Tuesday, April 15, 2008

My love/hate relationship with my firstborn

Luke, if you ever read this some day, I'm sorry for what I'm about to say. Sort of. I know it is a terrible thing for a parent to choose favorites among their children, but at this point in your life I like your sister more. Don't get me wrong, I still love you so much that I would give my life in exchange for yours. But today (and yesterday and probably tomorrow, too) I don't like you very much. I know it seems paradoxical to say that I love you just as fiercely as I dislike you, but at this point in your 3-year-old life it is true.

You frustrate me so much! I feel like you don't even hear me talking anymore, so today I told you that you would serve a timeout every time I ask you to do something and you disobey. I'm not going to give second warnings anymore. You nodded your little head at me like it was the most rational proposition you'd heard all day, but then couldn't understand why you had to have a timeout when you continued to play in the trash can and flipped the lid 3 more times after I told you to stop. It's like you want to see if I'll really do it or how far you can push me before I totally flip out. Just keep pushing, Buddy, you'll see soon enough.

You frustrate me SO MUCH! You understand completely the theory of using the toilet, but you stubbornly refuse to put it into practice. I know you understand because while you were serving your timeout for playing in the trash, you undressed yourself down to your bare little buns and peed all over the office chair. And then the bathroom floor when I made you stand in there. Any time I ask you what you should do when you need to go potty you answer correctly, yet you NEVER DO IT! Is this another one of your tests for me? How do I pass it? Or is it just a game to you? How do I pass Go? Can I please just go straight to jail and let someone else clean up your messes?

YOU FRUSTRATE ME SO MUCH! You seem to understand how your actions have negative consequences because when we lie in your bed at the end of the day and talk about how the day went, you always say you are sorry you made poor choices and that you will try again in the new day tomorrow. But you seem unable to follow through and make those better choices we talk about. I know you are only 3, but seriously - can you not remember from one day to the next how certain actions result in certain consequences? Do I need to make a video for you to watch every morning like Henry did for Lucy?

I hope you understand that because I love you so much I am sticking to my guns. I have lots of hopes for you: that you will make good choices, that you will see how making good choices makes everything so much smoother, that you will make those choices not just to please your mother but out of gratitude to our God who does not give us the punishment we deserve but the grace that is so hard for your mother to give you herself.

And that you will stay dry, just for ONE WHOLE DAY. Please.


MLE said...

WoW! And after being with him for a week, I totally get your frustrations, and I'm feeling for you! However, you are right -- keep loving him. If some of the parents of my students had stuck to their guns when their kids were three -- the world would be a MUCH lovlier place! I'll keep praying for you and that son of yours!

Anne said...

Amen, sister!

What's the big deal with the "terrible two's?" My experience is that ages 3 to 4 suck, to put it mildly. Two? That was easy.

Don't know if it's any consolation, but Gabe is doing a lot of the same stuff. And when Gus was this age? He'd pee during time-outs occasionally, too.

KTP said...


That is a brave and honest letter. I feel the SAME WAY about Kyle and Brady these days. I also do not like myself for the way that I feel when Kyle makes me so angry.

Also? I miss Anne's stories about her boys. They gave me hope.