The worm garden

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Some days just do now flow well. This was one of those days. More so, one of those evenings. I had to run to the pharmacy after my husband came home from work today. The expectation back at home was to clean up from dinner, work on a little homework and have the kids in the bath so that we could make an easy transition into bed by the time I got home.

I was gone for about 45min. I should have stayed out longer. It is no secret that boys love worms. They love dirt too and water. My boy and his sister love these things and it is my son’s obsession to bring some sort of combination of them into the house. We have had the recreation of a swamp in our living room, complete with snakes and grubs. The bathroom sink has been transformed into a mud pit where secret bucket loads of material from Jonah’s outback digging pit have traveled into the house. This evening, as I returned from picking up my blood pressure medicine (wonder why I need that?), I walked into a house covered in mud and dirt with occasional worms. Muddy footprints tracking from the back door to the living room. Rich black dirt all over my recliner in the living room. An egg crate filled with dirt and worms on the couch. Little muddy hand prints slimmed down the front of the dishwasher and my kitchen table. And the best part? Some sort of water, black dirt, worm pit all over their bedroom.

No momma wants to see this, especially when they trusted that hubby was holding down the fort while she was gone for a bit. But hubby put it down straight when I demanded to know why this had happened under his watch. He simply said, ‘they do these things so fast and although I knew some of it was happening, I choose to walk away and let them play just like you let them do.’ That’s all it took to diffuse most of my frustration toward him because it’s true. You see, the boy acts so fast that you choose to pick your battles with him. Sometimes, we as parents just want a break. If you hear your children playing joyfully and know that they aren’t fighting for just a few moments, you take those few moments to give yourself a break or take that time to pay a few bills or check your facebook. I’m not saying it’s right, I’m just saying that we’ve learned to tune out some of those things that should be listened to!

To add to the frustration of the evening, the kid lost his homework. It’s gone. I had it last night… it’s fallen into that homework abyss that children love to lose things in. So, as they got into the bath to clean off some of that lovely worm dirt, I dove into cleaning up the bedroom. It was worse than I thought. I should have taken a picture! Worms and dirt mashed all over the carpet and their little table. Containers of muddy, wormy water placed all over the room. Mickey’s little wooden doll bed (something to never get wet let alone hold water) was now filled with enough water to house a fish. Yuck!! Are you kidding me?!! My final step after dumping water, confiscating items and wiping off mud, was to vacuum the nasty floor. But the black dirt was too wet to vacuum up. Instead, the rocks got sucked up and the dirt smeared into the carpet! It. Was. Horrible! And my feet and legs hurt so much from a day at work of constant standing that I was nearly in tears. Thanks to our carpet cleaner and my diligent husband the floor got a much needed shampooing and looks much better. We powered through, the kids got their lectures about no mud, dirt or worms in the house again… ever. Yeah right!

And then the kids get out of the bath… because there is broken glass in the bath! Really?! For whatever reason, Jonah brought a glass cup into the bath and Mickey dropped it. I’m surely relieved they didn’t get cut. I’m also thankful that they had the sense to get out instead of trying to pick it up themselves. It’s what happened next that summed up the entire evening. Jonah came out sulking in great hesitancy of telling me what had happened. This is when I know that he is powering though his guilt. Wrestling with the pain of disappointing me and his obligation to tell the truth. This is when I have to put on my pleasant face and push aside my anger and frustration. I have to look past the situation and look into the heart of my child. This is where the learning takes place and where character is built and it’s my duty to provide an atmosphere of acceptance and praise so that my son will choose the right choice instead of hiding in his guilt.

I reassured him that he can tell me the truth about what happened and he did. I accepted his answer, but also aired some frustration and Jonah melted down. He blamed himself and told me that whenever there’s a problem it’s because of him. That he is blamed for every thing that goes wrong at school and because of him and the things he does he has no friends at school. That he wants to have friends in class, but he ruins everything and no one wants to be around him or be his friend. If there is a problem, it is Jonah’s fault. This is the burden my little guy lives with everyday at school and at home. He then told me that because kids don’t want to be around him, he gets angry and hits them. I am both devastated by what he’s telling me and elated that he is processing these thoughts and emotions so clearly! Good job Jonah! You just explained a world of hurt and emotions that you experience daily at home and at school instead of raging and attacking me! Awesome job Jonah.

We can clean up the messes. We will address the issues. In time, they will calm. It is a process. Some days are much more difficult than others. But as my little guy shared with me what was really going on inside of him, I was able to take to heart what was important tonight. There’s no need to hold a grudge and hang the messy, muddy, wormy house mess over his head. We discussed the situation with him. He knows that level of mess is not welcome. He will try it again. That’s just what he does. But he also knows that he can trust his family. That we accept him for whatever he does and that we love him unconditionally. That’s what it’s all about in the end. Growing a child who is accountable to his actions and who can process his emotions and feelings. These are very difficult for Jonah, who has so often muddled though his emotions and lets them fly out with rages rather than words. As he went to bed tonight he was noticeably shaken. Still trying to process everything that had happened this evening as a result of the worm garden. But tomorrow I will try harder to accept my child and take notice of his good choices and give him responsibilities that he can acheive and compliments to help him feel good about himself. And I will go to bed tonight wondering if I’ve done enough and if I’ll be strong enough to keep it up tomorrow.


2 thoughts on “The worm garden

  1. Wow…just…wow. So awesome to see God’s heart in you and your kids. I can’t count how many times I’ve experienced those emotions and struggles with K. Thank you for sharing your heart.

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