Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Love and Trust

Teagan likes to play both sides against each other. If she doesn't want to get her coat on in the morning or doesn't want to go out to the car, she doesn't refuse to do it but, instead, starts insisting that the other parent take care of helping her. And this gets old and grating and we sometimes snap at her and sometimes give in (because it's easier). And sometimes we talk about how this hurts Mommy's feelings or whatever.
It's bedtime. And we are talking about a variety of things. And I start telling her that no matter what, I will always love her. No matter what she says to me, no matter what she does, I still love her. Even when I'm angry, I still love her.
(Insert a sly and thoughtful look on Teagan's face as she contemplates this statement.)
"I.. want... Daddy."
"I still love you!"
It's about 5 minutes later. Teagan has been alone in her room for about 3 minutes when we hear...
"Daddy? I have to go potty... REALLY baaaad."
So I go back to her room. And I sit on her bed. And I know she's faking. So I make a bargain that I think will "break" her. (That's never a good idea, by the way.)
She tries and tries to convince me of how badly she has to poop. So I say...
"OK. I'll let you go potty. But I'm going with you. And if you don't poop... I'm going to pop your butt!"
I don't say it angrily or meanly. So maybe she didn't take me seriously.
We have the conversation 4 more times.
She goes into the bathroom and climbs onto the potty.
And sits. And sits. And sits.
"Mommy. I think my poop has gone to sleep."
We head back to bed. On the short trip down the hall, I give the standard speech she's heard before. "Teagan, you told a lie about needing to go potty. We don't lie in this family because it is important that we be able to trust each other. Mommy doesn't lie- you know what Mommy has to do."
She hops into bed, choosing to be completely oblivious to what has to come next.
And I, the non-spanker, reached over and gave her a tap on the butt. Seriously. You'd have to swat harder at a fly to make it fly away. I had no intention of hurting her or overpowering her or even punishing her. I was really just sticking with what I'd said.
She falls apart. Sobbing and wailing and such. When she calms down... I tell her...
"And I still love you."
She sniffles and looks at me with those big blue eyes and says...
"I Trust you, Mommy!!"


Joanie said...

Ah! Your very own Sarah Heartburn in the making! That child is playing you! Good luck!

Boozy Tooth said...

Win column! Good job Liz!

Kevin Stone said...

Ya know that's what I am talking about. How are you suppose to be angry at your children? They do make me mad as an old wet hen very often, but then there are those precious moments like that and it pulls at your heart strings. Having children is a blessing and a curse if ya ask me. I love'em though. Thanks for sharing that. It was a wonderful read.

Garret said...

Love the photo journalism.


Alison said...

You describe that oh so well, Liz. Damn, them kids learn fast, don't they??

The Courteous Chihuahua said...

I have a love/hate relationship with this posts! Your storytelling is so good it makes me feel as though I were right there watching this play out. On the other hand, it literally makes me to have my girls little again!!! boo, hoo!

mimbles said...

This afternoon I am feeling slightly homicidal towards my charming children. I'm tired, they're irritating and we still have Friday to go.

Thank you for the reminder that beautiful moments happen even when they're being little ratbags.

Now, wish me luck in getting David to write 8 sentences for homework, he's been sitting at the table with the work in front of him for 2 hours and has written exactly nothing.