Friday, July 11, 2008

Repeat, Repeat, Repeat: meditation for mama II

In the grand tradition of blaming everything on the mother, I started thinking about Pablo ignoring me and how I contribute to that trend. I can be a veritable tour de force in self blame when it comes to my kids, so it's really no surprise that I would go there.

In noticing Pablo's tendency to ignore me when I talk, I have started thinking a lot about how much I ignore him. Not in a horribly negligent way, but in that obnoxious adult way that I remember from childhood. The infamous “uh-huh” answer to whatever you say. The repeating and repeating your words so that the grown-up will pay attention and then having the adult get irritated by the repetition. Do you remember that? Well, I find myself in the adult role of that scenario far too often with my little penguin boy.

Generally it comes at a time when I need to concentrate on something for a few minutes, or in the afternoon, when the day has dragged on a bit. I want a few minutes to myself. The vast amount of input is more than I can take and I just want a little quiet time. It has been especially bad this week since I am having horrible allergies and keep feeling like getting really sick is just around the corner.

Finding the space for quiet time can be next to impossible. I have intermittently tried to institute book reading time in the afternoons while the baby is napping, and that sometimes works. More often, Pablo inexplicably forgets how to read AT ALL and needs me to read him every other word. Or book reading becomes an activity inexorably tied to jumping up and down, shouting as loud as humanly possible. Doesn't that sound relaxing?

I know I need my down time, but I don't like that I am training him how to respond to being ignored by repeating himself. Instead, I need to be tuning in rather than tuning out. I need to be listening to him first rather than expecting him to just listen to me. I need to be going to him, getting on his level, looking him in the eye. Most of all, I need to remember that down time can come in moments, not just hour long increments. Each deep breath is an opportunity to relax. All that stuff you read about in parenting books. Hmmph. That seems too hard, dang it. Can’t he just listen? Can’t he just smilingly do what I want the first time I ask?!

I am sure that’s exactly what Pablo is thinking when he starts repeating himself to me.

I guess one of us has to be the grown up and be the change we want to see in the world. Think he will flip me for it?

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