Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Purple Slurpee!

So, one Wednesday after work but before church, I took Abi (who was three) to Target for a few needed items. (If it's at Target, it automatically qualifies as a "need" for me...heehee) And on the way out, she wanted a Slurpee.

I hesitated, which should have been my first clue.

But, she was so darn cute and had been well-behaved for about 17 hours straight, so I decided to let her get one. I asked which color (because in my world, EVERYTHING is chosen by either colors or textures), and she said purple. Fine and great. She drank the whole small Slurpee and was happy as pig in the sunshine.

We went to church and then went home. I gave her a bath and we tucked her in. Thirty minutes later, she's still awake. An hour later, still awake. I cave in and put her in our bed. Thirty more minutes, she's still awake. An hour later... you get the point.

I get her up and carry her downstairs. She sees a cat outside. We go out and feed it, play with it, name it... We go inside and drink some milk. At some point, I say outloud, "WHAT IS GOING ON?" To which Abi responds, "We're having a girl party!" We color. We watch Blue's Clues (thank God for all night Nick Jr.). We eat a snack. I read three books to her. I finally get her to settle into my lap with a blanket and after rocking and rocking and rocking, she falls asleep. At 2:00 AM.

I carried her back to bed. And just as I am about to fall asleep in MY bed, it hits me like a ton of bricks.


Oh my word. I had let my tiny three year old drink a gazillion ounces of caffeine and her little body was in overload!

I have laughed so many times about that fun, yet frustrating night. And now, I see so much how we repeat this mistake all the time as parents.

We pile expectations on them that they are not capable of meeting, and wonder why they are frustrated and lashing out at us with anger all the time.

We let them run around with whoever they choose, and punish them for their poor attitudes.

We spend more time on our computers and cell phones than we do talking to our kids every evening and then wonder why they don't want to come out of their rooms or go on a family vacation.

We choose the most boring church in the world to take our family to and then wonder why they don't want to go.

Catchin' my drift?

At some point in childhood or adolescence, most kids have a hard time communicating with their parents. Since this is the case, we have to be extra vigilant about observing their behavior and seeing what's REALLY going on behind what's going on. Ask questions. Know when to give advice and when to stay mute. Be constantly aware that they are fighting their own battles every day. Being a kid in 2010 is no small feat. They have real pressures and pulls that are totally foreign to us old-school parents.

So, I pose this question. What's your kid’s purple Slurpee? What's the REAL reason they do what they do? Abi was oblivious to the wiles of the caffeine she ingested. She was just along for the ride. But if we are open, and moms and dads, if we will still our hearts long enough to listen, we'll get our answer.

And then next time, choose something like white cherry or bubble gum flavor. We live and learn. ;-)

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