I can’t say I’ve turned a corner. I just took one step in the right direction, and it feels so good! No best parenting awards here, but I feel I did my best.
For some reason, both kids sleep late. Instead of the normal 6:30am “mommy!!!”, at 7:40am I had to start waking them up as the bus comes at 8:45, and preschool starts at 9. Now, I hate waking them up. Our daughter does everything on her own time, so it usually never goes well. With our son, I try to provide him with as much sleep as possible as it might, might, lessen his anxiety and SPD issues. I’ve learned that with him, it is best to crawl up into his loft and snuggle with him, and he calmly wakes up to a gentle voice, a loving presence, and kisses.
Not today. His first response was to move away from me. His second was to tell me to get out as he never told me I could get up there.
I got down from the loft quickly, apologizing. We’re in the process of selling our house, and his personal space in the loft has become even more important than I thought. I left the room, hoping he might relax. No luck. Sounds of shuffling stuff and other clatter drifted out.
After thoroughly cleaning and reorganizing his loft last night at his own initiative, he now had completely messed it up.
“I messed it up because I’m mad. It’s your fault. I’m staying up here all day and not going to school.”
The clock was quickly ticking on when the bus would arrive. But there was no use in fighting.
I was also sick of hearing myself yell at the kids. I was also tired of hearing all the Adrian Peterson stuff in the news. I understand the neurological reasons why as parents we yell or hit our kids, but fortunately we are more advanced than giving into our primal gut reactions. So I had a choice. Yell and make the morning only worse, or strategically move forward getting the kids and myself ready.
Our daughter woke-up, and I followed her routine without changes. While she decided she wanted to stay home too and watch Brave, we slowly worked it out that she could watch it when she got home (as long as I didn’t start watching it without her).
I did not contradict him, but kept moving forward.
I prepared his regular morning drink, which he accepted eagerly from his perch. I packed their food. Got out their clothes. Got myself ready. Called his school to let them know that he would be a bit late.
Eventually he made his way down from the loft, telling me he was only coming down for a bit. The bit turned into a bit more. Then turned into asking for breakfast. Then turned into a bit more conversation, all while saying he wasn’t going to school and would go back up into his loft soon. By 9 we were out of the house and in the car. They were both dressed, bags packed appropriately, and no yelling.
Dropped off our daughter, then headed to the elementary school. Once we got close, he once again said he wasn’t going to school. But as we parked and he noticed there wasn’t buses, he asked if we were early.
“No, we’re late.”
He responds: “Well, we stopped at preschool and I stayed in my loft too long.”
Small victory dance commences in my heart.
I put out my hand which he took, and we walked into the school. He wasn’t thrilled, and as we got closer to his classroom he held on tighter wanting me to stay. But within minutes I was back in the car.
It could have happened much differently. I could have yelled. Shoved him on the bus. Rushed around. But I did have the luxury of time, which I am thankful for.
I decided being late and providing him with the calmest morning possible in the hopes of him having a decent day at school, was the only option.
Now if I can only keep this up! I know I will yell again. I know I will be in a rush again. But today, right now, it feels good that I did something right.
But today, right now, my kids know I love them.
Additional posts/articles by others on the topic:
The Orange Rhino Challenge – blog & book about not yelling
It’s Not Too Late to Stop Yelling at your Kids
Learning Not to Yell
Is It Possible for Me To Stop Yelling at my Kids?
Seven Tips of Practicing Positive Discipline
The Important Thing about Yelling