Tuesday, July 30, 2013

upside down.

Do you ever have those days when it's just not working for you? The parenting that is.  Tried & true methods that have always worked in days past fall flat. You are in a quandary as to what to try next, because nothing.is.working.  That pretty much sums up my day.  And when I have upside down days like these I often get down on myself.  It must be due to something I am doing or not doing.  Why am I not doing a good job as my kiddos mom?   Why won't they listen to me?  That's it.  I need to be more authoritative.   No I need to be more loving.  Why is today so hard?  What am I doing wrong?

It began with me taking my boys to the Country Club.  Never would have ever dreamed of writing such a thing much less actually doing it.  But, in our town word on the street is that is where you take your kiddos if you want them to learn how to swim.  So you go to the country club for 30 min each day for two weeks & apparently their magic waters & instructors turn your little ones into fish!  I sat by a mom today who said she had tried swimming lessons for her 6-year-old 3 different times elsewhere & they could never get her to put her head under water.  At the country club she got in the pool & Bam! put her head under water & came out smiling.

I was hoping the same magic would befall us as my son wanted nothing to do with it.  In fact last night when I asked him how he felt about it he gave it two thumbs down.  Literally.  He took both of his tiny thumbs & pointed them downward towards the floor.  At that point mama started to get a little worried since the payment had already been signed, sealed & delivered so I sat quietly, not wanting to freak him out with my frantic questioning, & gave my husband the eyebrow trying to get him to say something manly & encouraging to the downcast lad to get him hyped up about the COUNTRY CLUB LE$$on$!

Morning approached & as we entered the pool area we saw a few familiar faces.  He found out he would be in class with one of his life long pals & I could see the tension releasing from his shoulders a bit.  Fast forward 5 minutes & Bam! he was loving it! Magic water indeed.

Then it happened.  Time to go.  I had given a 5-minute warning.  Said warning expired so I gently let him know it was time to roll.  Everything that if I had my parent handbook would have instructed me to do given the circumstance.  Except that it didn't work.  His reply was simply "No."  What?!  Who's kid is this?  I told him again (assuming he had water in his ears) & he again stood his ground that he didn't want to go, thank you very much.  I was kind of in shock, because this isn't his typical response & because we were at the country club & because other people were watching & because I got it. I would rather be swimming & laughing with my friends instead of going grocery shopping, but sorry buddy mama has to do what mama has to do & at 5 sometimes you are just along for the ride.

Since I didn't want to be that one mom who yelled at her son at the country club I did the next "logical" thing I took his little brother & we said goodbye & walked away.  Only big brother didn't get the memo that he was supposed to clamor out & follow after me at that point.  When I looked back he was having a fantastic time with his friends.  Swimming & laughing & not caring how he would get home.  Or who would towel him off or where his mama would go.  He was just in the moment.  Which I suppose is a great lesson to glean from him if I weren't irritated at the time that it was looking like I was going to have to jump into the pool to get him out.  That is fine when they are little & won't come down the slide at the park & you have to climb up to get them.  Not so fine when they are huge & in a body of water & you are fully dressed. I calmly walked over to the pool, bent down & asked him again to get out.  "No."  Seriously?!  I said he was choosing to be disobedient & that if he didn't get out he would get a consequence.  He got out.  Hurray!!  No idea what consequence he would have gotten so I am super thankful that he got out & that I didn't have to get in.

Later that day we had a repeat performance in the back yard.  When neighbors on both sides of us (who don't have kids) got to have a little show as he was running from me as I asked him to come here & talk to me about how he was not so nicely treating his brother.  Awesome.

Why is it that they act this way in public anyways?  That makes it so much worse.  The thing is though that today I am giving myself some grace.  So we had an upside down day.  I am choosing not to believe that based on this I am a bad mama or that I have a bad kiddo on my hands.  I am choosing to believe that we were off & hopefully we can learn & move on so we won't have any more repeat performance tomorrow.  I am choosing to believe that it doesn't mean whatever methods we have been using must be thrown out & we have to begin again.  It means this mothering gig has some ups & some downs.  It means not all any days will be flawless. It means sometimes you have an audience when disciplining your kid & you still have to carry on.   And it means if showing up truly is half of the battle than I already know I am doing something right.  Because I'll be here tomorrow when they wake up with their boy dragon breath breathing all up in my face.  Blankie imprints on their cheeks.  And we will start again.

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