Saturday, May 2, 2015

Tantrums And Collective Nouns

My dear child, when I asked you to go poop on the potty this afternoon, I had no intention of it being a gut-wrenching, heart-breaking, traumatic request.  Really, I promise, I just wanted you to try to poop.  That's all.  Instead, you wailed, sobbed and sniffled.  For an hour.  Or more.  I lost track of time.

Oh, my precious child.  #Facepalm

It's easy for me to forget that my kiddos have complicated and painful pasts.  Really, 98% of the time they are just like any other uncomplicated toddler out there:

We have fussy fits over eating asparagus and giggle fits over mama's tickles.
We get "stuck!  help!" because the box of diapers is resting on our big toe, and we require our pet lion before we can have a good nap.
We would rather wiggle than sit still, would rather eat pancakes for all three meals instead of having a variety, and would rather dig in mama's herb garden than the designated digging spot.

In most ways, my kids are soooooo normal.

But.  I was reminded this afternoon that their pain runs deep.  So incredibly deep.

My child and I were having a wonderful time playing trains, giggling, tickling, and snuggling.  I noticed that their diaper seemed a bit damp, so I changed it and put them on the potty to finish.  With a smile, I instructed them to "go poop!".  This scenario is rehearsed many, many times a day without incident.  However, for whatever reason, my child burst into fussiness.  As with every other fussy incident, the child needs to stop fussing before they get down from the potty/dinner table/chair/whatever.  Again, this is a normal instruction in our home.

An hour of normal two-year-old-tantrum (and God-given patience) later, things shifted.

Suddenly, my child reverted to orphanage behavior, just like they demonstrated when we first got them.  Suddenly, my child was slumped over against the wall wailing and calling out for their previous caregivers.  What the??

I was so surprised because it has been months and months since this behavior was exhibited.  It has been months and months since I have had to take an active, conscious role in healing a broken heart.  Sure, I pray for their hearts and minds all the time.  I pray that God will surround their hearts and minds with His peace and to help them know that they are safe.  Sure, as parents we are conscious and aware of situations that might be a problem.  But, really, going poop was not on my "trauma" radar.

It was a stark reminder to me of how much my kiddos hurt.  As "normal" as they are, and as far as they have come and as well as they have adjusted, there is still pain buried deep.

After the potty incident was resolved, my child fell asleep in my arms as we snuggled under a warm blanket.  Even in their sleep, they continued to cry and sniffle and sob.  Oh, precious child.

I wish pain like that could be healed with time and love.  I suppose in some ways it is and can be, but those scars of a difficult infancy and childhood run deep.  Only God can reverse damage already done.  I trust Him with that and pray that I can faithfully be His instrument of peace and love to my hurting kiddos.

Going poop, however, will still be an instruction.  Sorry, honey.

On a lighter note, I was reflecting on "collective nouns" yesterday while driving.  You know, those groupings like a "leap" of leopards, a "prickle" or porcupines, a "scurry" of squirrels, a "pandemonium" of parrots, a "dissimulation" of ground birds, or a "shrewdness" of apes?  These groupings always make me smile.  Who ever invented them?  What were they smoking at the time??  (And where can I get some?)

Deep in the depths of my mama-thought life, I realized that we, too, have collective nouns in our family:

  • A Wail of Babies
  • A Wiggle of Toddlers (also: An Attitude of Toddlers)
  • A Smear of Poop
  • A Scatter of Oatmeal
  • A Deluge of Almond Milk
  • A Provocation of Big Brothers
  • A Mimic of Little Sisters
  • A Swagger of Jayce
  • A Sparkle of Anya
  • A Chaos of Toys
  • A Vexation of Cats
  • A Frantic of Lysol
  • A Blessed of Parents (occasionally: A Frustration of Parents)
  • An Exhaustion of Mamas
  • A Tickle of Daddies

Most importantly, however, we have:
  • A Family of Ahrens