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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

More Mama Files

Sometimes I forget my own rules.

Last night I had a minor blow up at the little S.O.s. Poor kiddos. It was just all around a bad day and, you know the deal... anyway, S.O.v.1, the little charmer that he is, when I went in to tuck him in, asked me to explain to him why mama was so irritated. What a smarty, I mean, he's only 4! So, I explained the concept of mama's being cranky and what it means to be taken advantage of. He got it.

So, this evening as bathtime was coming to a close little mister S.O.v.1 decided that it was time to poo poo poo. He's a conservationist. He likes to limit his water usage, so he visits the toilet in this regard only every few days (no matter the pleading, prodding, insisting or introduction of fiber to his diet). Consequently, they are plunger-worthy (I know, it's gross, I hope you haven't just eaten). As I was weilding said instrument, S.O.v.2, who loves to flush the toilet, kept trying to flush, threatening to overflow the bowl. Patience held out only until she tried to grab the plunger. Ick! So I got mad, picked her up and removed her from the situation. This made her, understandably, upset.

Even after I managed the bathroom situation S.O.v.2 was still crying for mama. When I went in to her, looked into her little face, she seemed so confused. That's when I recalled the previous evening's conversation with S.O.v.1. See, even though I always made a point to explain things to him, I realized that I have been lax with her. Even though she is only 2 now it's still important. So, I gave her a brief explanation on how toilets are dirty and mama doesn't insist she doesn't touch things unless there is a good reason. I mean, who knows if she understood - but she does do very cute "unh huh"s, her version of nod and smile, no doubt. The point really is not the explanation. It is taking the time and effort to do it. That above all else, I discovered long ago with S.O.v.1, is what makes the impact. It is the face time, particularly if you have gotten mad and they have gotten scared.

I decided when he was born that I would give him the respect and dignity that he deserved. I must admit I am harder on S.O.v.2. Maybe it is because she is the second and I am busier, more harried. Maybe it is because she is a girl - we are always harder on the same sex child, I believe. But maybe it is just that I forgot my own rules.

And whala! the behavior that had driven me crazy and set me off the night before disappeared tonight. Sometimes yelling or insisting "Because I'm the mama and I say so" seems like the easy way or short cut to compliance in the moment. And it can be a stop gap. There are times when a short cut is necessary. But for overall peace and harmony the long way is the best way. There is something to showing your child that you not only believe that they are smart enough to understand why but have a right to know. Compliance may seem welcome but understanding is better. Don't get me wrong, I will take blind compliance when I can get it but I just think instilling a sense of self worth in a child is an opportunity not to be missed. It is a great way to show them they matter, to say, "You're worthy of an explanation".

Rule duly noted.

3 comments:

demondoll said...

You are a wonderful momma. You inspire me to be a better one, too.

Yella said...

Right back in your beautiful face doll!

Anonymous said...

What a good mama. -Arianna