I was looking forward to tonight, because I knew I would have the chance to write again. I planned to tell about the newly fallen snow, and the warm, cuddly times we’ve been having as a result. I wanted to share the fun times with my kids, the adorable way Lil J “helps” me in the kitchen, the cuteness of William trying to do everything his brother does, and how they both could sit for an hour on my lap – or Daddy’s – reading book, after book, after book. Or actually, just one book, over and over. If there’s any variation, it’s because I can recite “Roadwork” in my sleep, backwards and in French, and I am sick of it 😛 But anyway….
That is what I WAS going to say. And then dinner time happened. My one year old (who is the sweetest thing when he gets his way) decided, suddenly and emphatically, that he does not like peas. He has eaten peas. Many times. Cheerfully. Begged for more. But it’s been a week or two, and tonight, he decided it’s a no-go. At first, I thought we would have a little battle – the kind we’ve been experiencing with more frequency as he tries to exert himself – but it was no such thing. Thirty minutes of hysterical crying, spitting, gagging, choking and spoon-wacking on his part, thirty minutes of calm correction, insistence, and repetition punctuated by bursts of temper, yelling and desperate prayers on mine, and we were done. I lost. I lost twice,once because I never got him to swallow a single pea (aside from the ones he accidentally sucked into his lungs while sobbing), and again because I completely lost control of myself. I yelled at my baby, snapped at my one year old, fought a strong desire to shake, smack or otherwise exert painful, unkind force on my stubborn child. I was horrible.
Finally I realized that I needed to stop. William was no longer the problem. I was. His peas were no longer the issue. My flouted authority was. It was my pride and will against his, and since I had already yielded to my own sin, I was in no place to correct his. How do I expect to teach my little boys self control, when I lose my temper?
To be honest, I never struggled with temper until William was born. I don’t know what changed then. I would give anything to go back to the pre-temper self I used to enjoy, but it is what it is. When William was a meager week old, I experienced my first bout of real anger, and it was terrifying. I would like to blame it on hormones, but I’m pretty sure those have worn off by now, and I still face those crazy, flying off the handle, wish I could hurt somebody urges, and I hate, hate, HATE it. I don’t know how to deal with it. I don’t even know where to begin!
And so, my blog post about my wonderful life has turned into a sort of confession that I need more of a spanking than my kids ever have! Does it matter than I canned spaghetti sauce from scratch today? Or that I made my own stuffing mix, and cooked nutritious meals, and got the laundry done, and played with the kids? Not really. It matters that when things didn’t go my way, I threw a fit. I am so ashamed. I am thankful for a God and children who forgive, but I can’t get over the shame of myself. I would give anything to go back and re-do those thirty minutes!