For most people, it seems like it’s the second child who is THAT kid. The wild one, the one for whom you have to create the rules, the one who is causing you to run wildly all over the place while your friends sit and sip coffee and their obedient children give you the side-eye.
For me, it wasn’t. My second child was an awful baby. He was lactose intolerant, wanted to be held nonstop, and didn’t sleep through the night until he was 15 months. But then he became the easiest toddler in the world. At 4 1/2, he is still quiet, focused, brilliant, and altogether pretty easy to parent.
But then we had a third.
And my Joshua is THAT kid.
See above: while waiting for his brother and sister to be done at the dentist’s office, Joshua grabbed a Sesame Street book and climbed into a stranger’s lap and insisted said stranger read him the book. (Note: the stranger obliged, for which I am very grateful.)
I’m pretty sure Joshua exited the womb with a sneaky grin on his face. He has always been giggly and finds everything hilarious. At 2, he makes silly voices and tries to trick Mommy and Daddy by hiding behind doors.
It’s not all fun and games, of course. He also runs away in parking lots, refuses to obey any and all rules, swings from stair rails, and I live in fear that he will break all his bones or bust his head open on a daily basis.
So what do you do when your kid is THAT kid? When people give you funny looks because you’re nonchalantly watching at your child runs laps in a public place or dives from chairs onto your lap 36 times or is singing loudly at the grocery store?
You take deep breaths. You try to keep him safe while letting him have free reign and make his own mistakes. You remember that he belongs to God and not to you.
You make peace with the fact that most parents see the inside of the ER with their child. You figure out what is a big deal and what is not. And you pray. And pray and pray and PRAY.
Most of all, you try not to worry about what other people think. It’s what God thinks that matters. So others may think I need to discipline more/less, structure more/less, school him, unschool him, go back to work, work less … but I have to keep my mind on what God has for him and our family.
I pray that one day my sweet Joshua will aim that joy to rejoicing in Jesus.