Sorry for the brief hiatus, somehow my posts weren’t publishing. I’m back now…you can breathe a sigh of relief.
Often I find myself discussing with fellow parents how hard to come down on our kids. When they do something “wrong” do we yell? Punish? When they’re just pushing our buttons and we involuntary totally LOSE IT, are we scarring them for life? (Mom, you listening?? NOT that I blame you).
With my 3.5 year old (M), I don’t find myself screaming or punishing much at all, but I do find myself having the momentary frustrated feeling of, “Dude…can’t you just kind of sit there, be quiet, and need nothing from me right now? That goes for you too, baby!” Obviously the answer is no, but when everything they choose to do is exactly what you don’t want them to do, it’s hard to keep your cool.
One such loss of composure always happens when I’m trying to clean, because the two kids are simultaneously always UNCLEANING. Now, I HATE cleaning. I know everyone does, but I don’t just hate it, I also love it. I’m actually a neat-freak on the inside who doesn’t have the skill or willpower to exercise that desire, so I’m a messy neat freak with constant anxiety about the mess around me. Make sense? SO, when I am cleaning, I need to feel like I’m getting somewhere with it. And yet, I find every time I clean one room or area, the boys go directly to the area I previously cleaned to mess it up again.
For instance, the other night after dinner, I was straightening up the living room, running around trying to do it FAST before they could get their grubby hands on some paint or make new crumbs or do anything to UNDO my cleaning/make more mess before bed time. I look over and M has taken my beloved pack of gum out of its box and is systematically unwrapping every piece and throwing both gum and wrapper on the floor. He then comes to me with a wad of smushed up pieces (of my favorite flavor) in his fist and says, “Mama, do you want some gum?”.
Now, He KNOWS I hate when he does this so I had no problem very coolly stating, “NO M I don’t want gum, I want to finish cleaning, have you NOT make more mess, have you wipe the ice cream off your face, and GET READY FOR BED!”. He took a long pause and looked me right in the eyes and I suddenly felt horrible, had I gone too far with my sensitive little guy? Was he just trying to be generous? He takes a long breath, turns to my husband and says, “Dad, do you want some gum?”.
So, no damage done there…