Learning from my child

Feb 12

Tonight as I was making dinner heating up leftovers, Greta made some kind of crash-bang-boom noise around the corner, and then came wailing to me.  She flung herself into my knees as I stepped out of the pantry, and I picked her up.  Since I know Drama Wails vs. Real Pain Wails, I was nonplussed.  As she cuddled into me I rubbed her back and said, “Greta you are just having all kinds of problems today, aren’t you?”

As we breathed each other in she sighed pitifully, “Yes, I am having pwobwems (problems).”

I swayed back and forth for a moment, savoring the snuggling.  That’s the thing with Greta: she can make seven seconds the best moment of my day.

Suddenly she sat bolt upright in my arms and began listing all of the injustices that occurred this afternoon with a strong emphasis on the last word of each event.  She said, “I crashed on my knees, I opened the pantry when you said no, you put me in Time Out, I had a fit, Mawen took my wobster (Leapster), and I made messes with my sketti (spaghetti) and the cweam (cream).”

It was a long list and I was impressed with her memory.

She finished with an exasperated sigh, “Mom.  I had wots of pwobwems today.”

As she began to squirm to get down, I said, “Well, Greta, I love you.”

She threw a “Wuv you.” over her shoulder as she bolted off.

Yes Greta.  We’ve got love going for us.  Let’s try again tomorrow on the rest of it.  No fits would be a good place to start.  Specifically, let’s not take forty-two screaming kicking hellfire minutes in Time Out before you say you’re sorry.  I could have done without that “pwobwem” today.   ‘Kay G?


That little scene struck a cord with me.  Today, Greta kicked and screamed and wailed and raged against the injustice she perceived: a time out for not listening to Mommy.  No joke, it was forty-two minutes before she finally muttered “sorry”, and then another eight before she stopped crying.

We were both exhausted.

The whole time I’m sitting there with her, I’m wishing she would just give in.  I ache for her to just settle down, accept her situation, and do her best to move on with a happy heart.

I think I might have less compassion than other mothers of two-year-olds because there are moments when I feel entitled to kick and scream and rage against the injustices that I have been dealt.  But I don’t.  I’ve accepted it and I move on with a happy heart.  It’s my choice, and as I watched Greta rage today, I felt affirmed that I’m making the right choice.  As I watched Greta today, I felt sad for her: it took so much energy to articulate her rage, she was missing out on the joy of an afternoon.  As I watched Greta today, I had a glimpse of how God feels when He looks at us in our situations.

How do we handle it?  Do we rage or do we move on with a happy heart?

I think God has me parenting my strong-willed G so that I can remember my task: Do Today Well.  The joy is there, but it can be missed if I’m not willing to see it.  To rage against my situation is as pointless as Greta’s tantrum today.  So God, I got the message you sent via Greta via tantrum.  I could go without another reminder tomorrow, ‘kay God?

My heart is happy.  Very happy.

Greta is two.  She’ll learn eventually.  I love her will; I know it will serve her well as she grows.

And let’s all pray for no fits tomorrow.  Let’s be relentless joy-seekers tomorrow.


  1. Michelle /

    Very fitting post for me today! I think I was having fits (overwhelmed with work…exciting…but a lot) and problems (dropped a container of toothpicks and stepped in fresh doggie do) too. I do work hard to keep that perspective of “there’s something good in everything”.

    Hoping for a good day for you and G tomorrow. Sleep well!

  2. Lori6NV /

    I love how you can put a positive spin on two year old tantrums! We have many around here, and now I’ll try use them as a reminder to keep perspective on my “pwoblems.” What a sweetie G is.

  3. You, dear one, most definitely don’t have less compassion than other mothers of 2 year olds. What you DO have is the wisdom and grace to choose to center your being in joy and peace….tho it may take a few minutes, perhaps a whole 42 before the peace settles in.

  4. Margaret /

    You are such a wonderful mother Jen. I wish I could have had you advising me when I was bringing up my kids!!!! Actually I did have your Mother giving me some advice. I remember her saying when I was admonishing Rick for something – “Don’t be so hard on that boy!”

  5. The Lord is good,a strong refuge when trouble comes.He is close to those who trust in him.

  6. Bonnie J /

    This IS the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad I it! !! 😉

    Well said Jen :’) love you dearly ♡♡

  7. Have you tried the glitter time out bottle to see if that helps her calm down? You can find many variations on Pintrest, but basically helps the kiddo calm down while watching the glitter swirl and settle. Maybe even drop a heart object inside to remind her to have a happy heart!

    Hopefully you both will have a better day today!

  8. Sorry, Jen…I couldn’t help but smile reading this post. I can so clearly picture that scene. We often spend time with our “little bits” (grandchildren). The girl child is a first class drama queen…she can rival Greta’s crying tantrums…no problem. I love that you were able to outlast her and that you spent so much time later cuddling while listening to her frustrations about her day. I can’t help but wonder if Greta is far more aware of the woes her mum is enduring than you might think. She doesn’t yet have the verbal skills to voice her dismay, so she’s doing exactly what she knows how to do. Keep loving on her. That’s what you both need. God is watching and he/she is smiling 🙂 ♥p

  9. Marsha Vonderwish /

    Thank you- I needed that reminder! And praying for you to have extra strength in the coming days. 🙂

  10. kathy swim /

    Kudos to you that you can follow through with discipline with a 2 year old with all you’re going through! You’ re an amazing parent and person. The world needs more like you Jen. You do today superbly well! I’m sure your daughters will pass on this specialness and add so much to the world!

  11. Marlayne Skeens /

    Happy or Crappy ~ I choose Happy & Greta reminded me I chose wisely grasshopper 🙂 Prayers that in time, Greta’s strong will, will be channeled differently ~ Prayers for You and Your understanding ways ~ I know even the Best of the Best may get weary ~ 🙂