Friday, January 13, 2012

a parenting storm

Tula was excited about the dusting and I was thankful to be able to cuddle this little one all day!

Today was a snow day- and no matter what, I will always treasure these days as a teacher! A little gift to be at home with my girls being lazy and enjoying each other. This year we haven't had any snow days yet and we have all been more than ready for a big snow storm. Today school was called off but there was hardly a major snow storm, but at home unfortunately, we had quite a storm.

It was one of those days, those afternoons, where nothing was giving and Ivy and I were not able to meet in the middle- at all. The morning was great. We had a yummy breakfast together and then played in the "play kitchen" having birthday parties for EVERYONE over and over again. Then Tula went down for a morning nap and Ivy and I had game time. We played Caribou Island and Zingo for a little while. Then it was nearing lunch time- Tula was up and we all ate together and played some more with the usual post lunch dance party! Then we played another game called Hullabaloo (great snow day game because you hop, skip, and dance all over the place) and Tula is even starting to copy what Ivy and I are doing. All was grand!

Then it was the dreaded afternoon- something hit my 4 year old like a ton of bricks. I am not sure what it was or where it came from. But she all of a sudden was being very unkind to Tula and after several reminders I told her it was time for her to lay down for a rest (before the usual time). During rest time she screamed and cried but eventually calmed down. I never raised my voice and she didn't get a spanking- just a consequence to fit the crime. You can't be nice, you go to your room for an early nap.


You see I am in one of those parenting lulls where something has to change. Ivy is far too mature for a time out or a spanking- it is time for a consequence to fit the crime. I am making an effort to be slow to react to Ivy and think through an appropriate punishment. One that she understands and sees the connection between her action and her consequence. I was proud of myself and was sure to thank God for patience even as Ivy kicked and screamed in her room. All the while, Tula was an excellent distraction and we were able to read books and stack toys and push trains all around the house.

Once I laid Tula down I had time to breathe and just pray for me to continue to parent Ivy in a godly way. I prayed that whatever came over her would pass and we could enjoy our evening together. In the meantime, we were invited to go see Beauty and the Beast with a friend. I called and talked to Greg about it and after talking decided that I would offer Ivy grace, just as Christ does for me over and over and over, so I was excited to tell her about the movie after nap.

At around 3:45 I went into her room and found a still wide awake Ivy. I quietly asked her if she would like to go and see Beauty and the Beast- and she was quick to say yes and then followed that with the middle school attitude that she too often uses said, "and I didn't even take a nap!" I took a deep breath and let it go. Then I was telling her to go ahead and get up to get ready for the movie and the ranting about her clothes began.

I closed my eyes- tried to make it go away- but the realization is that Ivy often acts like the worst kind of 7th grader when it comes to her independence in dressing herself. I was disappointed in her, questioning myself, and so annoyed that once again (right after Christmas) she is whining about clothes and shoes and what goes and what is old and what is new. Geeze louise- I gave her a firm answer about it being too cold for ballet flats and then the screaming began about how mad I make her and I knew what I needed to do.

I have never taken away anything BIG. I mean, I have most definitely used birthday parties, play dates, and super fun outings for bribery and threatening but never have I taken it away. But I knew that she was in no kind of mood to go anywhere in public. In fact, I really just wanted to put her in pajamas, tuck her in, and hope the morning came soon and the old Ivy was back. So I did it, I canceled with our friends and told Ivy that we would not be going to the movies. A consequence to fit the crime.

It was hard- like make mommy cry- kind of hard. I felt bad, I felt embarrassed, and I felt sad that we weren't able to create this memory together. After an hour of SCREAMING and acting totally belligerent, Ivy calmed down and we were able to talk. She apologized and I can only hope that she "got it." I think I heard about 100 "I love you's" in the next few hours, she begged to sit by me at dinner, and she was a perfect baking buddy this evening. Ivy redeemed herself and I hope that she could see my love is unconditional. Even though I don't love the way she acted, I still love her and am hopeful for better times.

I love being a mom. It is hands down the best job I have ever been given. But it is not easy and if my 4 year old is acting like a middle schooler, I can't even imagine what middle school will really be like! I just know I can never give up. I have to know myself, know my limits, and know my non-negotiables. I have to be consistent and have to learn from my mistakes. I have to be flexible and have to hang on to those awesome moments- like the Ivy on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday who earned a ton of quarters (her positive rewards) because she was a great big sister, daughter, helper, and friend. I have to be quick to forgive and offer grace just like my heavenly Father does for me. I have to bake cookies if she requests to do so, even if just hours before she was not the child that would ever get to bake with mommy.

So if I could do it over, would I still want a snow day- absolutely!
Only next time I am hoping for a true snow storm rather than one of the parenting kind!

Ivy was genuinely happy this evening, over it all, and moving on. (If that is not a lesson she has taught me then I don't know what is!) She was ready to bake some oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for her Pops!



5 comments:

  1. You did great! I hope I can handle situations with Ruthie as great as you did with Ivy!

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  2. Great Mama! Maybe if you fight these battles now with her being appreciative and not taking the clothes/shoes thing for granted, then by the time she's in middle school a lot of that stuff will pass. I think what you're doing now will have a big impact later. You're an awesome mom!!!!

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  3. I have always said, big investments now--great returns later. You are an awesome momma--and Ivy is a normal 4 year old; she is still learning. Patience my dear one...and be kind to yourself.

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  4. It is such a relief to know that I am not the only one that survives these kind of storms. It helps me know that I am not a bad mommy and that these are phases that all of our kiddos go through. Great job Mommy for making a tough decision!

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Thanks for your encouragement as I travel through this season of life called mommyhood!