Friday, November 2, 2012

In the Space Between

The last few weeks with Lizzy have been hard. I can pretty much sum up all of it with this one story from last night--it was about 8pm and Justin was still at work. Lizzy and I were reading books in the living room, and I got up to use the bathroom. While I was in the bathroom, Lizzy yelled through the door that she was going to go play with a toy that had been left on our bed earlier that day, and I said that was fine.

Only, she wasn't playing with the toy. She had taken not one, but two step stools into our bathroom, stacked them on top of each other, and gotten into the high shelf on the bathroom where I keep the fingernail polish. And then painted her entire right hand. All in literally two minutes while I was in the bathroom.

It about sent me over the edge because (a) she waited until she KNEW I was busy doing something else (b) she created a freaking COVER STORY for clearly she knew she was doing something naughty, (c) she LAUGHED when she got in trouble, and (d) I felt like a crappy parent for not even considering that she could either reach the shelf or accomplish all of this while I was in the bathroom for two minutes.  And that's how our past few weeks have been, which I'm sure are made even more difficult by the fact that I'm just very pregnant and very tired. I told Justin last night that she's either so sweet and kind, or an absolute hellion. There's no in between right now, and it's hard.


Lizzy's on her fourth outfit change this morning. First, there was the "singing outfit". Then there was the "comfy outfit". Then there was another "comfy outfit" because she spilled water on the last one. Then there was the "dancing outfit". The outfit changes drive me nuts, but it just wasn't a battle that I felt like fighting this morning. Anyway, I was editing photos while she was watching TV, and looked over at her with her messy hair, fancy party dress, and her "baby sister" (not a baby doll, mind you), and for a minute or two, I could see into the space between the defiance and the testing and the temper tantrums. And I grabbed the camera despite the messy house in the background and the poor lighting, because Lord knows that right now? I am clinging to those spaces between.

IMG_5900 IMG_5903 IMG_5904 IMG_5906 IMG_5911 IMG_5925 

I laughed when I read a quote from C.S. Lewis describing having two young boys visiting his home in the following letter: 

My brother and I have just had the experience of an American lady to stay with us accompanied by her two sons, aged 9 1/2 and 8. Whew! Lovely creatures — couldn’t meet nicer children — but the pace! I realize have never respected young married people enough and never dreamed of the Sabbath calm which descends on the house when the little cyclones have gone to bed and all the grown-ups fling themselves into chairs and the silence of exhaustion.

December 26, 1953 [Letters, 3:396]

It's a season. Or a tunnel. Any of the metaphors work--but what's important is the reminder that it isn't permanent. And it's in the spaces between the madness that the most glorious moments of pure joy...or "Sabbath calm" can be found in the midst of the "little cyclones". I am so thankful!


  1. She's a cutie- I think she's just at that age where she's testing all her boundaries (or else she's starting REALLY early preparing you for when she's a teenager- ha). Glad you could find the space between, and get some super cute photos to boot. :)

  2. I'm in love with that quote! Great post, Mere. Lizzy has SUCH a little personality. I admire you for being so patient with her. You are a great mom!!

  3. I hope it gets better. I know how frustrating it can be when they do things on purpose. We had a lipstick incident with Landon when he was younger.

  4. oh man, those trying moments are so tough. But as you said, it's those spaces in between that help us regain our composure and realize how wonderful our children are :) Love the pics, she really is a sweet, beautiful girl!

  5. LOVE that quote!! You are doing a great job. To EVERYTHING there is a season. :) I know it doesn't make it easier, but knowing that someday the toddler-isms will be behind us gives me hope.

  6. Love that quote, too! Hang in there - I'm a firm believer that things like the nail polish incident aren't really preventable unless you don't take your eyes off your child, ever. Which let's be honest, is that even possible? :) So give yourself a break - now you know she can get to the top shelf, so you can try to prevent it from happening again. Good luck these next two weeks!

  7. I just love this post so much...I feel the same way about my 3 yr old daughter! Thanks for sharing. The quote is great too!

  8. Love that quote too. I swear, 2 1/2-3 almost killed me, lol. It's a rough, rough, age. I"m hoping he got it all out of his system early since i hear 3 is worse. Those moments are hard but it's those little moments in between that make it worth it and keep you sane :)

  9. It's amazing how they can be so adorable one moment and then scheming little terrors the next. I do apologize because I giggled at your story. What a little smartie to have cover story to her wanting to paint her nails. She think of all the great qualities she will have later in life by being so smart now:)

    My daughter is the same age as Lizzy and I was at the grocery store a couple weeks ago and she was throwing a fit because she wanted to push the cart through the produce section. I told her I could help or she could sit in the cart. She liked neither of these options and began yelling/screaming at me. I just stood there and waited till she was finished and this little old man came up to me and asked if she was 2. When I said she was, he said, "I figured. Her independence will work well for her when she's an adult. But I had 3 daughters and couldn't control one of them!" Wise words from the grocery store.

  10. I love that - little cyclones. It is all I have in me some days to make it to the sabbath part of the day - if I get there with both sleeping. Thinking of you and your littlest one - soon to be here. (or maybe already?)

  11. I literally JUST sat down to write a post about how I FEEL this SAME WAY. My kids have been insane-- totally unpredictable, falling apart for no reason-- it's been terrible. I feel like a failure.

    But yes-- it's just a season!


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