This morning I asked Alex to get dressed so that we could go to the store. He did not like the color pants I picked. Normally I let him pick out his clothes, but this morning there were no other clean pants he likes. He got sassy with me and told me, no, he was going to stay home in his pajamas. Being the momma, I very sternly said that I was going to put a load of laundry on to wash and he better be getting dressed by the time I get back. Of course, he let out another big sassy, no! I gave him some consequence that I can’t remember now. I went outside to our laundry room and he came sashaying after telling me how he was not going to get dressed. I pushed him back in the door and said he had better get dressed and I went about the laundry.
When I went to go back inside and the door was locked. It has a top inside deadbolt, which can only be unlocked from the inside. I did not panic. I sat down on the patio furniture and figured it would not be long before my sweet son longed to see me again and would come to let me back in. So I sat, put my feet up and said some prayers—prayed for patience, prayed for a suitable punishment for this child.
After about five or so minutes, I peeked in and knocked. Alex was sitting on the sofa and he giggled at me. I asked him to come to the door. He ran over giggled at me some more and then ran back to the sofa. I sat back down thinking that if he thought I was gone, he would come after me. But, as I sat there for a while I began to panic. It was hot and I was in my pajamas still and there was no way to open the door. I started to think that this looks really bad. My temper started flare and I thought the longer he leaves me out here the more severe his punishment is going to be.
I started to knock hard and ring the door bell. I kept doing it. Alex kept giggling. Tears started to stream down my face. I was so frustrated and he would not come to the door. Finally, he recognized my distress and came to the door. I told him to unlock the door, but he could not reach it. He had been just tall enough to tip the bolt into the locked position. But, once in the locked position he could not tip it back.
So then I gave frantic instruction to go find something to stand on. He meandered around his toys a little and made the “I don’t know” shoulder shrug. I saw a little ride-on push car told him to bring it over and stand on it. He did and finally let me in. I was still crying a little.
Now it was time for punishment. I was furious and wanted to really wallop his little hiney. But, I have been asking myself recently, what if this were the Christ child? Would I spank this child if I knew he was God-Incarnate? How do I parent with love and gentleness while still delivering the gravity of the situation? I explained to him what he did wrong and then I took away all his “good-boy beans” and told him he had to start over. He had been earning beans toward a toy. This caused him to cry. Good, he should feel some pain about locking his mommy out.
I explained to him that I could not be a good mommy if he locks me out and that is why I took his good-boy beans, because he was not helping me be a good mommy. Then we sat on the kitchen floor and with tears in his eyes he gave me the biggest hug and told me he loved me and he wanted me to be a good mommy and he wanted to be a good boy. Then Kristiana sat in my lap too and gave me a hug. Alex threw his arm around her too and said he loved her too. Then I asked him to go get his clothing and get dressed so we could go to the store. He did what I asked.
At lunch I told my husband about it the whole ordeal. He was shocked and amazed. We both had a laugh about it.
(Photo Credits: Anne Black; This is our door and Alex is standing on a stool in this picture.)