There is nothing quite like a boost to your parenting self esteem. You wonder if you are doing it right, if you are giving too many options to your toddler, or if you are gently steering them the way they need to go. It's the hope every parent has, that you are guiding them properly and molding them into behaved young people.
It's definitely challenging with a two point five year old.
Every morning before I drop off Camden at school he gets to play on my phone for five minutes before I leave him. He's the most popular kid around, his friends get excited when he arrives and they crowd around to either watch him play Mickey, game, or do a puzzle.
The other day he was a bit of a mess. He wanted to sit on my lap to watch, which was a little out of the norm. I obliged, and he seemed to get whinier from there. He is normally really good about obeying and turning the phone off when it's time for Mommy to go. But that day he wanted to throw a fit, flailing his body around and hollering, pushing his peers and causing a ruckus. I had to pick him up and hold him so he would look me in the eye. As he lay there with tears running out of the corners of his eyes, begging to watch Mickey Mouse, I had to be firm with making him turn it off. I told him that he was not allowed to play on the phone with that kind of behavior. He did turn it off, but continued to cry and fuss. I had to hold him and discuss how he needed to obey to play on the 'puters (his favorite thing at school) and if he didn't obey he wasn't going to get to play. He slowed his crying to hear me tell him he would lose a privilege, and then I told him he needed to tell me "sorry". So he says in his adorably pitiful voice, "I sorry Momma". So to make sure he's comprehending what I am asking him to apologize for, I ask him to tell me what he's sorry for. He responds with an equally as pitiful, "for throwing fits".
At that point he had slowed on his crying but then started to fuss again about "not wanting to play with his friends". At that point he had to option to sit on the couch by himself without the phone, or to go play with his friends. He chose to lay on the couch. I promised him that if he obeyed his teachers and helped clean up breakfast at school he could play on the computer. (After all, those are the rules of the room). He was able to be reasoned with at this point, less tearful and seemed to understand what I was saying. He answered me in a tearful and higher pitched tone with an inflection at the end of his one word answer, "okayyy". I told him I loved him and asked for a kiss.
As I was preparing to walk out the door, one of the teachers at school said, "Courtney, do you want to teach a parenting class? We've got some parents that could use that sort of information. Or some kids that just need to be parented in the first place".
Whoa. Holy compliment!
Did that really just happen? Its definitely a boost to my parenting self esteem when I hear a comment like that. After having all of the morning staff members sit and watch me parent my kid, it's good to know that they felt that I had handled it appropriately.
I left daycare that morning with a confident feeling about my abilities. Not only from that compliment, but from the way I was able to calm C, to get him to listen and apologize, and the way he seemed like he was able to hear what I was saying. He still wasn't completely done being upset or fussing, but we made some baby steps of progress.
Now, if these little lessons in obeying would start to sink in for good...