Parenting is not a joke. My 3-1/2 year old is smart. I know not to underestimate children and their intuitive nature and their ability to grasp and learn quickly so I shouldn’t be surprised but this child stops me in my tracks often. She certainly can bring out the good, nearly bad, and almost ugly in me. Yes, kids are smart, but we’re the adults here. We should be more than capable of out-smarting them and influencing and (gasp!) manipulating them into being and doing what we want. Right? I say it because it’s true. Of course, I don’t try to stifle her spirit or her confidence, but I will admit to trying to break her will at times. I don’t know why. Yes, I do. Control. I’ve made every decision for her for 3-1/2 years. This is a learning experience for me too. Her will is strong and I know it won’t break easily. Hopefully she can harness it and use it for good later in life.
Her vocabulary is wide and she uses it in the proper context most of the time. The negotiating and threats are what have been throwing me for a loop lately. “If you do/don’t ______, then I won’t take a nap/eat/pick up my toys/listen, etc!” Ummm. Excuse me?! Of course, she is just regurgitating variations of what she hears from me and her loving father. I try calmly to explain that children do not speak to their parents that way. That’s when she comes back with “Well, you’re not listening and you need to listen to your children.” Again, just serving me up what I’ve said over and over but, daggumit, the 3-1/2 old is right. I do need to listen. I need to hear myself and how I speak to her when patience is at a zero. I will not allow her to speak to me in the rude manner and tone that she’s apt to use, but I do need to pay more attention and adjust my tone. Authoritative doesn’t have to be rude, but rude is easier and I am guilty of being rude.
I admit I’m hard on her. I have to remind myself she’s only 3. I have to quickly evaluate and choose to laugh rather than scold when she starts to pitch a fit and cause a scene in Target because she’s “Cheetos hungry” rather than “apple hungry.” She’s loud and dramatic and it draws attention but I know those hysterics will only intensify if I lose my cool. And when she proclaims “I’m very angry with you!” because I won’t buy her new nail polish, I thank her for using her words to express herself and ask her to please sit back down because she’s still not getting new nail polish. She frowns and pouts but it’s okay because it distracts her from me white knuckling the shopping cart as I “keep my cool.”
When she’s not protesting, she’s talking. I don’t mind her talking for the most part, but lately she barely stops to take a breath. Colleen was snoozing on a recent car ride so I asked Jae to lower her voice a little. I tried to get her to close her eyes and rest. No dice. I even suggested she put the stickers she got from the Target cashier over her eyes to see what it felt like. I know. I’m horrible. No worries - it didn’t work. Then, I lost my composure and desperately asked her to stop talking for one minute. For what it’s worth, I did say “please.” She looked at me through the rear-view mirror and with a serious 3 year old face said, “Momma, little kids talk. That’s what they do.” I’m pretty sure that translates to telling me to get over myself. Point taken, little person.
Parenting isn’t a joke. It’s constant. It’s hard. But, it’s not constantly hard. It’s not always good. But, it’s mostly not truly bad or truly ugly. There are definitely some unglamorous times whether it be your child’s attitude or your own. But, most situations could be worse. That’s what I tell myself. It’s what gets me through some days. But, I can honestly say at the end of the day the good outweighs the junk. And not just because they are sleeping. You need some junk mixed in to fully appreciate the good stuff. And that smart little person living with us proves that theory. She proves it every other hour of every day.1 year ago