Is it just me, or do you ever miss the days of being in school, when everything was for the most part black or white - pass or fail, A or C, doing great or needs improvement? I miss some of that clear feedback now that I'm a mom, and wonder just how good of a job I am (or am not) doing with Monkey...
On the "pass" side, Monkey is healthy, happy* (yeah, we'll get to the tantrums in a moment), and showing us every day that he is learning new things and understanding so much. On the "see me" side, we have frequent tantrums involving pretty much every aspect of daily life - eating, changing diapers and clothes, and pretty much anything that challenges Monkey's growing sense of independence. "I do it" is an oh-so-common phrase around our house, and it's hard to teach Monkey that sometimes, no, he actually CAN'T do it yet. He CAN'T walk around cars without holding Mommy's hands. He CAN'T roam freely around the garage. And, as much as he tries, he cannot screw the lid on his sippy cup, and please, can't we avoid the mess of allowing you to engage in more futile attempts?? The good news, I suppose, is that I don't think we have any "fails," although I do worry that some of our problem areas, if not nipped in the bud, could prove more troublesome down the road.
I struggle to find the right method of discipline, both for me and for Monkey. And then there's the issue of getting Daddy on board, which is probably the subject of another post. I read the magazines and books, and I know what I'm SUPPOSED to do, yet the well-reasoned approach often eludes me in the heat of the moment. For example, when Monkey is rocking in his booster chair and giving me a heart attack with the possibility that he is going to topple over any moment and crack his head open, the calm "Monkey, we don't rock in our chair" approach is NOT my first instinct. To the contrary, last week it was a scream that almost gave Daddy a heart attack, BUT, it got Monkey's attention, long enough to stop what he was doing and allow me to run over from behind the sink, where I had been preparing part of his dinner. And, for what it's worth, I HAVE tried the calmer approach, and Monkey just smiles at me and continues what he's doing - why do they not mention this in those not-quite-so-helpful magazine articles, hmmm?? And yet, as much as the smart aleck in Monkey drives me absolutely insane, I know that he got part of it from me, so who exactly should I blame?
So, where exactly am I going with this? I guess I'd like a report card to tell me that, despite all the daily challenges, I'm still doing OK as a Mommy, that this is all normal and I'm actually averaging a B or higher at this parenting thing. I don't need a gold star or anything, but I do miss the days of feedback and the good feeling that comes with recognition of a job well done!