I have a 4 year old and a 3 year old- 13 months apart- or Irish twins as they’ve been called. ( although i think actual “irish twins” have to be born in the same year) It is only in the last few months that I have felt like it was different than just raising two children. I have done that part before. My oldest two are 19 months apart. There have been trying times, no doubt about it, but they seemed to have trying times at different times and I could focus on that child and work on the consistency and the consequence and the reward that might engage the heart and stop the pattern of sin or help them develop and mature if it is a developmental situation.
The “babies” as I have called them for years are on a war path right now. There are several factors involved. 1) They are both about to turn their next age- I have consistently seen our children ramp up in craziness at certain ages and they are both hitting those kind of milestones. 2) We are moving- I know they can sense the change and are processing it the ways that they know how to do that. 3) There are two of them- They constantly have a partner that can join them in the craziness. 4) They are just 3 and 4- They will do certain things just because they are the age that they are.
I am working to figure out what I can do to help them grow in self-control and tenderness to authority- to help them encourage each other to obedience instead of chaos 🙂 Since we are selling the house, we changed Cord’s room to a play room and he is sleeping with Lucy. Another big change for them to learn how to handle that. In the past few weeks, they have torn up Lucy’s room playing forts (I mean there was white fluff in the air that came from her pillows that had been ripped apart and the mattresses had been moved off the beds). One wrote on the walls in the closet. One opened his second story window and slashed the screen with his toy during nap time (Dangerous!! And I didn’t even know he could open a window!) Both have “painted” with mud two times- One was the playhouse and the other was our brick on our house and have had to be sprayed down with the hose outside and carried to the bathtub. Both have had a splashing war in that same muddy bath that got all over the bathroom (Needless to say that was one tough day!) They have always received a consequence for these things and we have talked through them after that consequence, but I needed more creativity at this season of life.
My book club friends helped me come up with a reward chart to help them focus on two things: 1) Obey and 2) not destroy, but build up! We have been doing this for about 4 days and it is helping (although one of the mud painting events happened yesterday and required removal of one of the stickers that they had received earlier!)
I know this time will pass and they will grow up and learn to choose better. I know that my consistency and prayers are the biggest things for them to achieve that. But there are days when I wonder, is there another secret out there that I don’t know about that I could be using and the growth would be faster? 🙂