Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Three is a hard age for me.

Three is a hard age for me. Not because my daughter is making it hard, but because I make it hard. Because I make it more than it should be. Because I bring unneeded stress and high expectations to the table.

This morning when I was trying to get E dressed, we had a little disagreement. She wanted her banana right away, and I wanted to put her clothes on first. As a compromise, I patiently explained to her that after putting her clothes on, I would hand her the banana. Apparently that was not the answer she was looking for and she wanted the banana and she wanted it right now. Insert crying next.

I don't do well with demands. Interesting because I am naturally a demanding human being. Unfortunately.

I don't do well with screaming and yelling in order to try to get said demand.

I don't do well when I am continually ignored.

So I gave her the counting time. I threatened no banana at all. I just had enough and I just wanted her to listen. And gosh darn it, I wanted her to listen RIGHT NOW.

I reacted a lot faster than I should have, raised my voice a little louder than I ever wish to get, and made my expectations a little bit more clearer to her.

With tears running down her face, she did finally get dressed. She did eventually get her banana {after much huffing and puffing from her mama and having a little talk about what happened, what we need to do next time, and how we could have avoided all that by just listening}. And everyone was kissy face happy again.

Except mama. Me.

I was not happy. I still am not happy. I'm mad. And it's not at my daughter.

I am mad at myself that I make things so hard on all of us. I am mad that I just did not take the time to work through the situation. I am mad that I was more concerned about my oldest waking up our youngest during her screaming escapade than I was about handling things the right way.

Why. Why put as through all that and make everyone stressed.

I realized something really important today. Something I realized about age two last year, and something that I need to be reminded of age three this year. That we only make things as hard as we allow them to be. That we only make things into something bigger than they should be, because of what we decide to do. That things only get worse and blown out of perspective based on our own actions as parents.

Should I have given her the banana right away because she was demanding it? Absolutely not. Should I have tried to bribe her, threaten things, or gotten angry? No absolutely not. Should I have taken the time to talk to her a little longer, walked away, and taken the time to compose myself? Yes. Yes, I should have.

 I know all of these things. And when we are rushed by time, or rushed by certain scenarios {like a little baby sleeping}, we tend to throw all logic out the window and become desperate. I become desperate. And I become a parent that I am ashamed of. In that split moment of time.

It is hard as a parent to not understand why your child will not listen to you in certain situations. It may not be all the time. It may just be once in a blue moon. But when that happens you just forget that they are little, that this is how they are wired, and that most importantly, it is our job as parents to guide them. And to guide them in a patient, compassionate, loving way.

It is hard for us to not expect more out of these children. They walk. They talk. They are pretty darn self sufficient, and I know they know what I am saying and that mama is going to get upset if they don't listen. Don't they get it? How many times do we have to repeat ourselves or go through the same situation in order for the light bulb to go off?

The answer? As many times as it takes.

The answer is just that simple. They are three. There is your answer. They are wired to explore, they are wired to manipulate, and they are wired to try to test limits. They are. And we as parents need to set those limits, need to allow them to think of an appropriate solution to the problem, and of course love them throughout the way.

I know all this. I can write it a hundred times on a chalkboard---over and over and over again. Let them be little. Let them be little. Let them be little. Let them be little. Repeat.

We as adults, parents, mess up and act in a way that we may not always be proud of. We. Adults. Twenty seven years of life in and I still mess up. A child? A child should be allowed the same exception, and certainly, they should be allowed the time to learn, to process, and to respond without a time limit set upon them.

I know this, and I know that it's a work in progress. God created children to be this way not to give us grey hairs {although I have plenty of those}, but to challenge us as individuals. My children have made me a better person not because they are cute and sweet and tell me how much they love me. Because they have shown me how much better life can be based on what you make of it.

So age three? It's hard. It's hard because I have made it hard. Not the actual three year old. She has nothing to do with it.

Today, today I make it easier.

1 comment:

  1. I couldn't agree with this post more! I am always reminding myself that my son is only 3, not 10, and I need to loosen up a bit and not expect so much!


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