the weeds of sin that are ever-growing and ever-expanding. They throw food and we laugh. They hit us and, with a big smile on our faces, we say, "nooo...(heehee)..nooo."

Because we love them so much (only in part because they're so cute) we need to be careful how we react to their behavior at this age. Of course we shouldn't discipline them like an older child who committed the same, but they need to know that their disobedience is wrong. It is an offense to our holy God and is not honoring to their parents. Otherwise, how can we expect them to understand that what was funny to mommy and daddy six months ago now lands them in a solemn time-out?

So how should we discipline our 18-month-olds in a way they can understand and builds for the future?

*Give them a little pop or squeeze on the hand when they disobey.

*Do not smile. They will certainly notice that the ones who look at them googly-eyed all day long have changed their demeanor. This will have an impact.

*Get down on their level, look them in eye and with a firm voice explain what they did wrong and what they should have done. Include a very brief explanation of why you do not want them to do foolish things (because you love them and want them to honor their God and their parents). Finish by reassuring them of your love for them.

*Remove them from the situation to avoid the temptation to do it again.

These are all things that you've heard before and all are bits of advice that have been passed down to me in one way or another over the past few years. Our little dears, as precious as they are, are little sinners. It is their very nature to sin and we can count on that nature manifesting itself in all kinds of ugly ways. As their parents, we are called to teach them the Lord's commandments, especially in light of Jesus' work of salvation, and pray that the Holy Spirit will change their hearts of stone into hearts of flesh. We can revel in their cuteness, now and always, but there is no substitute for a parent's joy over a son who is wise (Prov 23:22-25)!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Can't Come up with a Menu for the Week?

If you dread the task of coming up with a menu every week, then you might consider utilizing a wonderful resource that you have in home - your husband! Most husbands are content to let the wife plan the meals and make the preparations. They are happy enough with whatever edible option ends up on their plate. They may appreciate an opportunity to put in their say for a change. You both win - you get a break from planning and he gets to eliminate the element of surprise for a week!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Savor These Days

What I am about to say is only a reminder of something that I'm sure you've been told repeatedly. But if you're anything like me, you won't mind the reminder.

I was with a mom today who mentioned that her youngest of three skipped playing with much of the baby or young toddler stuff because he was always more interested in what his older siblings were doing. This meant jumping straight to StarWars - forget Winnie the Pooh! My heart sank a little when I heard this. If, Lord willing, we have another child, he or she will likely forego - or at least speed past - some of the sweetest characters of early childhood. Of course this won't necessarily be the case, but it won't be the same as it was with the first, and it won't be the same as it was with just two. It will be better, because we'll be including another precious gift from the Lord into our home, but it won't be the same. While my heart did sink at the idea of change (it always does a little), it was a timely reminder to savor these moments. There won't be others exactly like them.

I've been thinking about the idea of savoring these days with little ones a lot lately, and trying to act on it, hence my sudden lack of consistent posts on this blog. However imperfectly, I'm trying to soak up this time with my joyful 3-year-old and my edible 1-year-old (adjectives acceptable by mommy's license). :) The sporadic posts will likely continue in the future, but now you'll know why!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Easter Tree

Here's an idea that my sister-in-law passed on from a blog she follows. This Easter Tree activity is a precious way to expose your children to many Bible stories in anticipation of the celebration of our glorious Savior's Resurrection!

Follow the link below:

*You'll have to double up for a few days to catch up, but it's not too late to start!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Kid's Art

Most of us have been confined to our homes for the winter season, leaving us with plenty of time to stare at each and every corner, and the walls between, for those spots that need a little pick-me-up. One such spot in our house is the wall adjacent to our sink in the bathroom. It's a small space, but it occurred to me that with just a little doing, and help from the kids, we could liven it up to turn a blah area into something personal and fun!

If you're experiencing similar bathroom wall dilemmas, try one of these water-themed ideas:

1. Take pictures of your little ones in the tub (appropriate shots, of course), frame them and stick them up on the wall.

2. Hang framed pictures of your kiddos in bathing suits, with goggles strapped on and towels in hand.

3. You could also use pictures from a recent trip to the beach, or any other water involved adventure.

For other rooms (and certainly the bathroom, too):

1. Dress your kids in old clothes, sit them down with paper and paints and let them go to town! Be selective with the choice of colors that you offer so that the ultimate result - if not a jumbled mess of brown - will coordinate with the room. Simple water colors can work well for this. Also, cut the paper to fit the size that works best for the space - either one large masterpiece or three small ones could look great!

2. If you'd like to make it a collaborative effort, draw an outline of a flower, airplane, or any object of your choosing in a dark color and let your child "fill it in" with paint.