Sunday night my son was upset at mie and threw a mild fit. You see, Logie is allowed to sleep in our bed, his preferred sleeping location, on the "3rd night". He used to get to sleep in our bed every other night, but when he entered kindergarten we changed the pattern in part to encourage him to sleep in his bed more, in part to allow us more sleep in our bed alone as a couple, and in part to help him expand his number skills using a new pattern. The rule is he has to sleep well in his bed 2 nights in a row then the 3rd night he sleeps in our bed.
This usually works pretty well for us. He's really gotten a whole lot better at going to bed at a good bedtime. It allows all of us to still have a family bed a few nights a week.
This particular Sunday night he was over tired. The time change, a slumber party, a birthday party, playing with his cousins, all of it led to a tired little boy. A tired little boy who insisted even though he KNEW better, that it was already his 3rd night, not his 2nd night as it was.
I fought the battle with him and made him get into bed, reminding him of the rule - he had to go to bed like a good boy if he wanted to sleep in our bed the 3rd night. Thankfully Logie doesn't throw violent fits. He usually doesn't throw his arms around and wiggle on the floor. He usually doesn't even cry. Instead his tongue starts wagging, saying things out of anger. Oh this boy is going to need to learn more and more about taming that tongue - we're working on it.
This Sunday's fit ended with him saying "Mommy, you just want to kill me". (as I was cuddling with him in his bed, we had just finished praying - or actually he may have prayed something along the lines of "help my mommy not want to kill me anymore"). Thankfully my mommy heart has developed a protective little barrier so that this didn't hurt too bad and I took it for what it was - a tired little boy.
The tears in all of it was that I then had to explain to him why saying things like that were so bad. Not only would I never want to kill him. Not only is making him sleep in his bed nothing like trying to kill him. When he says things like that people may think that his mommy and daddy actually are trying to hurt him and he would have to go to foster care. He now knows just what foster care is and though I encouraged him to always feel free to tell the truth, the truth in this case was that mommy was nice to let him sleep in our bed on the 3rd night because little boys like him should be sleeping in his own bed and that making him sleep in his own safe and cozy bed was most definitely not trying to kill him.
I then reminded him that there are some bad mommies and daddies out there that do try and hurt or kill their children. I gave some brief examples about what bad mommies and daddies do - that some of them beat their children, some mommies and daddies throw their babies into the wall, that some mommies have drowned their babies, some of the children have been very hurt and some of the children have died. And it's very important for him to remember that those things do happen and so we shouldn't say that mommy and daddy are trying to kill their children unless they actually are. I didn't go into graphic details that his mind couldn't handle, but he did need to realize what it means to say a lie out of anger.
He knew what he had done wrong. His little heart was broken. He had time to calm down as I was talking to him and get passed his little fit of rage that powered his tongue. He looked at me and in a shaky (half-crying) voice he said "I want to be a really good daddy to my children". His heart was sad for what he said to his mommy, but it was also sad for the children he knows do not have a good home with mommies and daddies who are not good mommies and daddies.
Though I'm glad the reality of foster care is so present in our lives, that we can't ignore it, and that there are benefits from being exposed to some of the travesties of this world, I hate that there has to be truth in what I told him. That some parents are bad. That some children are hurt by the people who are supposed to care for them. I wish he could live in a world where the worst thing for a child to experience really is that they don't get to sleep in their parents beds every night because they have their very own safe and cozy bed in their own room. I wish my son and all of the other children out there didn't have to eventually learn about stranger danger and all of the other pains this world can bring. I want to protect him forever and though I'll do my very best I'm not sure I can protect him from every hurt that may cross his path.
The good news is that we have concrete examples that can turn into teachable moments. I'm grateful for that even though I wish those examples weren't real, that they weren't needed, that this world already lived with perfection daily.
Over the past few days we've heard this song (Slumber - Needtobreathe) several times. I really like the tune, the words, the recording of it all, but even more importantly I love the message. "Wake on up from your slumber, open up your eyes...." We heard it this morning again when we woke up (appropriately) and continued our conversation from the other night.
Mie: Logie - what does that song mean? Why are we supposed to open our eyes?
Logie said something - i don't remember...
Mie: Yes Logie - When someone is hungry we need to not ignore them, we need to try and feed them. When they are hurting, we need to teach them about Jesus and try to heal their pain.
Logie: Maybe if they are hurting we can take them to the doctor?
Mie: Yes, or we could give them a hug if they are sad
Logie: and in Texas that everyone could have enough food to eat.
Yes Logie - we need to open our eyes to the pain of this world and do what we can every day to fix it.