Tuesday, July 31, 2007

My Sweet Girl (& the Proverbial Fine Line)

I cannot decide if it is gender, personality or maturity (or a combination of the 3) but K is suddenly my little buddy. The boys enjoy helping and being with me, but theirs is more of a clinginess while with K it is emulation and a sweet blossoming relationship. She has especially enjoyed running errands with me as "quality time" for the past few months. Lately, she has also taken to trying to help me with chores around the house like unloading and loading the dishwasher, deciding what we will eat for a meal and gathering shoes, swimsuits, etc. for our outings. She especially enjoys when I send her to another part of the house to "tell the boy-eez somethin."

Today, she lied to me about something for the first time. The action was not a big deal, but the fact that she told me 4 times R did it before admitting she was not telling the truth was the impetus for my disciplining her. As I tried to explain to her the seriousness of telling a lie, I could see glimpses of the complexity of relationship, truthfulness and trust with my child.

That incident has been in the back of my mind all day--somewhat of on ongoing prayer for wisdom and love as my relationships with the children enter new seasons with their accompanying challenges. I continue to feel like I am walking a tightrope of displaying parental authority and a love that knocks their socks off in an effort to model God's grace.

Tonight this struggle was put to a test. I was feeling frustrated by the endless stall tactics being attempted by the children at bedtime. As I walked out of the boys room and down the hall toward the stairs, I passed K's room and heard her little voice, "Mama? Can I have my Lambie Lou? (a stuffed lamb that stays on her shelf most of the time)I weally want her."

She had been in bed for 10 minutes. It was well past bedtime. I am fairly strict about not going back in their rooms after they are tucked in. My arms were full of things I was taking downstairs. I was tired. I wanted "my time." Yet, something tugged at my heart.

I somewhat begrudgingly went quickly back into her room, snagged Lambie Lou off the shelf and handed it to her unemotionally and without any conversation. I was wondering all the while if I was setting a bad precedent, sending mixed messages about the rules of bedtime, etc.

As she hugged Lambie Lou, she beamed, then exclaimed, "Oh, thank you, Mommy! That bwought a big smile to my face!" Then she flopped back down on her pillow and settled in peacefully for the night.

And that little lesson, brought a smile to my face as well.

It is such a fine line. I know that I must be consistent, but every now and then it sure feels good to lighten up!


Deidre said...

It's hard to discern when they actually need us after bedtime rituals. Mine stall as well and I have a strict rule that my 5 year old cannot come out of her room once put down for the night. Last night, she came out because she wanted to snuggle which never happens. I started to send her back to her room, but then 'something' told me to hold her. Sometimes, it's necessary. They won't be this little long.

That K. is precious.

Erickson 5 said...

Bedtime is a hard time in our house. I am tired from the day and I just want "my time" too! Sometimes I give into things just like you did and I love when they appreciate it just like Kate did! You are such a good mommy!

Big Mama said...

I think that's one of the hardest things about parenting, knowing where the line is and when you can flex a little. It's hard to know.

julie said...

I love the budding relationships between me and my daughters. I understand the pull of your heart. They is just something really special about a mom and her daughter. Enjoy!

Sarah said...

I completely understand and relate to your heart here! Friendship is earned in the late teen and adult years through loving discipline, consistency, and PARENTING when they are young right?! That's what "they" always say? But those little snatches of abandoned tenderness, "just this once", sure warm my heart!

Keri Ann said...

I was on a beach trip with no internet access last week, so I'm just now catching up on my blog reading and wanted to comment on this post.

Just last night, my husband and I were discussing a similar issue regarding our 3-year-old daughter, specifically the need to balance discipline/punishment for disobedience with a demonstration of God's grace. My husband was especially concerned about shutting down communication with her because she wants to avoid the punishment she'll receive if she 'fesses up to something.

I'm sorry to say that we came up with no firm answers, only an increased awareness that it is, as you say, a fine line. And, of course, yet another chance to seek wisdom from above!