Well she does. And I know there are people out there saying, (well, just two people, since nobody knows I have a blog yet. Anyway, you are probably saying....) "I would NEVER let my child chew her toenails!" But until you have lived with a child as stubborn as Whitley, you can't judge me for being a hygienically challenged mom. When you see us in the ER because she has a staph infection, judge not. Now, I didn't always have this "Don't judge another mother" attitude. One of my best friends has a beautiful little boy that at 3, we thought was possessed. He would sprint through the chapel on Sunday laughing at the five of us who were trying to help his parents catch him during the sacrament. He peed in his mother's refrigerator drawers. He threw rocks at other kids' heads. He was a wild man. Every day, all day. And I swore, that kid needed more....something. Patience, discipline, beatings, less TV, incentive, more stimulation, less stimulation. I didn't know what, but I would speculate, and judge. And then I had Brock.
One Sunday, Brock headed up the isle in church. I thought,"He'll get to the front of the SUV district (the overflow that holds the big families with all their loud kids) and get nervous and come back." But he didn't. So I started to stand, because when I stand, "even the flies are too scared to fly" (in the words of Tevya from Fiddler) and I thought, "When he gets to the front there is no where to go, so he will run back, especially when he sees I am standing up!" But instead, he looked back and...... "snickered", (I guess is the word for it), and started up the stairs to the pulpit, and I thought, "There is no way he is going to see the Bishop sitting up there and not have some kind of stranger-danger moment!" PS, this is all going on during the talk of our former bishop, the city councilman. So the worst mother of the year, the #1 failure of the parenting cage fight, LONI, puts her head down so no one will recognise her, and makes the long, humiliating walk to the front of the chapel, where Brock has now seen me and is hurdling over the choir benches behind the pulpit. He gets to the center of the back pew, and nose dives into the alcove. All you see are his shoes flying up in the air as he disappears. Oh he was so smart! He found the one place his three year old evil-genius mind knew I could not possibly reach! I grabbed an ankle and yanked him out. Yes, I could hear laughing coming through the speakers, from the speaker. Yes, I could hear the roar of the congregation. And I was DYING by now. I remember closing my eyes, dreading that it was now time to turn around and face the ward so we could make our curtain call. Brock was kicking and fighting as we walked down the steps and to the door, then as a last ditch effort, he started screaming, "No! I don't want to go! I want to stay, I WANT TO STAY!" To which the speaker said, "Loni, Wait! He wants to hear the rest of my talk!"
So, I don't judge parents anymore. We have tried everything on the face of the earth with this child and I can tell you this for sure. Every child was made differently. I have three children older than him that are quite well-behaved. If they get reprimanded at school, they nearly cry. But he is different, and he is three, and last month, he slapped the first counselor in the primary presidency in the face when she tried to help him to Sunbeams. And I was mortified. But the more angry I get, the more angry he gets. I have to be careful not to give him any more ideas. So I try to stay calm. I have been judged by a lot parents that don't get it because they have never had a child like Brock. But they don't love him like I do, and they don't have access to the Spirit concerning this little boy like I have. So I ignore them, and I do what is best for Brock. I see that most families will never have a child that is obsessed with knives and matches and running away. But I do. Fortunately, since I have 4 other kids, I can see how much behavior has to do with parenting, and how much it has to do with the spirit Heavenly Father created. He totally built Brock like he is, I didn't do that. And I know it, because if I look at Blake with a frown, he might cry, and I didn't do that either. My job here is to teach all of my kids about the Savior and to teach them to control themselves. That is a different level challenge for each personality. I love this crazy little boy as much as anyone loves their perfectly obedient child. I need to be with him forever. As parents, our challenge is to figure out each child's secret combination that only our Maker may know. So it takes lots of prayer to understand. I have used up 16 of my life years since 3 year old Brock was born, I am sure. But I have learned 16 years worth of lessons about people from him. So if you see me and I look 50 instead of 34, don't tell your friends how washed out I look for my age. Go get me some Nelson's Frozen Custard, Chocolate, hard packed. ASAP.