03 April 2008

What I Did/What I Want to Do Next Time

Did (D): Harped on Maddie about eating her cantaloupe with dinner, resorting to threatening her with a lifetime of Ouchy Poop if she did not up her fruit consumption
Want to Do (WtD): Either be playful about it (she loves it when I pretend to eat her food, then give it to her), or just let it go (she did, after all, stuff herself with whole-wheat pasta and pesto, then some raisins)

D: When Riley threw a dripping-wet washcloth overboard during bathtime, petulently threw it back in the tub with a sharp, "Riley! No! That was NOT NICE."
WtD: Calmly give washcloth back and remind the Man that washcloths are not for throwing; take cloth away if it happens again.

D: Harped incessantly on both kids to get them to drink their milk while we got ready for bed.
WtD: Let it go, already. If they need it, they will drink it.

D: Harped incessantly on both kids during clean-up time, saying things like, "Riley, you are not being very helpful. Maddie, I need you to CLEAN UP RIGHT NOW."
WtD: Give the kids tasks. When they are tired and unmotivated, tasks really help. "Riley, please put this car away. Maddie, where does this baby go?" Less focus on the not helping and more focus on how they can help/praise when they do.

D: Became exasperated when Riley asked for yet another hug before bed; gave it to him with a huffy, "Fine. Here's another hug."
WtD: Give the kid a warm response, already! Enjoy the fact that he's begging for hugs—it won't last forever.

D: When Maddie cried for her Binky just after I'd finally managed to fall asleep, stormed into her room and gave it to her with an exasperated, "Maddie! You need to open your eyes and find your own Binky. Mama was SLEEPING."
WtD: (1) Let her cry it out and find her own Binky (she has no fewer than three right next to her), or (2) Give it to her in a calm and gentle way.

D: Became irritated when kids wanted to take snack cups of cereal to school.
WtD: Who cares if they take cups of cereal to school? What stick was up my ass this morning?

D: Ordered cream soup at lunch.
WtD: Order something lighter. Cream soup is good, but man, I feel like I have a belly full of lead.

Maddie, Riley, and I are meeting up with some friends tonight at a local Mexican place for mariachi night. Woo-woo! I'm thinking there might be a margarita in my future . . .


Ragtop Day said...

Ohmygosh, your "Did" and "Want to Do" sound so much like mine! My kids are older than yours (4 and 7) but at the core we are the same. Your evening sounds fun - enjoy that margarita!

Gillian said...

The other night my very sweet young puppy who had been alone outside for 13 hours that day due to mama's long day at work, who had not been walked, who had not been played with, who had been snoozing on the back deck all day just waiting for me to come home . . . this little enthusiastic sweet guy leapt up onto the couch when I sat down and stomped his little 25 pounds of pointy puppy feet all over my 36 weeks pregnant belly.

I, exhausted after a 13 hour day when I am (did I mention?) 36 weeks pregnant, SCREAMED into his little puppy face, threw him off the couch, and then chased him around the room with a spray bottle of water until he left and cowered by the front door. He wouldn't come near me the rest of the night.

I'm not doing all of this alone, like you, but my husband has been out of the country since January, and I am one exhausted pregnant lady. But my pup is only a few months old. He deserved a better reaction. And as I sat on the couch afterwards, him cowering in the other room, me stewing in my growing guilt over my stupid reaction, I began to get an inkling of the mother guilt that you describe so often in your posts. And that was with my DOG. Oh dear.

Still, there's something to be said for recognizing behavior in yourself that you don't like and then trying to correct it. For that we get bonus points, am I right?

Giovanna said...

Margarita heaven!
I'll admit I had to laugh at this post...b/c I've been there...and it never ends. Just yesterday Aidan woke up whining for me to cover his blankets...as if he couldn't do it himself...he's right there. But like you said...it won't last forever so I have to take up the mentality to enjoy it while I can. Enjoy tonight. Hola

Anonymous said...

D: beat myself up
WtD: cut myself a break

I know it's hard, but you are doing a wonderful job. Your kids aren't even 2, and they're helping you tidy up!
You're showing your children you're human. That's what they're learning in the big picture. You're awesome, even if you're not all the time. That's why Riley wants all those hugs from you!

moo said...

Sounds like you've got some good strategies for dealing with future scenarios.

Next time, try taking a slow, deep breath before you react in a negative way. While you breathe in, think, "why am I upset about this?" and when you breathe out think, "I love this kid."

Then try responding. Perhaps giving yourself that extra second or two will help you remember all your "good" strategies.

No one is perfect and you are doing it all on your own. It's okay to get it wrong sometimes.

BethGo said...

Wow. this is really good. I had one of those days recently too. This post is a good reminder for me of ways to do it better next time.

Cass said...

Please enjoy a Margarita for me and hey, take a deep breath...you're a really great mom, I hope that I can be as great as you are with your kids with my little baby on the way. And for goodness sake if you find yourself saying "i'm not that great" let me tell you again - you really are that great. really.

What A Card said...

I've got the WtD for all time to end your worries about your kids' eating habits: have dinner with my kids, and witness for yourself their air and water diet :) My kids make everyone else feel really good about what their kids eat!

Mmm, that's one of my favorite Mexican places, although watch out, they use nuts in their mole sauce. I can't help myself, though, it's so good! I just keep B-man far from my food :) Enjoy your margarita!

Mama Nabi said...

Oh boy. Yes, yes, yes... had those days. It really does get better... it does. Next time, you'll be more mentally prepared with the 'thought-out' response rather than the 'human' response.

And remember to give yourself a break if you slip up and respond in a 'human' way... we all do it. And many of us only have ONE stubborn toddler to deal with.

Shelly Kang said...

Sheesh. That whole entire list happens inside my brain every day. At least our intentions are good, and we do our parenting out of love, imperfect as it is.

Sarah said...

After a long Wisconsin winter with four boys who have far more energy than their pregnant momma, this list sounds so much like mine. I'd like to blame it on all the snow, but really this has been going on since the twins were born. Wouldn't it be great if love was the only thing we needed to be a perfect parent all the time?

Have a great night out with your friends, enjoy the margarita and email me whenever you decide you need some new Lands' End stuff. :)

Annagrace said...

Oh, but I know this day! I'm having one too! And the 2 yr emotional girl thing is REALLY hard for me, even though I KNOW that the way my mom handled me at this age (or didn't, or did very poooooorly) is a big reason why this is all so hard for me. I know all the selfish places this comes from, I know why I do it, I know I'm tired and hormonal and pregnant and stressed about some life stuff but STILL...I want to do better. I don't want Pea to do this to her kids one day. But I feel like I've got this type of reaction in the one hand and "perfect mother" syndrome in the other and no role models of how to be in-between.

Thanks for writing this today.

~ T ~ said...

oh wow, I think you and I had the same day...except my kids are older and I was way grumpier.

tomorrow will be better - or at least that's what I'm going to keep telling myself

Anonymous said...

Oh man, I can SO relate to the Binky one. There's something about being awakened in the time right after I've gone to sleep that makes it so hard to be calm and empathetic. It's one of the major factors in moments that make me wince and wish I had done better when I think back on them.

And I don't have anywhere near the challenges in my life that you have in yours! Good for you for making a plan for what to do next time, too.

I can't being to say I have an idea of the challenges you face just getting through the day, but I can say that from across the Internets I am cheering for you for getting up every morning, doing your best with your adorable kiddos, and making it through to the next day. Enjoy that margarita!

mlg said...

I agree with this:

D: beat myself up
WtD: cut myself a break

I spent the whole weekend beating myself up about not standing up to the evil x-ray woman, but didn't want to call the manager of the evil x-ray woman because I didn't want to get her in trouble.

How dumb is that? I was giving her a huge break that she didn't deserve but wouldn't give myself one.

I did call and complain. And I found out I was not the first one who did.

The best thing I ever did to get my kid to clean her room was to make it a game.

Go pick up all the red things
Go pick up all the round things
Go pick up all the things that start with the letter B

She actually used to beg me for more..

Anonymous said...

GIRL! Will you give yourself a break?!!!! PLEASE?!!! You are doing a great job. You can't expect yourself to be June Cleaver all the time!


OTRgirl said...

What a good list. Hope the margarita's were great.

I like the idea of reflecting on what didn't work and planning how to approach it the next time. It's so hard to do in the heat of the moment though.

Anonymous said...

Have you noticed how many of your concerns center around food issues?

Christine said...

You know what? Your responses were human. Your what you should have dones were ideal. We don't live in an ideal world.

And there's an Ixtapa in Lunenburg. Very good and authentic. Chips and salsa to die for! Enjoy the mariachi music!

Beloved said...

I can so relate! These sound like the regrets I have in dealing with students or hubby. The crazy thing is that I see people reacting badly all the time, and know exactly what they should have said, but when it's my turn, I seem to lose all sense.
Oh the things I would take back if I only could!

Denise said...

This post made me cry. I recognized myself in so many of the "dids." Like you, I struggle w/ being too rigid, but I don't see myself as a perfectionist. It's because there is just SO much that needs to get done, and if one little thing slips (I don't get time to pack a lunch the night before, the kids get to bed late) it seems like everything goes straight to hell. But I'm working on balancing organization with, uh, being nice to the kids.

SmileyGirl said...

You amaze me with your internal conversations and reason. I know follow-through is sometimes the hardest part but many of us have trouble even listening to ourselves. You are a great mommy! Never think otherwise!