Hadley, come get a bite.I call to her from the kitchen.
She looks up from her play, hesitates, but doesn't make a move. I could see her weighing her options about something, a perplexed look etched on her face.
I assume she's ultimately decided that she doesn't want a bite of her favorite breakfast food, and go on about emptying the dishwasher.
A few moments later, I see her coming for that bite, dragging a large, cumbersome rocking horse behind her.
You see--Hadley just couldn't bear to leave the rocking horse, even for a moment, because her sister might "get" it.
I laugh, and sigh.
Each time she comes for a bite, she stubbornly, and determinedly drags the rocking horse with her, keeping a protective hand on "Howard" while she opens her mouth for a bite.
Lately I feel like my girls are in a gladiator ring, each on a mission to take the other one down.
I've broken up some pretty terrible fights between my sweet daughters. One look at Brynne and Hadley's arms reveal their battle wounds--bruises and bite marks blemish their soft skin.
Our pastor wasn't kidding Sunday when he said parenting toddlers is like taming an undomesticated wild animal.
At the heart of my two toddlers are two questions.
Am I loved?and
Can I have my own way?The answers are:
No.Hadley drags Howard with her to get a bite, because she's fighting to have things her way.
The girls bite and hit one another, because each is impeding the other from getting their own way.
In walks discipline--that's me (mostly), Brad and my sidekick Jesus.
We have the very hard job of telling (and showing) our daughters that they are loved unconditionally, and in the same breath we are telling (and showing) them that they can't get their own way.
I struggle and I flail. Especially when it looks like The Gladiator, minus Russell Crowe, up in here.
I'm working on finding that balance of love and grace and discipline and correction.
My wild animals need it--they need all of it.
And I need a glass of wine!
One of the scariest things I've ever had to do was to get through this high ropes course.
I was terrified!
I mean, really terrified.
I felt like I'd lost all control of my body---my legs were shaking, and I think I might have even heard my knees knocking together.
Even though we were told not to, I kept looking down at the ground really, really, really far below.
I started crying.
You see, the way to get through the course wasn't to look down at the ground. (even though I was harnessed in and had a death grip the ropes holding me skyward).
The way to get through the course was to look strait ahead--it steadied my steps and improved my balance.
Hadley walks towards Brynne.
Her arms are full.
She's carrying a green ball and a pink ball.
She gives the pink ball to Brynne.
Hadley looks at me, and signs "share".
They laugh, and run off together.
I'm keeping my eyes strait ahead.
And giving my sidekick, Jesus, a high five.