Yup, that's me sometimes. People, I am having a rough morning! I got Emily to school a little earlier than usual and her teacher was working the drop off line getting kids out of cars. So instead of handing her off to her I had to try to get Emily to sit with her class in the hallway. Ha She's been doing good with not throwing these little tantrums, but today...well, this just threw her sweet little self for a loop. She was not a happy girl and I (though I didn't lose it) didn't do as well either. It was like a conflict in my head "be harsh and tell her she needs to straighten up and sit down, or...comfort her and be gentle and try to gently encourage her to sit with her class". Well, there's not a lot of time to figure out which is best so it kind of ended up being a combo (confusing? maybe...oops). Haha I laugh now, I was not laughing then. So...by the time I got back to the truck I just wanted to lose it. I HATE feeling like I'm just at a loss, like I don't know what to do anymore. That is just not a good feeling to have as a mommy. I came home frustrated with myself, and frustrated with God for taking so long to answer all these prayers I've been praying. WHY can't my baby girl just feel peace and comfort?! Why can't she have mornings that are at least a little bit better?! I want Him to take away the fear and confusion and plant instead curiosity and calmness. And in the midst of all of my questions and frustrations I, of course, realize that there have been itty bitty baby steps. Some mornings are a little easier. She's always smiling when we pick her up and talks excitedly about her day (even if did cry all throughout it). She was holding hands (during the fire drill and going back inside from recess) with a little girl that she's talked about since day one. After some negative consequences at home and some talks from mom and dad she was obedient and followed instructions from her teacher. Okay, these are good things, but still a morning like today's just makes it feel like we haven't come very far in almost two weeks now of school.
So...I came home and prayed some more. I cried out to God to be with my girl. I sought comfort in His Word...I opened up to the book of Psalm(s?) (ch. 55) and my eyes fell on this "Listen to my prayer, O God, do not ignore my plea; hear me and answer me. My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught"...as it continues it feels irrelevant but that first part...exactly what I came home feeling. So then I flipped over and read some more in the New Testament. Then I got out my book "The Power of a Praying Parent" (by Stormie Omartian, and it's a good one) and read the chapter and prayer "Instilling the Desire to Learn" and then the chapter and prayer "Enjoying Freedom from Fear"...both brought me some comfort. That I can pray that her heart desires to know more...yes! Emily loves learning. She loves every aspect of "school stuff"...numbers and math, letters and words and reading, shapes and colors, cutting and coloring. She enjoys music and playing outside. I mean, everything that school is, she already loves! She sat around a couple days ago practicing 5's just because she felt like it. Here is the result of that (yes, she made it for "Daddy H" Lol):
This was my one comfort when she started school, though...that eventually the appeal of all these things would lure her in. :-) So far, it hasn't quite worked. But I can keep praying for her desire to learn, to grow and be something that she wants to feed.
I can also pray that she is released of her fears. Her fears of new people, big crowds, not having me (or her daddy) right there with her to hold her hand. I know from experience that being shy can be crippling. It tears you up inside. I know how my baby feels. I know how hard it is to let go of that feeling and make yourself do what you have to just to get through a day or a certain experience. It's not fun. It wasn't until I was in my teenage years that I remember making a decision that I wasn't going to let my shyness dictate my life or actions anymore. I am still a naturally shy person. I'm an introvert (mostly). I would rather be at home by myself or my family most of the time that hanging out with other people. But I'm now 31 years old and my baby girl is 5 and just starting out in life. Just now being separated from me. I know that people think I should have pushed her sooner (sent her to preschool, put my foot down more at church with leaving her in Bible classes, etc). Let me tell you, I do NOT regret a thing. I will nurture my kids for as long as I can. Putting her in preschool last year would have been the same experience as putting her in Kindergarten now. I just waited another year to put us all though it. I feel so sorry for her teacher having to deal with her. I do. But I love my girl the way she is. I accept her and don't feel like pushing my kids to be someone they're not or to act in a way that isn't them is necessarily the right way (not for me). Yes, I want her to get past this and make it through the day without crying, while having a good time, and doing what is expected of her. But I wouldn't change how I've treated her so far in her 5 years to have possibly made this an easier transition. I think too often too many people these days expect too much from our children. They. Are. Kids. Let them be kids. Good Lord, we get maybe 5 years with them at home with us (for those who are SAHMs...or dads), then they are in school for 12 years before they leave and are possibly in school for another 4 or more years and they're gone! Let me coddle and indulge in my 5 years of family time if I want to. It's not like I'm this psycho over protective mom who won't let my kids out of my site and that end result is Emily. Madelyn is so different than Emily. I'm betting that Kindergarten is going to be a whole different experience with that girl! Lol
So after saying all that I was going to add this little part that Stormie says in her book in the "Fear" chapter..."There are times when fear is more than a passing emotion. It can grip a child's heart so strongly and so unreasonably that no actions or words can take it away. When that happens, the child is being harassed by a spirit of fear. And the Bible clearly tells us a spirit of fear does not come from God. It comes from the Enemy of our soul. Parents have the authority and power through Jesus Christ to resist that spirit of fear on their child's behalf. Fear doesn't have power over them. We have power over it. Jesus gave us authority over all the power of the Enemy (Luke 10:19). Don't be deceived into thinking otherwise." Now some of you may not agree with this, but it spoke powerfully to me. It was both a scary thought (to realize that that fear could be of the Enemy i.e. Satan) and a comforting thought (to realize that I have power through Jesus to help her get past that fear through prayer). And so I will pray harder!
I do want to make sure people understand too that I know that some of her behavior is just plain 'ol stubbornness. Some of it is outright defiance. Some of it is just being a strong-willed child. We're definitely addressing these things here at home and working on things from a disciplinary perspective, too. It's still not working great yet (like I said, she's stubborn), which still leads to some sadness and frustration on mine and Michael's part. But here's an example of one of my methods I've come up with:
These are just three of the things that we're having trouble getting her to do while at school (although the 3rd has been tough at home, too, and we're having to work on it). But after she gets 10 days (they don't have to be consecutively) she'll get a little prize for playing at recess (right now she stands with the teachers or sits on a bench and cries), a medium prize for eating her lunch (and she's no longer allowed to come home and eat her school lunch food like the pudding or her juice box and stuff that we buy just for school...if she wants it, she can eat it there), and the biggest prize and most important thing is to obey and follow instructions given by her teacher. She has had a few times of foot stomping and telling her "no! I don't want to do that!". Um, really? My kid? That is definitely not acceptable behavior. So...we're working on it! And (pats back) I/we have been doing good about following though with rewards or taking those away based on good or bad attitude and behavior.
So...I will keep having faith that God is in control. That my prayers are being heard. And that things will get better!