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!