Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Aftermath (if you're interested)

This post is a postscript to tonight's earlier muddling-out-loud Bad Mom post so you might want to read that first. Also, this is likely only interesting to people who are also dealing with 4 year old masterminds.

So tonight, after he got back from swimming (and I'd had a chance to stew my own juices out) ...

I tried to give him a hug, but he was squirmy. I asked him what was going on, and he was mad because I'd said no to a third bagel and suggested nuts instead. We had a pretty good conversation about the body, its needs, nutritious mix, and he reluctantly settled back into my arms.

Then the following conversation, which I am transcribing as closely as I can.

I said: I'm worried.

He said: Why?

I said: Because at school this week, you hit other kids and stole a toy. And you lied to me.

He said: Oh.

We sat for awhile.

I said: What could we do?

He said: Maybe, don't tell lies?

I said: Yes, that would really help. If you only tell me true things, I can believe you. That's one thing.

He said: Number two - don't hit!

I said: That's harder. Sometimes it's hard not to hit when you're mad.

He said: Yeah.

I said: What will you do when you want to hit?

He said: Um, stomp my feet?

I said: Good! You might want to tell your teacher that's what you're doing. Do you need help with that?

He said: No, I can tell her.

I said: Is there anything else?

He said: Don't steal.

I said: Yes, stealing isn't fair. How do you think that boy felt when you took his toy?

He said: I don't know. Sad?

I said: How would you feel if he took your toy?

He said: I would be so mad!

I said: Was he mad?

He said: No. I don't know.

I said: Do you think maybe you could tell him you're sorry to took his toy?

He said: Yeah. But I'm shy.

I said: Yes, it's hard to say you're sorry. It's up to you, but it would be a good thing to do.

He said: I'll try.

I said: So what are the three things?

He said: Only say what's true. Um...I forget number two

I prompted: No...

He said: Hitting! No hitting!

I said:  And number 3?

He said: No stealing.

I said: You'll have to work hard to remember.

He said: If I forget, will you hate me?

I said: I will never hate you.

He said: Okay. (he settled more comfortably in my arms)

I said: I will always love you. Even if I'm mad I will never hate you. I love you no matter what.

He said: Thanks, mom. Maybe I'll have some nuts now.

So, we'll see.


  1. That made me smile and it reminded me how much of ourselves we put onto our children...I am still doing it, still feeling guilty when he doesn't do this or that the way I think he should, it must be my fault, I must have done something wrong...
    and then after reading this second post, remembering that sometimes they do what they do because they are children, and then after that, because they are who they are. Sometimes it's less about us than we think. And I mean that in the best possible of ways.
    It is hard, being a parent, very, very hard. You do your best and you give them all the love that you can.
    And now, here's a hug.

  2. Thank you. I've got 14 years left to figure out how to be helpful and not imposing. maybe I'll get there yet.

  3. Made me cry with hope and wonder at these joyous creatures. Again, thank you for sharing. Love you so.

  4. made me cry a little, too. some parents think it's useless to have a conversation with a 4-year-old ... some might even think it can't or shan't be done (like my mom, years ago).

    i have great interest in your story, my friend, but not because i have a child of my own and can relate—but because i have great interest in the children of our society being raised with dignity and respect, with communication and self-esteem ... with love.

    thank you for sharing your beautiful story. (and here's another HUG =))

  5. You could be my mom. Well, er, no... really you can't. I'm way to old to be mothered by anyone but my own, but if I was 4.... Well, you sound like a cool mom. I enjoy watching (or reading about) smart moms with their smart kids -- it gives me hope.

    I'm glad I found this blog! Twitter rules...


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