I receive an Amish publication and had kept several issues from years ago, recently I came across this letter that was published in the magazine. It has no author so I cannot attribute it. But it was a heartfelt letter that us Moms of toddlers need to hear once in awhile.
I am your little three year old boy and I am thinking I could share some advice with you.
First of all I would like to say–be a happy mother! Sometimes I see your furrowed brow and your face is all covered with tension, disappointment, and displeasure. I often worry that I may have been the one who caused it. I sometimes ask, “Are you happy, Mom?” When you smile, my world is turned right-side-up again.
Sometimes you tell me to do something and I don’t do it. I know that you see this, Mom, and part of me is glad that I escaped the task. But that other part of me doesn’t feel good. I also have a habit of not listening when you tell me to do something, because I know I can sometimes get away with it. Please discipline me Mom so that I know what it is I can and cannot do. And mean what you say, and teach me to listen. Don’t ask me to do something unless you intend to follow through and make sure I do it. In the end, it makes me very happy to be your little helper.
Don’t get angry with me, Mom. When your anger leads to harsh words and actions, I am fearful and life seems unfair. I am so little and you are so big. I know I sometimes spill my drinks and wet my pants and torment my sister, but Mom it’s nicer if you set me on a chair until we both feel better. I want to learn to be kind and good and I need your example.
Pray for me Mom. I am blissfully unaware of what is ahead of me, but you can pray for the friends, companions, and influences I will have. Pray that I can be strong. Pray that I will seek God’s will early in my life. Pray that God may grant you wisdom to guide my little hands, feet, and heart. Pray everyday that God may watch over me and keep me safe in body and spirit.
Its’ fun when you talk silly to me and get down and act like you’re three years old, too. But Mom, it is good if for the most part, you act like a mother. Talk properly to me, so I can learn to talk right. Stay on your level, Mom, and I will respect you even more.
Let me help–by setting the table, working in the garden, and picking up toys. I won’t want to spend a lot of time doing the same thing, but set a timer and get me to help for awhile. It makes me feel important to do the things you do and I like to tell Daddy about it when he comes home from work. I need to learn to work, even when I don’t want to. When it’s easier for you to do it yourself, take the time to nicely insist that I finish my job. Teach me good habits and make me obey without having to tell me more than once.
I don’t like it when you say no and I always like it when your no turns to yes, but Mom, maybe three years old would be a good time to learn that no means no. Sometimes I need to learn to submit just for the sake of submission. It will be easier for me to learn it now than when I am a teenager. We are both learning, Mom- you, to keep your word, and I to submit.
We both feel better if we get our sleep and eat good meals. Naps aren’t so bad if you take time to read a story to me first. It makes Daddy happy if you have me ready for bed in good time at night. Then everyone is happy!
Candy is such a treat, but I do get grouchy if I eat too much. I need to eat the good, wholesome food you cook.
Mom, I am shy around other people. I like it if I can just stay close to you or Daddy when we are away. Please don’t push me to do the things I am too shy to do. When I am ready, I will join the other children in their play. Smile happily at me and love me with your whole heart and this may be just the boost I need.
Take time to swing me on the swing, comment on the picture I colored, and help me put a puzzle together. I have a glowing feeling in my heart when I know you enjoy me and have time for me. I’ll be a much happier, better behaved boy if I am listened to and my questions are answered.
When you discipline me, explain why. Point out the wrong in the attitude or action. Remind me that I am not bad, but that my disobedience is bad. Tell me that you love me, but you don’t like it when I do not listen. Help me to understand and then try to make me happy again.
I’m such a pliable little fellow now, Mom, and if we can get the right foundation laid, there’s potential for a lifetime of service to God and the church and good relationships with others.
your little son
Having a couple of toddlers at this age, reminded me of how I am lapsing in my parenting with them. It is so easy to get off course and just yell and quickly discipline, but it is not making an eternal progression. It is only making a temporary angry and sad situation. I am reminded to take the time with my children, to discipline when necessary and to stop being lapse. I speak and do not follow through with much of my discipline and my children know it. It is time for me to stop these actions and start moving forward. I have been thinking about that much lately. All of the things that I have gotten lapse in doing in life, I really want to stop that. I am going to do a post on my “Get back on track” challenge for the New Year. In it will be a list of all my failures:) well not failures that makes me sound bad, but things that I have gotten lapse on due to being too tired, too busy, and just focusing my priorities in the wrong areas.
I hope you enjoyed reading this letter and I pray it has been an encouragement for you as a Mother to take the time with your little ones.