As a young mother, I must confess that I was very naive, and I guess sometimes I still am, but so much worse then! I really thought that these sweet little toddlers that I had seen grow up since the innocence of infancy, would always do just what their mother told them and stay true to their character- at least the character that they portrayed in front of me. (I snicker at my lack of good judgment here.)
My oldest had always been the "law-abiding citizen". For him, things were black or white, right or wrong. I was aware that he had a stubborn streak, but in my pride, I thought that I had thus far been successful in curving that stubborn streak towards righteousness. If he was going to be stubborn, I wanted him stubborn about doing good and right, and stubbornness there would suit me just fine.
My second-born son had been the restless one, the creative one. It was he who discovered that underwear looked cool spinning around on the ceiling fan, after all. It was also he, that as a little toddler had shocked me one day when he climbed up on the couch, walked across it to the other end, stood on the end table, and jumped. I remember saying to him; "Are you new here? We don't do that." He was totally the opposite of his older brother. The rules didn't come natural to him. He had to figure them all out. He never liked "being in trouble" but he didn't automatically know that you don't do certain things, like dip your toothbrush in the toilet and that sort of thing.
Now that you have the "background", on to the story!
For several weeks after baby boy #3 was born, the restless-creative, second-born had been getting into lots of trouble for a naughty habit he had developed that he was using primarily at church. The habit? Spitting. Remember, he's also the creative one so he developed ways to do this that I can't even describe!
I would be holding the baby and enjoying every lady in the church gushing over his blonde hair and blue eyes when I would hear "that sound" behind my back or my older child, the law-abiding citizen, saying; "Mom, he's doing it again."
This had become a routine for weeks. I would be talking, he would start spitting, and off to the car we would go with promises of the trouble he would find himself in once we were in the safety of our home. He would fret all the way home, because he KNEW that I always kept these kinds of promises. But the problem that kept really frustrating my mind was- why does he keep doing this?!?! He hates getting "in trouble", he loathes this drive home knowing what's coming, and he does know quite well that I'm not going to let this slide.
Now, before I go on, do any of you wise-by-nature-mothers know what could have possibly been going on?
A hint: the creative one was often creative to get a laugh or shock out of the law-abiding, older brother.
(The hint helps to know how this surely must have gotten started.)
Another tip: Don't worry so much about the "wild one"- the toddler who is busy, but be much more concerned with the child who says, "I may be sitting down on the outside, but I'm standing up on the inside!"
Well, thankfully, I had a very good friend at church who had the guts to point out something to me one day after watching this event unfold for weeks herself. ...And I say guts, because there are some people who get downright angry when you tell them their little angels did something that could even be considered wrong. ...Now I must admit, when she told me the truth of the matter, I was very embarrassed that I had somehow been missing this, but I was THANKFUL to her for telling me the truth as I was then able to solve this problem (and a few more) within ONE day.
Now for the truth:
My friend said, "Uhm, Donna, come here for a second." "What is it?" She said; "I don't know if you know this, but Keenan (the law-abiding one) is telling Krestan (the creative one) to spit like that." I gasped and said, "You're kidding!" She shook her head with a smile, both of us almost laughing. I said, "Ew, when I get him home...." She said, "I hate it for him," with a wink. I then thanked her for telling me, knowing that it might have been 30 more years before I caught onto this!
What had been happening behind my back had probably started as a slight and silly gesture from the creative one, but seeing the shock on the law-abiding one's face, and the laugh he got, he probably did it a few more times until I caught him. Then, the law-abiding one, loving to laugh and get his brother in trouble, had continued to provoke the creative one, week after week to get the "shock-n-laugh" that they both so loved. Funny thing, as soon as the law-abiding one had to "pay the piper", it wasn't so funny anymore.....and funnier still; he didn't have the guts to do these naughty acts himself, but to my embarrassment, he didn't mind someone else doing them for his pleasure!
The moral of the story
for the Naughty One:
Be sure your sins will find you out!
For the Naive One:
We all have a sin nature...."all we like sheep have gone astray.."
Still to this day, I'm thankful to that friend. My oldest would be 'bitten' many more times by that same spirit before he became an adult and had I not been made aware of that nature within him, I might not have dealt with him as I should have.
Prov 5:23 He shall die without instruction; and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.