Saturday, June 25, 2011

Options and Empathy, pt.1

Even though I was confident it would never happen, I've found my groove now that Henry is no longer napping.  It was a rough first few weeks and I was certainly convinced I would never find any peace during my long day with two small children.  Remember how I have a hard time remembering it's not all about me?

Now that scheduling my day around Henry's looong nap time is a moot point, the new priority is ensuring Liza gets her two naps.  Her naps don't last long and the rocking and nursing pre-nap ritual sometimes last longer than the actual nap but these naptimes are my new sanctuary.

They are also Henry's sanctuary:  he frantically brings his trains into the front room as soon as he knows Lulu is asleep, he choo-choos in peace, we read long story books together and he helps me get supper prepped and ready.

In other words, I get to hang out with my little man and just enjoy him.  No fussing about keeping his prized possesions away from his sister.  No requiring him to be gentle and thoughtful.  No reminders of his "rules".

No wonder Henry has been sweeter and more well-behaved since I got my groove back.  He is getting special one-on-one time with his mama and two  dedicated chunks of time each day without that pesky little sister following his every move.

Now that I feel better about life, I am trying to be more patient and purposeful with our almost three-year-old.  This "positive parenting" blog and specifically, this blog post about the differences between authoritative, permissive and positive parenting was just the reminder I needed.

That blog's post made me realize I tend towards authoritative parenting.  I won't lie.  I say jump and I want Henry to jump.  I say pick it up and I want it picked up.  I say be quiet and I expect silence.

 Is it really to much to ask that he does what I want him to do when I want him to do it?

I am coming to realize that, yes, sometimes that is too much to ask of this busy little toddler.  Too much of my day is spent in a battle of the wills and I have a hard time deciding when to compromise, when to let go and when to insist he does what I say when I tell him to do it.

Now, thanks to that "positive parenting" blog,  my new Henry-themed mantra is "Options and Empathy".

To be continued.......


Mandi @ Living the Good Life said...

I knew you'd find some balance!

Big changes in routine ARE a big deal. But the way I see it, is that you can deal with it or rebel against it. At some point you have to just deal anyways, so might as well *try* to be positive upfront. I'm glad mama got her groove back and I know Hen is enjoying a little downtime with you as well.

Amanda @ Gratefully Growing in Grace said...

I fear that the day of no naps for my preschooler is coming soon. I fear it greatly because of my precious "me" time. I'm delighted to read about your journey through it first. ;)

Mollyandollie said...

Check out this Atlantic Monthly Article...It's some nice perspective on all this craziness we call parenting:

Don't be intimidated by the title...It's more about balance than anything!!

Zoie @ TouchstoneZ said...

I strive for my gentle parenting balance as well. I used to ask myself the question you mention, "Is it really to much to ask that he does what I want him to do when I want him to do it?" Then I realized I could ask the same of my husband. Then I realized I could ask the same of myself. And if could do what I want me to do when I want myself to do it, then how could/should I expect that of my little ones. I'm supposed to be the one with the maturity and experience here and I'm struggling. Ha!

Now, if I could just convince my early-nap-dropping children to put their mama down for an afternoon nap while they amuse themselves, life would be much more peaceful

Laura @ our messy messy life. said...

Mandi, it took me a while but I came around :)

Amanda, be afraid!

Molly, I read the first couple of pages of that article and need to go back and finish the rest. I found it very interesting -- it reminded me that there are so many theories and syles of parenting and that attachment parenting is just one of many roads I could choose to take with my babies.....

Zoie, I've been thinking all day about how it must feel to be a toddler -- constantly told what to do and how to do it -- two things I can't stand and my husband *really* can't stand. Why would we possibly expect our child to be any different? Thanks for the reminder, intended or not, that our kids are little people too :)