Raising a girl has been different than raising the boys but I've had a hard time figuring out if it is just because I'm home full-time now and was working full-time then, or if it is really because females are inherently different than males. I suppose, 20 years from now, I'll have a more definitive answer, but for now I'm muddling through.
Yesterday, Laura and I were home alone. Don and my Dad were checking out my Mother-In-Laws house to be sure nothing needed fixed as a result of the accident (it didn't), and the boys were off playing with friends. I was busy being domestic, making lunches for Don and Matthew, baking cookies to pack in them, doing the dinner dishes, and so on, so Laura was left without a playmate. She spent some time watching "Princesses" on video and then obviously needed more stimulation.
As I headed outside to the garage for one of my many runs to the frig or freezer for ingredients, I happened to see the security stick we use in the kitchen slider being raised in the air. I said "Laura, put that back." and bent down to get something out of the frig. When I stood back up, I saw a blur of pink rush from the kitchen in to the family room. I knew she was up to something. And it couldn't be good.
To her credit, she was stationed at the far end of the family room, stick in hand, waiting for my reaction. She KNEW she was in trouble and was ready to face it. I calmly told her to put the stick away. Her response: "No". I repeated my request. Her response remained the same. I started to count. She knows she's got to three to finish complying. At 'two' she stomped the stick on the ground and said "NO". By the time I was at 'three' she'd thrown the stick on the ground. I made her pick it up, we walked together to return it, and then I pulled out a chair, pushed it facing a corner, and put her in timeout. Her cries were nothing short of hysteria. Her tears and screams seemed to say "if Daddy were home this wouldn't have happened" and "how dare you?". And it went on for, what in a three year old realm, was a good, long time.
Finally, she got very quiet. I looked over at her and had to stop the smile. She had gotten down from the chair and was quietly pushing it back to the table. I quickly smothered the laugh, put on the firm face, and took the chair and my daughter back to where they started and walked away. After the hysteria settled down once again, I asked her if she was ready to act nice now. She said she was so I knelt down and asked her if she had something to say to me. She said "I sawry, Mommy." We hugged, I told her I loved her very much and wanted her to learn that listening was very important and let her down to put her chair away. She had a wonderful rest of the evening playing nicely.
I don't remember many tantrums from the boys but there must have been some issues because I remember the first time I brought "1, 2, 3, Magic" in to the house. Matthew spent quite awhile in timeout that night but honestly, that was really all he needed. For years after that, all the boys required was a reminder. When teenage hormones hit, we moved from the simple to the more complex "you are in charge of your emotions and your response even if you can't control your hormone surges" thing, but it is really not the constant struggle our culture today would have us believe. However, it isn't the simplistic, 'I want to please you' thing it use to be either.
When did that change? Is it a male vs. female thing? Is it the influence of our culture that causes this? Why do we allow our culture to diminish the influence of sin so much? When did we, as a country, begin to allow the worldly views to overcome our sense of right and wrong? I'm not sure what the answer to all of that is, but I know that daily I pray protection over my children and guidance in leading them to become strong spiritual leaders in their future homes.
We are doing our best to grow them in the Lord. In today's culture that is totally against what everyone else says. While we sometimes feel it is an uphill battle, we know we are really having a much easier time than most at the moment. The boys are beginning to understand they have responsibilities for their choices and that they can make different choices than everyone else. I'm hoping that by the time Laura gets there, she's grounded enough that we can avoid some of this. And yes, I do live somewhat in my own little world. After all, I'm a stay at home Mom. I get to mold my household any way I desire. And frankly, I like my current reality. If it doesn't fit with yours, don't tell me. I am not sure I want to know. After all, my version of reality comes out quite rosy in the end. Hmmm... perhaps I'm finally fitting in to those glasses my parents used to wear. Or is it that rosy outlooks are inherited? I guess we'll find out soon enough!