This parenting gig is a whole new ball game when you have teenagers. Throw in infants and toddlers with the teenager gig and all bets are off.
The toddler repeats, with remarkable clarity and context, everything she hears.
My toddler has a potty mouth.
I was the one with kids who were respectful and kind. I worked hard to teach them manners, morals, and the desire the be Christ-like. They were far from perfect, but I loved to be around them. They were enjoyable and kind.
I totally [thought I] knew what I was doing.
Then, we hit teenage years, preteen hormones, new attitudes, new issues, and suddenly, I’ve been knocked on my behind.
Kinda like when Pierce was born. I had five obedient, quiet, calm children. I had this gig figured out. So, in what appears to be one of those life-lessons God throws at me regularly but I fail to recognize as my own need for growth all too often, I gave birth to Pierce. Number six was a breath-holding, enraged at perceived injustices, head-banging Pierce who has taught me much. We’ve waded through bad habits, and while most of those behaviors are no longer issues, the dear boy teaches me patience regularly. He’s learning to read while standing on his head most days. I remind him to walk, not run, in the house a dozen times a day.
He took my prized collection of favorite books outside – and left them there. It rained.
Deep breath. Patience. Fail. Apologize.
He took his birthday cash outside in the massive fall wind. I spent an evening in the dark with a flashlight, and another morning in the daylight, searching for his beloved $5 bill among the millions of leaves. Because I love him. I even considered “finding” it… but feared if it actually turned up, I’d be found out a liar. I did find it, for real, eventually.
Deep breath. I can do this. One die-to-oneself moment at a time, we’ll get there.
But now, I have kids in and hovering on the edge of the teen years. They are clearly smarter than me. And while they’d not dare speak the things I’m hearing come out of the two year old’s mouth to me or in my immediate vicinity, they are apparently speaking such things in her presence. Throw in her extremely skilled use of the English language and my tendency to use sarcasm, and you have the recipe for one potty mouthed two year old.
No, she’s not cursing. Far from it. She’s sarcastic and cutting. Remorseful when called out, but it’s not a habit I’ve had to try to break from anyone. Even myself, obviously.
I’m starting to think that I’ve been disillusioned all this time, thinking it was the kids she’s learning this stuff from. It’s their words, with my tone. She’s getting it from me.
It’s new territory. Stretched thin and stressed momma. Hormonal teenagers. Happy go lucky elementary kids. Learning to read and learning to learn kindergartner. Sassy toddler. And one eight month old who is cranky-at-the-world if he’s not seeing it from the security of my arms.
Reliance on Christ: the lesson of my
day week year lifetime.
Charlotte Moore says
GRACE, GRACE, GOD’S GRACE. GRACE to cover ALL my sins. Bless you!!
Thank you. So much.
Kirsten Pankratz says
Oh-man, don’t tell me there are harder things! Actually, I was thinking of this not long ago…..it’s hard now, but like you, I sort of have things figured out (for the most part, lol, still lots to learn!) but I don’t have a clue about teen years. I have a few years yet, my oldest being 10, but……I don’t even want to think about harder right now…..yes, stretching and growing and leaning, ever leaning on Christ.
Right?! I’ve gotten good at parenting littles. Older kids… I’m not sure I’ll ever get good at this!
I’m right there with you. What was I thinking having eight children in 13 years?