Just spent the last entire week living in another home complete with 4 children and a jacuzzi size tub. Whenever I used to babysit, parents would always say “it’s easier with your own kids”. After the week I had, I am really hoping they are right. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed hanging out with the munchkins and laughing and eating and NEVER STOPPING til bedtime. (that last part was sarcastic) It actually felt pretty good to wake up and have responsibilities all day long. I found myself asking God for more love and patience, and really wanting to care about kids like Jesus does. It was hard not to see God’s grace on me, His power was so evident as I walked through each day as mother- aka: disciplinarian, friend, cook, cleaner, deal-maker, etc.
One of the most blaringly obvious signs of what I will look like as a mom came out when I spent time with Elijah, the resident 6 year old boy. Now, I realize that as a parent I will use punishment as a means far more than I use it as a babysitter but I saw myself in this boy so often, I couldn’t help but use what works best for me. Most times when I asked him to do something it included a deal. “If you eat this salad then you can have top ramen…if you play quietly for an hour, I will call your friend…if you don’t scream loudly for the rest of the day, I’ll let you have a soda…if you go to bed early tonight, I will give you starbursts for breakfast…” HA HA Literally every single one of those deals happened, I kid you not. Obviously, I’d rather make a positive deal than a negative one, especially because I was only going to be around one week.
The funny part to me was when I started realizing this is exactly how my parents, most specifically my dad, parented me. While I don’t remember my younger deals, I can recall in highschool when I wanted a really expensive prom dress. Around that same time I was deciding between two colleges to attend, and while my parents hadn’t flat out told me which one to go to, I knew what they wanted me to choose. So, sitting down to dinner after prom dress shopping, my dad offered me a deal. “Krista, if you choose PLU then we’ll buy you the red dress.” Preposterous you might think, but he knew me well. I took the deal. And even as I think of it now, Bart uses deals with me a lot. The current one I’m working on is “if I lose 20 lbs, I can get my nose pierced.” Geez, he drives a hard bargain. 🙂
What is so crazy to me is how different kids are. What is it that makes one child want to test every boundary and see how far he can go…while the very next kid, in the same family, strives to see how close he can stay within all the fences? As a teacher I’ve seen the extremes and it never ceases to amaze me how God created each child perfectly unique. I just hope I can remember that when I become a parent myself.
Below are a few pictures/captions for your entertainment- “the week in pictures” if you will.