Thursday, January 10, 2013

Charmer Bootcamp

He calls The Dancing Girl "Howie," and I smile every time he says it. :)

He's calls that book we read nearly every day, "Good Night Jesus."

And while each page brings another opportunity to say good night to all the random objects in the room, The Charmer finds it a great opportunity to ask where Jesus might be hiding on each page. "Jesus Here?" "Jesus Moon?" "Jesus, cow, moon, mouse, old lady?" "Where Jesus?"

It's "Good Night Moon," I tell him. He looks into me and asks in a bit of curious confusion, "Jesus in moon?"

That little man, he's a hoot in every way.

He's in the "repeat every word in an extremely loud voice," phase... Mama loves that phase... or maybe not.

If you're wondering what he does while school's in session, well, he does what any two-year-old would do.

He cocks his gun and shoots bears in the living room.

He drives trains up and down his Mama's arms and legs, complete with sound effects, CHOOOOO, CHOOOOO!!!!

He chops everything in sight with the neighbor's Toy-Story sword that he borrowed nearly two months ago and we still haven't managed to return.

He loves to color... on everything except paper.

And his absolute favorite thing to do in the whole wide world... is to EAT! "Lunch Mom?" "Dinner Mom?" "Snack Mom?" "More Snack Mom?"

He's a giant helper in the kitchen these days, asking at least a dozen times while preparing every meal, "What we having Mom?"

And although he is seriously funny and extremely charming, he has also found his fits.

I know, I know, he's two, and I should probably expect nothing less than the dramatic attitude that I get daily from our little man. But I have to confess that no matter how old a child is, back talk, throwing yourself on the ground, and excessive crying because you were told "no", are just plain unattractive to this Mama.

He's two right? And he's got that stellar smile and those big blue eyes that shout, "let me act ridiculous and get my way, because I am so stinkin cute, you know you want laugh and not hold me accountable to anything."

And let me tell you that these past few weeks, I have been tired and nauseous and all I really want to do is sit on my couch and let the cute little kid run the roost.

It's tempting, I tell ya. Very, very tempting.

But I have learned from some previous children of mine, that when I give up the fight, the battle just gets worse. I am doing my little Charmer an extreme disservice by letting him run a muck and refusing to teach him that there is tremendous joy in obedience.

I knew it had to be done. I just had to muster up the strength to follow through.

CHARMER BOOT CAMP... our only hope for restoring order and joy back to the farm house.

I had a little chat with the Cowboy, just to make sure we were on the same page and we have pulled up our boot straps and hunkered down.

And it's mind-boggling how quickly a little bit of accountability can change a little charmer's heart.

Don't get me wrong... he is still a two-year-old. There are still melt downs, and "I-no-listen-you's" that come out of his sweet little mouth. But they are way less frequent and it usually only takes a kind, "No thank you Jed", or a quick reminder, "When do we obey Jed?" To which he responds, "First time."

In all honesty, it's been kind of a sweet season, as all the other kids and I have been able to teach him how to express a true "Clark Apologie."

Around here, when we've wronged each other in any way, we purpose to "make it right."

"Making it right",doesn't just mean saying a sarcastic, "sor-ry!"

"Making it right" involves three very important steps and it has been so AWESOME to hear my little two-year-old say such restoring words.

First, we must always give the respect of looking the person whom we've wronged in the eyes.

Second, we must not only say sorry, but specifically what we are sorry for. This allows the offender to make sure that they even know what they are apologizing for and it allows the offended to be confident that the offender is genuine in his/her apology.

And lastly, the offender must complete the "making it right" process by asking forgiveness. I love this step because it seems to be the kicker that softens both parties hearts. (The Charmer has not quite gotten this one down... When asking forgiveness he usually says, "I forgive you," when he should be saying, "do you forgive me?" We're working on the right verbiage, but for now, he's trying, and in his learning he always makes the older kids giggle.

We have worked with all the treasures over the years to learn to make things right in this way. And the crazy thing is, that it has become something that the Cowboy and I use in our marriage. I can't even explain what a difference it makes when I not only say I'm sorry, but I ask for forgiveness and wait for a response. Forgiveness seems so much more genuine that a mere, "I'm sorry." Even as adults we can misunderstand each other sometimes and when we clarify the specific ways that we have wronged someone, or have been wronged by someone, there seems to be a deeper healing that takes places.

It's small. But for us six folks living under the farmhouse roof, it has made all the difference.

I'm excited for the Charmer. I'm excited that he gets to grow up in a home where there is an abundance of grace, where we hold each other accountable to kindness, and where forgiveness abounds. Because in a little farm house where six sinners are learning to live life, there is a great need for all of these things, all day long, all year round.