Every morning the boys and I say a prayer out loud together:

“Heavenly Father thank you for this beautiful day for learning and for love. In Jesus’ name, Amen”

That’s it. My hope is that the boys will realize that the world doesn’t revolve around them. That there are other hands that make things happen and that we need to not just BE thankful for those hands but we need to TELL those hands we are thankful for them. In toddler world I have no clue if it resonates but we are gonna keep saying it every day.

There have been giant leaps in our household- Leo swimming without a vest or floaties, Max using 2 word sentences more and more, Leo can (in his own almost legible way) write his name without hand over hand help or a drawn guide, Max is growing (I’m pretty sure his feet grew two sizes over night), Leo is mastering sight words (reading here we come!!!!) and Max is conquering his fear of swimming pools.

At the same time we have had some ugly stuff- Leo overhead throwing a chair at school, Max having a full blown screaming/ stiff body meltdown because he needed to finish a task before he got his blanket back, not eating, throwing, hitting, screaming, pinching, ugly words.

My guess is that all parents have these issues with their toddlers. Always pushing boundaries, my hope is that they don’t have them to the extreme we have them here, I don’t wish that on anyone.

I joke(but I’m really serious) that I could do physical labor all day everyday and I’d be tired but Id pull through it, but the emotional drain of dealing with behaviors from my kids wipes me out. It drains every bit of strength, every bit of positivity, every bit of patience I have. And I really need to work on that.

The good days make me excited for the possibility of new growth and learning and the horrific moments knock me down. I feel like I start to expect too much from my kids and then I am let down when they aren’t up to my expectations and that is so wrong on my part. Yes, I need to have expectations of them, and yes they should be just outside of their reach and comfort zone, but I should not be placing 7 year old expectations on my 4 year old and I feel like that’s what I do when he fails. And when he fails he is crushed and his world ends. You can see it across his face. He is just like his mommy with wearing his emotions out in the open so everyone knows.

In these moments I am learning to back off, to lower my expectations to attainable things and to love my children. More importantly to make sure I TELL them I love them. They need to hear those words out of my mouth more. They need to know that I love them, even after awful behavior, they need to hear that I love them even when they act out in ways that embarrass me and break me down, and hurt my heart. They need to know that I will love them as I teach them these things are not okay, that they will happen but that we can find a better way to tackle the situation. That it doesn’t matter what happens my love for them is for always.

And I don’t TELL them this enough. Because I’m embarrassed. Because my heart hurts. Because I am emotionally drained. Because …. because nothing.

1Peter 4:8 “Above all, love each other deeply,1 because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

“Heavenly Father thank you for this beautiful day for learning and for love. In Jesus’ name, Amen”

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