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[Side note: I wrote this post on a more-whining-than-usual-day and now the last couple days have been great. Ben was out of town for a few days, and I think the girls feel it when he’s gone. I know I do! He’s the cheese to our macaroni, the cream in our coffee, the bacon to our eggs! He balances all our girl-ness out with a little calm, cool, and collected. Anyway, he’s back. Hallelujah! And… the whining (and crying) has calmed. But still. Some days are like this, so I wanted to share.]
Can I be honest for a second?
The amount of whining a toddler can produce is downright amazing.
Please picture any adult you know speaking with a fraction of the whining a toddler does (actually, I’ve interacted with some adults who whine this much). It doesn’t bode well for them.
It seems like it’s either on or off. Either whining & tears all day, or hardly any at all.
So, what do you when your toddler is whining?
Sometimes I want to shout as loud as I can “STOP WHINING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Why are you being such a…. 2 year old?”
Oh wait. She is a 2 year old.
And I am not.
So, I take a deep breath. Set aside my feelings. (Usually say a quick prayer.)
And try to respond without reacting.
Reacting isn’t helpful.
Whether it’s ignoring or time outing or redirecting or bribery, responding > reacting
I am not great at this naturally. If I don’t call out to the good Lord for some in-the-moment wisdom with a sprinkle of grace, I find myself quickly growing very very irritable. Even on my best mom-day, I don’t have a lot of great solutions for dealing with all the whining.
I have all these nice philosophies about not raising entitled children, teaching self-control and patience, but at the end of the day, they’re kids. They’re human. Interesting how you don’t have to teach them to complain, argue, disobey, fight with their siblings, steal each other’s toys, yell “no” at their parents. Oh no, that just comes with the package. But you do have to teach (and model) love, obedience, patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control, putting others first, taking turns, giving generously, and on and on.
It’s not a job for the faint or weary.
It is a job that needs grace. and a whole lot of Holy Spirit.
So, that’s how I’m walking these days.
Lots of prayer.
Lots of forgiveness.
Lots of do-overs.
Lots of grace.
And hopefully less whining (from her and me).
Will you join me? We can do it.
Oh, and on the prayer thing. Yesterday, I asked 4 people for prayer in the later end of a very long day. And I am not joking when I say there was almost an instant turnaround. The rest of the day was enjoyable, peaceful, and fun. And when we made it through dinner and bedtime with no tears or appetite or potty battles, we celebrated with ice cream and playing outside in jammies.
And when there is no miracle turnaround on one of those less-than-lovely days, just put them to bed, eat ice cream without them, and pray over everyone as you fall asleep. There’s always tomorrow.