X You

there are many things i cherish about my elementary school days, but the one that took the cake was the book fair. this magical day meant browsing and making a list of my favorite books, which i then brought home for my parents to peruse before letting me know that yes, i would be bringing money to school and actually purchasing my own books. i mean i was one step away from college i was such a big girl when it all went down. this girl walked tall on that proud magical day.

we are in the midst of a difficult season of parenting and it is hard to see the end of it. our first two cherubs were born two years apart and they are both girls, which apparently means they will try to make each others lives a living hell with all of their might for… well, let’s see…we are about a year and a half into this phase so we’ll go ahead and say indefinitely. their competitiveness is off the charts and the lengths they go to upset one another are downright impressive, but mommy and daddy are perishing with each new day of drama.

i let mc decide which day she wanted to buy her books from the book fair, to which she replied she would like to go to the family night and get books together. so after a very long day we got our clothes on, including socks, shoes, AND coats (i would like some extra credit for these items), and on our way out the door world war three broke out. there were unkind words, there was intense manipulation, and then they began “using their bodies to move or hurt someone else’s body” which is a BIG no no in this house.

i am laboring (and trust me when i tell you that after birthing three children i understand the intensity of this word) to parent them well through this season. while i may be getting it wrong 79% of the time, it is with my best foot forward. i try talking it out. i try getting them each to imagine how they would feel if treated the way they are treating the other. i have tried consequences. what i have seen is that the only way to get through to these tiny humans is to remove a privilege or treat. therefore, because they decided they would rather the other one not be a part of the family, i decided we would no longer go to the book fair.

trust me when i tell you i was looking forward to the book fair as much as they were. books are the magical gift that keeps on giving. books have the ability to transport you to a new world, a new adventure, and enable you to identify with characters through feelings you would have never been able to express. i love nothing more than getting the girls a new book, but they need to know they don’t get a reward for making others feel small.

what followed was truly a sight to behold. oh, that i had recorded the intensity of the next half hour, including but not limited to collapsing bodies, stomping feet, growling, slamming of doors, stomping on stairs, tears, and desperate attempts to redeem the situation. promises were made: clean rooms, eating the food put before them without complaining, and even a solemn oath not to fight for the rest of the day. but sometimes you have to stick with being the bad guy to teach a lesson your kids so desperately need to learn.

later that night, i heard matt say “why is mommy’s name crossed out on your door?”


a few days earlier, MC had cut out pieces of paper with everyone’s name who is in her “classroom” when she plays teacher, and now my name had a stone cold X through it. when asked about it she said she needed to capitalize something. after that didn’t fly, it was that she wanted to make it even prettier on the other side. matt asked if she crossed out my name when she was mad at mommy, to which she responded yes.

there is not a phenomenal message in this post, but simply a note of encouragement. instead of being hurt that i was entirely eliminated from her “classroom”, i was actually at peace. i had done something that she was not a fan of and despite displays of repetitive tantruming, i stuck to my guns.
let’s love our kids enough to have them exit our fan clubs, if it means we’re helping them take steps towards health and kindness in how they treat others.

even if you get a big ol’ “X you”.

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4 Responses to X You

  1. Anonymous says:

    Yes. I’ve heard it said that mom is not a friend, she’s a parent. While this statement makes my heart ache (I always remind my boys we are best best buddies), I believe what they really need more than a friend is a parent and to love them enough to correct them, and hopefully a friendship will come with it. Well done 🙂

  2. Michele says:

    Growling! Oh my. Way to stick to your guns, friend.

  3. Kimberly Jones says:

    Good job, mama! Good job!

  4. sillywhitney says:

    I still remember the first time I ever actually “took books away” from the routine of putting MC to bed. *heartbreak* Not just hers. I remember how sad I was about the whole thing – just like you actually wanted to go to the book fair, you know I would rather read your children a million books. That you are doing this parenting thing 24/7 to not one, not two, but THREE whole human beings…makes me wanna curl up with you and read you stories too.

    Interestingly, I think God’s path for you in this is better than my plan of “hey, fantasy-world time, let’s braid each other’s hair and sip cozy mugs of tea.” Praying for ya! Love ya!

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