Thursday, July 29, 2010

Wanted: Two Tiger Cages

My household has hit the terrible twos again. Well, I'm not sure we ever left it, but if we did, those days are definitely over. At 21 months, the twins have entered "that phase" of development where I want to lock them in cages way more than I want to kiss their sweet cheeks.

The "No" back talk, the refusing to obey; the fall-out boo-hooing tantrums over anything and everything that doesn't please them, the meddling mischief--we're there.

Thankfully, Wyatt normally tattles when the twins are misbehaving. But not yesterday.

Once mommy was out of sight, they crept to my sewing box (a well-established "no no"), removed the box of 16 thread-filled bobbins, and proceeded to unroll them. When I came down, Emerson's legs were wrapped in a tangle of red, blue, and yellow so that he couldn't free himself on his own.

Exhausted from three long-nights of grading final exams and a week of naughty children, this was the final straw. I swatted hineys and angrily yelled at them to go to their rooms.

Mr. Melodramatic was the only one who fled the scene in tears, wailing in the fake angst I hear each day enough to ignore. As he stomped up the stairs, Ms. Amelia obviously realized she deserved to be punished, so she didn't even bother to purse up her lips in angry defiance before obeying.

I sat on the rug, upset over the incessant disobedience, the waste of thread that's not that cheap anymore, and the time it would take to fix the mess. Wyatt sat down with me as I started to pull a string of navy from the multicolored mat.

After a few minutes of untangling, I gave up and just decided to save as much as I could, not worry about the rest. By then, there was happy laughter from above as the twins played together. Suddenly, there was a loud "plunk" and more crying.

Sprinting upstairs, I discovered they had pulled the drawers out from beneath Emerson's bed (something else I've repeatedly told them not to do) and had tumbled off the mattress and into them.

The blatant disobedience just got to me, and I yelled that their actions were "naughty" and that "Mommy said No. No. No!" Still fuming, I turned on my heel and marched downstairs to find the door stops, having one of those sudden brainstorms that one of those shoved under the casters might keep them from disobeying me again.

Wyatt, though, couldn't believe I was leaving while the twins were still "hurt" from their fall.

"But mommy, they're still crying," he noted.

I knew that cry wasn't real pain. So, I kept walking, and he kept following me.

"But mommy, you have to forgive them!"

Wow. Talk about stop me in my tracks--I guess one of my children is at least listening to some things I'm trying to teach. As I walked, I explained that yes, I had to forgive them, but not now. Right now, there were consequences for their actions.

Since then, I've been thinking about the concept of forgiveness and my children--Wyatt regularly asks me to forgive him, or I offer him my forgiveness when he's been especially naughty. Yet, he's 3 1/2. The twins aren't quite 2 and don't understand that concept yet.

But I do. And from what I see, forgiveness affects me as much as (if not more) than the person or persons I forgive.

I'm wondering if I could just forgive and move forward one incident at a time throughout the day, starting afresh each day-- would that help me deal better with those days when intentional disobedience permeates each hour? Would it help me see them differently?

I don't know the answer. But I'm going to have to figure out something, because I have a long path ahead of me before the twins start disobeying less than 80% of the time...and because I don't know anyone who's giving away tiger cages.


  1. Oh, the picture of a little boy having tied himself up in knots of thread....

    Thinking of you today.

  2. I did have that thought for an instant, then visualized him following me down the hall, dragging bobbins and thread all the way.