Saturday, March 1, 2008

monkey see, monkey do

Last night was the third night in a row that Ella and Britten SUCCESSFULLY slept in the same bedroom. We tried it a couple of months ago, and after 2 sleepless nights and very early mornings, we determined that my husband and I the girls weren't quite ready for the transition. I'm amazed at how much children can mature in such a short time, and how this time around, sharing a room just seems a natural progression. It hasn't been without bumps in the road, like any major change, and each night it's taken them over an hour to actually fall asleep. I'm not too worried though, as I know they'll eventually get used to the "newness" of sleeping in the same room and we'll become more efficient with their bedroom routine.

Last night, on one of my countless trips to the bedroom to tell the girls to stop talking, I found Britten sitting Indian-style in Ella's bed, while Ella sat with her sheets pulled up under her chin.

Me: "Ella, what are you doing?"

Ella: "Mommy, you need to leave now. I'm feeding my baby and I need privacy."

Me: "What do you mean, you're feeding your baby?"

Out, from under the covers, pops Julie, Ella's baby doll. "Well, now she's done eating and I need to burp her before we go to sleep." She props her up in her lap and gently starts to pat her back. "Okay," as she lays Julie down beside her, "Now I need to feed my other babies." Even though she had 3 more babies in her bed to feed, I decided to let her to finish her "feedings" before proceeding with bedtime again.

As I walked out the bedroom, I couldn't help but smile to myself. Even though Ella was technically disobeying me by playing with (or feeding) her dolls, she was sitting in bed, with her dolls, following my example. It struck me, as it occasionally does, how much of an impact we have on our children and how they watch our every move. I know I'm far from perfect and make mistakes every single day. What I tend to forget is that my children SEE me make these mistakes. God has given us incredible power as parents:

Deuteronomy 4:9 "Be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after that, so that they can live an abundant life."

Most days, I feel so unworthy of being a mom to Ella, Britten & Chloe. I get overwhelmed, exhausted, frustrated and short-tempered, leaving me feeling guilty by the end of the day, and scared that I'm not becoming the mom that God intended for me to be. In talking to other moms, I am encouraged to know that I am not the only one burdened by this vicious cycle. Where would I be without His grace, His mercy and His unending faithfulness? Falling short, I'm sure. He carries me through each hour, each day, each transition in my life, molding me into the mother that I need to be.

Tonight, as my husband was tucking the girls into their beds, I overheard Ella say, "But Daddy, before I go to bed, I need to feed my babies first." I smiled. I guess this will become a nightly ritual, along with our prayers and our songs to Jesus.


Kristi said...

Oh my word...great minds think alike...I JUST did a post with the exact same title!!! :-)

Congrats, though, on the new sleeping arrangements! I really am so glad that things are going well there! That is great!

And, WOW. I can SO, SO, SO relate to the feelings that you shared. The huge responsibility of being a parent. The reality that our kids DO watch us so much. And, then the reality that I mess up and fail so often as well...and the guilt that comes with that.

I too am so thankful for the grace, mercy, and faithfulness of the Lord to strengthen me and sustain me when I am oh so weak.

Thanks for sharing your heart...and how sweet that little Ella wants to be just like her Mommy. :-)

Tiffany said...

What a little mommy that Ella is. Taking after her mommy already.

I remember when Julia would "feed" her babies too. She'd walk around with her shirt up...which I DIDN'T do, I assure you. Then when the girls came along, she had 2 babies to feed.

Jenny said...

Sweet insight, Amanda! Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

What a delightful, refreshingly honest (I too can get so overwhelmed and go to bed worrying that I a not becoming the mom that God really desires me to be! And it's refreshing to hear others speak of their struggles as well. As well as read how you rely on God and trust Him with your girls even when you are not perfect. Inspiring.) post! I am so glad to hear that sharing a room has been going pretty well for Ella and Britten!!! And, of course, I love the "feeding her baby" before she goes to sleep thing! Do you think HER baby wakes her up 2-3 times a night to eat again, though? Probably not:)