Argh! YOU DID WHAT?!
Yes. That's me on many an afternoon. Make that morning. OK, truth-be-told, it can happen at any moment. Today it was the crayon-covered rocker that did me in.
And despite the fact that children are not the behaviors they exhibit, I honestly have difficulty sorting the two when my impatient Aries-anger ignites.
Whew. Deep breath. Calm down. Re-focus. Now move forward.
Yes, having children who are ages 1, 3 and 5 can be challenging. But I can remember having this same issue when I was at home with my first. Just one kid. And the funny thing is that for as simple as "only one child" was, it was also deceptively more challenging in so many ways.
But back to the moment. Life is chaotic now. In a way that it wasn't when we had one. And then two. There are three little people now navigating and circum-navigating this home. Taking out the toys, the books, the dishes. Everything.
And it goes beyond navigating. There's a lot of experimentation, testing, exploring and attempting taking place around here every minute of the day.
And when the chair is covered from head to toe in crayon, I can't always appreciate the development of that tiniest new design because I'm seething in anger.
HAVEN'T I SAID NO WRITING ON THE FURNITURE?!
When the blanket is neatly shredded with teeny scissors. The handmade blanket. And I could kill someone. (Not literally y'all.)
WHY DID YOU DO THIS? WHY? WHY? WHY?
When the glass of water at dinner spills three times in a row. The first time across the table. The second into my plate of food. The third onto my lap.
ARGH! PLEASE KEEP YOUR CUP AWAY FROM THE EDGE.
And I know my kids aren't even "just being kids." They're actually just being people. People who make mistakes. People who take things out. People who are trying to figure out their own sense of self within the boundaries of our growing family.
I mean, at this point in time, we're all busy learning. Creating. Loving. And trying to be good people. Well, most of the time.
And the one point I always remember from one of my favorite parenting books, Alfie Kohn's Unconditional Parenting, is this, "The more we ponder our long-term goals for our kids, the more complicated things become....Our thinking about long-term goals...ought to be our touchstone, if only to keep us from being sucked into the quicksand of daily life with its constant temptation to do whatever it takes to get compliance."
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You see, my middle child is inquisitive. And she's not just inquisitive. She's confident while being sensitive. Outgoing and reluctant. And curious and persistent beyond the norm. She's my little tester. We call her the "weak link finder." If anything has a weak spot, she'll find it in seconds. And she won't just find it, she'll push it till it breaks. Every. Single. Time. Hence my pile of toys and books to fix up each and every night. Sigh.
And for as much as these traits bother me to no end at this stage in my own mothering life, each of these traits are prized in adults. When I can remember to put it into that perspective.
And it reminds me daily to focus on what and who I want to help my children become.
So even though I ofttimes crave simple compliance, what I really want my children to retain in their childhood is...
* their creative-minded, confidence that allows them to act on their ideas.
* their strong sense of self, that keeps them grounded and trusting who they are.
* their voice, and the ability to openly speak their minds and their thoughts with others...even when it's not expected or asked of them.
* and, a expectation that all others will and should treat them as fairly and respectfully as possible.
Yes. I want to raise these little people in a way that allows them to fully engage with the world around them. And to be willing and able to change that world for the better. In their own unique ways.
And with that, I've gotta curb this mommy-monster that comes in yelling at times. Literally yelling. About the details of my own life. "Now I've gotta scrub the floor today. Do another load of laundry! Fix the book AGAIN. Scrape the paint off that."
Sometimes the more difficult choice is actually simpler. "I've gotta slow down enough to show her how to work through this issue at hand." I've got to calm down.
Yes, life is rich. Isn't it? I'm glad I have my kids to remind me of all that is truly important. What do you want for you children? What traits are on the top of your list?
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