This morning, post 6:30AM walk to Starbucks, post-breakfast with Ben in the kitchen, post-hour and a half bouncing/rocking/nursing Eden and finally wearing her in a sling to make her sleep, post-calling Ben and asking him to stay out in the world with Silas so as not to wake fitful exhausted Eden, post-shower, post -Tim Keller study about peace, post-talk with Sara about night tantrums, I am sitting here, cross-legged on a dining room chair, wondering how on earth we are supposed to know how to parent.
It's instinctual enough to put crackers in the mouth of a hungry toddler, to nurse, to put little cartoon-eye-rubbing sleepy babies to bed, to gaze at rolls of chub and love the little tiny people who look like us or combinations of some people we love, but how, I ask you, are we supposed to know how to parent? --
to perceive children's root emotional needs, to provide sufficient security, to build a sense of worth and self-esteem into them, to protect their feelings, to instruct and correct their behavior, to make firm boundaries and limits, to teach them, to speak truth to them, to teach them to be learners and observers of the world, to encourage them to follow their own drumbeat while also teaching them the ways of the world, to do what we can to girder them for impending social cruelty, to teach them they are unshakably loved and how to love.
This parenting thing is a tall order...
Today our question is how on earth to handle our 2 1/2 year old throwing mad night tantrums. And I mean MAD night tantrums... They are all about wanting Mommy. Does a 2 1/2 year old always get Mommy when he "needs" her at night and is hysterical because really he is still a baby and this is a phase? Or is it time for us to plow through with tough love and nip a power struggle in the bud? What about his sense of security? What about his being displaced by a baby sister recently? on and on.
And once again there is no manual, just a white flickering screen with a question mark on it, and two pocketfuls of common sense.