After our firstborn, we kind of thought we had seen it all. Super strong will. Super intense personality. Pushing the boundaries - discipline-wise and also academically.
As an infant he didn't sleep well at night. In fact, he was two years old before he ever slept through the night. The Lord humbled us very quickly with that first experience.
And, because He knows better than we do, God continues to humble us even today.
Until our fifth child, we never had a "runner". You know, those kids that won't stay with their parent out in public? In the blink of an eye they are across the playground, in the middle of the street, or lost in the crowd.
Four kids we have had. Four kids who hold on to the stroller and stick by our side very consistently. I have never had to chase a child down. We haven't had any that run off just for the fun of it. Quite frankly, they have probably been too afraid. They like to stay within at least some of the boundaries placed around them. :)
She runs. She runs without regard to how far away she may get from the rest of the Crew. No fear here. She will now hold on to the stroller only because she wants to be like her older brothers and sisters. Praise the Lord for years of training the older ones to stick together!
Not only does Rachel run, but she shrieks. Yes. I do mean shrieking. This is not merely fussing or crying. At birth she took a few minutes to let out a good cry. We were a bit concerned until we heard it - the loudest newborn cry that graced our ears up to that point. She continues to be loud. I guess it's necessary being the fifth in line. She won't get overlooked around here, that's for certain!
And, that's not all. Rachel runs. Rachel shrieks. And Rachel hits. When she gets angry she raises her hand in readiness to smack the nearest offending object. Sometimes it's Jeremiah's head. Sometimes it's even Daddy or Mommy's arm or leg. No bounds does her temper currently know.
Lastly, Rachel throws. She really does. Upset that Mom gave you water instead of peanut butter? Chuck the cup. Angry that you have to go down for a nap when you would rather build with Duplos? Chuck the nearest block.
She is fiery. She is a fighter. And she is learning that these outbursts are not appropriate ways to express her personality.
We thought we had seen it all. Now the super strong will, intense personality, pushing the boundaries kind of kid is wrapped up in 23 pounds of cuddly Rachel goodness. Although we have learned many valuable lessons with our other children, we are out of our reckoning...again.
You can have a handful of kids. You can think you've seen it all. But friends, you haven't. We haven't. No one has.
Let's be humble. Before you go and judge that mother whose son runs into the parking lot at every opportunity, remember that you haven't seen it all. Your kids just may not be runners. Before you try and explain how easily you potty-trained your daughter, remember that your kid is not your friend's kid. Your child may just have a knack for keeping her pants dry. Before you launch into the best and only way for your neighbor's child to sleep through the night, preface it by saying this is just what worked for you. It may not work for someone else.
Kids come in all shapes and sizes. Their temperaments vary greatly even within the same family unit. Their personalities, individual bents, and quirks are not duplicated in any other little person. If you're like me, maybe it takes having several different children to really get this - not just to say it, but to really know it. But if you're wiser than I am, which you probably are, learn it now.
All shapes. All sizes. One amazing Creator. And a bunch of perplexed parents. I guess we're in need of grace because there's no way we're going to find a formula with this kind of mess!