I don’t know what it is about the medium of blogging, but so often I read mommy blogs where mothers recount some instance of when they did something that they feel was an example of horrible mothering. I know I’ve done that. Is the urge to write about our failures and post them for public viewing some kind of personal penance? Some kind of public confessional? I don’t know, but it seems that many of us feel obligated to do it.
However, I think it’s just as valid to post a good mothering experience. Now, I’m a good German Lutheran, so I am genetically programmed not to brag too much or draw too much attention to myself. 😉 But, I felt very proud of myself for the way I handled this situation, and I’d like to remember it. If nothing else, perhaps my girls will read this one day and be inspired in their own mothering by reading how their mom handled this situation.
This particular morning we all got up late, thanks to the fact that Curious J had slept in late. We had a lazy morning, hanging out in our pajamas. I decided to make Lyd’s favorite breakfast – pancakes with bacon. However, I wasn’t moving quickly; I was taking my time and enjoying the sunshine. (It had been so cloudy the previous days.)
Just as breakfast was ready at about 10:15, we heard a knock on the front door. It was Lyd’s best friend and neighbor girl, S, come to ask Lyd if she could play. S was with her Grandma, and I know that little children are always hungry, especially when there are pancakes and bacon involved, so I invited them to join us for our late breakfast, which they did.
With the arrival of guests, we needed an extra chair for the table. I went to the nearby closet and brought out a folding chair. I placed it next to S for Lyd to sit on, but Lyd started to pitch a bit of a fit. “I don’t want to sit on that chair!” she said. S’s grandma offered to switch her chair for the folding chair, but I politely refused. Instead, after Lyd continued to fuss despite being told to stop, I took Lyd firmly by the arm and took her into the next room.
I knelt down at her level and said, “What’s more important: sitting next to S, or sitting on the “right” chair?”
“Sitting next to S,” she sobbed through tears.
“Then let’s go back in and sit down,” I said.
“But I don’t want to sit in that chair!” Lyd wailed again.
I almost said something sharply to her, and then I realized something else: it was almost 10:30 a.m. and Lyd hadn’t had a bite to eat for 16 hours. Her blood sugar was probably on the floor, and what she needed more than anything was to eat. (Into my mind came the scene from the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding where the mother of the main character says, “Toula, eat something!”)
So, despite Lyd still crying a bit, I propelled her back into the kitchen, we prayed, and as soon as we said “Amen,” (or in Curious J’s case, “Amem,”) I plopped a piece of bacon into Lyd’s hands. She started to eat, which stopped her crying and made her forget about the chair. I quickly fixed all the girls their plates of pancakes. She ate her pancake, asked for a second one which she got, ate another slice of bacon and some strawberries. When the meal was almost over, I asked her if she was feeling better.
She responded calmly, “I still don’t like sitting in this chair.”
I replied, “I know. But thank you for doing it anyway.”
And that was the end of it. She said no more about it, the meal ended, we returned thanks, and the girls went off to play.
When the meal began, S’s grandmother told me again, “Lyd can have my chair.”
I responded, “Thank you. But I think it’s good for her to experience a little disappointment. That will help her someday when life gives her bigger disappointments.”
To my gratification, S’s grandmother totally agreed. and said no more about switching chairs.
I feel very good about the way I handled this situation. I knew that Lyd didn’t like that chair, but I also knew that her reaction was heightened by the fact that she was starved. So, I felt that I dealt with all those factors appropriately. I was proud of myself.
If only I could always mother this effectively!