Friday, May 23, 2014
Back in the Saddle
I was down for the count the past several days and boy has this house felt it. If you ever have any doubts as to your importance as "just a stay-at-home-mom"...get the flu. Or whatever it is I had (actually I don't recommend getting what I had - now I know why they call it The Runs). O.o So, because I was sick I wasn't able to give the kids the kind of attention they need and they have been showing us how they feel about that. I mean, Andrew was here for about a day and a half and rocked the whole stay-at-home-Dad thing but there's no substitute for good ol' Mom to an almost 2 year old. Or almost 4 year old for that matter. Anyway, the kids have been arguing more often between the two of them and both have been losing their tempers with each other. The endless hours of TV watching while I was bedridden didn't help matters either. I've been on a mission since this morning to reconnect with each of them and help them deal with the stress of basically having Mommy gone for a couple of days.
Its not easy getting back in the parenting saddle when you've had a "break" for a day or two. Except for the trips to the bathroom every 15 minutes and the confusion that accompanies a 2 hour nap in the late afternoon (Is it getting dark outside? Or is the sun coming up and I slept all night?), its kind of like a mini vacation. At home. In bed. By yourself. What I'm trying to say is, even I'm not quite back on my game yet. I've yelled. I've threatened. I'm not proud of myself. But sometimes you have a breakthrough that validates everything you are as a mom...and not just the give-her-a-break-she-just-got-over-being-sick kinda mom...but the kind of mom you dream every day you can be and work hard towards becoming. The type that is just there. No ulterior motives. No agenda. She just...is.
I had the opportunity to be that for Lily this morning. Right before lunch Lily was playing by herself in her room and Reuben kept coming in and turning the lamp on and off. Yeah, he was being annoying on purpose (Lily never had the opportunity to do that to an older sibling...the tragedies of being the oldest child) and she was getting more and more frustrated and eventually yelled at him and pushed him down right in front of me. He started crying and she ran away to her room. I consoled him, helped him feel better and then went to her. I started out with the standard "You know you shouldn't be pushing your brother, I know he was frustrating you, but that doesn't mean you can push him...blah, blah, blah." She didn't care. She wouldn't listen to me. She was angry and justifiably so. I picked her up and put her in my lap. She was having none of that and arched away from me and tried kicking me while yelling "let me go!!!" I held her little struggling body close and told her that I needed to talk to her about what she did and asked how she was feeling. She seized struggling as much and was simply crying when I suddenly had a realization. I got really close and whispered in her ear "Little brothers can be really annoying sometimes can't they? You just want to play in your room and they keep coming in and bothering you. I bet you would love to have your own house. You could have your own room and-" She instantly stopped struggling, her body went into a sort of calmly alert state and she whispered back "I would play in my room and he wouldn't be allowed in...Would you like your own house too Mommy?"
For the next minute we discussed the merits of having our own homes and she snuggled in close and said "I love you."
Sometimes you just need someone to understand your wildest fantasies and how difficult reality can be to bear.
I can't take the credit for this nugget of pure parenting genius. Seriously, go out and buy the book How To Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. Or see if your library has it.
Its worth triple its weight in gold.