As a momma of ten, you’d think I’d have it figured out when it comes to raising kids. There should hardly be a situation we haven’t seen or experienced with kids from 25 to 5! Heaven forbid we should ever figure it out though and own the secret! Can you imagine, knowing exactly how to raise a child and never making a mistake? That would be a best-selling book!
Up until now, we’ve had many things that were similar in the process of raising the children. They all were nursed babies, they all grew up playing outside, they’ve all had pizza crust as their first food (yes, that was a daddy encouraged right-of-passage!) And till now, everyone potty trained quite naturally at two year’s old. But wouldn’t you know it, right at the tail end, is one little one who hasn’t followed the mold. She is truly the youngest, even though she’s a twin, and even though she’s five, the process has not been mastered. The twins have done everything the same. They have always weighed within an ounce of each other, from beginning to now. They like mostly the same foods, they dislike the same foods. They love outdoors, they love animals. One sleeps first, the other sleeps the latest, but always the same amount of sleep. They got their teeth at the same time. But…..one just doesn’t want to poop in the potty. It all started with those automatic flush toilets at stores and rest stops along our travels. The potty training that started off well just hit a brick wall. Now she will “pee” on the potty just fine. But “poop” is a whole other ball game. I’ve never had one of these before!
I was just getting to the end of my rope one day when I heard a Christian family radio program announce that they were doing a Question and Answer session that day. I listened to the first caller, “ I have a 5 year old who won’t poop on the potty.” Oooooooh…..I was listening to every word! Surely, my answer had come! The world would be better tomorrow and there would be no more washing out poopy pants! No more frustration! “Yes…yes…..what should I do?”
The child psychologist that was answering all the questions said, “Well, you’re not going to like what I’m going to say. This is a battle you can not win. NEVER enter a battle you can not win!” Seriously???!! My hope and excitement just dropped like an elevator with no cable. “You’re child is completely in control of this situation. There is no way you can exert control over this function of his body. Don’t make it a battle. He won’t go poop in his pants when he’s 8 years old.” I wanted to scream with my fear of the future…”yes they will!” With the wind escaping my lungs, the realization set in, she’s right. I am trying to control someone else’s bodily function. What was I thinking!?
I thought about Mary, Jesus’ mother. She had the perfect child. But I bet she wasn’t a perfect mother. In fact, I think of the time Jesus was hanging in the temple and she and her family had traveled on for almost a day before they realized he was missing. This was the mother that God himself had chosen for His son!
Luke 2:41-51 Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this?Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”But they did not understand what he was saying to them. Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.
Even the mother of Jesus didn’t have it all figured out. Now my kids aren’t perfect like Jesus and I know I am no special mommy among mommies, like Mary. But what a relief to know I may never figure it all out and that’s ‘ok!’. I may never get it all right. This may be the last of ten, and the first to poop in her pants for what seems like forever, but God didn’t pick out perfect mommies, He picked out real ones, with real frustrations who make real mistakes who function in real life. I’ll have to remind myself, I’m certain, as I’m scrubbing out pants, but at least we will both be less frustrated. I promise I’ll rejoice when this phase ends, but in the meantime…I’m still learning…God can still use me…..one child at a time.