A while ago I had the revelation that parenting was like taking care of someone in a natural disater. You don't want FEMA showing up with guns, barking orders, making the situation worse... you want someone to come in and speak with calm authority and a gentle plan. But now that my Girl is going to be 4 I find that not everything that upsets her is because of some major crisis or disaster. Sometimes it is the result of me not choosing my words properly... The other day, she was sorting some awesome magnet toys by color when we had to get in the car to go to grandma's. She got her magnets on their board and climbed into her car seat. Here is a close re-telling of how the conversation went:

"ok, please put your magnets down on the seat so I can buckle you in."
"ok, not yet, i'm finishing."
"sweetheart, you can finish later"
"noooo nowwwww!!!!!" and so the tantrum and the struggle to get buckled began. About half way thru trying to strong arm her into her arm straps, it hit me. She thought that when I said later, I meant, well, later. So I stopped what I was doing to her, she yelled and was angry for a bit and then I began again.
"Sweetheart, do you think I will not let you have your crispy-cookies (that was the game with the magnets, i guess) back?"
"Well, what I meant to say was that as soon as you are buckled you can have your magnets back."
I went on to explain to her, after she was buckled with her magnets back safely in her lap, that sometimes mommy might say something that is good but it might not come out sounding like that. I told her that if she didn't like the sound of what I'm saying to ask me what the plan is. She seamed satisfied with that and then let it go. When we got back into the car to go home, she put her magnets on the seat next to her and said "I can have them back later when I'm buckled, right mommy?"
This morning, she asked me for a morning cartoon and I said no, not right now, maybe after lunch. She looked at me and said "What's the plan?" so I explained the simple version of my very busy day and came to the part where she could watch a movie after lunch. Well, she thru her fit anyway, and I sat with her and held her hand while she was upset. When the crying ended, she seemed to have forgotten about the movie and hasn't asked me since.

It is hard to be new to this world. She has such a greater understanding of the universe than anyone knows, but the language she possess isn't always enough for even the simplest communications. I try to take it one thing at a time, but it is so easy to get frustrated and bossy. I just keep telling her I love her no matter what and that even if we are sad today, tomorrow will be better.

No comments: