Brown Sugar has found her voice! For those of you who may not remember, Brown Sugar was only 12lb at a year old when she came home from Liberia. She was incredibly lethargic and compliant. We figured this was her personality but we figured wrong.
She has a very strong personality and she is talking up a storm now-a-days. With those she is comfortable with, she will sit and pretend to carry on a conversation. She loves to mimic every word that you say and is doing quite well at this game. But, along with her new found voice she has also found that she can scream and cry rather loudly.
Our family is not an overly quiet family but if you visited our home you would find that it is probably quieter than most. We have trained all of our other children
to cry quietly and to not whine.
Don't get me wrong here, we know that crying is important. We believe that there are legitimate times to cry but we also believe that this is another area that parents do not realize they can train. For instance, when a child falls we train them, over a period of time, to make their crying reflect the hurt they are feeling. If a child comes in with a broken arm or a serious cut I expect a lot of crying (or no crying at all if they are in shock). But, if they caught themselves in a fall or skinned their knee I expect a few tears. This is a hard area to teach but it is really important. Remember the little boy who cried wolf?
Brown Sugar is learning this lesson rather well. But, when it comes to her personal space or her will being crossed she screams to let the whole world know that she is not happy. This, my friends, is not acceptable in our home. Neither is whining. We try to immediately put our hand over her mouth and give her a firm no. BUT, we also remind our other children, who are usually the offenders, that toddlers do not understand sharing or boundaries at this point. This is training time and in training time we need our older children to help not hinder the process.
I find myself wondering if she is really getting it when I put my hand over her mouth and say firmly, "No screaming". But, I am reminded that children catch on to more of what we say than what we think. And, all training is beneficial even if it seems to be only the parent who is "getting it".
As for whining, whenever she asks for something with a whine we just don't give it to her. We show her how we want her to say it and until she says it the correct way she just does not get whatever it is that she desires. Last night we had one of these "events". Brown Sugar wanted Boo to hold her. She was whining and holding up her arms to Boo. Boo said she would not until she asked the right way. Brown Sugar was just not getting it so I got down on my knees and assisted her in saying the words, "Please up". After about three times and a few tears she finally said it correctly. She was rewarded with a "yeah", many smiles, and a big hug from Mommy and Boo who also picked her up as requested.
I continually remind myself that this is a long journey. This is not just a one time training, we move onto the next item, and in a few years we are done. This is a hard road, a narrow road that is only for the strong, not the weary. But, those on this road realize that the only way to be strong is through the work of the Holy Spirit. It's through God's strength that we are able to continue training our children to His glory.