Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ungraceful Dancing

I have decided that life with a two and a half year old can sometimes resemble an ungraceful dance. Sometimes, little man takes me completely by surprise, and I fumble around for a while, trying to regain my parenting equilibrium. Case in point: Aydon and I went to the park this evening. He did a great job of leaving, and we were soon on our way to the car. I was in a hurry to get to the car, because there were giant mosquitoes that had just come out, and they were hungry! Two year olds really don't get the concept of "hurry, mosquitoes!" though, or at least my two year old doesn't. We neared the parking lot, and Aydon decided he wanted to climb over the little yellow blocks that mark the parking spots. Not just one, but every single one. The more I tried to rush him over those, the more he wanted to play on them. Finally, I said, "Aydon, one more time, and then we are going to the car!" Well, then he decided he wanted to try climbing the fence. Then he decided he wanted to run over and check out the trashcan beside our car. And me? Chasing him around like some confused mama hen. And, finally, me, with the words "Aydon, we are going to the car now. No more playing," grabbing his hand and holding on for dear life while he tugged a little before giving in and coming with me.

I couldn't help but chuckle at what I must have looked like to the other parents at the park. I decided to call my fumbling an "ungraceful dance," and I decided that I will always dance this crazy dance with confidence. Why? Because being a good mama means that I am a learning mama. With each new situation, I will dance ungracefully the first time, and then I will take the situation prayerfully to my heavenly Father, who teaches me to parent, and ask Him for wisdom and guidance. Next time there are mosquitoes and I am in a hurry, I will forewarn Aydon that we are going straight to the car, and that he will have to hold my hand. Maybe we will make a pretend game out of it even, like, "Let's pretend we are dogs. Let's bark while we walk to the car..." to distract him.

We went on an airplane trip recently. Little man did so so well! I think it is because we prepped him the week beforehand with what to expect. We role-played and pretended. We read him books about airports and airplanes. We talked about the noises we would hear. We discussed how he would have to stay close to us and hold our hands. We also gave him his own little suitcase that had wheels, and he confidently pulled that thing through the airport! So cute! Another mom and tot sat a few rows ahead of us. The entire trip, you could hear her snapping angrily at her daughter, "Sit down, please!" And, every few times she said this, she swatted her daughter on the leg. It was all I could do not to jump out of my seat and give that mama a piece of my mind. What happened to talking to your tot? What happened to a little firmness mixed with kindness? But then I realized that this poor mother was probably embarrassed and worried about what the other passengers would think of her. She was under pressure, and she likely did not know God, in whom she could find her acceptance and confidence. But for me, watching this momma cemented something again in my mind: I will dance ungracefully no matter who watches or what they think, for the sake of my child. It could have been my son who was trying to stand in his seat, or crying because he was scared. Being willing to do an ungraceful dance would have determined how I handled the situation (and by ungraceful I mean clumsy, not devoid of grace).

While we were on our trip, a sweet elderly lady smiled at us as we entered the mall. Looking at Aydon, she said, "Enjoy him. The time will pass quickly." Spoken by one who certainly must comprehend the profundity of her statement. Let's enjoy our kiddos. Let's do clumsy dances, and learn as we go. They will, after all, grow up quickly.

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