Raising a three-year-old is hand work! At two, they have tantrums, they scream and cry, but then they recover oddly fast. But as a three-year-old, they think "if I just keep doing this longer. If I add in all these new words I'm learning. And, on top of that, if I start to reason, but in a way that confuses the parent, the parent will have no option but to give in to my demands." The three-year-old also begins to understand the term "in charge" to mean whoever is making the demands. So, if he is stating he wants to watch TV, then he is in charge and should watch tv. And if you, by chance, try to say no, then he will proceed to scream and cry and argue for as long as you will hold out.
This, unfortunately, is where my three-year-old failed. He is only just now realizing (at just four-years-old) that I have amazing willpower and I like to be in charge. Always have. So these performances are lost on me. And while listening to crying and screaming a-l-l d-a-y l-o-n-g have slowly made me want to admit myself into the nearest psych ward, I stand firm and tall in my decisions... until my husband comes home. And then I run as far away as possible grasping for solitude.
I actually had a conversation with a friend of mine that I think kids are making me an introvert. Like I got overwhelmed the other day at an event introvert. Like I will sit in my car for 30 minutes and stare into the wall of my garage just to be alone introvert. I am now one step away from wearing a black trench coat and caring a weird duffel bag.
On top of being screamed at all day, my one year old had her own issues. She is demanding, hungry 24/7, and has a personality that is loud. She wants to be held all the time and dreams of dreaming in our bed for all naps and nighttime sleep. She also has been sick for approximately 2 months, 10 days, 3 hours, and 10 minutes. Seriously, I love this girl so much and we have a crazy bond that cracks me up, but she also drives me nuts with her demanding ways. It makes it impossible to discipline well, impossible to teach, and with the lack of sleep going on over here, impossible to function.
One day, it dawned on her that she could take off her clothes. So we now go without clothes.... and I'm kinda nutty about my kids wearing clothes. I just think it needs to be done. So it's 50 degrees outside, she's eating ice cream cake, she's shivering from being so cold, and she's naked. Does she want to put on clothes?? No, she does not. Reason doesn't seem to play a role in her little mind.
So on top of the kids, I joined a friend in a great small business venture called Greener Grass. It is a great business. Melissa is so talented in teaching and creating beautiful things. She teaches sewing classes, craft events, makes amazing products, and I handle the business side. We worked our butts off this year and are so broke it's sad. Welcome to Small Business America! It's totally worth it and, hopefully, soon we'll start seeing a profit. We are just so fortunate to have the support of so many great people. It makes each day exiting!! Seriously. It's such a neat thing to hear praise about something you put your heart and soul into. It's a high for real.
This year, I also began writing grants for a non-profit. I miss the non-profit world and was so grateful for an opportunity to reenter on my timetable. But, man, has it been hard. Balancing deadlines with littles who have no concept took great practice in patience and the support of an amazing husband.
Speaking of the husband, Jeremy struggled through this year right with me. We grew a lot. We had to learn to communicate better, handle each other's stresses, and laugh as much as possible.
Over the summer my car was having some issues that were disturbing me greatly. My car is not old at all and has a ridiculously low number of miles on it. Issues should not be happening with my car. Jeremy decided at this point that he was going to learn all about my car and how to fix these things himself. So he did research and decided the issue had to be X. So late one night, he went outside, to fix X on my car. After about two hours, I got a little worried. By that time, it was dark and from how he explained it to me, the issue was a quick fix. So I casually went outside to see the entire insides of my car on our lawn. I, then, asked, "So was the problem with X??" To which he replied, "Oh... so that was what I was supposed to be checking!" No lie. I couldn't make that up. He had been out there for two hours taking apart my car trying to remember what he was supposed to be fixing. I laughed for days about that. Heck, I still chuckle thinking about it. Obviously, we are sleep deprived and enjoy not being around others at this point in our life. Life with toddlers.....
It's funny looking back at the year. It was so hard, but we made it. The year is over and it ended fast. I quite often tell my friends who are just starting to have kids "your days are going to be so long, but your weeks are going to fly by." It's just so true.
In my first post of the year, I quoted the following from Streams in the Desert:
Through poverty, through wealth, through sickness, through health; at home, abroad, on the land, on the sea; in honor, in dishonor, in perplexity, in joy, in trial, in triumph, in prayer, in temptation—“hitherto hath the Lord helped!”
But the word also points forward. For when a man gets up to a certain mark, and writes “hitherto,” he is not yet at the end; there are still distances to be traversed. More trials, more joys; more temptations, more triumphs; more prayers, more answers; more toils, more strength; more fights, more victories; and then come sickness, old age, disease, death. Is it over now? No! there is more yet—awakening in Jesus’ likeness, thrones, harps, songs, psalms, white raiment the face of Jesus, the society of saints, the glory of God, the fullness of eternity, the infinity of bliss. Oh, be of good courage, believer, and with grateful confidence raise thy “Ebenezer,” for,“He who hath helped thee hitherto Will help thee all thy journey through.” -C. H. SpurgeonHow appropriate was this? If you follow me on Instagram, you know that 10 weeks ago, Jeremy and I lost a baby to an ectopic pregnancy; it was our second pregnancy loss in two years and just really hard. Moments since then have been equally hard. I have cried randomly and needed more time alone to think. But, oh, am I grateful. I am grateful because we have hope in Christ that these moments of suffering do not compare to the moments that await us in heaven.
"No more let sins and sorrows grow
Nor thorns infest the ground
He comes to make
His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found
Far as the curse is found
Far as, far as the curse is found"
- Joy to the World
As you begin celebrating Christmas with your family, may you remember that the story didn't end with Jesus being born in a manger and it didn't end with him dying for us. The ending is still to come.