Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Sneaky P

It was a HOT (almost 100 degree) muggy afternoon. K went over to play with some girlfriends, so the boys and I spent some time on the front porch painting $3 canvases I recently found at Big Lots. P was thrilled that I let him paint all over his feet and then make colorful footprints. That sweet boy craves sensory stimulation, so this of type full contact, messy activity was right up his alley. As R was working on his painting I saw P walk off with a jar of white paint.

"Don't open that, buddy. P, come put that back over here. You have already finished your painting. That will make a huge mess."

I turned my attention back to R until I heard P attempt to stifle a giggle. As I looked across the porch, I saw P right in Oreo's face saying, "What happened to yo' nose, silly kitty?"

"P, did you paint the cat?"

There was no verbal reply, just a guilty, meek look...chin down, doe eyes up at me.

"P, didn't I just ask you to bring the paint back? I told you not to open it."

"But, Mom, I just like to be sneaky." P is an honest one.

Isn't that a picture of the sin condition? Sometimes we just like to be sneaky. It feels good to be adventurous, to break rules that seem fairly harmless. It's fun to do what we want, just because we want to. Thankfully, the consequences this time were painless...but it is not always so.

I feel guilty sometimes, like I am far too strict. Little boys, afterall, do things like paint kittens...especially mischievous, curious, experimental little boys like my P. But, isn't my job as a parent to teach them basic character and guidelines for life? Like listening, respecting authority, kindness to animals, self control, etc...

The truth is, sometimes, like today, it is very hard for me to get to the heart of the real issue. Was I upset that he directly defied authority (his character) or that he seemed to not respect that I am in charge (my pride)? Parenting is full of slippery slopes and fine lines (not to mention a painted pet or two)!


Goin' Guatamalan said...

Jennifer! I am so excited! I have finally figured out (on my own) how to leave comments on the blog spots! This has been a great achievment for me and now I have more freedom of speech in a new place...smile...I didn't even have to call you to figure it out! (smile- again)Take care and have a wonderful day... painted kitty and all!

Christi said...

This post really speaks to me today - for myself as well as for my boys. I worry sometimes that we are too strict as well, and then when we're out somewhere it never fails that someone comments on how polite or well-behaved they are. And rhey ARE; but sometimes I feel like I have blinders on to that.

And like in your situation, I suppose painting the cat is really no big deal - but I don't know how I would have reacted in that situation. While the act itself might be no big deal, certainly the direct disobedience needs to be addressed. But then I wonder - at this age do they understand the difference in "You're not in trouble b/c you painted the cat, but because you didn't listen to Mommy?"

Sorry to write a book! Just thinking out loud here on your blog! You always make points that give me LOADS to think about!

KirkKrew said...

It's definitely hard to know the balance with letting kids be kids and teaching them right from wrong. I've been amazed to see the sin nature of my girls. It's just something born in them and we have the responsibility to point it out and then point them in the right direction.

The hardest part for me though is when they do something they shouldn't and I have to stifle a laugh.

I know you're doing a great job with your 3 and are helping all of us along the way! Thanks!

Colored With Memories said...

It is so hard to know! Consistency is probably key...along w/balance. I know that I am way too inconsistent...stricter at times and then looser when it is inconvenient to be strict.

We'll probably have it figured out by the time they leave for college!

Lolly said...

I have been a lurker for about 2 years and have enjoyed reading about your family. I just read your post about books to read and wanted to comment about "Same Kind of Different As Me." It was one of the best books I have ever read. I had the opportunity to meet the authors and they were very genuine. A must read. Here is a link to my post about the book.


Linda said...

Jen, this post reminded me of when Amy and Andrew had been out side doing what all southern children do, and that's to catch lightening bugs and save them in one of those cute boxes you can get at craft shows. As all mothers do, I turned my back and the next thing I knew they were in their bathroom giggling. It didn't take long to figure out what they were up to. They shared a "jack and jill" bathroom, so I knew if I wasn't careful they could all be flying in Amy's room, Andrew's room, and down the hall all over the house. I convinced them to catch all of them, and when they had, I quickly opened the door and jumped in to make sure they did. Then they decided to show the lightening bugs what our plumbing looked like. The next thing I knew every single one was being flushed, and with the light off it looked like a magnificent lazer show swirling around the toilet. It was just too funny and we all broke out into giggles. An older mother of 5 once told me to "choose your battles". Those three words are powerful, and with God's help, you'll know which battles to choose. I'm sure Amy can tell you stories I never knew about next time you see her.
I love reading your blog as it reminds me of the precious and silly things my twins managed to get into.
Have a good week!