On the way home from a MOPS pajama party, I chatted with a mommy-friend who was following me home. It was late, my children had played hard and well, and now that we were all trapped in the van together, they worked very hard at annoying each other.
I chose to actively ignore them and stay calm while chatting with my friend.
Izzie and Isaac continued to get noisier and noisier. Isaac was singing a song, topping the song on the radio; Isabelle was in a full-on tirade, screaming at the top of her lungs demanding that Isaac stop singing and pleading that I make him stop--at once!
Looking back in my rear view mirror, it looked like Izzie was about to come out of her car seat to throttle her brother. I muted Stephanie, and proceeded to hear Izzie scream: "Mommy! I threw up in the van!!!"
Yep. You can't make this stuff up.
She was so angry at Isaac that she literally made herself vomit.
Thankfully, I was able to remain calm on this one.
I pointed out her physical aches (headache, tummy ache, taste of vomit in her mouth) and I asked her if getting angry like that felt good to her. We talked about how anger can hurt us and it can hurt others. She apologized numerous times and then asked us to forgive her.
In the end, it was a tender moment—learning about the destructive nature of anger first-hand at the age of four must be exhausting. I know it was for me.
Steve tucked the kids in bed, while I humbly took cleaning supplies out to the van to clean up the mess. Afterword, Steve gently pointed out that Izzie had been doing what we have been asking her to do when she's angry: to ask a parent or an adult for help.
I blew it! Here I thought I was being slick by actively ignoring my daughter and maintaining my motherly state of calm.
What I originally thought was a good decision and a life lesson about the destructive nature of anger, actually morphed into the reality that my availability is an essential offensive weapon for my little one.
Lord Jesus, thank you for making a way to boldly enter the throne room; so that whenever I have need, I can call the Father's name and know with assurance that He hears me because of your perfect life, death, and resurrection. As I trust in You--in my oh-so-imperfect life--give me the grace and strength and wisdom to know when intercede on behalf of my children without hovering them and robbing them of a powerful lesson. Amen.