(Photograph by Vivienne Booz)
As I emerge through the toddler years and enter the preschool years, I’ve been feelin’ awfully grateful for a couple bits of wisdom that experienced moms have taught me. I figure I’ll share ’em, since they’ve been so monumental. This Friday, the rules are that if you read these, you’ve gotta share your own tidbits, too!
1. This, too, shall pass.
I’m only 2 1/2 years into this parenting thing, but I’ve finally conceded that this might be a true statement.
As much as my holistic and idealistic self wants to deny it, there is some legitimacy to the phrase, “she’s going through a stage”. Of course, a child is a whole person during that stage and must be treated accordingly, but sometimes certain ages and circumstances are plain ol’ rough waters. So far, I’ve learned that the best things to do during the rough waters are to cling to the Holy Spirit, choose to be joyful, and love my little girl to bits!
2. Save tug-o-war for the July 4th picnic.
One embarrassing tug-o-war match against my 23-pound daughter quickly taught me that when I want Vivienne to put something down or to come with me, a simple and confident verbal request works far better than getting my grubby hands involved. Sure, it’s difficult not to instinctually grab the item while I’m saying, “put that down,” or grab her while I’m saying, “come,” but it’s more difficult for her not to instinctually pull in the opposite direction when someone is grabbing something precious – like her arm – from her. We both have found tremendous peace in expecting that she simply and maturely respond to my words.
3. “What did I say? Will you obey?”
I learned these two powerful questions from Ann at Holy Experience.
When Vivienne doesn’t respond to me immediately, I simply ask, “Hey, Viv, what did I say?” She tells me. Then I ask with a smile, “Will you obey?” And she says “yes” and does. She has never decided not to.
Perhaps these questions put a person in a more simple place where all she has to do is face love and say, “Yes!” Otherwise, we get all complicated and make disobedient and messy choices that we really didn’t want to make in the first place. These are the simple questions that I, too, am asked every day by my Father… “What did I say? Will you obey?”
P.S. I had to catch myself the first few times I tried this because I was asking, “Did you hear what I said?” Which is decidedly not the same as “What did I say?” Of course, there will be times when she really does not hear me, but I don’t want to spoon-feed her possible excuses! So, I stick with the gentle, “What did I say? Will you obey?”
And now it’s your turn to comment with your favorite toddler-training tidbit! I promise, I’ll probably steal it!