Monday, September 1, 2008

Roughing up the little ones

Editor's note: I tried breaking this post up into two parts. But, they protested and demanded to stay partners. Thus, it is a long post. But worth the read.

With great patience, I have started to come around to my husband's way of parenting. By nature I am worrier, an obsesser, a catastrophe thinker. All fabulous traits in a Mom by the way. Mr. Hall, as a Dad and Husband, is none of those things. When we married and became Mom and Dad, my mission was to change my nature. To be more like him. That way, Pancake and Mac can be more like us. Happy and calm.

When the kids became large enough, the rough play started. This involves my husband, their Daddy, chasing them around. Hoisting them in the air and scaring them till they scream and sometimes pee. They love this. They crave this. It is a ritual now. The stand at the top of the stairs chanting, "Daddy, Daddy, you can't catch us!" They wave their arms and wiggle their hips as they chant.

He is around the corner, out of eye sight. But not out of ear shot. He will clear his throat and they get all crazy. He waits for their chants to build to a fever pitch. Then he rushes them, loudly and with great Daddy force. The screams of delight can be heard three states away.

Mr. Hall, the Daddy, believes in provocation and exposure for our kids. His theory goes like this: when kids are exposed to things, in a controlled environment, they learn how to deal with it. The controlled environment being Mommy and Daddy. It being: feeling sad, scared, hurt, indignant and wronged. That way they learn to feel upset and how to deal with it. Because they are safe. They are with us.

Again, he let's them feel upset when they are upset. No rushing to fix it. Unless of course, it is an emergency. Even then there needs to be blood or a missing limb.

This is the hardest part of parenting for me, as a Mom. When they are upset, for whatever reason, I feel it in my chest and lungs. My breathing becomes short, my chest pounds and my head simply screams, "FIX IT FOR THEM RIGHT NOW!!!" There is little distinction between emergency and non-emergency for me. But this isn't about me. It's about them.

Take for example, this morning's breakfast. Pancake declined what I had made. She asked for cereal. I told her no. I steadied myself for a time out for her. Time outs involve her being upset. They also involve me staying calm and still forcing her to deal with the word no. Pancake took a deep breath and said, "Well, don't worry Mom, I can make my own cereal." And lord howdy, she did just that. My jaw is still on the floor.

And now I going to write something so sad. Good sad. But still sad. So sad it has to stick with it's partner up there.

Yesterday, the wee Pancake went to wake Mac after the nap. I heard her holler, "Mommy come look!!" I found Mac smiling, on the floor with his blanket and pillow. NEXT TO HIS CRIB. Mr. Hall was still sleeping. Pancake is too small to lift him out of the crib. Therefore, there was only one way he got there. Out of his crib that is.

I felt sucker punched.

We had bought a cute, second hand Thomas the Train toddler bed a few months ago. The kids love to jump on it. He wasn't ready to use it yet. Oh, wait, maybe that's just me. How and when to transition him to the big boy bed was a decision that was made. Not by me, but for me. Again, I felt sucker punched.

An so, we put him to bed last night. Then we, Mommy and Daddy, turned off the fan. We quietly listened for sounds of him staying in the bed. Listening for sounds of him playing, talking, pulling off the sheets. There was none. He stayed put and snuggled. In his big boy bed.

And I sobbed for a good twenty minutes. Mr. Hall held me and does what he does best. Be my husband.

He'll take apart the crib today. I will take the kids to the park. I just can't bear to watch.

4 Left a message at the beep:

GeologyJoe said...

cool. all stuff I am looking forward to. :)

Steph said...

I remember the afternoon I stood in my bedroom window sobbing because my little boy was playing outside with a neighbor kid all alone, without me sitting there to keep an eye on things. He was getting along just fine without me and I wasn't sure that I liked that.

Slyde said...

the biggest trouble we've had from my son is since we put him in his big boy bed. He used to sleep in the dark, on his own in his crib.

now, he needs lights on, and im not allowed to leave to go downstairs until he is fast asleep. he gets out of bed and checks on me to make sure im still in the next room.

Michelle J said...

Wow Mrs. Hall what a wonderful post! I do not have children but i felt every word of what you said!! Children slowly growing up, or do they grow up too fast??


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