Grace is such a little beauty. I have to say that I am in love. I cherish my girls! Grace chats so much now. It is precious and often hilarious to listen to the little sentences that come out of her mouth. Usually, I am caught off guard just by the sheer thought of her ‘conversing’ with me…she’s not a baby any more! About a week or so ago it rained steadily for a few days straight. Occasionally, the rain would let up for a while and Grace and I would steal over to Oma and Papa’s house just to get out of our place for a little bit. It was beautiful. Dark gray and blue clouds hung over the blue mountains. There was no rain, but the air was crisp and clean and no haze blocked our view. Grace looked up at the sky and said, “Oh, it’s dark!” I love hearing her little observations. She then looked at me and said, “Momma, we need to turn the lights on!” Pride welled up in my chest. On my face was a huge grin, but inside me was the feeling of laughter and delight welling up like a huge balloon ready to burst. How hilarious that she would make that connection! In fact, she loves being able to reach up and turn on the lights in her room now. She is such a little helper and she will often reach up and turn the lights off for me as I nurse Anya and get her ready for bed. Sweetly, she’ll leave the room, and then turn around and as she closes the door I see her sweet little face peek through and she says, “Shhh…we gotta be quiet…Anya’s sleeping. I’m going to close the door.” I am glad for her help! I love knowing it gives her a strong sense of accomplishment to help me. I remember feeling so proud of myself when I could do things by myself and help my momma and it gives me delight knowing I am boosting her self esteem little by little.
But then there’s discipline. Discipline is DEFINITELY a challenge. Some days her little iron will shows itself. I always give her an opportunity to obey me first before I discipline. Though she knows better (because it’s not nice to take Anya’s toys away or because Anya only wants to follow her around) she still weighs her options and opts for the spank! I find that a spank will change her behavior…but I’ve found a good time out can actually change her mood! There are some mornings where she’ll wake up cranky and whine about this and that. I can only take so much whining. After a fair warning I tell her it’s time for a time out and as I sweep her up in to my arms and trot her off to her room I tell her, “Grace, when you are ready to talk to mommy you can come out.” I then close the door and hold my breath as the tantrum erupts! Volcanic wales, wild protests…toys flying. Then, there is quiet. I peek inside and see her laying quietly on her bed snuggling with her beloved stuffed dog, Auggie Doggie. “Grace, mommy put you here because you were whining and mommy does not appreciate whining! Are you ready to come out and obey?” Grace will reply so sweetly, “yes mommy.” Afterward, she is the happiest little girl. I find it interesting that she almost needs those boundaries to thrive as a child. Children need lots of room to learn and grow but the love of a mother’s boundaries is miraculous. She then goes about playing as if no tantrum ever happened!
My newest area of dicipline is the big girl bed. She slept in her crib fine and never once even attempted to escape. You would think August and I would be content to just leave things as they were. Yet both of us craved to give her a little more ‘big girl’ room. It’s just fun seeing her transition from baby to kid. We removed the front railing to her crib and converted it into a day bed, so to speak. She can now get in and out of bed freely. Only once did she get out of bed and try to play with the sound machine, but after a reprove from Daddy, she was content to stay in bed. That was, until the other night when, of course, I was alone. It was a little after 8pm and I heard some rustling of covers and a light thump. I stopped what I was doing and listened a little closer. Another thump. I opened the door and there was my toddler sitting by her bookshelf pulling books out to read. “I wanna play toys!!” she very innocently said. How could I not giggle, just a little. I picked her up, told her it was time for bed and then put her back under her covers. Door closes. I sit down and get under a blanket myself. Thump. Oh dear. I think to myself. Here we go! I walk back in and find her once again by her little book shelf. This time, and a little more firm, I say, ” Grace baby, it’s time for bed. Go to sleep now. If I have to come back here one more time Grace will get a spank.” I close the door yet again and sit down and get comfy (of course it’s when you’re comfortable!) I hear a little thump and this time a click and Grace opens her door! She was SOOOO cute. Her curly hair hung around her face and her sweet little blue eyes looked up at me with excitement and spontaneity. “I not tired yet.” She said. Let me tell you, I wanted to burst out with laughter. I wanted to just scoop her up in my arms and give her big smooches. Everything in me wanted to give in and just snuggle with her in my bed. But, I remained firm gave her a little pat on her toosh and said “time for bed now little girl.” After putting her in bed that time she did not get back up. I know I needed to be firm because I didn’t want to set a precedent of it being OK to be up late with mommy. Trust me, I was SO tired and ready to go to bed myself. But my heart swelled with love for her. She was adorable and I find it incredibly funny that she would tell me she wasn’t tired. Oh how precious. So, my compliant little girl has only tested the limits one more time. She does very well with her big girl bed and I am proud of her.