Wednesday, October 3, 2007

"Yes" Mommy

My third child, Benjamin, is what author Mary Sheedy Kurcinka describes as a "spirited child." If we say walk- he runs. If we say inside voice- he screams. For many kids, the average day would revolve around watching cartoons, playing outside, doing some art project, etc. Ben has no average days- and the most consistent thing he does is be inconsistent. Ben wakes up in the morning at the crack of dawn and immediately gets himself dressed, at least part way, packs his bags, and announces that he's walking to the airport so he can go to China (this a departure from his old plans to actually walk to China, which I had to explain, through the use of a globe, how there are oceans between our continents and therefore, walking is impossible). Or sometimes he wakes up, feeling bitter, and demands that he go to Toys R Us to get a skateboard or to the shoe store to get new shoes (despite having gotten new shoes the previous day). Well, this, my friends, can be very exhausting and often ends with me feeling worn down by 9 am. So, I've committed myself to trying a new tactic with him- I want to allow him to hear the words "yes" more often- and I've started putting great effort into finding ways to allow him the freedom to explore his desires, while keeping him safe and me sane. This morning he approached me with the candle snuffer and proclaimed that he wanted to put out some flames. Being 8:30am, completely daylight, we had no candles burning- and my first instinct was to say "no, Ben, not right now- maybe later." I say that a lot. And sometimes, later never gets here- or it doesn't happen for days, weeks, or months. And there is a certain amount of disrespect for children, I believe, when we put off their creative impulses just because they seem a little ridiculous or inconvenient (though, I also believe, that we are a team- parents and kids- and things have to work in harmony for all of us, not one sided either way). So, we lit about fifteen candles, around the house, and Ben very enthusiastically snuffed them out. That was that. He felt empowered and I felt good to be in that moment with him.

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Forty-three year-old, mother and staunch advocate of four young children, passionate warrior of truth and self, finding the soul in each day, sharing my struggles and triumphs as I live them. Mostly I do this for me, so my thoughts don't race as much at night as they used to. But I also give this to those of you who need to know, in any or every way, that you are not alone.

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