Sunday, February 19, 2012

Our Lullaby: I'll Do What It Takes

I'll rock you a thousand rocks
I'll kiss you a thousand kisses
I'll sing you a thousand songs
If that's what it takes to get you to sleep
You are my precious child
You are my precious one 
I will cherish you
Because that's what it takes to get you to sleep.
I'll squeeze you a thousand squeezes
I'll sooth you a thousand sooths
I'll pat you a thousand pats
If that's what it takes to get you to sleep.
You are my precious child
You are my precious one
 I will cherish you
Because that's what it takes to get you to sleep.
I'll love you a thousand loves
I'll hug you a thousand hugs
I'll yawn you a thousand yawns
If that's what it takesto get you to sleep
You are my precious child
You are my precious one
I will cherish you
Because that's what it tkes to get you to sleep

Monday, February 6, 2012

Bad Parenting or Tough Love?

Dear Lucia,

You are such a wonderful daughter. At 2 years old it is hard to punish you because you really don't do anything wrong. You typically get in trouble because of your independence. You want to do things your way and often times nothing is wrong with your way, it is just not the way I would do things, or your father for that matter. I remember you getting in trouble recently because your dad wanted you to put on your jacket before going outside and you refused. He was holding your white jacket and you wanted to wear your black got sent to your room to sit on your stool in time out. Which honestly, was a little hard for me, because the more I thought about it, you really didn't do anything wrong. You are two and  half years old and you are learning to make your own decisions, you are learning to communicate effectively what your wants and needs are, and you are learning to pay consequences for your actions when they are not good decisions. At the young age of 2 this is all a learning process...not just for you, but for all of us.

As your parents we are learning we cannot force you to do things we want you to do. For example we cannot force you to go potty. You are one hundred percent potty trained (in your own way). Not the way I would like for you to be, but in the way you want to be.  No matter how hard we try, we cannot make you use the toilet to poop. You refuse to even sit on the potty and you would rather hold your poop for days if we try to force you to use the toilet. Instead when you need to go, you ask for a pull-up, you poop, and then you put your panties back on. You wear panties at night and and all day and never have a single accident since you will only pee on the toilet.  You simply want to do things your way. We cannot force you to eat either when you don't want to. You choose what you will eat, within reason, and when you will eat. Even if we force you to stay at the table until you eat something, you would just end up sleeping there. And at school, you have a mind of your own. You have been in the 2's class 7 months now and for 7 months you have refused to talk to your teachers. You are very headstrong, my dear child. I'm not sure if you are shy or you don't like your teachers, or you simply do not wish to respond to them when they talk to you. Whatever it is, you refuse to talk to them. You however, will talk all day long to the other kids and you will play like crazy. You are obedient to everything the teachers ask you to do and don't cry or cause any trouble. You just refuse to talk to them. And no one can force you to do otherwise. You are two years old with a mind of your own.

If you are not aware of it yet, you are very independent. And I love this about you. My mother (your Nonna) will tell you that I did not gain my independence until much later in my life. My mother will also tell you that I made you independent. I'm not sure this is true. Because if it is, did I also make you caring, generous, sensitive, loving, nurturing, sweet, and all the other attributes you have? No one can force you to be these things either, but these are blessings that God has given you. This is how He made you, not me. Yes, I may have let you reach into the basket of toys 100 times watching the basket tip over on you until you finally learned how to hold the basket with one hand and reach in for a toy with the other hand. I never helped you and I praised you when you figured out how to accomplish this. I've allowed you to make many of your own decisions from a very young age and in that you may have displayed independence you already had.

As it stands now and for the rest of your life you are in charge of you and no matter how hard I want to change that or do something about it, I can't. I can influence you, care for you, provide for you, love you, but in the end you are in charge of you and you are in charge of your choices and consequences.

Most days we go out of the house for some kind of adventure, if not the bookstore, the mall, the playground, the marry-go-round horses, we at least leave the house to take you to day school. When we arrive home and I attempt to get you out of your car seat, you will ask me to get the babies out first. This never seemed like too much trouble, so I let you have your way. I would unhook the baby's infant car seat buckets from the car and set both babies on the driveway in their infant seats. Then I would come to your side of the car, you would see the babies were out and you'd let me get you out of the car. You would walk while I carried the babies in their infant car seats inside the house so that we would all go in together.

The babies are now 10 months old and too big to carry around in their infant car seats. So lately, I've been getting them both out at the same time and carrying one baby in each arm, preventing me from being able to get you out last. A few times you were tired and I didn't feel like arguing so I got both babies out, locked the car doors, carried them into the playroom, went back outside, unlocked the car doors and got you out. Then, about 3 days in a row I carried you out kicking and screaming threatening to put you in time out, then got the babies, grabbed your hand while you sobbed and cried and we all walk in together. I decided enough was enough and I told you if you did not come out of the car first like the nice sweet girl that you are, then you could stay in the car all day. I specifically asked you several times, "If you do not come out of the car now you will stay in the car all day. Is this what you want?" "Yes mommy." Then I reinforced my point, "Lucia, if you don't come out first then you will stay here all day. Do you want to stay in the car until it gets dark outside? Do you want to stay in the car until dinner time when daddy gets home?" Your response had such absoluteness to it, "Yes! I don't want to get out."
With that, I closed the car door, went and got the babies out of the car. I locked the car doors and as I stepped into the garage I didn't even look back. I then closed the garage door...and this I believe is when it all sank in and panic took you over. I put the babies in the play room and gave them a snack to eat. I walked out the front door of the house and around to the side of the house where I saw you sitting in the car. I hadn't even left you in there 5 minutes. When I opened the car door you had tears streaming down your face and you were whimpering. "Momma, I frowed (throwed) up". Sure enough I looked down at your shirt and your seat belt and there were a few chewed up pieces of oranges. Nothing major.  I picked you up, hugged you, told you I loved you and that I never wanted to leave you in the car alone. I asked if from now on you would get out of the car first so I could then get the babies and we could all walk into the house together. With tears still showing in your eyes and slowly making their way down your cheeks, you whispered, "yes, momma, we can walk together."

That was a week ago. Not one day has gone by since then that you haven't let me get you out of the car first.

Did I cross a parental line trying to allow you to make your own choices and pay your own consequences? Or did I simply model good parenting to teach you to be a little more independent through some tough love? I guess you will be the only judge to that.

I love you and cherish you,
Your mom