I’m not a fan of stuffed animals. I don’t really have a good reason other than that they seem to always be in the way. I’ve even been known to pass them off to other kids when my own children weren’t looking (don’t judge, I know you have done it too.) So you can imagine everyone’s surprise when I brought home a giant teddy bear. You know, the kind you see in movies, that is as big as a person. What would posses me to go against this uncalled for dislike of stuffed animals? My child needed it. And like any mom, we will do anything to help our children. When Isabella came to our home 4 and half years ago she rarely cried. If she was scared, hurt or upset, she would retreat into a little shell of a person showing no emotion and not moving for hours on end. I longed for the day that she would cry and tell us what was wrong. Months and months later, when those tears and anger came, I would wish for the silence again because boy can she cry… for hours. And then the anger began less frequent but more extreme. Little scratches on her face, pinching her legs, banging her head. It was hard to watch. And so, the giant bear was introduced and given the original name of “Feelings Bear.” He was placed on a mat in her room where she was free to express her anger. He is great at taking the beating. Isabella would sit in his lap and rage until she was ready to do her deep breathing exercises. Sometimes after hearing crying for two consistent hours, I wondered if this “phase” would ever end or if we would hear fits for the rest of her life. But yesterday, she asked if she could give Feelings Bear away. The time has come that she doesn’t rage as often, although we still see tears a little more frequently than most 7 year olds. She no longer needs to hit something to get her anger out, or pull the bear’s fur. Isabella always expresses her emotions loudly. She laughs big, she hugs hard, she cries with her bottom lip sticking out and she wants everyone to know when she is angry. This may never change. I am not sure we want it to. It’s part of who she is. But just as God continues to mold me, as her mother, He is molding her into his character. He is using us to teach her appropriate times for anger and good ways to express this. Correction is never an easy process and we never seem to learn quickly but progress is so sweet when the journey has seemed long.
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