Monday, April 18, 2011

on pushing chairs around the room

"What are you trying to do?  Can I help you?"

I ask this question in response to the screams I heard from the other room.  First, I heard the sound of moving furniture.  Then a small bang.  Then screams.  Screams of frustration, so I did not run, but I finished what I was doing, took some deep breaths, and then walked into the room to see what was the matter.

My little son had gotten in his mind that he wanted to move the chairs around the dining room.  However, he is not quite old enough to be able to plan ahead very far, nor can he articulate exactly what it is he is trying to do.  He simply goes up to a chair, and uses every inch of his tiny body to make it move.  Soon, it gets stuck on a table leg.  Without wasting time trying to problem-solve, he moves immediately into scream and cry mode.

So, can I help you honey?
"AARRRGGGHHH!!!"  The screams get higher pitched, and he throws himself on the floor.

In my motherly wisdom I see that my old standby tactic ("Do I need to separate you two?") will not work this time.   Perhaps separation from that particular chair would help, but who can separate a child from all uncooperative, inanimate objects?

"Honey, where are you trying to take that?"
He gets up, hits the chair, screams, and falls back on the floor.

I try to redirect him, scoop him up quickly, and sit on the couch,  "You want to read a book?"
He climbs off my lap, runs back to the chair, smacks it again. With screams.

I am getting a bit frustrated now too.
"Honey, what is the big deal? Nobody even asked you  to do that!"
In frustration I take him out of the room, and when the screaming does not stop, I set him in the corner until he calms down.

Nobody even asked you to do that.  The words come out of my mouth, and again  I see my own self in this irrational child. (again God? really? c'mon I thought I had grown up a LITTLE!)

How many times in my day do I get frustrated because I am unable to accomplish things that nobody even asked me to do?

It takes a good deal of wisdom to properly triage all the things on a list.  I have not this wisdom, and so I am often frustrated.  The craft that seemed like a great idea, the laundry I wanted to get done today (NOT tomorrow,) the potty training session I'm not even sure we are ready for, the little things that never get completely finished to the point where I feel CAUGHT UP enough to really have TIME to deal with the childish interruptions....

AARRRGGGHHH!!!
Though I confine my own fit throwing to the inside of my head (on my better days,) I must admit I do relate to my son's frustration over things that seem like nothing to anyone else who might be watching.

God, keep me from the folly of pushing chairs aimlessly around the room today.  
Help me to see what is important! 

Amen.

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