We just have to make it past age 3

My Little Bug.

It is hard to adequately describe this girl in words.

At almost 3 years old, I still cannot take my eyes off her or she gets herself into trouble.

I can remember my life as “stay at home mom” dramatically changed once Little Bug started walking. I did not want to completely baby-proof my house because I wanted her to learn about boundaries and limits.

So, we did the necessary baby-proofing to make the house “safe” and then she had four “no-no’s”: the centerpiece on the coffee table, the picture frames on the end tables, the TV and the blinds. All of those things were off limits and she was not allowed to touch them.

And so began my days of training and disciplining my child.

I can remember days where it felt like ALL I did was train her to not touch her no-no’s! I was very consistent and by 18 months or so, she pretty much left those no-no’s alone. She would go through phases where I wondered if my training was doing any good for her and then she would go through phases where she would not test her boundaries at all.

As we are nearing age 3, which I have heard MANY mothers claim is a very hard age, I find myself completely exhausted at the end of the day from training and disciplining Little Bug.

We’ve reached a new level in the past two weeks or so.

Let me give you an example: This morning, I went to lay Sweet Pea down for her nap. Pup was outside and I told Little Bug to not let her in until I got back because I needed to wash her paws before she walked on the new carpet. I asked her if she understood and she said she did.

I am in the middle of changing Sweet Pea’s diaper when I hear the back door open.

I could hardly believe it because this was open defiance! I had just told her to wait until I got back to let Pup in and moments later, she completely disobeys and lets Pup in?!? Really?

Oh, my blood was boiling at this point. I have noticed lately that I allow my frustration to show to Little Bug and that is totally NOT good. I know I need to remain emotionless when discipline her, but oh my goodness, this girl is a tough one.

I walked into the living and asked Little Bug what she did and she told me.

I calmly (by the grace of God) walked over to her, took her hand and we started walking towards my bedroom where the pack n play is. Little Bug asked, “Where are you taking me?”. I told her and then pick her up and put her in the pack n play, turned around and walked out of the bedroom, closing the door behind me.

I needed time to cool my boiling blood and to pray. Little Bug, of course, immediately starts crying because she knows she has disobeyed and she knows the consequence isn’t going to be fun.

I went to the laundry room and decided to get a head start on the vacuuming I had planned to do that day. I vacuumed the living room while praying that God would give me what I need to discipline my child in love so that I can mold her heart to the ways of God.

Less than 10 minutes later, I was ready to go talk to Little Bug.

I got her out of the pack n play and put her on my bed and began talking to her about what she had done.

Little Bug seems to have an attitude of pride when she does wrong, so I told her she can choose the bad choice if she wants, but it is Mommy’s responsibility to give her the consequence of that choice – and the consequence isn’t going to be good.

We talked about the verse in the Bible that says “Children are to obey their parents in the Lord for this right.” She could recite the entire verse to me.

We finished talking and I carried out her consequence.

Later that same day, I was siting in the living room talking to Rebecca, who had just come into town, when I hear pen marks on the furniture.

I immediately said, “Little Bug, where are you?”

Out from behind the chair she comes. I go behind the chair to see the multitude of pen marks with the pen laying on the floor.

My frustration showed on that one because…seriously?? She knows we do not write on furniture!!!! What is she thinking??? And why in the world is she proud of this?

Rebecca told me something days before this incident that I know will forever stick with me as long as I am raising children.

She told me she reminds herself her children are “just sinners who need Jesus” and it is her job to help mold and train them in the ways of the Lord.

When she said that, it totally changed my perspective, because that is so true.

We are all born sinners. We don’t choose to do the right thing naturally. It is in our nature to do the wrong thing, to sin.

Little Bug is a sinner, just like her mama and all of creation.

This girl is going to make me gray in the next decade. Smile She is strong-willed. That is for sure. The things she already comes up with at the age of 2 are astounding. I am going to have to always be on my game with this one.

I want nothing more than to see this girl grow up and put all this energy or whatever you want to call it into something that will glorify God.

The responsibility I feel for helping her achieve this is overwhelming sometimes!

Parenting is not for the weary or faint of heart. I will put my all into molding her heart. I know God is going to use this girl for His glory.

We just have to make it past age 3!

4 thoughts on “We just have to make it past age 3

  1. When you say “carried out her consequence” do you mean that you spank? Or was the time out in the pack and play the consequence?

  2. oh girl you know i can feel your pain. perhaps it’s those May birthdays. hehe! i can say we made it through year 3…and 4 and we’re about to make it through year 5. it does get easier (in some ways) but that strong will stays. one of the things that frustrated me with Miller (and still does at times) is that he seemed more upset about getting in trouble and not about doing wrong. he just hated that he got caught, not that he disappointed me or disobey me. i can say that has gotten better although still not where i want it to be. and he does seem to take less delight in disobeying me.

  3. I was given some advice in my first years as a mother . . . to give instructions in words that say what the child IS supposed to do instead of what they are NOT supposed to do. For example, when one of my 19 mo. olds is screaming, I don’t like that because it hurts my ears. I’ve taught all of my children that screaming is an outside voice. It’s so easy to quickly say “Don’t scream” or “No screaming”. I learned that sometimes the child doen’t actively hear the “don’t” or the “no”. What they mainly hear is the end of the sentence: “scream”. Instead I try to reword my instructions to say: “You CAN use a quiet voice” or “You CAN talk like this . . .” When the twins hit each other, I say “You can love your sister.” or “You can use words when you’re angry”. It takes time to rewire the brain to give positive instruction, though.

    Since Little Bug is going through these new growing-up phases, do you think it may help to revert back to giving simple instructions like we do with toddlers for a while? In other words, tell her that Pup stays outside and that’s it . . . no further explanation about carpet or mud. Maybe she’s so smart that that possibility is interesting to her and she forgets her initial instruction.

    It’s a comfort that you know and write about how hard parenting is. Thank-you for helping me feel that I’m not alone when the times get tough!

  4. I hope for your child that her “consequence” did not include a physical punishment. I have found that time outs are VERY effective when handled properly.

    I know it’s very frustrating when your child doesn’t follow your instructions, especially when they say they understand. But remember she’s learning and that takes time and sometimes a lot more time that you would like. From my experience repitition works wonders.

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