12 July 2010

Life’s Little Lessons

When I had to take Lil'Bitz to the doctor for her double ear-infection, there was a horrible confluence of events that lead to me and Cha Cha having a super-ugly altercation in the parking lot. It was the perfect storm of situations that most parents work their damnedest to avoid. We were out at nap time, at a place that was super boring and in a line that took forever so then we could wait forever and a day for the pharmacy tech to fill our prescriptions. Add in a baby with two ouchie ears and the fact that three year olds often suffer from a jerk-face phase, things did not go well. There was some yelling and hissy fit throwing on behalf of us both, it was not pretty. It all culminated in an ugly set of fisticuffs when her behavior became a safety hazard in the parking lot and involved the (inadvertent) walloping of her sick sister. It was horrible; I am still suffering PTSD about the whole thing.

Now I am sharing this because I learned something so important in all of it. I was so upset about how badly it went, and I spent way too much time dissecting the whole drama-llama with DH and he finally said something to the tune of "sure you all made bad decisions, but the difference between good parents and bad parents is what they learn from it." First, let us realize how that was the perfect thing to say and reflect on how lucky I am to have this guy. Next, he is totally right. What did I learn here? Oh so much.

I learned:

  • Sacrificing naps will always come at a price and while this situation left me no choice, if I have a choice, move heaven and earth to accommodate the schedules of the kids.
  • Three-year olds cannot modulate their behavior at all and once one time-out is needed, expect many more in a horrible death spiral of bad behavior.
  • As tempting as it is to avoid a public scene, execute that time-out right now. I could have de-escalated this bad boy long before it got out of hand and from now on, that is what will be happening.
  • Kids are pretty resilient and capable of working stuff out. After the fact Cha Cha and I kissed, made up, talked about it, and she was surprisingly insightful about it all.
The real test came today. I was hoping to get the girls to the Botanical Gardens, and things were not going well. We were three time-outs deep in the process and another tantrum was boiling just below the surface. "Ah-Ha" I said, "I have learned something." Trip canceled, naps taken and much fun had at the fountain here at our local park.

My new mantra "Good moms are not always perfect, they just learn from their mistakes instead of repeating them."


Ginger said...

I'm sorry you faced that perfect storm. This parenting gig is hard sometimes! I'm glad, though, that you at least were able to find something to learn from it (and to share with those of us who don't have willful toddlers/kids yet!).

Alicen said...

So sorry for this!!

Reminds me of the time right after E was born where sweet little N was possessed!! Thankfully it was only that bad that one time but it was dreadful and I totally sympathize.

I think sometimes we get so caught up in keeping our children busy and having fun we forget that instead we sometimes need to slow down.


Alicen said...

Oh and I was referring to slowing down with the everyday hustle and bustle NOT situations you can't avoid like doctors appointments with sick kids during naptime! Some things you simply don't have a choice and you can only do the best you can in the situation your in.

The key, like you said, is that you learned something from it.

Heidi Maxwell said...

Ahh, the joys. Great Mantra, Mama!