Sunday, March 24, 2013

For the Days When You Want to Give Your Kid Away

If you are a parent you have had those days when you want to put your kid on the curb with a sign that says "FREE!".
Last week I noticed it was one of those days. For weeks actually, I have been getting mad at Bronson when he pouts whines, screams, resists, says no to everything and baby talks. I have been resenting him, resisting him, making him wrong and telling him to stop or go away. I get angry with myself and snap at my other sons and husband. Sometimes, "for sanity's sake", I avoid him and let him watch for TV an unknown amount of hours just to keep him occupied and me from blowing a gasket.
But this is definitely bordering on "Bad Mom" tactics. I end up making myself wrong for really not liking him. I am surviving my son, and myself as a mother.
As a result, I have a sullen, upset, defiant, stubborn and argumentative 4 year old who does not feel understood at all. I have frustration, anger, resentment, exasperation, and guilt. The ugly truth, the one that has me toss and turn at night, is that I have relationship with my son and family that I am not proud of.
And how I occur to myself about this (meaning it's not all his fault...I have something to do with this too), if tell the truth on myself, is that I am being overwhelmed and resigned that it could be any other way. This just is the way it is at 4! I give up! This is so dis-empowering and totally not what I am committed to!

When I looked at what was missing, like what could I put in that would really make a difference, I saw that me being peaceful, curious, and creative would really be inspiring.
And if I were being peaceful , curious and creative, wow…that would make a lot of joy available, connection and fun!

So I created the possibility of being Curious and Fun…like Curious George!
And what happened was: Bronson and I are sitting at the kitchen table eating breakfast and once again he doesn’t wanna to eat. He is pouting, frowning, hunched over and looks like he is trying to melt his oatmeal with a laser stare.
Normally I would sigh, get frustrated or even angry and just tell him to EAT! He would complain. I would tell him to stop complaining, he would cry out or holler or even scream. Many meals time result in tears. Eventually he might eat ONE spoonful, I would give up and he would be eating a snack half an hour later. Groan...I know... totally doesn't work!
But this time I came from being curious and fun, Curious George! I saw him pouting and I asked him if he would like his oatmeal with some "really radical raisins" he said “ ba ba” with a ferocious frown.
Instead of getting mad about the baby talk, I just asked “ Bronson would you like to be small again like a baby?”
He said, “Yes I just want to be small and crawl under the table.” Still pouting.

Something shifted inside me and opened up. I was able to just be with him.I got that. I would like to be small and crawl under the table sometimes too! A lot of times in fact.
So I said “ I totally understand that Bronson, you would like to be small and go under the table... I really get that. You know what? Me too! “ He looked at me skeptically.
“Would you like to do that now? Let’s get under the table!”

So I crawl under the table and when he saw I was serious, he drooped down off the chair and joined me with that scrunched up face that is trying to be mad but can’t help a little bit of a puckered up smile…
And we curl up together under the table. We marvel under there, it is a whole new world and talk about painting like the Cistine Chapel…and I grab his Spiderman slipper heads and make them talk to each other. Suddenly he is giggling and I am laughing and when our exchange student came in she asks, “What are you doing under there?" And Bronson says “Having fun!”. I feel like a hot fudge sundae and his little voice is like sprinkles on top. I see in my bright and shiny four year old's face that that is all he ever wants, is fun and attention.
That moment at breakfast instead of being frustrating and forgettable, became wonderful and memorable.
And that would never have been possible if I hadn’t chosen being inspired and invented a new possibility of being Curious George. There is a shift we all have the opportunity to make when we realize we might be coming from an "Authoritorian" style of parenting and choose and "Inspired" parenting style instead. We don't have to, and sometimes it is not appropriate (when a child is about to walk into traffic a big loud NO! is effective) but there is that choice in our everyday life, and we really do "have the time", because it is our time, and our life and we get to say what is important.

After I began to get a little cramped under the table we got up and he sat back down, and Bronson promptly ate his oatmeal all up. No struggle. He just needed the space to be who he wanted to be and be gotten.
I love my Bronson, he is definitely a keeper!

I wish everyone many moments of being inspired by your kids!
Zen Honeycutt