When you are trying to figure out how to handle and view things that your child does, and in essence, figure out your parenting style or philosophy, how you interpret something that they do reiterates what you feel in your gut about babies and children and how they should be treated.
When I’m snuggling with Azita, and Ada runs over and starts to climb on me and make noise, I can blame sibling rivalry, thinking her jealous or spoiled. Or I can think that she is only 1 year old and needs some reassurance that I’m still available to hug her too. Or maybe just that seeing Azita in my lap makes her think, “Hey that looks like a good idea, too!” I have the choice to think about possibilities that don’t paint children in selfish, negative hues.
In general, I feel that parents are given the message that their babies and kids are out to push their buttons, test their limits, and manipulate them to get what they want. Sure, kids are going to test boundaries– but do you believe that they are testing those boundaries just to “test” you, motivated to make you angry, trying to see “what they can get away with”?
Or do you believe that they are discovering the world and the powers they have to affect it?
I believe that they are simply discovering the world. I believe they are so impulsive, that while my three-year-old angel drives me crazy sometimes, she is simply doing something that she thinks is fun and she can’t see my point of view, although I can try to see hers.
I want to yell at her when I see her hanging upside down from her knees on her closet bar and knocking down all the clothes. Or when she is picking up Ada for the millionth time, which will often end up in Ada getting hurt or at least annoyed. “But I’m her momma”, she told me once.
Or when she is splashing water all over the place in the bathtub. I lost my temper on that one a few days ago. I had asked her not to splash. I had asked her not to make waves.
So when she brought her arms exuberantly up out of the water and got water all across the floor, I snapped and yelled and made her get out of the bath for not listening.
“But momma I was only being Horton,” she told me, crying.
I paused for a minute to think. She had been twirling her little body in the water, pretending to swim. She loves Horton Hears a Who and watches it every day while Ada naps. In the beginning of the movie, he plays in the water quite a bit.
So there are a few ways to look at this, parenting-wise.
One is that I don’t want a yelling household. All these rude kids running around have parents who spoke to them that way and they copied it, not to sound judgmental. It’s certainly true of us—every time we snap or say something rude, she does it to us. I think Payman finally stopped telling her to “hush” when she started saying it back. And she started telling me, “I’m not talking about this right now!” and I realized maybe that wasn’t the best way to respond when she asked me the same question 48 times.
So I don’t want a yelling house meaning that even if she makes me very angry, I think that as the adult I have to try to speak to her about it politely, so that she can learn to stay calm and speak about her feelings with something makes her upset.
Another way to look at this is to listen to her. She was absorbed in her pretending to be Horton. She actually didn’t splash or make waves or technically, from her point of view, do what I asked her not too. She did something entirely different, and I just decided to yell at her and she doesn’t necessarily always understand why.
She’s so mature it’s easy to treat her like she is an adult, but she isn’t.
I have to struggle against my temper and short fuse so much some days that I don’t know how parents who don’t openly embrace attachment parenting ideas stay sane. If I didn’t try so hard not to overreact, I think Azita would spend 90 percent of her day in time out, in her room, or getting yelled at.
Anyway, at least with parenting tomorrow is another chance to stay calm and do a little better.