Silver Lining

If you didn’t read my last post, T had some drama at daycare involving scratching another child. I felt all kinds of guilty and vowed to get on this whole discipline thing.

T’s teacher, the daycare director, and myself had a little meeting on Monday about how we can help T to learn the valuable lesson of using his hands for helping, not hurting. They were completely understanding and didn’t express any judgment or blame toward me or my son. We had a productive meeting and agreed on a prize system in which for every day T plays gently and properly, he gets a sticker on a chart from his teacher. He then shows me the sticker and gets to pick a prize from our special box. This has been working really well for us so far!

I came to the realization that this all may have happened for a reason. Perhaps I needed a wake up call. Since T turned 3, I had been slowly reading up on discipline and trying different strategies, but it was rather passive and only when I could “find the time” (Is that a popular excuse or what?). I’ll be honest – T has been rough with his sister from the time she started moving around.  I pretty much told myself to give him time to grow out of it and only dealt with it in a concrete way when she actually got hurt. I figured his sister could toughen up in the process (Overly sensitive kids – and adults – have their own set of problems). I finally realized that what I was really doing was avoiding and delaying this very important responsibility called disciplining! This is my first time doing this, so I’m allowed a little forgiveness, right?

I talked to several friends over the past few days and all were very helpful (What would we do without friends?). One friend who happens to have dealt with similar circumstances with her own son helped me to voice what I have been feeling about my 3 year old all along. Being physical is part of his personality and there is nothing wrong with that. We should never make our sons feel that there is something wrong with who they innately are. What we do have to do is teach them how to use their physicality in ways that will not hurt others. We have to teach them proper ways to deal with emotions and how to find positive outlets for all the energy they have.

I’ll end with a little moment I jotted down a few weeks ago and never ended up using in a post. It’s about T and I figure it’s a sweet enough moment to document:

Yesterday, I got mad at my 3 year old as we were winding down in his room, playing for a little while before I had to get my 1 year old down. I raised my voice at him, “I’m so angry at you because you ___________!” I’m not trying to hide what it was actually about. I honestly just don’t remember. (This was yesterday! Seriously, mama, where’s your brain at?) The point is, after I loudly expressed my exasperation, as if he didn’t even understand what he had done wrong, he gave me an innocent, blank stare. His first instinct in trying to restore my happiness and win back my love was to simply give me a hug. He then looked around for a moment and came back asking, “Do you want a sticker?”, holding out his prized Avengers collection. The moment he put his little arms around me, my heart stopped. My mind went blank. My anger melted away. I could literally feel it disappear.

Children will get on our nerves. They will make mistakes. They will test us, confuse us, aggravate us, and sometimes even scare us. But overall, they are innocent little beings looking for love.

My boy is just a boy! A growing, learning, figuring himself out, making mistakes boy with a heart of gold.

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