Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Invisible Edge

Do you ever have those times when you think you are fine and dandy, and then some small thing (or series of small things) just tips you over an edge you had no idea you were about to careen over? That happens to me sometimes. Tonight, for example, I got home from work, the baby was having a hard time, the boyo was bouncing all over the place, and my partner was doing her best but little had gotten done. I thought all was well, but then I felt tension going through me. Dinner wasn't even started, the boyo hadn't eaten, we were running out of time for everything that needed to happen.

Suddenly I was the queen of the ultimatum. I hate that so much, the whole "do this, or else" parenting technique. It doesn't feel respectful to my child, it doesn't fit me as a person, and most of all, it teaches bullying behavior. I have power over you, so I can use it to deprive you of anything I want. Ick. My poor boy just got bouncier and bouncier the more I threatened.

So there I am, losing it slowing, trying not to totally lose it. I am sitting at the table with my son who is eating dinner quickly so he can watch the show he wanted to see before bed (see ick above!). I start crying. He asks, "Mama, why are you crying?"

I tell him that I am anticipating a really hard night and I am thinking he won't go to bed easily, etc and that I am feeling overwhelmed. With such a sweet look, he says, "Ok, so I won't do that."

I thought, yeah, what are the odds, but I said, "Thank you, baby."

And he did. He went to bed so easily with no fuss.

Once again he teaches me some lessons: 1. live in the now rather than living in fear of the future, and 2. expressing real and honest emotions is a much greater way to influence than being a big bully. What a sweet and amazing kid he is. Most of all, he is a teacher, when I bother to check in to his curriculum.

Uh oh, maybe I should stop before this turns into something resembling 'all I need to know I learned in kindergarten.' What do I know? I dropped out of kindergarten.

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