I'm not really sure how, but somehow my sweet, albeit somewhat temperamental, little Naomi who we have come to adore as the entertainer of the family, has turned into a full blown terrible two in a manner of a few weeks without me even realizing what was happening. All of a sudden every limit is being tested, every button is being pushed (over and over and over) and every line is being crossed (usually just with one big toe as she slyly watches to see who will notice and what will be the result). One of my good freinds asked the other day if my other girls were this strong willed and I honestly had to say that I couldn't remember if they were or not! How bad is that? I think it's more that Naomi has just taken me by surprise by the severity and quickness of her stubborness and willfullness. If I think about it, I think I remember that Abbey was pretty strong willed in her day (and still is for that matter), but the difference (or at least one of the differences) is that Naomi has an audience (two big sisters) who are usually more than willing to be entertained by her antics. And, maybe a little of what they say about getting more and more lenient as you have more kids is holding true as well. I am doing my best to be consistent with her especially lately, so why do I find myself tickled with her so much more often than I did with the other two? I confess to having a moment of victory today at the table though. Jason will tell you and I will quickly agree that I am usually the parent who gets tickled and has to turn away while he remains stern in order to discipline her. However at lunch today when she hurled a portion of her grilled cheese sandwich across the table in anger (accompanied by a little "hmphh" and arms crossed across her middle), Jason was the one who almost had to leave for laughing while I corrected. This is just one of an endless list of examples lately.
Last week at our house church, there was a table on the bowl in the center of the room with some candy corn on it. I let her have a few pieces along wiht all of the other kids, but then as we continued singing and worshipping, I told her no more candy. She looked at me and walked sideways over to the bowl of candy, eyes on me the whole time, reached out, grabbed a piece and popped it in her mouth. I picked her up, spanked her hand, said again, "no more candy" and set her down. This next time (a few minutes later) she tiptoed over to the candy bowl (again watching me the whole time) and reached in and grabbed a piece. This time however she didn't pop it in her mouth. Instead she held it up to me and pointed at it with the other hand as if to say, "ha ha- gotcha!". I told her to put it back and thankfully she did! A few minutes later, she came crawling in to the worship area (this was all taking place in some friends' living area where we were having church. Naomi is typically kind of in and out between the kids sunday school are and where the adults are worshipping, so each of these incidences was separated by a few minutes, and unfortunately most of the adults were highly entertained by her attempts and her facial expressions). So, the next time she is crawling towards the candy bowl and victory for Mom, she doesn't take any! Instead she crawls up to it, looks at me and points. I shake my head and she sighs but doesn't take any. I'll take minor victories these days! And I wonder why I have a hard time concentrating in worship these days....
Here's another one (also church related). A friend and I were helping lead the kids time at church which means doing a sunday school type lesson for about 8 kids ranging in age from two (Naomi) to 11- a challenge in and of itself. This particular Sunday, things had not gone very well from the start and I had honestly about had it and was praying for the adults to finish soon before things got even more out of hand. So we finally got the kids kind of quiet and we were teaching them to sing the old classic, "seek ye first" as a round. They were actually cooperating which was a good thing and I was thinking how sweet they sounded. About that time, Naomi stands up and makes her way to the center of our little circle and yells at the top of her voice (and quite emphatically), "SHUT UP!!". Oh my word, I was horrified and unfortunately every one present, though possibly a bit shocked, started cracking up. On the way home that night, I was talking to Abbey and Maddie, reminding them to "shut up" is most definitely something that we don't say and wondering where in the world Naomi could have picked that up. Abbey says, "Mom we know not to say that, but you say it to Mia all the time." Oops. Mental note to self, two year olds hear and will repeat everything- why am I forgetting all this important parenting stuff???
Last night when we were eating dinner, Naomi had gotten up from the table without asking and she had done somethign else but at this point it escapes me what it was. Anyway, Jason said something to her and could tell she wasn't to keen on doing whatever it was so he then said, "Naomi do you want a spanking?" (please note that it is not generally our parenting policy to offer this to the kids as an option :)), but anyway that's what he said, and her response was classic. She says, "OK Daddy" with all the pleasantness in the world and walked around to where he was sitting and leaned over with her little rear end pointing right up to him. He gives me this look like what in the world am I supposed to do now?
I can't talk about Naomi's antics as a terrible two without mentioning her ability to utterly and completely destroy Abbey and Maddie's creations. You probably cant' tell much from this picture, but before Naomi entered the picture, the big girls had quite an intricate house built for their polly pockets with all of the accessories neatly organized and arranged quite neatly. Enter Naomi. I found her in this position waving her arms and feet frantically saying, "look Mommy, I make a snow angelcake". Thankfully, Abbey and Maddie were finished playing with this particular polly pocket village so it ended with them cracking up laughing instead of being completely distressed, and everybody helped pitch in to clean up with the "snow angelcake" destroyed.
All in all, we are all very much enjoying the entertaining little person that Naomi is becoming, I just find myself more often than not, wishing that I hadn't forgotten everything about being a mother to a two year old. I feel like I"m having to learn all over again this time around! It's so precious to see Abbey and Maddie participating in the process of shaping Naomi's character and often without meaning to helping to teach her about making her way in the world. They aren't always as patient as they could or need to be, but they both related to her in such unique ways. I love seeing how God uses them all to shape each other. We try and remind them daily how thankful they should be for their sisters and how important it is for them to be examples for each other.