Dear God, Father in Heaven.
Please help me.
I have a handful of three-year-olds that do the exact opposite of whatever it is that I ask them to do. One of them in particular is making me loopy.
We sit down for a picnic and when I see one child running their peanut butter and jelly sandwich along the bottom of their shoe, I'll say "There are tiny bugs and dirt and maybe dog poop on your shoe that you can't see, but that if you eat, might make you sick. Please don't do that."
The one child stops.
The other child, looks at me with a gleam in their eye and says "Mommy. Look." And then waits for me to see that they are rubbing their peanut butter and jelly sandwich along the bottom of their shoe.
This child will go poop in the potty. I ask them to wait before flushing it so that I can wipe their bum and flush the paper, too. As soon as the words leave my mouth, I wish I could take them back, because they immediately flush the toilet.
So what do I do?
I snatch away one of the two M&M's that I gave to them because they went poop in the potty and I eat it and say "THERE! That's what happens when you don't listen to me!!" And then I want to say "Nah, nah, nah, BOO BOO!!" But I don't because that would be cruel. Although, probably less cruel than taking away a piece of hard earned candy from a three-year-old and eating it in front of them.
In retrospect, that little piece of chocolate probably saved me from doing something that I might have really regretted later on.
I ask them to sit down in their chair. They stand up.
I ask them not to climb a seawall, for fear they'll fall off the other side. They scale straight to the top.
I ask them to stand next to me while I load children in to the car. They run to the front. Then, once they are in the car, they will scramble to the driver's seat - because they know I don't want them to - and they will frantically touch whatever they can, before I pull them back with threats of bodily harm.
I ask them to not touch the light switch. They wait until I am sitting down nursing their baby brother, and then flick it on and off as fast as they can.
From their seats at the table, they will reach out and touch things that are on the counter. Anything, everything. I will ask them to please not touch something and they will very slowly ... reach ... out ... their ... fork ... and ... touch ... it. And maybe, if they're lucky and have a good enough reach, push it straight off the counter.
They will take their shoes off in the car and throw them in places that I cannot easily reach, even though we discuss this in length each time we enter the vehicle.
They are the slowest moving people you ever did see whenever you're in a rush - but when you need them to stop moving and stand still, they take off in a frenzy.
If I didn't know that they would get seriously hurt, I would encourage them to run out in traffic and see what happens.
These three-year-olds that you sent me are seriously messing with my mind, Lord.
They will play with toys that belong to other children at the park, but if someone comes to play with their toys - you'd think they were pulling off their toenails.
They are so smart and they have these extraordinary moments of sweetness. They know exactly what it is that I want them to do, they just like to do the opposite. They like to see my reaction. They like to see just how frustrated they can make me. They want to hear me yell "Step away from the three-year-old, Jen. STEP AWAY FROM THE BERRYIN' THREE-YEAR-OLD!"
I know what they are up to - they want me to act crazy like them - they want to see me have a psychotic event. It is for this reason, my new mantra is "Sweet Molasses. Sweet Molasses."
Slow it down, sister.
Slow. It. Down.
I am sweet and slow - just like molasses.
I don't pummel three-year-olds. Even though I could and sometimes want to.
I don't need instruction. I don't need books. Or lessons - or any of that stuff. I know that this is a phase and that it will pass. But until it does, what I need God, is more patience.
Borrowing from something I hear a million times a day, I need lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots lots and lots and lots and lots and lots more patience.
I also need more M&M's.
Because for every one that I give our children, I eat 30 myself.
Thank you. Amen.