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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Teaching moments

I look at parenting as a journey. Sometimes it traveling the calm waters of the Danube in a staffed houseboat. Sometimes it is hiking in the rain across a bumpy trail in the mountains of Spain. Sometimes it is having your passport taken by security guards on a Greek ferry while in the open sea. (The last one did actually happen to me).

All of that is part of the journey. The easier times allow you to rest and recuperate for the challenges that may lie ahead. The hard times can push you to the edge, but hopefully, hopefully you will emerge from the other side wiser. Stronger. Better prepared for the next mountain or rain storm or large man walking away with your passport because your friends took all the tickets with them when they went two decks below.

My biggest challenge right now, beside the boy's sleep habits which is still testing my patience and ability to function after a night of interrupted sleep, is providing guidance to the girl on her behaviour. I feel like almost every moment right now is a teaching moment. When she acts in a way that I would prefer she didn't (hitting, pushing, yelling, not listening to my question for the fifth time, etc) I feel like that is a moment for me to step in and guide her to make a better choice in her words or actions.

How do we treat our friends? How do we talk to our brother? How do we take care of our toys?

I feel like this time right now is key. She is looking to me. Waiting to see what she can and can not do. Or get away with, depending how you look at it. She will ask me things over and over to see if the answer is the same as it was last time. To see if the line I drew in the sand is still there and how much she can nudge it.

This is tiring. I feel like I need to keep all my wits about me. It's like being at a meeting with a client who you know has a hidden agenda but you aren't sure what.

Every day we start again. More teaching moments. More chances for her to discover that the delicate balance between her desires and respecting others. More opportunities for me to be impressed with her readiness to learn and her maturity. More moments for me to be thankful that I get to be the one to guide her.

Even through the rainstorms.


  1. That's great that you can recognize this...despite the sleep deprivation. :) How old is your DD? My DS tests my patience as well and he's only 20 months...if I'm tired, it gets me really going. Oye!

  2. Somehow, for me, every night when I watch my daughter sleep it clears away the craziness of the day. It's like a reset button. And I'm so, so grateful for that. :)

  3. SO TRUE. I could not have said this better. Some days it's just so hard to find the energy to go over the same rules for the 1000th time. Sigh.

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  5. I found that there were a few ages and stages that were one teaching moment after another. It is exhausting, so it was SO important for me to get times to decompress. It still is.

    The wonderful thing is you will have moments where suddenly your child is doing something unconsciously that you have worked on and worked on until eternity. They can be tiny things or large things- one thing that drove me nuts with my son (now 7) was slamming doors. He didn't realize his own strength, it wasn't an anger thing. Drove me nuts. Over and over again, "gently, sweetie" until I was blue in the face. Then one day I realized that it hadn't happened in months.

  6. What a good and patient Mummy you are. Keep the faith, this stage too will pass. As all Mums know, if you know nothing else, know that children are always changing!

  7. My line in the sand is CONSTANTLY being nudged!! Sometimes more forceful than I would like!! I get things THROWN at me...yes THROWN!! How do you stop yourself from yanking up that child and keeping your temper in check!! Yes, my friend, those are the learning experiences that are more for ME!! The ability to love past the anger and calm down before it gets the best of me! I know from raising teenagers first that the things your children do will SURPRISE you, and if it was done by ANYONE else you would NEVER let it go....but thankfully the LOVE you feel for them ALWAYS outweighs the ANGER!! Stay strong and know that all of the learning experiences are definitely worth the patience it takes to administer them!! I remind myself of this everyday!! xo

  8. "More moments for me to be thankful that I get to be the one to guide her."

    She is lucky to have such a good mentor.:) There are far too many kids out there with absent parents who don't take the time to guide their children's behaviour.

  9. That is beautiful. Although I do sometimes wish the teaching stopped, just for a day...:)
    in a 'stop the boat , i want to get off' kind of way.
    Beautiful metaphor though.