Way back when, I had begun a grocery shopping trip when a totally obnoxious toddler came bounding in with his harried parents. He was told to stay in the grocery cart, only to climb out within seconds. His parents then told him to hold onto their hand and that never happened. The little guy provided entertainment to other shoppers as he randomly threw items in their cart. Me, I am embarrassed to say that I shook my head with much judgement. This boy needed some good firm disciplining. At the check out this family was hurriedly packing their groceries and failed to notice that their toddler slipped out the doors as I was exiting. I grabbed the little guy and very firmly grasped his shoulder, the pressure spot that makes your knees fold. In a low voice I forcefully told him to listen to his mom and dad and not to run away again. The boy didn't flinch. I turned around and smiled as I passed him to his parents explaining that he tried to get out of the store and I caught him. They thanked me and off I went, shaking my head once again.
And then.... a few years later we had a boy. A boy that caused me to eat my words and taught me a lesson of humility. From the time of infancy, I had grocery tellers close their lanes and help me pack my groceries just to get me and my screaming bundle out of the store. After a year the screaming stopped and he showed his incredible talent of undoing any latch, lock, or belt that he was strapped into. Since he had no fear, taking a leaping jump out of a cart was totally possible. Buying groceries became sort of nightmarish. I was at a point that I was ready to have the rest of the family starve then bring him into the store with me. Something had to change so I managed to do groceries and other errands around Adam's schedule. We held onto hope that he would outgrow this stage and we could have some fun outings as a family. Fast forward two years and we are still hoping that he will outgrow this stage. A few weeks ago, Adam took him on errands and this little guy with fast feet took off when Adam was paying the cashier. Adam could see the clothes racks moving and knew that he had to move fast to catch him. Soon numerous people were helping Adam and calling our little guy's name. Finally a kind lady caught him and passed him back to Adam. When Adam was relating this story, I said "he could of been kidnapped!" The older boys were quick to respond that whoever kidnapped him, would spend one day with him and then return him...they have had too many of their crafts, legos, and toys broken or stolen.
We have decided that the best thing to do is keep him at home. Adam and I take turns going to social events, bazaars, breakfasts. It just works better. It is sort of like glorified-house arrest. Going to church is manageable, he does well at his cousin's homes, and thankfully we have lots of stop-in company that makes it all very doable. He is most content here at home and that is a good thing.
In the midst of raising him,we have learned many valuable lessons (besides wanting to invent a leash and a muzzle for little boys that take off).
A man from our church who had a difficult child to raise told me to remember two things. God has created him. He knows him and cares for him. And another thought, a terrifying thought, that God saw it best for us to be his parents. God ordained this before creation! As I pondered these two statements, I felt very reassured and hopeful.
Since that conversation I have also realized that God is continually stretching us and making us dependent on Him. That gives Him glory. I have learned that raising this little guy is an opportunity to glorify God. God has humbled me and has given me much empathy for struggling parents. I get it. All of the way.
We are blessed that we have grandparents and great-grandparents who love him and pray for him. Aunts and uncles and friends (especially those who have older children - thank you Christine!) are a huge help to us. Extra eyes are always welcomed!
Our curious, fun-loving guy loves being at home and is content to stay at home (with the exception of taking off to grandma and grandpa's). We stand amazed at the obstacles that he overcomes when he wants something. His determination and creativity will go a long ways some day. Out of all of our children, he has the most tender heart and shows the most remorse when in trouble. That is encouraging. He loves books and can play on his own for hours. In that way we have it really easy with him. He especially loves being with his little brother and tells everyone that his little brother is his friend. He adds a lot of zest to our lives with the mischievous glint in his eyes and his endearing smile.
His colourful character has been carefully crafted by God.
We have some teeth issues going on here!