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Impatient Mom, impatient Bubs
Ray is 17mo now, and as proud as I am of him growing into the little man that he is, with his own distinct personality nicely shaping up, I am also immensely proud of myself for being the mummy that I am, slowly finding my footing along the way, sweetly draped with a growing confidence in my approach towards raising kids.
I was never the most patient of people, and once the emotions start bubbling up from within, be it sparked by a heated exchange or whatever, this acid mouth of mine (oops) would inevitably spew some sarcastic barbs. What gets my goat almost every single time is when I am engaged in a discourse/quarrel devoid of logic. Man, you just CANNOT fight illogic with logic. ‘Nuff said.
However, I would say that love has mellowed me, and Mr Nice Guy Pips has softened me. Irony is that while I think I have grown to be more patient generally (especially with him, cuz OHMAHGAWD, guys can be SO FRIGGIN DENSE sometimes), I think Pips has become more impatient with me. (YES PIPS, LOOKING RIGHT AT YOU). Guess the see-saw is just balancing into a nice little equilibrium.
Now, as a mother of one, there have been times when Ray has tested my patience, especially when I am short on sleep and cranky as hell. Ladies, when dealing with babies and toddlers, you do NOT want to deal with them when you are tired. #truestory. Good news is, most days you will be completely konked out come bubs’ bedtime. Happened to me yesterday when I was right beside the kid, attempting to read my manga while breastfeeding him sideways, and next thing I knew, both of us were completely wiped out, and I probably had bonus saliva drooling from one corner of my mouth. Sighs. Unglam but real as hell.
Anyway, back to the topic of me being proud of the mom I’m becoming. I’ve seen many styles of parenting, and while I used to believe in traditional parenting (one authority, “spare the rod and spoil the child” type), I’ve since developed my own distinct style of parenting, and I believe it is working.
Back when I was working in a boutique investment agency, I had a robust debate with my British colleague on corporal punishment in disciplining kids. He never lay a hand on his kid while I said that I believe in hitting my kid to discipline. However, when my niece was born, (this sweet little girl is now all of 4 years old!), I obviously didn’t have the gall to hit her (others’ kids are always more carefully treated than your own! Haha) but would reason with her to get her to do things the ‘correct way’. Sometimes she’d be stubborn about it, and it would take me some time to reason things out with her before she would come round. However, most times when I talk to her, she listens, and will oblige.
Patience and Reasoning go a long way
It soon became known around the household that even when she listened to no one, she’d listen to me. My MIL/SIL would tell her things like “kimkim (that’s me, dialect for auntie) says it’s time to go home”, and she would then trot out of the neighbour’s house haha. Or get me to get her.
I am not sure if you are getting what I am saying, but perhaps my point will be better illustrated with an example of such a conversation between Shanice and I,
“Shanice, while mama and papa are having their dinner, can you not disturb them?”
“But I want to talk to my mummy/papa.”
“Yes I know that, but they have not eaten their dinner. Have you eaten yours?”
“Then can mummy and daddy eat their dinner now?”
“But they can eat when I am there (while climbing all over her mom or trying to pull her mom in another direction)”
“Yes I know darling, but they are having their dinner now. Do you like to be disturbed when you are having your dinner? When you are hungry?”
“Then does mummy and daddy like to be disturbed when having their dinner?”
“Then can you let mummy and daddy have their dinner now, while you play and wait for them?”
“Thank you darling. Shall kimkim read a story for you while you wait?”
“I want to read this book XYZ”
See? That was pretty simple, wasn’t it? Not that I want to haolian LOL, but I am quite proud of myself for being so patient in reasoning things out because I can be pretty short-tempered. My family would know LOL. So if I can do it, so can you!
I started engaging Shanice in this manner since she was 2+, and it really works. The success of those little moments showed me the importance and wonder of speaking to these little kids as an equal, that when you acknowledge their conflicting feelings, you can get them to do what is right through patient reasoning, and empathy. Guide their thinking by getting them to empathise.
Consistency is key, right alongside being firm but gentle
The only downsides to this, if it is a downside at all, are that you need to have oodles of patience (or grow them) and time. You also need to be doggedly plugging away at the issue, finding different ways to present the matter to a little kid, simplifying the concept so that they understand where you are coming from.
If you give up halfway while negotiating with the kids, and allow them to do whatever they want, they may not learn to respect you as an individual, nor respect your authority. If this happens a few more times, it consequently becomes harder for them to want to listen to you because they will have learnt by then that if they drag out the issue long enough, it’s gonna be Kids:1 Adults:0.
These days, with my own bubs who’s all over the place, I have less time to focus on Shanice. She’s a good little trooper though, but kids are kids. There will be times when they are grumpy and all. So it’s ok. Don’t be so hard on yourself!
It’s okay if baby says NO
As a full-fledged toddler, Ray’s personality is shaping up as he starts to realize he is his own individual, with his own wants and desires. When he doesn’t want to do something that I ask him to, he’d say “No”. As long as it’s not something that is dangerous or leads to bad outcomes, I’d respect the little guy, and let him have his choice, or try to coax him to my side. Afterall, we don’t always want to act according to how others want us to act, do we? It’s alright to let them stamp their little independence sometimes too. It helps them to learn boundaries, and helps them to learn to be in control of their feelings and emotions.
However, there are times when he needs to do things my way. For example, just a couple of days ago, he pooped but didn’t want to change his diaper and wash his butt. He wanted to go into the hall to play with Shanice and started making a hell lotta noise when I physically blocked his path to the hall. I felt my patience wearing thin as he continued to KB (didn’t cry though), but still, I went on like a broken record that he needs to wash his butt, and after we are done with that and done with his diaper change, he can then go into the hall.
Babies are very smart, more than you give ’em credit for
I know what some of you may think – he’s only 17 months old, he’s too young to be reasoned with! And indeed, that may very well be the case, for each child is different. Ray though, has a good grasp of language and was speaking words since he was about 7 months old. His vocabulary range is wide and is exploding at an exponential rate, especially for his age. He’s able to articulate what he wants in simple words, and can now string a few words together to form short, succinct phrases, so I had a gut feel that he definitely would be able to understand me. Also for you mom and pops out there, kids understand a whole lot more than they are able to vocalize, so go ahead and talk to them and they may just surprise you with what they know!
Ray continued to attempt to slip past me into the hall while raising hell, but as I continued talking to him in a calm tone despite the thinning patience (#goodjobme), he stopped his cacophonous baby rant just as suddenly, allowed me to scoop him up and bring him to the washroom, wash his butt, change his diaper without making a single noise. He was very compliant and talked to me as he usually does when in a good mood. It works! Hurray!
While I rejoice and dance a little jig of joy over my small parenting victory, I hope to be able to continue to be patient with him as he grows into his terrible twos and tumultuous threes, so wish me luck! Will share any parenting victory over here, and hope that they will do magic for you as they have done thus far for me! Key is patience, and being consistent in your approach. Inconsistency confuses the hell outta adults, not to mention, little kids!
Do you agree with my method? Or think otherwise? We love open discussions, so please feel free to share your own experience in the comments!
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