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June 20, 2011

Attitude Mirrors

I saw a post on Facebook a few days ago that I can’t quite shake from my mind…

…a mom remarked how she was watching her two-year old yelling at her dolls. “Is that what I sound like?” And then, the kicker, “LMAO!

I won’t say that I never “yell” at our girls. There are certainly times when I raise my voice. There have been times when I’ve regretted doing that, and there have been times when I thought it was the appropriate response.

By in large, though, I really try to maintain a positive attitude around the girls, praising what they are doing right, rewarding them for trying.

For a long time I’ve enjoyed listening to the girls “talk” to their dolls, and interact with each other. There’s nothing sweeter than hearing, “Nice try, Abby!” [one of the girls’ dolls], or “Great job, Sissy!

Since reading that Facebook status, I’ve become even more aware of how I sound to my girls.

I think I would be doing my girls a disservice if I sheltered them to only see rainbows and butterflies and think that everyone was always smiling. I think it’s healthy for them to see anger, sadness, disappointment…and I hope learn how to handle those emotions in a healthy way.

But by in large, I want them to feel surrounded by positivity. It’s good for them, and it’s good for me, too.

If anything, I worry I’ve begun to create a couple of little monsters. Baby B, in particular, makes me laugh. Out for a walk, she might point out something she sees, “That’s honeysuckle!” If I don’t immediately acknowledge her, she’s prone to “acknowledge” herself…”You’re right, [Baby B]!” she’ll exclaim!

And on a related note, I’m waaay accident prone…always knocking my knee into something, or stubbing my toe…and the presence of high chairs and pack-and-plays and baby gates has given me so many more obstacles on which to hurt myself.

Since the time the girls were tiny, I have become very good at saying, “Grrrrrr!” or “D’oooooh!” when I inevitably knock myself a good one. I had to pat myself on the back a few days ago. Baby A accidentally made a little mess. Her automatic response was “Ruh roh!” [a la Scooby Doo].

It’s no surprise that kiddos are little parrots. I’m sure the day that I do slip up and let a curse word slip, it will become the girls’ new favorite word.

And I’m reminding myself that the girls serve as a pretty good mirror, too.

When they look at me, I want them to predominantly see me smiling at them…even through two-year old trials and stubbed toes.

11 comments:

James said...

If you ever want to head down the path of self improvement, just have kids. All your flaws are painted across the sky on a daily basis. You have no choice but to grow.

Deanna said...

My girls are BIG into the repeating stage as well. Sometimes I catch them telling each other to "Sit down!" or "No, no, no!", and I think--Oh, they are actually remembering these things that I say. It's a good reminder to make sure I am acting the way I want to be seen. : )

Marcia (123 blog) said...

aaaw, you're such a good mother, Mandy.

I am SUPER aware of this right now because these two hear everything you don't want them to hear. I'm spelling out peas, muffins, carrots (their favourites) and learning not to say "damn" :)

Beth said...

Yes, kids are constant reminders to behave as we want them to. I have been working hard lately at letting my children know that when I get frustrated or upset and then showing them how I want them to deal with these emotions. I was so proud when I recently heard Will say. "I am getting angry. I need to take a minute to calm down."

I adore little Baby B acknowledging her own comment. So funny!

Julia said...

I am aware of this all the time. We're at the age now where the girls are getting frustrated about things or with each other, but don't have the words yet to talk it out. As you know this erupts into fits, or worse--hitting.

I'm trying so hard to intervene quickly to cut off these fits and teach the girls how to deal with frustration in a healthy way. My go-to has been, "That is so frustrating! Let's take a deep breath. Ahhhhhhh." What's so funny is that both girls usually take deep breaths, even the offender. Often though, it can disrupt the erruption enough to stop the negative stuff.

I was just telling Brad the other night that I really need to do this too. So---I've been acknowledging when I'm frustrated about something, and will say, "Wow, Mama is really frustrated that that person didn't use their turn signal. I'm going to take a deep breath. Ahhhhh." Sometimes they take deep breaths too, which makes me laugh! But--I want them to see it played out in real life, and for them to see someone remember to breathe without Mama to remind them.

Also---(sorry for my essay here:)) I just read this blog yesterday. The woman talked about being the thermostat in your home, not the thermometer. The thermostat controls the temperature of the home, but the thermostat only reflects what the temperature is. By being the thermostat, you can the mood of not only yourself, but your children. It was interesting to read. Her solution, or her goal, I guess was to make it a point to smile at her children at least once every hour. It's an interesting goal---definitely something to think about.

Thank you for this insightful post!

Andrea said...

Great post!! Yeah, I don't think I would be bragging on FB about that one! ;-) That awesome that you are seeing the fruits if your labor! Makes it all worth it for sure! :)

I have a fear of starting preschool next week....Molly just might drop something and say dang it, but the dang part just make be the other word. Yes, I am that parent! It only takes one time to slip for them to remember always!!

Have a Happy Monday!

strongblonde said...

so true.

so....mine say things like "oh NO!!" and "clean, clean, clean" and "hug? okay!" wonder what that means about me? lol.

cat said...

Oh my gosh, yes - what a great reminder.

Chantelle at Mom Went Crazy said...

It's funny to hear your regular 'sayings' repeated back to you in kid language.

Rebecca @ Unexplained X2 said...

I'm with James...sometimes it's horrifying and sometimes it's downright runny!

There are things I must say on a regular basis that I never even realized b/c they come up with these phrases that are hysterical! One time Hailey insisted that we were having a "party." I kept telling her that we weren't having a party and asking her where she got that idea...she finally broke down and said, "in da car...you said let's get party started."

Apparently, whenever we get in the car, I say "let's get this party started." I never even realized...

PS - You may start yelling more soon...the change this summer has been ridiculous.

reanbean said...

I hate whenever I yell at my kids. I wish I could say that I don't raise my voice often, but these last few months have been some of the most challenging since the first year. And, sometime, I lose it. But it's not an every day thing, and while I don't apologize to them for yelling, I will (once I've calmed down), explained that I yelled because I was angry or frustrated by their behavior. Fortunately, I don't seem them mirroring that behavior in their pretend play. They do put their dolls in time out or take away their baby's toy as a punishment. But, so far, they haven't yelled. Perhaps that means I'm doing an okay job after all?

Side note: The other day Tiny and Buba were playing with trains, and Tiny stopped her train while Buba kept his chugging right along. When Buba came up behind Tiny's train, he stopped, threw his hands up in the air, and yelled, "What. Are. You doiiiiiiiiin'!" I looked over at T, who casually put down his newspaper and said very nonchalantly, "There may have been an incident with a bike rider on the road." And then he went right back to reading the paper without further explanation. I was just happy their hadn't been any choice words used. Our kids definitely don't miss a thing when it come to what we say and do. :o)