I am. Simeon is. ALL.THE.TIME. At least that is how it seems lately. Every time I dare to put him down, I am guaranteed screaming protests. Now granted, he is teething, but this has been going on for months and it seems to be getting worse instead of better. I kept thinking that once he was mobile, he would get past this stage since he would be able to move himself wherever he wanted to go. It didn't help. Although now he is climbing... but I digress.
I have been pleading with God to give Simeon an attitude of contentment and to help him be able to be (just a tiny bit more) independent. I have been starting to get desperate - hoping for improvement but fearful that this might be just who he is (therefore, get used to it). I love him dearly, that has never been a question, but it is exhausting having a little one who is so demanding and cranky. I wouldn't mind if he was contented when I was holding him, but even that has seemed to never happen.
Then God pointed something out to me. I have fallen into the trap that I see so many other moms falling into. We label a child a 'troublemaker' or 'difficult' or 'brat' or 'cranky' or 'demanding' or 'problem child' but in doing so, we tend to create self-fulfilling prophecies. Kids tend to live up to what is expected from them. If we expect a child to be difficult, chances are that we will view our interactions with that child through the 'difficult' lens - thereby skewing our perceptions. The other part of this trap is that by labeling these negative behaviors, we are more tuned into those behaviors and that tends to give us a very negative outlook on our child and our role as moms in general.
Yup, classic splinter-log situation (check Mat.7:3ff). I admit that I have been a little judgmental in the past with moms who are constantly negative about their kids and here I have been doing the exact same thing. Ouch. Nothing like a God check.
So, I have decided to stop telling everyone how cranky and miserable my little guy is and instead focus on the fun stuff. Have I mentioned that my boy has a giggle coupled with a smile that can melt my heart? Have I told you that he looks at me and says "mama" with a big smile - knowing full well that he has just made my day? Have I told you what a daredevil he is? He climbs everything - very well, I might add. Have I told you that he is crawling now? Have I mentioned that he loves to play the piano? Or how about the way he lights up when I come into a room? Yup, I have a great little guy. He is sweet and adventurous and determined and he loves his mommy. Funny thing is, just that little switch in language and determination to stop focusing on the challenges has made for a better last couple of days. I'm not as frustrated with him - instead I am enjoying him for who he is - a treasure and a gift. I have a great kid! Lesson well learned.