Our bedtime routine, now a month into big kid beds, has not improved. If anything, it’s worsened. Particularly since they won’t nap for us on the weekends now (they do it just fine for my nanny of course). Bray and I have somewhat different theories on how to resolve the issue. My theory is throw the little lady and baby back in cribs because at least when we had cribs only the eldest could get out once we put the mattress on the floor. It seems to me this is the only way to preserve our sanity (and get some rest). His theory is to beat them at this game because to revert back to cribs would only show that we’ve lost to them. I think we both have valid points.
Now they can climb over the safety gate that traps them inside their room. This is our last defense. Their door won’t stay shut since we’ve disabled the locks (so they can not, once again, lock themselves into their bedroom), so the fairly indestructible safety gate is what contains them for the two hours or so that they play and jump and destroy their room instead of going to bed. They started escaping this weekend. They help one another over the gate and leave the eldest to get out last because he’s the most capable of escaping on his own. They’ve gotten into serious trouble for this, and both Bray and I have taken turns at being the heavy in response.
Last night, it was nearly 9 p.m. and I was sitting in the comfy chair in the family room cutting and labeling their Easter pics (which we had taken this past weekend) for mailing to family and enjoying a little brainless t.v. with a glass of wine. I was actually fairly immersed in the task at hand and had largely tuned out the mayhem in the other room (I can hear it through the house, but not through the monitor because they’ve destroyed that). But then I heard a little sound that seemed a lot closer to me than their bedroom all the way down the hall. I looked up and saw the baby sitting on the small sofa in the living room, leaned back, legs kicked up, ankles crossed. He looked at me, grinned, and waved.
Smiling defiance. Defiance is not an evil three-headed boil-encrusted monster in our house. It comes in the form of some darn cute toddlers. But it is still defiance, regardless of the preciousness of the exterior package. He had gotten out of bed, despite orders, climbed over the safety gate, despite orders, and run into the room to climb on the couch and enjoy a little late night t.v., despite orders. I couldn’t laugh despite my natural inclination. Because, truly, it was funny. But it also was naked disobedience. And the baby is the absolute worst right now at this tactic. Pulling the most charming adorable tools out of his toddler box and employing them while doing the exact opposite of what he has been expressly instructed/warned/threatened not to do. All to show that he can do exactly what he wants to do all by himself.
His smiling right at me even though he must have known he was going to get into trouble got me thinking. I’m no better than he is sometimes. How many times have I done something directly opposite of what I’ve been explicitly told to do by God? I do it knowingly, but then sometimes I smile at God and say, essentially, “but look what I was able to achieve all on my own. I know this isn’t what you wanted me to do but look at what success I achieved. There couldn’t really be consequences, right? I’ve done this big thing all by myself….”
But there always are consequences. For the baby or for me. And if the disobedient actions are repeated, the consequences become more and more severe. We’ve not figured out the most effective course of discipline for our trio yet, but God’s had a lot more practice. Unless I start acting like an adult instead of a two year old, I’m going to reap consequences that are far more severe than the struggle I have with obedience. Not to mention, following the path God has set out for me only leads to greater joy and fulfillment. He sets rules for the same reasons I do – to keep our kids safe, secure, rested, and growing greater in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man.
I John 2 – My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One….if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.
Jeremiah 7 – I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you. But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward.
Luke 6 – “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”
Galatians 5 – You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you.