Sunday, March 15, 2009

Skyler's Last Stand

Skyler is in the terrible twos. There is no doubt about it. Conversations are liberally punctuated with, "I don' wike it!" (which I thought would be preferable to "no," but it's getting to where I don' wike it either). Periodically he evaluates his surroundings and settles on something that he approaches with the courage (and foolishness) of Custer's Last Stand. Summoning the strength to rise to his full height (still well below my waist), he will look me in the eye and announce that he will now do this new task "by self."

I first noticed this at my parents' house at Christmas. The best place for Skyler's Pack-n-Play was right next to the bed in the bedroom. However, this meant that he was close enough to the bed to climb out all by himself. This intoxicating power trip had to be repeated over and over, no mattter what consequences he suffered. I thought we had won the battle one night, but when I came in to check on him, I found he had succumbed one more time, but was so tired out he fell asleep halfway through his escape. I had to capture that on film.

Climbing into his booster seat at the table is another such issue. Lifting him into it instead of letting him climb in by himself is seen as the equivalent of swaddling him in a baby blanket. "NOOO! I wan' do it by self!" he shrieks in anguish. He must slide out and then immediately climb in, "by self." Swimming is another such issue. "No, Mommy," he assures me, trying to writhe out of my grasp. "I wan' s'im by self." Climbing into the bathtub? No matter how cold the side of the tub, he MUST slither his own bare bottom over the edge into the water, with no aid from Mommy. Any touch from my hand necessitates a complete exit from the water, both feet planted on the bathroom rug, and then a re-entry into the water "by self."

Bedtime is another common Last Stand. No sooner do I deposit him in his bed, turn out the lights and close the door, than he pops out and dashes across to Seth's bed. "Mommy, Skyer got out of his bed," is a familiar cry from the bedroom. (Seth finds this delightful--himself being the good boy, and Skyler getting disciplined--but that's another battle.) I heave a sigh and return to deposit the flailing child in either his own bed (with a solid spank), or in his Pack-n-Play, amid cries of, "I don' wike it! Wan' s'eep in big boy bed, not baby bed!" Or I see the lights being switched on and off (the light switch was unluckily placed on the wall right above the only place that will work for Skyler's bed).

The other night I heard strange mutterings coming from down the hall long after bedtime. Sure enough, the light was on in the boys' room. I ground my teeth (this was about the fourth time that night) and stomped to the room to open the door. A merry sleeper-clad Skyler was perched on Seth's bed, book in hand, "reading" animatedly to the slumbering Seth, who had apparently signed off long ago.

Well, I know that children inherit their parents' weaknesses, and I'm not going to deny this one. I guess this is how God uses our children to purge out our weaknesses! I see myself in my son's eyes, defying God as He offers His help. "No," I assure Him, assaulting impossible obstacles in my foolish self-confidence. "I wan' do it by self." Overcome sin? Use time wisely all day? Keep from getting irritated? No problem! Surely I can do all of those today, by self.

Or not.

1 comment:

LaVonne Long said...

Well I am starting to already see this behavior in our princess too. She wants to do things herself, and she frantically shakes her head no when I try to do things for her. It is just beginning... Oh no!