Saturday, April 23, 2011

on collecting data

It is of utmost importance that parents gain insight in to each child's temperament.  Observe the children, make note, and attempt to discern what kind of training each child needs.  Are they overly cautious? Overly adventurous?  How do they react to change?  to challenge? to authority?  to praise?  What is the immediate response to a person who catches them in blatant naughtiness?

After much pondering, I decided to perform an experiment on the children to gain answers to that last question.
(side note: The children had been bickering all morning long, I was low on sleep and on coffee, and two of the younger ones had chosen this day to practice their high-pitched screaming.)

Bickering.
They were bickering at the kitchen table over who sits where, who sits by who, who helps what baby, who gets what spoon, and who leads prayer, and who pushes what chair where.  Their howls and whines bounced around the inside of my already sore skull.  A shriek pulled my eyes wide and made me grit my teeth.  Then, a spill, and one more tattle, and one more indignant "Mommy!" screamed in my direction..

I calmly decided it was a perfect time to try my experiment.

"STOOOOOOOOOP FIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHTIIIIIIIINNNNNG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"  The tone and the sound and the mommas-gonna-lose-it expression on my face had the desired result.

Silence.

Then, the opportunity for data collection regarding their psychological makeup.  Behold, the multicolored temperaments that graced my table that day, and the thoughts I read on their faces.

The Instant Repenter- Sinful wretch that I am!  I am not worthy to be a child of this house! If I let fall the tears from these eyes they will never stop flowing! Oh, woe is me!

The Smirker- Yep, momma's gonna lose it.  Oh what fun that will be!  The authority figure has been defeated!  Hm, what shall I do first when there is nobody to rule me any longer?

The Smarter Smirker- Don't laugh.  Look contrite.  Make your eyes big and look very serious.  Don'tlaughdon'tlaughdon'tlaugh.  Hold your breath if you have to.  Do not make eye contact with the smirker.

The terrified-  Oh I see.  This is how my life will end after all.  I didn't think it would happen quite so soon, but alas, so it shall be.

The Sibling Checker- Laugh or cry? Laugh or cry?  What are the others doing?  Oh no, mixed messages!  What do I do?!?! WhatdoIdoooo?


Yet these dear children, molded by the liturgy of sin and grace in our daily lives, spoke with one voice to their frazzled mother as she tucked them in for naps and whispered a sad, "I am sorry for yelling at you like that."

"I forgive you momma." said each one, adding grace upon grace with tiny hugs and kisses.

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