Sometimes thankfulness comes naturally. Other days we have to choose to be thankful. Today is one of the latter. I am choosing to be thankful for the strong personalities the Lord gave our children. :)
Riley began showing signs of being strong-willed pretty early on. It really hasn't surprised me that there have been many conversations in which I've heard myself saying, "Riley, who is in charge?"
Today, this whole strong-willed thing was taken to a whole new level, though.
It all began last night when he saw me pouring Ella's bedtime milk. He said, "Can I have a glass of milk, too?" (background: this child has not liked milk for almost 2 years now) I told him he better not drink any before bed because he'd be up all night going to the bathroom. I then said that if he still wanted some in the morning, I'd pour him a cup. So, he woke up this morning, walked in the kitchen and said, "Don't forget to pour me a cup of milk with my breakfast!" I asked him if he was sure he wanted some because I didn't think he liked milk. He assured me he would drink it.
I watched him as he ate his breakfast, and he never once touched the cup of milk. I found this strange since he insisted on having it. When he was finished eating, he said, "I'm all done!" I asked him about his milk, and he said, "I don't want that. I don't like milk." And at that moment, for this strong-willed Mama, it was ON! I was not about to pour out a perfectly good cup of milk because he changed his mind (which happens quite often these days).
So, his daddy and I decided that Riley would sit on the stool (he eats his breakfast at the bar) until his milk cup was empty (and before you feel sorry for him, the cup was only about 1/3 full). He began breakfast at 8:30. Guess what time he got off the stool (besides going to the bathroom once)???
That's right! He chose to sit on the stool for almost 4 hours rather than drink his milk. He missed the Library Story time, which he goes to every Thursday with a lady from church, and he didn't play with anything this morning. And guess what I did for about an hour of the time he sat on the stool? I read this...
I remember buying this book when Riley was a baby. I didn't benefit a whole lot from it at that point, but it sure was helpful today! Our sweet boy (he REALLY IS a sweet boy!) is constantly struggling for control, which is one of the key signs of a strong-willed child. In fact, he looked at me towards the end of his time on the stool and said, "I'll never be in charge!" He was crying as he said it, and his little eyes were so desperate for some type of hope of one day having control over his life. My heart broke for him as I held him and explained that yes, one day he would be in charge, but right now God has put Mama & Daddy in charge of him so he can learn and grow in a safe place. Our little talk seemed to bring him some hope.
So how did the morning end? Well, he told me (again) how much he doesn't like milk. We talked about the importance of meaning what we say and not wasting the things God has given us (and yes, I did talk about children around the world who would give anything for a cold glass of milk). And then I told him how much I dislike milk and that I'd make him a deal. I said, "I'll help you drink this milk. You take a sip and I'll take a sip. We'll do this together." And about 2 minutes later, the cup was empty and Riley was free to move around the house as he pleased.
Phew! I'd love to share this story with anyone who claims being a stay-at-home-mom is an easy job. I was exhausted and it was only noon! But, I feel pretty confident that our son learned a lesson today, and I'm thankful the Lord gave me the strength to withstand the testing of authority and the wisdom to show grace towards the end.
Guess what's exciting for us? Ella began showing strong-willed tendencies in the WOMB!