Welcome to the January Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting resolutions!
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month we’re writing about how we want to parent differently — or the same — in the New Year. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
My personal parenting goal is to work on nurturing my relationship with my middle child, my 2-year-old daughter, and to “use love” when things get dicey.
I’m nursing the baby and reading with my oldest daughter from Teach Your Child How to Read in 100 Lessons when my toddler starts to fall apart. She throws a crayon. She hits her big sister. She starts screeching.
“Use words,” I screech back.
More tears spill from her big, brown eyes, saying what words cannot. I need you, Mommy.
Later that same day we are cuddled next to one another. She places her hand on my cheek, a tender gesture that never fails to tug at my heart.
And then she uses her words very well. “Mommy, why do you yell at me when I ‘cwry’?”
When my baby cries, I immediately respond with a gentle touch or soft words. I scoop her in my arms. I nurse her. I kiss her sweet tears away.
When my 5-year-old cries, we talk. I can actually have rational conversations with her about feelings or consequences if her behavior is out of line.
But when my middle child, who has recently hit the 2-and-a-half-year-mark, cries or shrieks or hits, I’ve been too quick to snap lately. Sometimes her angry outbursts and apocalyptic approach to the smallest problems are infuriating, not to mention completely irrational. It is not the end of the world that you can’t get one of your socks on your foot. You will not go sock-less for the rest of your life. Bruised, blistered feet are not in your future, and you will somehow survive this atrocity.
Sometimes I’m just tired. I don’t feel like I have any more to give. I’m homeschooling my oldest child for the first year. I have a 9-month baby who is still nursing almost exclusively and is rooted to me like a barnacle both day and night. My 2-year-old has always been my easy child, the one who complies, who slowly weaned herself at 18 months, my one child who sleeps and doesn’t put up a fight. When she’s recalcitrant, I’m taken aback and often short fused.
But there’s no excuse for my insensitivity. So I apologize to my daughter as we cuddle in the stillness of the day. The baby is asleep while my older child is having quiet time in her room. It’s just the two of us. My toddler curls beside me. Wisps of her honey-hued hair tickle my face. I smile at her. She beams back. All is forgiven.
The next day when she throws a fit, I crouch down to her level. “Do you need a time-in?” I say looking into her glassy eyes.
She stops crying, wondering what that means.
“Come here. Let’s cuddle for a bit.”
She climbs onto my lap, and all her frustrations melt into my arms. She is calm and quiet.
And so am I.
I’m trying to teach my little girl to “use words.” But she’s imparting a far greater lesson. She’s teaching me that above all, we should “use love.”
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
• To Yell or Not to Yell — The Adventures of Lactating Girl
• It Is All About Empathy: Nurturing a Toddler’s Compassion Potential — Baby Dust Diaries
• To my babies: this year… — BluebirdMama
• Mindfully Loving My Children — Breastfeeding Moms Unite!
• January Carnival of Natural Parenting: Resolutions — Code Name: Mama
• Imperfect Mother — Consider Eden
• Resolutions — Craphead (aka Mommy)
• FC Mom’s Parenting Resolutions 2010 — FC Mom
• What’s in a Resolution? — Happy Mothering
• January Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting resolutions — Hobo Mama
• Natural Parenting Resolutions — Little Green Blog
• This year, I will mostly… — Look Left of the Pleiades
• Parenting Resolutions — The Mahogany Way
• I Resolve to Breastfeed In Public More Often — mama2mama tips
• Moving to Two Kids — Megna the Destroyer
• Use Love — Momopoly
• My parenting resolutions — Musings of a Milk Maker
• Talkin’ ’bout My Resolutions — Navelgazing
• Parenting Resolutions — One Starry Night
• Invitations, not resolutions — Raising My Boychick
• No more multitasking during kid time — The Recovering Procrastinator
• I need to slow down, smell those roses AND the poopy diapers — Tales of a Kitchen Witch Momma
• Resolutely Parenting in 2010 — This Is Worthwhile