Monday, November 29, 2010
Loving the Little Years
As I write this I my three little monkeys are noisily attempting to go to sleep in the other room. The fourth little monkey may only be the size of a raspberry, but from a cozy position in my womb he or she is making his or her presence felt (headache, queasiness, fatigue...). I have 60 nails on 60 fingers and toes to keep trimmed, not counting my own! There are toys in the Tupperware cupboard and Tupperware in the toy box. And yes, I probably could recite Green Eggs and Ham. I know what motherhood in the trenches looks like.
Loving the Little Years is not a book to make you feel good about how long it's been since you cleaned your bathroom. This book won't tell you to hire a babysitter so you can have a day off with your girlfriends and keep in touch with the real you. This book doesn't say that the answer to all your stress is to spend two hours with the Lord at four in the morning. There are no suggested schedules, no spanking formulas, no pity parties. This book is real.
With wisdom and humor, and in 20 short, punchy chapters, Rachel Jankovic reminds us mothers that we are sinners too. Sometimes when the attitudes are bad and everyone is crying the first person who needs to repent is Mommy. As mothers we pour everything we've got into "training them up in the way they should go" but we have to remember that our own journey to sanctification isn't over. God is using these mischievous little imps to make us more like Him.
When all they seem to do is make messes and all that seems to come out of their mouths is mostly unintelligible gibberish, we can tend to see our children as little bothers. But throughout this book Rachel encourages us to remember that they are little people, eternal souls, personalities in the making. She urges us to study them, know them, learn their needs, hopes, strengths and weaknesses. And she reminds us to see the individuals in the half-sized mob. The Jankovic family is fabulous at coming up with creative imagery and catch-phrases for helping their kids see their sin and to remind them to do better. From selfish dragons to Cranksters to picky chickens, Rachel has shared many of these helpful ideas.
When I bought this book I immediately took it home, put the baby down for her nap, turned on Baby Signing Time for the toddlers and read it cover to cover. Literally, I laughed and cried. I will be reading it again soon, chapter by chapter, taking notes and absorbing ideas. In fact, I will probably read it every year.