Monday, June 13, 2011

Lesson I learned from my 3 year old today

My daughter is three years old. She believes in the "name it and claim it" principle; also known as the "I said it was mine, so it IS mine" principle. This morning she was exercising her independence by opening the freezer and boldly announcing that she was going to eat the whipped topping. Then she proceeded to pull it out of the freezer.

Let me back up here.
(I made Keely oatmeal this morning and she chose not to eat it. The oatmeal was cold and had formed into a solid mass of by this time. I knew she was still hungry because she hadn't touched it.)


Okay, now back to my story. I explained that she would not be eating the whipped topping for breakfast and I gave her the option of cottage cheese or yogurt instead. She picked yogurt. I put it in a Barbie bowl and set it on the table. She began crying and barked out, "NO... STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE!" and pointed to the cupboard. (she didn't want the BARBIE bowl...duh! What was I thinking!?!)

(As a mom I am aware that my job goes beyond simply feeding mouths, but that I must also manage to lovingly teach my children lessons in life that will need to learn before adulthood if they are going to keep a job someday!) :)

I figured I had been more than fair with Keely up until this point, considering that I really just wanted to tell her to pick up the clump of oatmeal and eat it like an oatmeal cookie after I saw her grabbing out the whipped topping without asking. :) I figured it would be in her favor, in the long run, that I teach her to be grateful for what she has rather than to cater to her every little desire...

"KEELY!" I said forcefully, "Go to your room now! When you are done whining and feeling sorry for yourself the yogurt will still be here and you can eat it. Do not come back until you are done whining!"

She came back 2 minutes later, still declaring that she wished to have "Strawberry Shortcake".

"NOPE!" (I stood my ground.) "I've already poured your yogurt into the Barbie bowl! Take it or leave it!" and I turned to finish making my coffee.

Now at this point it was truly up to her if she was going to spend the rest of the day being upset about the bowl I gave her, or if she would move on. If she wanted to sit and mope at the table all day, daydreaming about how nice it would be to have the strawberry shortcake bowl that is up to her! (I thought) I'm a good mom. (I thought to myself, at the time) Hmmm... So there! I'm moving on with my day. I will be more stubborn than she is, and that is that! I am mom! Hear me roar! (self talk) :)

By the way, this stuff happens in my house every day. You would think they would learn. Mom always wins! Someday they will understand. Until then, I am trying to consistently deliver these same two messages day after day:
1."STOP WHINING!"

and

2."I love you and care about you, which is why I will not allow you to stay stuck in your self-centered ways. My ways are higher than your own. :) Just trust me."

Do you know what I realized later that night? We don't even have a strawberry shortcake bowl. It was the cup she wanted. She was okay with the Barbie bowl. She was crying because she wanted a drink to go with her yogurt; she just wasn't communicating it well because she doesn't always use complete sentences, and I kept cutting her off short when she tried! :)

Communication break-down. hahaha...oops. My bad. And the MOM OF THE YEAR award goes to....

welp, not me I guess. ;)

I learned two things from this:
1. Slow down Alisha! Seriously. Listen to Keely. Know what she is asking for before you start assuming what she wants and scolding her as if she is doing something wrong. Holy cow.
Poor thing. My poor children deal with so much every day in this house! :)

2. I'll tell you the other lesson in my next post.
(cliffhanger: Sorry Cindy. I know how you love cliffhangers.)

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