Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Most Memorable Bowl of Soup

My boys are growing. Stretching their wings, testing the limits, the tide of the current "norm" ebbing and flowing with them... Jaden is taking steps, Drew is back in school after Christmas break (and loving the dinosaur themed unit they are currently doing!), and Isaiah... well, this story is about him.

When I make vegetable soup, I make a lot of it. I usually make a double batch, we eat it as leftovers for a while, I freeze the rest for another meal... It's such a great comfort food in the winter. I love to heat up a bowl and crumble some crackers in it for lunch, my boys all eat it, Drew especially loves it. But Isaiah is sometimes opinionated about his dinners, and he likes variety. So if we have soup one night, he's not a fan of having it again the next. You need that background before I tell this story.

So, I made soup. We had eaten it a few times be it lunch or dinner over the past few days before the story took place. Isaiah was apparently tired of it. He had told me numerous times as I warmed the soup for dinner that night that he wanted chocolate for dinner. Specifically Gertrude Hawk peanut butter smidgens. Nice choice, but no, sorry buddy, soup it is. I set Drew's bowl in front of him. I set Isaiah's in front of him. In what seemed like slow motion Isaiah calmly climbed down out of his chair, picked up his bowl of soup, and threw it on the floor. The bowl shattered, the soup splattered. (I didn't hear it in rhyme at the moment.) My mouth dropped open. Isaiah stared scowling at us in an effort to mask the tears that were already rising to the surface. Shaun exploded "Isaiah Matthew!!!!" I took charge of discipline. I whisked that blonde headed defiant-but-now-crumpling-in-tears boy into the laundry room and shut the door. He knew this was serious. I sat him down on the floor. We worked through why he threw the soup (anger, frustration, disobedience), why it was wrong (ungratefulness, selfishness), how to change his attitude (being thankful, saying he was sorry, showing self-control even when he's upset, acting in a way that's pleasing to Jesus), that he was going to eat vegetable soup for dinner or it would be his breakfast and that was that... And I let him stay in the laundry room until he was ready to come out and eat his soup. He came out eventually and tearfully said he was sorry, climbed up into his seat, and with tears still streaming down his face began spooning the soup into his mouth between gulping sobs.

And then I did what anyone would do, what was clearly the most obvious and logical thing to do in the situation. I got out the video camera. And without cracking a smile or acting like it was a humorous event in anyway, I began recording Isaiah eating his soup between tears. What I got will probably live on as one of our favorite family home videos for years to come. He was literally doing his loud Isaiah-cry between each bite... he saw that Shaun had croutons on his salad, said through his sobs that he wanted croutons, even as he was spooning soup into his mouth. Then Shaun set one in front of him and his eyes went wide and a smile came on his face even as the tears still streamed down. He started to put the crouton in his mouth, I asked him if he had told daddy thank you, he took the crouton back out of his mouth to say thank you and accidentally dropped the crouton on the floor in the process, at which point his world shattered even more dramatically than his first bowl of soup had.... in hysteria he scrambled down to rescue his crouton before Zion got to it. Thankfully the crouton was saved, he returned to his chair, the soup eating resumed.... but then for some unknown reason he set down his spoon and began leaving the table again. Quite sternly I asked, "Isaiah, are you supposed to be leaving the table right now??" His little chin quivered, his forehead got all wrinkled down in emotion, but he managed to say "n-n-no, but, but, but I have to go POTTY!!!!" before the tears started again. We quickly told him it was ok, he could go to the bathroom... When he came back out and saw the video camera still pointed at him, he couldn't help himself and a little smile escaped. He got back in his seat and did indeed finish his soup.

Sigh. Smile. Head shake..... The passion in that boy..... I am determined to teach him how to demonstrate self-control even when he is overcome with very vibrant emotion... But I will do it in a way that does not crush his spirit, does not constantly speak disapproval in who he is. Instead I will lead him to Jesus, I will help him sort out his feelings, I will dig deep and find my humor instead of my anger as I discipline and correct. And I will pray that one day his passion and determination will be traits used all to bring glory to God.

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