I have prayed earnestly for the day I could write a post like this, and now it's here.
Bennett turned four in early December, and a couple of weeks after that, Michael and I began to notice some pretty big changes in our little buddy. His fit throwing diminished to almost nil, and whenever a tantrum began, a reminder of the consequences could almost always derail it. He suddenly became more interested in helping around the house, making Jasper happy, and became a lot better at cleaning up after himself (less complaining, more efficiency). And all of a sudden, after making a bad choice and doing something wrong, he more often than not began to return to the scene of the crime and say something to the effect of, "Hey, Mom? Remember when I __________ (names his offense)? I'm really, really sorry I did that. I won't do it again." In general, he has mellowed a bit, and his desire to obey and to live in harmony has returned (WaHOOOOO!), as well as now choosing to independently implement all of the training and hard work Michael and I have poured into him for the past four years. PRAISE THE LORD!!
Since he turned two, Bennett has been a tough nut to crack. He's a strong-willed, highly intelligent little booger who knows what he wants, how he wants it, and when he wants it. We love and treasure every part of Bennett's personality and the way God so perfectly knit him together, but there are some aspects of each child that are harder than others. The same things that will one day serve as a child's greatest strengths as an adult, can be their greatest weaknesses when they're not approached with the wisdom of God and good guidance (and these strengths/weaknesses can also lead to a few gray hairs - ha!). We have prayed a LOT over this little boy, many times not knowing what to do next except for the Lord's guidance, so it's fantastic to experience the smoothing out of a lot of the rough edges of toddlerhood that Michael and I have been working on for so long. I must say that diligence and consistency DOES pay off, because for the past two months, we have had a tamer, sweeter, more obedient, more thankful little boy on our hands.
I've heard it from several others, but there really does seem to be something special about turning four. I don't know exactly where all of these changes come from, but it seems to me that he finally decided to mentally shrug his shoulders and say to himself, "Yeah, I guess you guys have been right all along. The way you do things really is the best. I give up; you can be the boss after all."
Wherever his surrender has come from, we are praising the Lord and giving thanks to Him daily for letting us see the sweet, positive, wonderful sides our Bennett James has to offer. It's so nice to not feel discouraged, or doubting our roles as parents, wondering if we were making any kind of difference at all for those two long, hard years. Now we're seeing a pay-off, and things are running much more smoothly in our household (although somebody else is slowly but surely showing signs of creeping up into the Terrible Twos - eek!).
Thanks, my dear sweet first-born, for that two year glimpse of what having a teenager might begin to be like (oy vey!), and thanks even more for moving on to a new, slightly more relaxed stage of life! :) Regardless of whatever stage of life you are in, your daddy and I love you completely, and we praise God for the amazing plans He has in store for you and all He is shaping you to be!