Little Brother is three…and we all know that being three comes with its highs and lows. Highs being that he is becoming more independent, says the cutest things, and we get to see his personality emerge a little more every day. The lows are the tantrums and fits. Little Brother can occasionally (although thankfully not too terribly often) throw a fit with the best of them. His fits typically don’t include kicking and screaming, but rather incessant whining and crying.
When he throws such a fit, I normally ask him (as calmly as I can…although sometimes it comes out not all that calmly) to either stop whining and crying or go to his room. This is when he typically responds, in a still whining and crying voice:
“But Mommy, my mouth won’t let me.”
(But it really sounds like this in his adorable, whiney, little 3-year old voice: But Mooooooooooooommmy, my mouf won’t wet meeeeeeeeeeee.”)
The first time I heard him say this, I wanted to burst out laughing (although I held my composure, thankyouverymuch). The idea sounds kind of ridiculous. He is in control of his mouth, not the other way around, and he can make himself stop.
But when I really started to think about what he was actually trying to say to me, I understood and even empathized.
When he tells me that his mouth won’t let him stop throwing a fit, my son is really saying to me:
“I don’t have enough self-control to stop this thing.”
“I don’t have the right coping mechanisms yet to know how to handle my disappointment in a more mature manner.”
“I just can’t do it on my own, I need someone to help me.”
Hmmmm…these statements sound oddly familiar to things I have said within the last five years of parenting these two precious blessings (either to myself or a trusted confidant).
What is wrong with me? Why can’t I have enough self-control to wake up before my kids or keep myself from yelling at them? Or not set a bad example in my habits (Dr. Pepper, exercising, selfishness…the list goes on).
Why did I just say that? I can’t believe I just said that!
I just don’t feel mature enough as a mom to handle this.
Lord, I can’t do it on my own. I need YOU to help me!
As it turns out, my three-year old and I aren’t all that different. Sure, I don’t typically whine and cry and throw a fit when I don’t get my way (although sometimes I do), but we both have the same feelings of not having the self-control necessary to handle certain situations and needing some help…whether it is from a parent or our Heavenly Father.
I smile a little bit to myself now when he says this phrase, because I want to say, “I understand, baby, I feel that way too. Let’s figure it out together. You ask me for help and I’ll ask God.”