I like to write more than one or twice a week but my toddler is still having mysterious sleep issues. She will be two years old in several days and her sleep cycles should certainly be lengthening. Statistically speaking, most toddlers her age don't actually sleep through the night on a regular basis. But in her case the wake-ups go beyond one or two--at least lately. She has been waking three or four times before midnight, despite a very reasonable bedtime and a reasonable-length nap. After midnight has been the same--three or four wake-ups. I'm feeling like a frustrated zombie. Cold symptoms are about gone, so I don't think that's the issue. I hope nothing is wrong with her! At her physical next week I'll ask questions.
Meantime, there's only time for random lists, not thoughtful posts:
- We pulled the kids from AWANA earlier this week. My stomach is sick about it, as is Peter's. Our other two children who attended, Paul and Mary, haven't said a word about it. I know they will all miss riding in the children's director's car. She has been giving them a ride for several weeks now and is probably upset at our decision, since she is very close to the kids (although she will still see them twice a week for play practice, through Dec. 19th.) I invited her to dinner next week and will try to have her for lunch a couple times per month, to help maintain her relationship with the kids and vice versa.
- Nothing was smooth with AWANA from day one this term--beyond just the poor behavior displayed by the boys in Truth N Training. I so wish we had gone with our first instinct, which was that now didn't seem like a good time. Quitting something feels awful, makes us look awful, and doesn't teach follow through. Being a parent is so hard! We are cautious and conservative parents endeavoring to protect our children's hearts from the world, while they're still developing their Christian worldviews. Cautious and conservative are not very popular. In fact, they're controversial. And they can feel lonely.
- My last thought is this: I'm sad that in this age, one can't count on kids to behave even in a church program. My husband did a one year stint as a Children's Director of a 200-person church and he ran into similar problems. What has happened that in our society, many kids older than 8 or 9 lose sweetness, innocence and respect for their elders? I don't mean in their homes so much, as friction is expected there at times. But kids generally behave better outside the home....or is that no longer true? Is it that our nation is raising angry bullies who direct mob behavior using the fear factor? Are kids afraid to behave, for fear of being bullied and not fitting in? Bullying has become a chronic problem in our nation's schools; I dealt with it even in my first grade classroom. It seems to be a symptom of a societal ill.
- Peter was poked in the ribs by the bully at Truth N Training. That is how it often starts--with some kind of minor annoyance, which, if left unchallenged, graduates into more serious, psyche-damaging interactions. The bully does these small tests to see who will be an easy target. Peter said nothing and just backed away. At eight years old he was among the youngest of the Truth N Training crowd, and he stayed fairly quiet, not getting involved in endless discussions about video games. He was an outsider, wanting to fit in, but not at all costs.
- Even in his sadness, Peter seems to understand that our reasons were important and valid. Although he was uncomfortable at times at AWANA, he enjoyed the PE games, the ride with Erica (the children's director), and the special days (Missions Day, penny parade, Christmas in October for Operation Christmas Child, occasional AWANA store to cash in AWANA incentive dollars). As I cuddled with him at tuck in the other night, he said to me, through his tears, "God is going to bless this in the end somehow, isn't he?" I said that I definitely thought so, and that every time we felt sad about it, we could pray for a second car, which we'd need to get involved in a different midweek program. I will suggest to him also that we should both pray for the troubled boys.
And there's time for random gratitude lists:
- gingerbread man baking is eagerly anticipated around here
- Ann Voskamp's Jesse Tree book, with ornaments and Scriptures for advent
- money to replace very bald front tires just in time for snowy roads
- online friends--thank you, again, for your friendship!
- a snowy yard means no leaves and mud in my house, at least for a time--snow is clean!
- my husband's warm embrace
- a quiet house to type in right now--even Harry the Hamster is somehow quiet
- a glorious God who reveals himself to my children, to me, throughout our days
- Seven-year-old Paul telling Peter that Christians aren't any better than non-Christians--giving me the opportunity to teach that we are chosen not because of any merit, but because of God's grace. Having been saved at thirty-one years old, rather than as a child, I can tell you that most non-Christians are merely blind, not hard-hearted. I was a seeker, but still blind. With the help of a teacher friend, one day I woke up and knew truth and sought more truth. Then along came inner peace and true joy--growing more abundant all these thirteen years. I am blessed knowing that my children don't have to wait until age thirty-one to know God! Our family line is in the process of being blessed beyond measure--forever. I hold that so dear! So undeserved. So beautiful.