October 31, 2012

Little Glimpse Into Parenting

(A backdated entry)
At the Mother's Day weekend a few weeks ago, my nieces B & C stayed over on Fri so that her parents could go for a seminar on Sat morning. I brought the girls to Macgregor State School's Mayfest since hubby was volunteering with SES at that event. The girls had fun, had their first fairy floss and their first at a school fair. They also had a go on the merry-go-round. It was a great morning out.

We went back home for a small lunch and by then, I was very exhausted (later realised that I was going to be ill with a gastro bug) and hurried C to finish drinking her Chinese medicine (for her hives) so that I can have a short nap. I could hardly keep my eyes opened by then. The girls wanted to do some craft so I took out a stash of craft materials to keep them occupied while I took (what was supposed to be) a cat nap, and instructed them that they need to have a nap after completing craft. In my half drowsy state, I took a nap upstairs on my bed. Somewhere in my sleep, I could hear the screams and laughter the girls made. B at one stage, came to me to ask me if they could use the glue. I told her when the glue was and she helped herself with it. As they played, I realised that they were stomping up and down the stairs and also playing in the guest bedroom upstairs (where they slept by themselves in the room without us for the first time the night before). In my weariness, I could not pick myself up to get up and since they sounded like they were having a good time, I somehow uttered a prayer that God will keep them safe while they played (told them several times to be careful at the stairs) and I have to trust God to take care of them for that moment because I just couldn't get out of bed...

 Not sure how long later, I barely woke up, went to the room, told them firmly that they have to stop playing and get a bit of rest/nap. I closed the door behind me, in my mind thinking that they will be safe and went back to bed to lie down a bit. A few mins later, B came to my bedside and said "C didn't sleep and made a mess of herself with lotion and cream". I immediately jumped out of bed, feeling anger brewing within me and also trying to tell myself to be self-controlled. In the room, I saw C sitting on the carpeted ground, with a bottle of hand sanitiser in her hands and her face, arms and legs were white and covered with calamine lotion. Some lotion also spilled onto the carpet. I wasn't sure if I should laugh (she looked really funny and cute) or be angry with her. I quickly decided I should be angry with her. I carried and took her and put her in the bathtub, reprimanded her and left her there as a form of isolation while I sort out the mess she created. In my mind, I was thinking how tired I already was, and that they made such a mess and I was also tight for time to bath them before I take them out to meet their parents for dinner. I also questioned B about the incident in an unhappy but with controlled anger (at least I thought so). Apparently B was trying to sleep/rest on the bed. C went on to play and woke B up with her noises and then B saw the mess and came to inform me. I had a firm talk with C (while she was still in the bathtub), trying to let her know that she did wrong by playing with something she should not have, created a mess (and also throwing some of my books all over the room) and not obeying what I instructed her earlier, to stop playing and rest up. I had to be clear with myself and with her that I was upset about the disobedience most of all and not let my inconvenienced situation (tired and having to clean up the mess after them) be the reason and fuel for my anger. C was quite stubborn and refused to say sorry and was somewhat unrepentant. Anyway, due to the lack of time, I eventually bathe them and took them out, etc.

Reflecting through the incident, I realised how much more angry and irrational I could potentially get but I didn't. Praise God for that and that I did not lash out on them in a disastrous manner (I am pretty sure I am capable of that, especially if I have to deal with this on a more regular basis and for that, I'm glad I'm not a/their mum!) I also realised that I would not be as upset if I was not tired. The girls would not have been so bored that C was playing with the creams and lotions if I was spending time with them. They would have rested up earlier if I had not taken a nap. If I hadn't been unwell, I won't be napping and be able to have enough time to bath them and leave the house. God was good, He did take care of them - it was only a mess of lotions and books. The girls did not fight, injure each other or injure themselves. B was obedient to my instruction to rest when I told her to. And really, the girls were not very naughty. They only appear 'naughty' because I was inconvenienced and at one stage, I was thinking why can't they be more understanding that I was tired and unwell and not give me extra 'trouble'. Really, the girls have been really good by entertaining themselves, playing and did not disturb me much, nor insisted that I do craft or play with them. They have also heeled my constant advice to be careful with the stairs and not injure themselves. They have been really, quite good by themselves. I am so thankful for the Lord's protection over them. This is an isolated incident, in case you think I'm a bad babysitter by letting my nieces play by themselves while I napped :p It has also taught me how to be upset in a controlled and rational manner. Parenting, in particular, Christian parenting is certainly not easy, to teach and model God's love, wrath and forgiveness towards us. But our Lord will provide us with the necessary grace to do so when the time comes.

1 other thoughts:

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