Just want to start by saying that this post about not giving them enough credit is not about Mark. I knew he would figure out the heater and let me tell you, that hot shower was nice.
There are times when I know I probably expect a little too much of my kids.
Like when I tempt fate and run into the grocery store *really fast* right around dinnertime. Surely, it’s just a quick in and out and they’ll be fine. Ha. If I’m cranky and don’t want to be there and want to eat everything that’s landing in the cart, it’s fair to assume that the little ones will too. With a dash of drama thrown in for good measure.
But there are so many more times when they surprise me. When they do something that totally just exceeds my expectations. Like when Mia starts a gymnastics class as the youngest girl in her class and tries her hardest to keep up with the girls who have been doing this for years. When I watch her try to do push ups and swing on the uneven bars when I know it is so hard and takes a lot of strength. Then when I saw them say that it was time to try and climb the rope, I knew for sure that I was going to see her come up to me whining and saying “this is all so hard mom, I don’t want to do this anymore”.
Now, I’m going to be honest…she wasn’t able to pull herself much at all. But she wasn’t scared to tackle it and try. And at the end of class, when I asked her what her favorite thing was…she said the rope. The rope! The one thing I thought for sure would have her saying she was done. I wasn’t giving her enough credit to see something that seemed scary and hard and try it anyway.
Then this little guy:
We know he’s not scared of much (except crickets and spiders and bugs in general) and that he’s super strong and that we’ll be having to tell him to NOT climb that rope at times, I’m sure.
No, his challenge these days is Potty Training. Honestly, I had myself all geared up to have the worst experience ever and that it would take me two years to get him potty trained and wow, I really hope he doesn’t have to go to kindergarten in pull-ups. He’s a boy and he’s strong willed and he had done the whole sticky thing to me, so I was just sure I was in for a nightmare experience.
Uh. Well…I’m even afraid to say this because you know that as soon as I do, I’m going to find poop smeared all over the walls (happens every time with this blogging thing: just like my water heater that worked and then oh, just kidding – cold shower for you!), but he is doing so well. I mean, shockingly well. He might even have been easier to potty train than Mia, but that’s probably because with Mia I tried too soon – she was a girl, and my first: rookie mistake (once I waited until she was ready it was waaaaay easier) – so this time I decided I wasn’t going to try to beat the boy potty training record and I was just going to wait.
In a day, he was doing so well at home. And within a few days, he was almost completely potty trained at home. He goes by himself without having to be prompted, wants to be by himself (Kitchen, Momma! – that’s where I’m supposed to go and wait), and then dumps his potty and washes his hands.
But, when it was time to leave the house and he had a pull-up on? Nothing. No trips to the potty at all. He even asked for a pull-up when he knew we were going to a playground. Smart, that one. At school, he was doing just ok and his teachers and I knew had a pretty strong feeling it was because of the pull-ups. So, they said to bring him in underwear. I stalled for about a week (that’s just not something you want to impose on someone else), but they kept saying that they didn’t care. So today, he went in underwear. And when I picked him up…he was in the same clothes! Multiple trips to the potty and no accidents. What? Again, totally wasn’t giving that kid enough credit.
He’s so proud every time he goes on the potty.
I know that I haven’t cleaned up my last accident and I know there will be days when I’ll have to deal with a girl who doesn’t want to do the hard work. But I also know that they can do so much more than what I think they can.
And I guess parenting is all about exactly that: guiding and encouraging your children through the hard stuff, while teaching them that in Christ they have huge potential to do so much – so much good – and that yes, sometimes things will be hard and sometimes there will be messes to clean up but that they’ve got a community around them that will support them when things don’t go as planned and celebrate with them when things do go well. (While balancing all of that with a dose of realistic understanding of who they are, how sinful and broken they are and where there identity really is). As I watch them go through these lessons, I learn too. I learn about them and about myself. This stuff is not easy. I know I don’t give them enough credit sometimes and I know that sometimes I don’t give myself enough credit (and maybe too much on others? – whole different issue…), but fortunately there is Somebody who knows us intimately and knows that we do have what it takes, who walks alongside us and supports us.
So, I’ll be trying to keep unrealistic expectations at bay, but I’ll be pushing and cheering and celebrating. Yep, celebrating, because climbing ropes and staying dry are big deals around here.