February 07, 2006

An important reminder

If I get a chance later, I will blog about the lovely long weekend away with the Viking Bride. However, I may not get to it right away while this experience, this one I wanted to memorialize right away before any of the details faded.

The Boy Child has taken the word no, internalized it, and turned it around as his new mantra. Everything not involving candy/cookies/dessert is no. Everything. To say that this tests my patience, the little I have, is sometimes distressingly clear, despite my very best efforts. Last night, maybe, my efforts were not as good as they should have been and I snapped at him. Not loud and not hard and not mean, but I was certainly exasperated and short.

The Boy Child reminds me, at times, of our old Kuvasz. My wife will understand. The Kuvasz is a very sensitive animal. The Boy Child is a very sensitive animal. You have to be careful with both. You really have to pick your moments if you intend to yell at either one. Neither took it well. The Kuvasz would hide his 120 pound white furred body on the black couch. The Boy Child will burst into tears and seek his mother's arms. I know this.

After being short with him, he left the Girl Child's room, I was trying to get them both to bed, and sought out his mother's tender embrace. His mother is a bit exasperated with the constant "nei, nei, nei" (no in Norwegian) that she gets, too. I got the Girl Child into bed. Good. I went in to collect the Boy Child from his mother because the Viking Bride can't really lift him so easily in this the sixth month of her pregnancy.

At his mother's urging, he apologized for his earlier disobedience, which I had actually kind of forgotten about, especially since I was just sort of a little ticked and not really angry before. I told him it was ok and that I forgave him and I thanked him for saying he was sorry. Then I picked him up to cuddle him while my wife went to bid good night to the Girl Child (who, by the way, knowing that her mother's back bothers her, untucks herself to stand on the bed to receive her good night hug and kiss so that her mother does not have to bend down to give them).

After we cuddled, I put him down to sleep. The room was dark, lit only by the nightlight. He lay with his head on the baby blanket he uses for a pillow, having rejected all other pillows but the blanket my mother knit for him. I stroked his fine and golden hair and told him that I loved him and, as I ran my fingers through his head, he told me the following:

You hurt mine feelings.

Me: I know, honey, and I'm so sorry.

BC: Not nice, make people sad.

I know it isn't. And years from now, when you read this, it will be more than ok for you to know that when you told me that I hurt your feelings, I had to choke back a sob. It was a very close thing as to whether I was going to cry.

So, an important reminder, words to live by, whatever: Not nice, make people sad.

Posted by Random Penseur at February 7, 2006 10:41 AM | TrackBack

I, too, choked back a sob just then.

Out of the mouths of babes, hey?

Posted by: Margi at February 7, 2006 03:02 PM

So poignant! Almost makes me cry. Treasure the moments, RP!

Posted by: grammarqueen at February 7, 2006 03:56 PM

It seems you and I are going through similar things, during the time when my wife was in the hospital with Griffin, Xavier was staying at his grandparents. 2 or 3 nights into it he came to visit Mommy and baby at the hospital, I made the mistake of telling him I would come pick him up that night, but got caught up with helping at the hospital and didn't realize the time until it was midnight. The next day I found out he had stood at the window holding his tigger and waiting for me for quite some time. I broke down at the time and I still tear up about it.

You're going to watch what you say to him, as I am to my little one, I think we forget sometimes how young they are. And that they think about every word they hear, and they usually hear them all even if they don't seem to be listening.

Posted by: Oorgo at February 8, 2006 02:20 AM


Posted by: Mia at February 8, 2006 06:41 AM

Ok, so I don't have kids. And I know the "No" phase is something that nearly all kids go through, so getting angry at him is about as useful as getting angry at an infant for pooping, but... setting limits and not letting him get away with "No" constantly is a good thing, even if it hurts his feelings sometimes.

Of course, choose your battles wisely.

Don't you love unasked-for-advice from the peanut gallery?

Posted by: owlish at February 8, 2006 11:05 PM

RP, that is precious. It should be on a plaque on everyone's wall. I am very forgetful, but somehow I think what I've just read here is going to stick with me for the rest of my life.

Posted by: Roberta S at February 9, 2006 01:40 AM

Wow, apparently Owlish thinks we should limit our comments to "Oooing" and "Awwing" over your posts, RP.

I was simply passing on my own story, as a regular commenter. But hey, I'm apparently just a peanut so what do I know? I know peanut butter tastes good and is a well addition to jam or vice versa.

Posted by: Oorgo at February 9, 2006 03:25 PM

Oorgo, I don't take it that way at all and I am not sure you should either. I loved your story and was quite happy you elected to share it. It was sweet and didactic at the same time. An excellent combination.

No, I took Owlish's advice as it was meant. He's a shrink (or soon to be one, I forget) and not likely to have kids anytime soon. I think his comment about peanut gallery was entirely self-referential.

Besides, Peanut Butter tastes best from a spoon dipped right into the jar. Especially if you can nibble on some dark chocolate at the same time.

Posted by: RP at February 9, 2006 03:31 PM

Yeah yer probably right RP, I have a tendency to think I'm the center of the universe and everyone is talking about me. Maybe it's paranoia, or maybe everyone IS really out to get me. :)

Posted by: Oorgo at February 9, 2006 05:10 PM

RP, that was so heartfelt I had tears in my eyes at the end.

Well. We all hurt our children without meaning to at times. It cannot be helped and it will probably happen again despite your best efforts.

I still remember to my great shame snapping at little Lucy when she was 2 or 3 (4?). I'd taken her to an ladies only event I'd been invited to and it was really an adults only event. I did not realize there would be no children before I went, but I tried to make the best of it after we arrived and I told little Lucy she must be on her best behavior.

Mostly because all the women there were older, wealthier women I admired and worked with. Their age, position and education in our community was much higher than mine at that time.

I was the youngest at 24 or so and I really wanted to impress everyone. I was very anxious about this.

Lucy tried to be good, but she was so little and after awhile she got bored and got all giggly and was running about. Finally, she knocked something over and I realized it had been a mistake to bring her. Everyone got quiet and stared. I took her hand, told her to be still and announced we were going. I said goodbye to everyone and we went to the car.

I was very upset in the car, I felt I'd made a fool out of myself. Although it wasn't Lucy's fault, I was angry at her for not behaving. Yeah, I know; stupid and selfish of me.

Lucy was perplexed, wanted to know why we were leaving so abruptly and why was mommy upset and I snapped at her and told her it was because she was running around and acting badly.

She burst into tears.

And I felt like the most shallow, most horrible, most awful mother in the world. To hurt my daughter because I wanted to impress a bunch of women who I felt had something more than I did. Women who for the most part, I ended up not having much respect for anyway.

As you can see that was at least 25 years ago and I've still never forgotten it.

Although, here's the thing, RP...*Lucy* has completely forgotten. And so will BC. :-)

Posted by: Amber at February 11, 2006 02:58 PM

Oops, sorry, Oorgo, RP was right, my "Peanut Gallery" comment was supposed to refer to me, not everyone else. I'm somewhat contrary, so when I learned that 95% of people make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches by putting the peanut butter on the bread first, I tried the opposite.

In this case, it looked like everyone was empathizing with the Boy Child. I read the post, and saw a father who was feeling guilty because he had been angry at his son and made him sad. And I don't know how reasonable that guilty feeling is.

I have a godson who is 4 1/2, who for the past year, year and a half has been testing nearly every limit in his life. I gave him a bath last week, and first the water was too cold, and then it was too hot. I ended up giving him his bath with him standing up in the tub, with him ranging from sniffling to crying loudly. I felt a little bad, but got through the bath. Later on his father commented that it seemed to be nearly all bedtime delaying tactics- when going out to play the kid is remarkably temperature insensitive.

So, not nice, make people sad. But, unfortunately, sometimes it's the parent's job. And unfortunately, if you're human, when you make someone else sad it may make you sad too.

Posted by: owlish at February 12, 2006 10:56 PM

That was so sweet. I almost cried too! Yes, Those truly are words to live by.

Posted by: AW at February 14, 2006 04:16 PM
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