I was so happy to wake up this morning, 1.5 hours past my usual alarm. Coffee was brewing, made by someone else. I had breakfast with my children. Then I casually wrote my daughter's last name inside the book she was taking to school so she wouldn't lose it and all hell broke loose. Well, not exactly hell, but certainly the wrath of a 10 year old child crossed by her mother first thing in the morning. I am pretty sure the wrath of hell may be easier to handle.
First off, let's go back to the happy moment (ahhhhh, that was nice wasn't it) okay jump ahead to the wrath of said 10 year old. Stamping feet, slamming bowls, glares--ooh she is good!--pouts, tears, whiny calls for the undoing of said name in book.
Then let's jump ahead to to my response. Firm words, cries of I don't understand why you are so upset, stop being upset this instant, you are not going to the book fair if you continue to act this way, explain yourself, explain your actions, do you realize how disrespectful and immature you are being?????
I know, I know. As a general rule, I am a very calm rational person, except when it comes to my daughter and her emotions. Then I am much like her, irrational. And passionately so.
My husband is a saint. He stays out of it. I have learned much in the last year so I attempt to drag him into it because frankly (oh no! Must I say it???) he is BETTER at this parenting thing then me. He remains saintly and simply states, when she gets like this I just back off.
Oh, backing off. Now there's an idea. I must ponder this. Because when she gets like this the last thing I think to do is to back off. Instead I rear up into her face and attempt to force her to confront her irrational behavior. I laugh just writing about it--cause in hindsight and in my husband's sight the answer is so simple. Back off. Let her process whatever it is and then be there for her to talk about it.
So I backed off --practically hid behind my husband to prevent myself from reacting to the explosion that was my child. And she calmed down and told me what was wrong. And she was right. Cause it turns out I didn't ask her if I could write the name in the book, I just did it. And then in a fit of "I'll fix it" I whited the name out and that was somehow worse in her mind. And I didn't ask her if I should fix it. I just fixed it.
After she told me all she needed was for me to ask her in the first place, I was reticent, but I apologized. And she apologized much more willingly and all was well. How Brady Bunch like is that?
After we dropped the kids off, my amazing husband and thankfully the father of my children, reminded me that it's so important to not "do things to" our kids, but rather ask them first. See there was a time when I was responsible for doing things to and for our kids. But they've grown up. And while they are more than happy for me to do things like their laundry and making their lunches, they are a lot less desirable of me doing things like making decisions about their belongings and their lives.
Luckily they've got good heads on their shoulders (even when they are irrationally exploding) and make pretty darn good choices. And even more luckily they have 2 parents who are a pretty good balance of one another to help point them in the right direction. Even if at times 1 of the parents needs to hide behind the other to do so.
So what are the whys and hows of raising my kids? Well the why is easy, it's cause I love them and the how...well, I do it 1 moment at a time.