Tuesday, September 18, 2012


My Chinese son is still rather...ahem...food focused.

This squash was a topic of conversation for two days.
I won't use the O word.  But I'm thinking it.  I won't bore you with a dozen supporting details, but trust me, it's still an issue.  He no longer eats food off the floor, can sometimes avoid the pre-dinner meltdown, and is developing preferences, all good signs that his food anxiety is abating.  Yay!

Today, however, his behavior baffles me.  (It baffles me often, but this is only one blog post.)

I picked him up from parents' day out at noon, and explained that we would go home, wash his hands, and then eat lunch as we always do.  We came upstairs, washed his hands, all was well.  I'm so on-the-ball that his lunch plate was already filled and on his highchair tray waiting for him, all foods he enjoys and eats on a regular basis.  I slid his legs into the chair, and he began crying.

Why are you crying? I asked.  Do you want to eat?  [crying, not answering]  Do you want to eat your lunch now, yes or no?  He answered no.

OK, then.  Time for nap.  He went screaming to bed, but was asleep within minutes.

After his nap, we go immediately to pick up one or both sisters from preschool/kindergarten, eating an afternoon snack when we return.  He often talks about food throughout the entire drive.  Today was no exception. "Peanut, peanut, peanut, peanut, apple, apple, 'meek' [milk], 'meek,' 'meek,'" etc.  Am I glad he's using words?  Heck yes.  Is it a teensy bit annoying?  Uh-huh.  Do I sometimes ignore him, loudly carrying on a non-food related conversation with the other kids?  Yep.

So once again I put him in his chair to eat snack--remember, this is a child who went to bed with no lunch, nor is he ill--and he began crying.  Asked again, do you want to eat?  NO.  OK, then.  Down you go.

So he spent 20 minutes sitting at the end of the hallway, crying.  Had a few false starts, deciding whether or not he could be happy and whether or not mom means business.  (She does.) And now he's sitting contentedly on my lap while I type, sticking his hand down my shirt.  The snack window has closed, but I did allow him some water.  He's been part of our family for almost 16 months, he's well-fed, and he's learning along with his siblings that meal-time nonsense isn't on the menu at our house, pun intended.  (Would I have reacted the same way two months post-adoption?  Nope.) 

***Pre-Publish Update:  Same. Exact. Thing. At. Dinner.  Only this time we wheeled his highchair to his room until he decided he would, indeed, eat.  Which he now is.  Alone, as the rest of us are already finished. 

Wish I could say this was some rare occurrence in our house--navigating this kind of bizarre and contradictory behavior, questioning whether its source is adoption trauma or just the terrible-twos--but it's not.
If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought.   James 1:5 
Don't know what I'm doing?  Lacking in wisdom?  Yeah, that's pretty accurate.

God promises to give wisdom.  Liberally.  That means plenty, people.  But here's the interesting part--raise your hand if, smack in the middle of a challenging parenting moment such as I described, you feel supremely wise and perfectly equipped to make the exact right parenting play?

No?  Me either.  I mean, sometimes I realize immediately that I've made the wrong call.  Sometimes I don't know that until much later.  And sometimes I don't see the fruit of great decisions or strategies until months, even years, later!  Talk about delayed gratification.

I'm wondering if receiving and walking in wisdom isn't largely an act of faith, like so many aspects of following Jesus.

I'm not going to choose perfectly every time, and I trust the Father to bring correction.  I'm a flawed human, yes, but one who has been promised wisdom, one whose mind is being transformed day by day, and one who has the mind of Christ!  All that is true, whether I feel it or not.  'Cause I usually don't.

I could second-guess my every single move.  (Done it.)  I could try to take the blame for every single one of my children's tantrums, outbursts, oddities, poor choices.  (I have.)  Or I can choose to actively believe what God says in His word, trusting that it applies in this most crucial arena of parenting, trusting that I have what I need in every crazy situation, including the grace to do the exact opposite tomorrow if need be.

Take heart, dear fellow baffled parents.


living out His love said...

Oh Jerusha, I GET IT! Seriously I get it. Our kids are 2 peas in a pod. Praying for you my friend!

Rita and John said...

Jerusha, can I just say what extraordinary patience you seem to be showing here? You are really amazing. Food is such a huge issue. I can't believe what a huge issue it can be. But wow. And somehow I have the feeling Shu is going to go far in life because he knows what he wants and is determined (dare I say stubborn) and apparently can go hours without food. This is such a great post. We have all been there in those terribly frustrating, irrational situations where we are sure there's a good parenting strategy, but no way we can come up with it on the spot.

Lynne said...

Love this post. Joni does some of the strangest stuff and I often don't know how to respond and frequently suffer guilt from the response I chose. If I knew the heart of the situation it would be so much easier!!! But like so much of parenting Joni I am in the dark and feel out of control. So glad we have a God who knows and sees all and can redeem our flawed parenting. Hang in there. He sure does LOOK cute by the way.

Adrian Roberta said...

Just letting you know, I have my hand raised here.....

great scripture btw!

Stephanie said...

Love that I feel I have company in baffling behavior. Although it has gotten better, Miss L still sometimes cries and runs the other way when we show her her bottle at bedtime. Crying and throwing herself down on the floor, all the while really wanting said bottle. Odd. Baffling. Can I get an amen?! :)
You are an amazing mother, friend.