i always think that one of the reasons i was drawn to a certain style of parenting is because of the nature of my first born. the bean is a special one. from the start he has been very sensitive and easily upset. this meant holding and wearing him a lot when he was a baby as well as seeing the benefits of extended nursing and cosleeping and all that fun. as he gets a bit older it has also meant finding the right style of discipline. i hesitate to even use that word because i think discipline in our culture often is synonymous with punishment and that doesn’t work around here. what i mean is finding a consistent, fair, and respectful way to teach him about limits, boundaries, safety, and the world out there.
right now the chickpea is going through another phase where she will only nap if i hold her or wear her and i have gotten into the habit of turning on some music and putting her in the wrap and staying out in the main living area with the bean while she sleeps. but sometimes he decides he wants to be loud (probably because i ask him not to be) or that he wants to wake her up and play with her and things don’t go the way i would like them to. today he was pulling some serious 2.9 year old antics when i was trying to have her nap. he has this tricycle he rides around the house down here and somehow he decided to fall off it and fake cry repeatedly, louder and louder, until i asked him to shhhhh, and then he did a few more times louder for good measure until chickpea woke up.
to be brutally honest i was annoyed. we were having a good day up until this moment and i sort of felt like what he was doing was unfair. i took the chickpea off and put her in a safe spot with some toys and asked him to come talk to me in his room. once in there things went kind of like this:
me: i need you to be quiet when chickpea is napping on me ok?
me: i know it is hard but if she does not sleep she is cranky. she needs her sleep. i am mad because you woke her up. do you understand?
b: no no no. i want her to wake up.
me: i don’t want her to wake up . i want her to sleep. when you wake her up it makes me mad.
b: no i want her to wake up so i can play with her.
me: next time she is sleeping can you please be quiet. if you don’t think you can be quiet then i guess that i will take chickpea to another room so she can sleep and you can be alone.
me: you understand that waking her up makes me mad?
b is now rolling around on the bed giggling.
me: i love you even when i am mad at you.
me: everything is gong to be ok. but i would really like it if you could be quiet.
we went back out to the main living area and within five minutes something had set him off and was in a full on crying melt down. i tried to be calm and patient. a lot of i love you’s. a lot of “this is hard. i am sorry this is hard. you are doing your best. being mad is ok. crying is ok. i love you.” and so on. he carried on and on. eventually i took him to his room so he could cry in there. i asked if he wanted to play? nonononononono. i told him i was ready to play with him or have a snack and juice with him when he was ready so come find me. he said ok. awhile later i went and got him. we had a snack and were getting ready to go outside. i told him i had to use the bathroom before we went out. he said, “i will come with you.” ok.
“i will come with you or else you will be mad and you will be all alone.”
ouch. i know my bean and i know he was telling me what he heard me say earlier was that i was mad at him and i was going to make him be all alone.
and really it is not fair of me to ask him to be quiet enough not to wake her up. that is an unrealistic expectation for his age. and then to tell him i am mad and make him feel like i will make him be all alone because of it. when all he wanted was some attention.
so in the bathroom was like this:
b: i will come with you or else you will be mad and you will be all alone.
me: oh beanie, i love you. i messed up. i am sorry. i am not mad at you. i love you.
the tiniest nuances matter with this kid of mine. and i will keep trying to remember that he was born to me for a reason. and that i don’t need to parent him how other people parent other kids. and that respecting his emotions and limitations is not the same as being permissive. so we went outside and played. and now i am holding z on the bed while she sleeps and he is in the next room over watching a show and for today this is ok.