Little Bug keeps me on my toes.
For the past few weeks she has started not going to sleep right away at naptime. Naptime is 2pm and after hearing her play in her crib for a while, I would go in her room at 2:15ish and tell her to go to sleep and she would.
Then things escalated from there. The past few days I’ve found myself going in there multiple times from 2-3ish, telling her to go to sleep and taking friends out of her bed if she doesn’t.
Then yesterday, she did the unimaginable – although I have learned to put nothing past this girl!
I put Little Bug down for a nap at my parents’ house and left for the Crisis Pregnancy Center.
At 3pm, after hearing strange sounds, my mom opened Little Bug’s door to find she had climbed out of her crib, turned the lights on, pulled numerous wipes out of the container and made a mess all over the room.
When I got back from the center, I talked to Little Bug about what she had done. We talked about sleep time rules: lay down, close eyes and go to sleep. Then, I talked to her about the danger of climbing out of her crib. (And yes, I realize it is time for a big girl bed. Thanks for your comments yesterday! We have lots of out of town family coming and going during the month of June so I want to wait until things calm down towards the end of June and then we are going for it.)
This morning, while warming Sweet Pea’s bottle, I noticed Little Bug’s light was on in her bedroom. I opened her door and found her sitting in the middle of her room, playing with a toy. She said, “I’m just playing with this.”
I calmly picked her up and told her, “You must stay in your bed until Mommy comes to get you.” I closed the door and left to go feed Sweet Pea and talk to Dave.
But first I prayed that God would give us wisdom on how to handle this because the issue had become more than just needing to adjust nap time or making sure she was good and worn out before laying down for a nap. (Little Bug still needs a nap. When she does not get one, by dinnertime, you can tell.)
A friend had suggested to me that I needed to take something away from her that would be a big deal to her. So I got to thinking. What could be taken away?
Dave and I started talking about this and I threw out the idea of “no TV”. Little Bug watches a 20-30 minute show while I feed Sweet Pea at noon. We didn’t really think that would be effective because the consequence wouldn’t be immediate upon waking up for the day.
Then I thought of “milk time” and as much as I hated to take this away from her, I knew that was the something that would speak to her the loudest that her disobedience is unacceptable.
I could already see the alligator tears that would be pouring from her eyes when she learned she had lost “milk time” and, I also felt like a mean Mommy.
But I knew it was the right thing to do to hopefully solve this issue.
When Sweet Pea was finished with her bottle, I left her in bed with her Daddy and walked to Little Bug’s room.
“Little Bug, what did you do this morning?”
“I climbed out of my crib.”
“Did you choose to obey Mommy?”
The stinker was smiling through this whole conversation. It is one thing to do something wrong and then be sorry for it, but to smile and be proud of the wrong you have done? Help me raise this child, Lord, ‘cause this isn’t something I can do on my own strength!
I started talking about the story of Adam and Eve. I said, “Little Bug, did Adam and Eve obey God?”
She quickly said, “No they did not.”
I asked her, “What happened?”
“I don’t know.” Good answer, kid, since we have only talked about and read this story about a million times since your birth.
So I prompted her, “What did God tell them not to do?”
“Eat the apple.”
“And what did they do, Little Bug?”
“They ate the apple.”
“So did they obey or disobey God?”
“They disobeyed God.”
I then explained to Little Bug that Adam and Eve sinned when they chose to eat the apple and that sin always has consequences. Adam and Eve’s consequence was that they had to leave the garden.
Little Bug looked up at me and asked, “What is my consequence?” The smiling faded. She knew this wasn’t good. Finally.
And then I told her, “You chose to disobey Mommy. That is called sin when you disobey Mommy. Sin always has consequences. Your consequence is that you will not be able to have your milk time this morning.”
And then the buckets of tears fell right on cue as Little Bug realized her choice of disobedience cost her “milk time”.
It was in that moment that I realized something, too.
I felt horrible taking her milk time away but better for her to learn a lesson in sin and their consequences with climbing out of a crib and losing “milk time” at age three, than to learn with something like premarital sex and pregnancy at the age of 16.
Little Bug doesn’t need me to ensure her happiness and pleasures in this life. This morning she needed a mother that was willing to stand in the gap between learning to choose wisely in this life and being left to flounder around without clear boundaries and standards.
And, thank God, the only loss suffered this morning was a cup of milk.
I learned something invaluable too.
These are the moments God is giving me to mold and shape the heart of my little girl so that she will hopefully one day grow up and love our Lord and desire to do what is right and pure. I cannot allow myself to fall prey to the lies out there that would suggest my daughter’s happiness is more important than teaching her that sin has consequences.
No, it is my greatest responsibility and privilege to teach Little Bug, at the age of 3, that sin always has consequences. The choices we make have consequences and while our sins are forgiven because of Christ’s death on the cross, the consequences of our sin live with us forever.
Today was humbling for me because I feel so inadequate for this job of bringing this (stubborn, hard-headed) child up in the Lord! I must just press on and trust that God will continue the work He has already started in the life of this precious child.
And that she will learn these lessons well and only have to lose her cup of milk.