A Southern Parenting Tale: Nightgowns and Butterfly Wings

Sometimes I just want to freeze time. Other times, I can’t wait for the time to pass.

I had this exact conversation with my girlfriend the other day.  Do you ever feel that way?

This was one of those times that I wanted "time" to pass.  Someone at our table didn't want her photo taken.
We both have children ages 7 and 3. She has experience raising girls. I don’t. My son didn’t sleep much when he was 3, but 95 percent of the time he was pretty “happy-go-lucky.” If you plopped him in front of a TV, the chances were pretty good that you wouldn’t hear from him until you turned it off. He also didn’t mind a little help from me, either. In fact, he still likes for me to lay out his clothes.

 With my daughter, it is a different tale, and there is really no rest for the weary. I feel like a servant in “Downton Abbey,” and if I’m not waiting on her, I’m arguing with her.

 Unlike servants, I don’t just say, “As you wish, my lady,” either. She has an independent streak. I do, too.

 She doesn’t like my help on anything, even when she truly needs it. My daughter was an easy baby, but she’s giving me a run for my money during the preschool years. Her stubborn streak drives me crazy and leaves me feeling exasperated.

She has quite a strong personality

 Having an older child, I know this will pass, and things will get somewhat easier as she ages. However, I always know that a new set of issues and challenges always lurks around the next corner, too.

 There is no easy street in parenting. I told my friend that I sometimes can’t wait until my daughter is 5. Not because she will be in school all day, but because she will truly have some independence, and I can actually sit down for 30 minutes and not be bothered. She said she has thought the same thing with her 3-year-old.

 We tire of the pant color battles, the putting on your shoes battles, and the not wanting to rest battles. The more these girls fight rest, the worse it gets. Of course, we forgot that children can be bad at the age of 5, too. But, in our minds, parts of it sure seemed easier than what we are now dealing with at the age of 3.

 That same night after my conversation with my friend, it happened.

 It was God’s little reminder that life is perfect right now. And at that same moment, I felt so guilty for saying earlier that day that I couldn’t wait until my baby becomes 5.

Sweet moments like this fall into the "freeze time" category.

 Right before bed, my daughter put on butterfly wings while wearing her little pink nightgown and flew across the entire house.

 It was magical. She was precious. It was angelic. She is 3 -- an age when little girls truly believe in fairy tales and believe that when they put on butterfly wings that they can really fly.

 Right there, while she wore her nightgown and butterfly wings, I wanted to freeze time and not let her grow up. I just contradicted everything I said earlier in the day. But it was the reminder I needed.

 She is only 3 once in a lifetime. Let’s not rush it!

But with that said, I'm going to need some parenting skills to help me cope with a strong-willed 3-year-old.  My friend, Kim, who has degrees in psychology and education, has written a special blog post for parents on how to use reward charts efficiently.  We will call them the HinesSight "Cliffsnotes".  Remember those?  I don't have time to read a parenting book right now. Bet you don't either.  That post will run on Friday. 

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