These were the words going through my mind about a half an hour ago while getting Little Man to bed. I was putting some things away in his room and when I pulled out his coat all these little rocks, actually they were more like pebbles....really little pebbles that were near impossible to pick up fell out onto the floor along with some leaves that had been stuffed in there.
"What are these?" I asked him although even as they spilled all over the floor I distantly recalled him standing on a gravel path on yesterday's Sunday morning walk and stuffing handfuls in his pockets.
"Rocks," he replied calmly. "Kiwi's pockets are full of them too," which of course they were.
As I'm typing it, I see how cute, even endearing, a little boys coat pockets stuffed full of his treasures of rocks and leaves is. And it is. But it wasn't then. It wasn't because I was now on my hands and knees picking up numerous rock peices off the floor not to mention the crunchy leaf that had been somehow smushed into a billion peices all over the carpet. It wasn't, because I was doing this at the end of a very draining day. I didn't even make Little Man get out of bed to help me. We are usually all about taking responsibility and natural consequences (like your rocks=your mess=you clean up) around here, but I was too tired to have a teaching moment, so I just cleaned them up. I didn't say anything, it wasn't as if he had purposely done anything and it wasn't his fault that his pockets emptying all over the floor had been the last straw for Mommy.
In fact, when I look back at the day Little Man had a fine day. It was Kiwi and I who struggled. She is so, so stubborn. I remember when Little Man was around her age, my mom making the comment that he was easily distracted. As in, when he was throwing a fit or having something done he didn't want done (i.e. diaper change) you could distract him and get him focused on something else. I remember apprecaiting her comment, but not really getting it. Isn't that what you do with toddlers? Distract them? Divert their attention? Avoid power struggles? I thought I knew it all.
And them came Kiwi. There is no distracting this daughter of ours. Here is an example of something that happened today:
We were getting ready to leave this morning. Little Man was ready with sweater and shoes on. Mommy was ready with coat and shoes on and diaper bag packed. Kiwi was riding around the living room on her push bike. I told her it was time to go (I had already warned that it was almost time to go). She didn't want to. I told her if she didn't have her shoes on, she would have to be carried to the car. I tried to help her put her shoes on. She arched her back and screamed. I gave her the two choices one more time. She declined the shoes. I picked her up (with her shoes, coat, and the diaper bag) and carried her to the car. She screamed all the way to my sister-in-law's house about how she had wanted to walk to the car.
Riding with a wailing toddler is not an uncommon event in our family. Whatever caused the inital wailing generally does not stop until we reach out destination (yesterday on the way home from church she cried the whole way repeatedly saying "parking lot" meaning that she was upset that Mike had buckled her in her car seat in the parking lot. She had wanted me to do it)
She insists on climbing into her own carseat and it takes one hundred thousand minutes for her to do so.
She has only taken two naps in the last week and tells me that she doesn't need to rest her body ("no ress my boddee" is what she says) even though on days like today it is obvious how tired she is.
She doesn't understand safety issues and today when we tried to pick up a few things at the store as a family her and I ended up back in the van with her crying because she could not get over the fact that Mike had carried her across the busy part of the parking lot.
She's beautiful, bright, caring, entergetic, loving, and on good days I can see the positive of her stubborness; determined, tenacious, focused, not easily swayed.
On days like today, however, it feels like she is pitted against me and by the end of the day when I have heard the crying one too many times and she is asking me repeatedly why she has to go to bed, I feel like I am about ready to lie down on the floor and throw a tantrum also.
But I don't. And someday she will learn not to resort to screaming and tears mutliple times a day also.
And these things that seem like rocks to me (and today boulders) are no bigger then the pebbles that fell out of Little Man's pockets. Because life is all about seasons. And this is my time to have my children home with me, to nuture and teach them, to go on "leaf walks" (really I only have myself to blame for the pockets full of leaves).
One day they will grow up and our house will be quiet, our carpet clean, and we will probably even nice decorations less then five feet from the ground. But something tells me I will miss the leaves and the rocks (but the screaming? and the whining? Will I really miss them?)