Wow, two days in a row...now how many days until something becomes a habit?
I've really been trying to get Zachary to understand the world does not revolve around him (it revolves around me!...kidding), but seriously, the quicker a kid knows this, the happier they'll be. I truly believe that. But selfishness is a part of human nature and I think we all struggle with it almost on a daily basis. So although I'm not immune to being selfish, I am the adult here and I need to bestow some wisdom on my little dude.
I keep having to remind myself of Hebrews 12:11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
I believe that doesn't just refer to the disciplinee...but the one handing it down as well. It's just not a fun experience. I will heretofore describe all discipline as "before Ashgrove Pike Incident (API) and after API and I'll tell you why.
Many of you know that life before API was a struggle with tantrums, strong-wills, defiance and such. After API, I have a more compliant, yet still strong personality-filled child.
You see the day of API, we were on our way to Panera Bread in Regency Center to meet up with someone who wanted to buy a spare lens I had for sale. Zachary was demanding to listen to certain music...said please, so then I turned it on. After one song, he said "fast forward it, I don't like this song." I told him that was his only fast forward and that I was not his DJ today (something we struggled with quite often). He said okay and listened to that song...but lo and behold the next song comes on, he doesn't like it, he demands it be changed, I say no and he began to come undone. So I turned it off completely and told him we were not listening to any music. He didn't like that at all and promptly threw the cell phone he was holding at my head. The phone bounced off my head and onto my right foot, which was on the gas. Mind you, we were still in the 55 mph area of Nich. Rd.
We were coming up on Ashgrove Pike and I remained silent, turned on the blinker, turned right and then found the first driveway I could...the long winding one on the left that goes up the beautiful white-columned house. I unbuckled my seat belt, opened the door, got out and then opened the back door. Now up until that point Z was just staring at me wide-eyed wondering if I was going to say or do anything. When he realized I was coming in the backseat for him he literally freaked out screaming, yelling, holding his carseat straps yelling "YOU WILL NOT SPANK ME MOMMY!!" He was literally out of his mind at that point. David had to hold his arms back while I unstrapped him and pulled him out of the car. I still hadn't said a word...and finally I broke my silence. In a calm voice, I told him to put his hands on the backseat of the car. He sat on the door frame and screamed at me some more. I waited for him to finish, then repeated that he needed to turn around and put his hands on the seat.
He kept asking me if it was going to hurt, if I was going to do more than one, and then told me the car was burning his leg...exaggerate much Z? I told him we were staying there as long as it took until he complied. I finally got him to turn around and spanked him twice while he continued to scream...he got back in his seat and cried and cried. I was still calm; I got back in the driver's seat and started back to our original destination. He calmed enough to hear me talk and I told him how dangerous it was to throw things at people, especially in the car...how awful it was to kick my seat and scream in my ears...then he said "okay, I'm sorry, but where we goin?"
So I spoke the truth and here's how it went:
Me: We are going to Panera to meet the sheriff
Z: WHAT? (his eyes were WIDE open)
Me: yep, gotta go meet the sherriff
Z: Are you gonna tell him what I did?
Z: (starting to cry again) Will he ...sniff sniff ...take me to jail.
Me: Well, what you did was pretty serious and dangerous, but I don't think you'll go to jail.
Fast forward to Panera...the sherriff was there...off duty, but IN his patrol car! I could not have planned it more perfectly myself. I went out to his car by myself, sold him the lens, came back in to a transformed 4-year-old...but at the time, I was wondering how long it would last.
I haven't had to spank him since then. Sure we've had a few issues and he still cops an attitude at least every other day. But, for the most part, he's a totally different kid who respects his mommy and all I have to do when he starts to get out of control is give him a look...cock my head a little to the side and stare him down and he'll say "Yes, Ma'am" or if he needs to "I'm sorry, mommy." I've not really had to even raise my voice.
Maybe the API ushered him more quickly into a new stage of maturity that was coming all along, or maybe it truly put the fear of mommy into him...and by fear I don't mean scare...I mean respect. He's been extra loving lately ...telling how awesome his meal is, how wonderful I am, how much he loves me...I'm all over it! I think we really have turned a corner.
One day when I picked him up from school he told me he found a heart rock and he pulled out a rock he found on the playground. It really was a faint heart shape. I took it home and put it on the counter and thought hmm that's cute. But two days ago, Z found it and told me that he got that rock for me and he wanted me to always hold it. I told him I'd put it in my purse so it would always be with me, he seemed okay with that.