Without me knowing, Jessica snapped the above picture of me talking to Elias. As you can tell, the conversation is serious. At least, for one of us.
So far, Jessica and I use the “time-in” method when we need to get Elias’s attention.
It’s like a timeout, except one of us stays with him for the sixty to ninety seconds and talks to him.
The above conversation went something like this…
“Elias, when Mommy and Daddy ask you to sit on your bottom in your rocking chair, we expect you to listen. We don’t want you to get hurt.”
Sometimes he looks at me. Sometimes he watches my eyes blink and then blinks back at me.
“Mommy and Daddy love you. We’re here to help you, Elias.”
Sometimes he looks around and I have to ask him to give me his attention. Sometimes I have to fight back laughter because his facial expressions are priceless.
“You know you’re not allowed to stand up in your rocking chair, don’t you?”
Sometimes he gets mad and swings his hands at me or tries to bite my wrists…
But I don’t leave. I stay with him. I don’t let him bite me. But I stay.
When his time is up, I look at him and say, “Mommy and Daddy love you so much, Elias. And that’s one of the reasons we want you to sit on your bottom in the rocking chair. Because we love you. And nothing will ever change that.”
And then we hug.
I realize Elias doesn’t understand half of what I say to him. But the other half of what I say and do during that time he does understand. And that’s the ‘half’ that matters to me.
As the situations change, I’m sure Jessica and my methods of parenting will change a few times (or many times) throughout Elias’s childhood. But my prayer is that, as we raise Elias, no matter what happens, Jess and I will be flexible, consistent, grace-dependent, hopeful, and love-filled.
But most of all, present.