Paul, in the green shirt and Anya in the little toddler cart. (Their friend 'Kenzie in the pink.)
The last few days have been pretty tough in our home - Steve and I have been pretty busy with grown up stuff, I can't remember the last time we had a weekend where we weren't running around like chickens with our heads cut off and see no end in sight to that yet, and our poor babies have been stuck in the middle. Thursday and Friday they spent almost the whole day, excluding nap times, in the car running errands with Mama in over 100 degree weather (sure we were in the air conditioned car the whole time, but even full blast ac doesn't keep you cool when you're constantly getting in and out of the car). To sum it up, we're all exhausted and grumpy.
With toddlers on the other hand, grumpy is taken to a whole new level. The kids have wanted nothing but pizza the last few days, and everything they want or need or think they need - they want it done or given to them, like five minutes ago. For example, Anya wanted to brush her teeth last night, but both Steve and I at that moment had our hands full with something else. Patience is not her Anya's middle name. She waited a few seconds then starting screaming at the top of her lungs, "I WANT TO BRUSH TEETH!!!" Then when we attempt to discipline her so that she learns screaming is not the way to get things done, tantrums I never knew existed in such a munchkin erupt.
So when a friend of mine told me about a shocking story on CNN (you can read it here) about how a grandfather was found on top of his three year old grand-daughter apparently strangling her - I was understandably shocked. While reading the story, it is revealed that the grandfather and his daughter (the three year old child's mother) were performing an exorcism.
In the Exorcist, the possessed girl spews green slime from her mouth onto one of the Priests. My kids have spewed green slime on me more times than I can count. It was called avacado, peas, green beans - in short, it was baby food. OR it was coming out of the other end and it was by far, more disgusting When our itty, bity, petite Anya is screaming, throwing, hitting, bitting, shaking, and throwing herself around on the floor - I wonder what on Earth I did to deserve such an unruly child. When Paul takes up a toy and bangs his sister's head, yanks a toy from her hands, or scratches Steve or I until he draws blood - I never wonder about sin nature and how it's inherited in all of us. However, even though I make JOKE about my kids being possesed, I am NEVER EVER serious. I usually joke about it after days of cleaning up thrown food, slung poo, or wiping clean too many tears to count - mine included - with little or no sleep.
Can toddlers be little terrors? YES. A resounding YES. Do they need exorcisms? NO. Even if I thought every tantrum throwing toddler needed an exorcism (they sure act like it at times) - it wouldn't involve a grandfather sitting on top of his little 3 yr old grand-daughter, her mother naked and bloody and screaming enchantments to make all the demonic badness go away.
Do I wish it were as simple as reciting some prayer, spell, or snapping my fingers while flicking holy water onto my child's forhead to make the fury she or he is showing me go away? YES. But that's not what God planned for us, that's not what we are supposed to do. Prayer - constant prayer for our children and for ourselves that we deal in a godly manner with our children is what is needed. If we all stopped to pray before reacting to our children - how different would our interactions be?
Prayer is powerful. The Lord promised us that where two or more are gathered HE is there in their midst. Pray for this poor child, for her mother, and for parents everywhere to turn to God instead of the world for help.