There are times when it seems that my kids will just never learn. I teach them and tell them the same things over and over again, sometimes in patiences, other times not so much. Yet, the next day, next hour, or even next five minutes I have to tell them all over again as if they'd never heard it before!
Naptime with Steven has fallen into that category. Steven is a typical three-year-old who doesn't like naptime. Unfortunately, he still needs it - not every day, but at least three or four days a week. Every time I tell him that it is naptime, he bursts into tears letting me know, in no uncertain terms, that he does not want to take a nap.
Steven likes it when I sing to him as I'm putting him down for his nap, but lately his naptime tantrums have gotten so bad that a couple of weeks ago I started telling him I couldn't sing to him any more if he wasn't willing to go to bed cheerfully. Of course, that just broke his poor little heart - not to mention mine! - but I stood firm. I knew I had to break the crying at some point. I had let it go on too long as it was. So, each day I'd tell him it was time for his nap, he would start his crying, and I would remind him that I couldn't sing to him because of his crying.
As naptime approached, I asked Olivia to pull out Steven's clean sheets (it's bed-changing day) so I could make his bed. As I was making his bed, I noticed he asked me a couple of times if it was naptime yet. That's not untypical - he wants to know exactly when his torture is to begin. I told him that it wasn't quite time, so he went back to playing with his cars in his sisters' room. When I finally did tell him naptime had arrived, I braced myself for the tears. Instead, he jumped up, ran to the doorway, and said, "Yes, ma'am!" in the most cheerful little voice. I dropped the pillow I was casing, turned, and just stared at him in shock! Just to reinforce the attitude adjustment, he emphatically - and still very happily - said, "Yes, ma'am!" one more time and then grinned from ear to ear. I scooped him up in a huge bear hug, and he squeezed back as hard as he could. He was so proud of himself! And I was incredibly proud of him! When I put him down, he quickly went to potty without being asked and came right back to the room. We sang together while I gathered his lovies, and then I "flew" him into his bed.
It's moments like these - moments of realizing that months and even years of persistence does pay off - that I feel the most immense joys in parenting. Sometimes it's something as simple as a nap or mealtime victory. Other times it's a huge spiritual mile-marker. Either way, times like these remind me that I am making a difference - I am doing something useful. And, these precious children will be the evidence of that. Thank You, Lord, for confirmations of progress!