Friday, October 12, 2012

Patience is not a toddler thing

My latest for GodlyDaddy.com ...

The Lord made Moses and his peeps wait 40 years to enter the Promised Land. Then, after a couple hundred years of serious stiff-necking He let them get whisked off to Babylon for 70 years. So why is it so difficult to get our mini Cooper to sit in his seat and eat dinner for ten minutes without giving in to his whining to play with a monster truck?

Here’s how Cooper ranks the most important events in world history as he sees it:

5. The Declaration of Independence is signed.

4. Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.

3. Nitro Circus does a backflip in the 2011 Monster Jam World Finals.

2. “I peed in the potty!”

1. “Penny’s playing with my trains!”

The priorities of children are refreshingly honest.

My boy knows what he wants and who can give it to him. For a toddler, THIS is the most important 5 minutes of his life. “Yesterday” could be this morning or it could be three months ago, but Cooper must have what he wants. NOW.

Whatever he plays with, he hands it to us. For example, he’ll hand you two monster trucks and say, “Play trucks, play trucks!” And if you say you cannot because you are curing cancer, he will flail around trying to display his temper in a way that won’t lead to a “reset.”

As Sean Bean as Boromir says in Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, “It is a strange fate that we should suffer so much fear and doubt over so small a thing. Such a little thing.” And then Boromir goes crazy and tries to rip the ring from Frodo’s neck, so don’t expect any easy answers from him.

I’m quite sure that my stay-at-home mother, Darling Valerie, is tired of me replying to her frustrations over his temperament by saying, “Hey, he’s just two, what do you expect?”

Since he turns three later this month, I expect she’ll reject the argument that he’s “only three” as well. And when he’s a teen, I very much expect her to roll her eyes when I say, “Of course he’s going to drive his car into a swimming pool on a dare, he’s only 16, what do you expect?!”

Earlier this year we had a case of the Terrible Twos due to a prescription. It’s as if having a fever and taking a new med flipped the switch in his genetic code that turned on the tantrums. Just like that, he’s on the floor of El Mezcal restaurant crying about nothing in particular.

There hasn’t been that much of a spectacle in the middle of a crowd since Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock were forced to fight to the death by an evil alien overlord in one of the more memorable episodes of the original “Star Trek.” Like the Kobiyashi Maru no-win situation, Kirk manages to find a way out.

Alas, for me and Darling Valerie, we have to wait until the children are old enough to know better until we fight our way out.

But in the end it will be worth it and if we do it right it will be a blessing from above. In 2 Peter 3:9 the apostle writes, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

Then again, based on Facebook posts by friends and family with older kids, we’ll be waiting a long, long time for that.

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