“I am bigger than you, therefore you have to do what I say. So there.”
Does that sound like something a 5th grader might say to a classmate? Yes, it does to me too. Which is why it’s pretty embarrassing that I often find myself parenting as if this were my motto. Charlotte is 2 years old and yes I know the old saying “Terrible 2’s!” but we really haven’t found this to be the case. Charley is basically a very compliant child who is eager to please and help. Despite this propensity toward obedience we of course still have our “moments”.
Ideally, when Charlotte is making a poor choice and choosing not to obey I stay calm. I use tools like playfulness or offering her a choice to help her obey. A great example is when I tell her it’s time for her nap and she says “No Nap!” shaking her little finger at me. So I say “Charley, it is time for your nap. But here is your choice! You can walk to your room OR I can carry you! What do you choose?” and I make it sound like the most important choice ever. And shockingly, this stuff WORKS. She feels good for making a “good choice” and I feel good to have helped her do that.
But. Yes of course there is a but. There are days when I am too tired, too frustrated, too mommied-out to work that hard. There are days when I want to just pick her up and take her to her room ignoring her frustrated cries.
I had been thinking about this MOR Monday post over the weekend and wasn’t sure what topic I would choose. I was feeling very uninspired and then last night, voila! I royally screwed up and here I am with a great post…unfortunately.
It was time for Charlotte to go to bed, which she was not protesting. We had finished her bath and I was just starting to brush her teeth. As I started to sing the alphabet song and brush she clamped her mouth down and refused to let me brush. I said “Charlotte, open wide. Mommy has to brush your teeth.” She refused.
I interrupt this story for some background information: Charley has never minded having her teeth brushed. Our routine is that I brush them for her while singing the alphabet song then give her the toothbrush and she brushes them for one round of the same song. This last week she’s wanted to skip my “turn” and do it herself, but with a little coaxing/reminding she lets me brush her teeth.
So this behavior was very unusual for her. That SHOULD have made me stop to think “Why is she doing this?”. But it didn’t. Because I already KNEW. She is a TERRIBLE 2 YEAR OLD!! She is being DISOBEDIENT! So I squeezed the sides of her cheeks to force her mouth open and started brushing. She yanked her head away from me (almost falling off her stool) and started crying big crocodile tears. She was shaking head saying “No teeth Mama! No teeth!”. I was just about to put her in a head lock because I AM THE BOSS (seriously, this was my thought process…in my head I sounded like a 2 year old) when I noticed that the toothbrush in my hand was pink.
Yes. It was pink. With blood. My child’s blood. My heart sank into stomach. I put the toothbrush down and gently asked her to show me her teeth, promising “No teeth”. She obeyed now that offending weapon was not in my hand. Her K-9 teeth are coming in (something I knew!) and the toothbrush had caused some bleeding at the spot where one is just breaking the surface.
Big sigh. I apologized, I gave her a hug. The thing about Charley is that if you say “I’m sorry” TO her she says it back. I think because she thinks you’re telling her to say it, but it’s so sweet because her sorry includes a gentle touch on your cheek. Now I wanted to cry.
I sang her 2 songs at bedtime that night instead of our usual 1 and gave her an extra snuggle.
This Mommy gig is hard. I didn’t write this so anyone would say “Oh, that’s not a big deal! You’re a great Mom!”. I just want other Mom’s who read this blog to know that sometimes I screw it up. Big time. I’m sure there are screw-ups in my future that will make this seem like no big deal…I’m absolutely sure of that. The thing is, I truly believe I am the best Mom for Charley. God gave her to me and I trust in Him to help me raise her, screw ups and all.