The new family dynamic has been quite an adjustment for you -- understandably so. Your new dynamic (sassier, more defiant, more volatile) has been quite an adjustment for me. Though darling and sweet (mostly) to Lily, you've been quite ... different, (to put it kindly,) to dad and me. In trying to parent you appropriately through this phase, I've learned a few things. I record them here because I have a sneaking suspicion they might be things I need to come back to again and again as I mother you and your siblings. And I want you to know that even though I flub up on a daily basis, I'm trying.
* I've learned that the best way to discern your true needs is to pray about them. Sometimes you need more discipline. Sometimes you need more love. God knows. And he tells me through the Spirit. (I stink at discipline so I like it when the answer is love. Really though, I think the answer is always love -- but sometimes it needs to be delivered in the form of discipline.)
* At some point during every day I need to be quiet and still enough to meditate on my parenting and listen for that silent, spiritual communication.
* One of the things I've come to understand in those meditative moments is that I need to give each of you kids undistracted, genuine time every day. I need to be "all there" for you -- even if it's only for a half hour. That concentrated time has a magical effect on the rest of the day. You like picnics on the living room floor. And slaying imaginary monsters with Nerf swords. (I prefer the picnics, but I'm not afraid of monsters and I've been known to wield a sword.)
* I also want you to know that at the end of most days, (always on the hard ones,) I go into your bedroom, dimly lit by your star-light, and watch you sleep. I listen to the rhythmical rise and fall of your breath. I kiss your cheeks. I smell your head (it's the only time it ever smells like shampoo -- still fresh from your evening bath, not yet full of boy-smell from a day of hard play and sweat.) I look at your long, dark eyelashes and puckery lips and I forget about the battles of will and the tantrums, the awful sound of my cross voice and the unchristian thoughts and every ounce of me adores every ounce of you.