Convicted by a Toddler

Today was not a good day. I had a bad attitude and I lost control of myself. I woke up late and rushed to get everyone dressed, fed and raced out the door to their swimming classes. I chose to snooze the alarm, check Facebook (uh-huh) after I finally woke up and dilly-dilly-dallied before I looked at the clock and panicked. I had to pump, get the boys fed, changed, and into the car all in 15 minutes! Uhhh no way that was possible! I quickly got up, pumped Titus’ milk, changed him and went to get Micah in his room. Micah was happy and energetic like he always is in the morning, but mommy’s agitated spirit caused his mood to change. I greeted him with a cheerful good morning but followed it up with a “Get up! Let’s go! We gotta go now! Hurry!” I could sense that he felt stressed because he wanted a morning hug but instead he was greeted with mommy’s bad attitude. I told him to hurry up or else he wouldn’t have any breakfast. I had packed his cereal to eat in the car but my empty threat had given him an anxious heart. I carried Titus and the swimming bag to car and yelled, (yes, yelled.) “Micah, I said let’s go! NOW!” in a mean and rude voice. Micah started crying. He started whining as he made his way down the stairs and out to the garage. His cheerful disposition had disappeared. It was replaced with apprehension and distress. He quickly got into the car with tears rolling down his eyes as he whined about wanting his cereal. In my stern and angry voice I told him to sit down and buckle up. The whole time I knew I was struggling and battling my flesh. I tried hard to control my temper but I lost it.

It was silent for a few minutes as we drove away. After a while, Micah quietly and humbly said, “Mama, I’m sorry for crying and whining. I’m sorry God. I had bad attitude.” I was taken aback and convicted. My heart sank. I realized that it wasn’t his fault at all that we were late. It was mine. I woke up late. I was slow. I chose to check Facebook over getting ready sooner. He was actually up earlier than I was and was just waiting for me to come inside his room. (because that’s the rule.) I pulled over, looked up at the rear-view mirror and in a gentle (much gentler) voice, I responded, “Micah, I am sorry. Mama is so sorry for yelling. I was wrong. I shouldn’t have yelled at you at home. I could have asked you nicely to get ready but I shouted at you instead. That was not kind or pleasing to God at all. Will you please forgive me?” He smiled as he looked back at me and said, “It’s okay Mama. I forgive you. Let’s pray and say sorry God.” We prayed together as I asked the Lord to forgive my rude and harsh behavior. I asked Him to teach me how to speak gently and control my temper. Micah quickly added that he was sorry for crying and whining.

My heart was blessed, convicted and touched by the Holy Spirit. My son not only showed humility, he showed me grace and forgiveness. He showed me how to quickly forgive and with a smile. He showed me how to apologize sincerely and how to receive apology graciously. He taught his mama how to turn to God in prayer after I offended our Heavenly Father. God truly touched my heart in a remarkable way today.

As I shared my guilt and shame with my husband, I realized that I am such a recipient of grace and I too need to extend that to my son and others. I admitted that it was my fault because I was late but instead of owning up to it, I blamed Micah for it and rushed him so we can make up for loss time. My sweet husband encouraged me that this was a great reminder for me but also a great example to our son. He graciously said that I showed a great example by apologizing and acknowledging my mistake. I gotta admit, I’m usually the teacher but today, I learned a lesson or two from my toddler and it was good. He showed me how a  humble heart, a gracious smile and a sincere apology can turn an unpleasant morning upside down.

God allowed me to experience Him through my two and a half year old. In the midst of my chaos, I can have peace. IMG_3651

Advertisements

Say Cheese!

‘Tis the season for family reunions! (falalalala lalalala) I love Christmas get togethers with my family! Opening presents around the tree, singing Christmas carols, eating a ton of food, sharing stories and making lasting memories always makes my Christmas special.

As the season approaches, I decided to start familiarizing Micah with all of my family members back in the Philippines…because…. we will be going home for the holidays!!! (yehey!) Nothing beats spending Christmas at home! It will be Micah’s first trip home too.

In order to prevent separation anxiety, I started introducing Micah to our family through pictures. I taped 3-4 pictures of different members of our family on his mirror. Every morning as part of our routine, he would crawl towards the mirror for our short “meet the family” session. I would introduce each person by telling him their names and pointing to their faces. We would go through each picture several times. I noticed that as he started to familiarize himself with the people, he showed more and more interest because he started to recognize their names and associate their faces. As I rotated the pictures, I observed that he would react differently to each set. He would often get more excited with the people he has seen rather than the ones he is “meeting” for the first time. I would always leave one familiar person so that he can always recognize someone. Since I can’t have everyone’s face on our mirror, I decided to have some of them in photo albums. I have several plastic (chewable/waterproof aka saliva proof) photo albums (from Walmart and Amazon) with inserted pictures of the other members of the family. To avoid confusion, I categorized the albums: a grandparents album, an aunties and uncles album and a cousins album.

Image

Here is a picture of my uncle Alan and my cousin Ethan with my Dad and I.

We used to sit and look at the albums together but lately, I have noticed that he would crawl towards his book box and take the photo album and start flipping through the pages independently. The movements of grabbing the album and turning pages are great ways for him to develop his pincer grasp. (developing a child’s pincer grasp is a great preparation for handwriting-Montessori method!) Sometimes he reacts to the familiar faces with excitement, other times he is just mesmerized by the parade of colorful images.  This has quickly become one of his favorite floor time activities!

Image

I’m learning how to flip through the pages!

What you would need:

A small photo album – the type where the photos slide into clear plastic pockets

Image

Here’s my photo book! We got it from Amazon.

4×6 snapshots of  your baby and the people in his life

Image

Micah’s focused on his picture with his Auntie Connie.

Here are some helpful tips:

Image

This is my Lola. Lola means grandma in Tagalog.

1. The photos I chose are of one family member and Micah. This helps him focus on the person instead of getting distracted with several other faces. (One photo per page is the best!)

2. In addition to relatives, you can add photos of your child’s favorite toys, activities, caregivers and pets.

3. I have several albums so we can look through different ones throughout the day without having to switch photos every time. The photos for the mirror are the only ones I rotate.

Image