My little Jelly Bean is hitting me. This week she has been quite frustrated with me and has decided to whack me for everything that I do wrong in her eyes. I am apparently doing a lot wrong because I have been hit quite a bit.
We have been having minor issues with hitting for a little while, but it has mostly been a little hand swipe when a toy is fought over between sisters or a personal space invasion by the other twin. In both of these cases, although I do not condone hitting, I understand that it is a response to frustration with the situation. That is something that I can understand though I do not want my girls hitting each other of course.
This week, Jelly Bean decided to focus her 21 month old diva issues my way and every time I try to get her to do something that I want, I am reminded that she does not want to that by a swift swipe of both hands and a whine to accompany it. What do I want her to do? Oh, you know, let me change her diaper, wipe off her face after a meal, get dressed. You know, really mean things...
Today, as I was changing her after a nap, she freaked out and decided to bat her arms at me and kick her feet as hard as she can. The second before that she was perfectly fine and I didn't think we were having a rift. Apparently, I was quite wrong. She cried and batted her arms at me, arched her back and got pretty much ticked off. I was baffled because we weren't having any problems whatsoever the moment before that.
Later, I asked her to sit down on the couch and she took one look at me and continued to jump up and down. She purposefully disobeyed me because she kept watching to see my reaction. Well....my reaction wasn't too great. Inside I was upset, so I picked her up and put her in time out.
Now I really don't think that time out is effective for their age group, but I seriously don't know what else to do. She kept trying to get up and I kept sitting her back down. And she got really mad. She threw herself on the floor and went into a tantrum. I tried to ignore it until it went on for awhile and I didn't want Peanut stepping into the line of fire, so I picked Jelly Bean up and her and I sat on the steps until she calmed down.
Through tears and gasps for breath, she looked at me with complete anger and frustration and I lost it. I started to cry myself. I couldn't contain myself at all. I knew that she was upset and I was tired of all the drama. It really affects me to have my children angry with me to the point that she responds by hitting. Sure, I can make decisions that either child may not like and if they are the best choice for them, I can live with the fact that I may be unpopular. But to have my child hit me....it breaks my heart.
I know they are young and it is probably a phase. I don't like this phase. How about a phase where they won't eat broccoli? Or all they want is a certain toy? Or a phase where maybe they are not minding too well, but they are still fun loving?
No hitting. I hate hitting. And my child is hitting me. I love her and Peanut more than my own breath and all I want to do is care for them and protect them and my reward is a tiny hand pushing me away. It destroys me inside.
Certainly I would never do that to someone else. I would never repay someone who cares for me by turning my back on them. Or would I?
Do I do it every day of my life when I don't pray and thank God for all that He has given me in my life? Do I symbolically swipe my hand at my Creator when I choose to not live the life that He wants for me? Am I shaking my fist at Him every time I give in to the world and let outside influences - worry, greed, stress, anger take over who I am?
My Creator loves me. He loves all of His children. He cares for us. He wants to see the best for us. Sometimes He steps in and sometimes He doesn't. But He was willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice so that we could be close to Him by giving up His son. And there are days where I fail to the be best Christian that I can be by batting my hands at the only One that can see me through these days.
How does God respond? Does He throw up His hands and walk away? Does He leave me to fend for myself? Does He stop loving me?
So I need to respond to my Jelly Bean the way that our Lord responds to us when we aren't making the best decisions. Although I may feel pain when she exerts this independent behavior, I need to stay strong in one thing: I will never leave her. I will always love her. When she feels anger or frustration, I will be strong for her. When she needs to be independent, I will pray for the best choices for her. And when she needs me, I will scoop her up and say, "I love you. I love you. I love you."