Last night, I went into my son's room to give him one last kiss before bedtime.
It's been a good couple of weeks. We've heard "yes ma'am" and "no sir" a lot more often than usual (this is a huge sign of respecting authority for South Carolinians, so if you're from another part of the country and you don't get that, skip this part and keep reading). We've seen our son ingest a lima bean on purpose. Earlier this week, he got up from the table to go get something for his sister so that she wouldn't have to get up. He also played dolls with her. He attended a tea party. He put his empty hangers in the closet rather than leaving them dangling on the closet door knob. Dirty clothes have gone into the hamper.
I leaned down to kiss him, and he wrapped both arms around my neck and gave me a tight squeeze. Then he pulled back, looked me right in the eye, and said, "I've really been liking you a lot these days."
Well, thanks for the approval, Your Highness.
But I think I know why he was feeling so lovey-dovey all of a sudden; as I've heard Stacey say so many times, "The most obedient children are the happiest children." It's so true! When they are respecting our authority and trusting us to lead them, the whole family is aligned, and everyone is happier.
He's going to test me this week. I might get a groan when I put a vegetable on his plate. He might stroll out of his room with lights on and clothes on the floor. He may head to the car tomorrow morning and leave his book bag in the house. But we'll get back on track, and he'll eventually realize that letting his parents take the lead allows him the freedom to be a child.
Childhood freedom? Those are some happy days.