Addilyn was being a butt-head today.
This might not be so surprising to those of you who don't know Addilyn well, she is after all a five year old girl and we all know five year olds are prone to butt-headed-ness. She isn't a butt-head At least, not usually. She is my happy, go lucky, roll with the punches kind of kid. Until shes not. Then she is a pain in the butt. Moody. Grumpy. A pest to her sisters. General butt-headish behavior.
And that is when I know I have messed up.
We could call this an Addilyn problem, and, on some level, that wouldn't be entirely inaccurate. I believe we are in charge of how we deal with our emotions. But she is 5. And I am her mom. And I know adults who don't do that whole "emotion" thing well so it is a tall order for a short person.
Addressing the need behind the behavior is the quickest way to root it out. So even though I want to thump her and tell her to pull herself together, I don't. Instead of correcting the crappy attitude, we snuggle. I make time to read her a book or 3. I have her sit on the counter while I make lunch. I help her put her jammies on and brush the tangles from her hair even though she is more than capable of doing both herself.
By bed time I have a different kid.
She is sweet natured and silly, helpful and kind, she is back to being the Addilyn she really is instead of the one being driven from the inside by the need for a bit more attention.
As we snuggle in bed we talk about her day. I tell her the way she was acting ugly was not ok, she is contrite and apologetic I know she is sorry to her core. She would not have been if I had confronted her and our relationship wasn't up to par. If she was feeling disconnected and I corrected her behavior she would have pushed further away, deeper into her funk, resentful and feeling picked on.
I am such a five year old girl some times.
There are times when I know God is speaking to me and I just feel irritated. I feel put-upon by His will, like His best for me is just ruining my fun. Like doing what I know is right just isn't going to work in this world. It is times like this, if pressed, I would say it is I who has once again been negligent. I have gotten busy with the things of life and forgotten the things of the spirit.
So I stop. I pick up a book written by someone who prioritizes soul care. I have a conversation about things of the spirit with a friend. I talk to God. I listen. It doesn't always happen by bed time, but my attitude gets adjusted.
Each day I live with the knowledge that how I treat my children and respond to my God will forever be impressed in their little brains. Oh, how I fail. But maybe there is redemption in the picking up of the pieces, the adjustment of the heart, the upward turn of the eyes. Maybe, despite my failings, my children will glimpse in me real relationship, real love lived out. Maybe I won't screw them up beyond His ability to repair.