Yesterday morning, I learned a lesson. On patience. On parenting. On nature. On God. On love.
Sometimes, as I'm sure all you parents out there know...especially you stay-at-home mothers, kids can make you want to pull your hair out of your scalp by the handful. That was how I was feeling yesterday morning. I was trying to open the screen door to let a visiting firefly back out. And I couldn't get that stupid door open. What the heck!?! Bug was screaming bloody murder for some reason, of which I wasn't entirely sure. In a huff of frustrated psycho-mom madness, I called my husband to demand, "What the heck did you do to the screen door? And why can't I get it open!?" (Keep in mind the screaming baby in the background. That makes for one dramatic phone call!) Turns out, you can lock a screen door. And the lock is super secret, and sneaky, and highly undetectable.
Then, I worked some sort of magic to settle Bug down. We nursed, we played, we took a shower. After the shower, Bug was in my closet, getting into the bottom drawer of my dresser. The bottom drawer is special. It holds my lotion and smelly sprays and all other kinds of girly stuff. Bug thinks the bottom drawer is his. He pulled out a spray bottle. Tangerine Grapefruit body mist. And he pulled the little plastic lid off. And put it in his mouth.
"No, Bug! You cannot put that in your mouth. It might choke you. Give it to me." I held my hand out to him. He didn't acquiesce. I continued with strained gentleness, "Can mommy please have that?"
Usually, Bug will give me whatever is in his mouth if I ask and hold my hand out...unless he really wants whatever is in his mouth. Apparently, he really wanted the plastic lid. So, I fished it out, replaced it on the bottle, shut the drawer, and we left the closet together.
Bug was not happy. He cried. He bawled. He screamed. He clenched his little fists and flopped around like a fish on the floor. His throat sounded raw as he told me in his own way how he did not want to give up that "toy". I held his tantrum-limp body in my arms. I was getting frustrated. I was getting angry. Why should he get so upset over something so silly!? I plopped down on the couch and started nursing Bug, to stem the torturous cries and save both of our lives.
He nursed through the after-cry hiccups. And patted and rubbed the exposed skin on my chest, my arm, my face. And he closed his eyes. But the screen door was open still, and a nearby cardinal started singing. Loudly. I cringed, and glanced at Bug every time the bird called. I cursed the bird for being so loud. "You're going to keep my baby from sleeping!!! Or you are going to wake him up!!!" I thought angrily.
But Bug continued sleeping. And I was humbled.
The crisp sound of a bird, so beautiful, so pure, did not keep my child awake. What right did I have to scorn the lovely music? My God created this bird, this melody. He created it to bring us joy, comfort, peace. Bug would go to sleep just fine, if I could only be patient and let him relax. Perhaps, he could even fall asleep while enjoying the song of a bird. I closed my eyes and listened. The birds and wind. The distant vehicles. The hum of my comfortable life. The gentle breathing of my child, interrupted occasionally by the staccato of recent tears. He was upset because his "toy" was taken away, he was tired, and his mother was being sharp and angry with him. But he could relax when he was in his mother's loving arms. Calm. Listening to a gift from God. This is love. And I learned a lesson.
[Be sure to check out all the updated links at the bottom of my last post for the carnival, "What Nursing a Toddler Looks Like".]