Happy new year, everyone! Or Naw Ruz, which is what Baha’is call it. March 21, first day of spring, a new start, a new year.
So today, I had a mini meltdown when my daughter wouldn’t put a shirt on. Yes, awesome start to a new year.
We were up, happy, playing, enjoying time at home. I wanted to take advantage of being home on a Wednesday to go to Toddlertime at the library. Getting outdoors; leaving the house; stimulation; and interaction with other kids (thus addressing my guilt that I don’t arrange for her to play with more kids her age).
Baby had other ideas. I managed to get socks (3 pairs at her insistence) and legwarmers on her, but she resisted shirt-wearing. Vigorously. She’s become quite skilled at manouevering a shirt back over her head in one smooth move. I tried repeatedly. I talked to her about going out. We looked outside. I explained that we were going to go to the library and sing songs. I showed that I was getting ready to go.
Nothing worked. She resisted. I asked her, “do you want to stay home?” “Mmm!!!” she enthusiastically responded.
Yes, I could have forced her. But why? After reading Unconditional Parenting, I am significantly not into forcing my daughter to succumb to my superior physical strength. There are times she will have to do things she doesn’t want, but I hope that through discussion and modeling and giving her some options, she will agree to do those things, thus preserving her autonomy and dignity. In this case, going to the library was optional. In fact, the reason to go was that I thought she’d enjoy it. She might have – but she let me know that playing at home with mama was her choice for today. That’s communication, and I chose to respect her choice.
Well, I chose to listen to her choice. Respect? I don’t know. I, frankly, sulked. I was sarcastic. I made idle threats (I’ll go without you. Really???). I let her play and sat down at the table to read. I just could not deal with the fact that my brilliant plans for the morning were shot simply because my daughter didn’t want to put on a shirt.
At some point I got perspective. And shortly after that, she wanted to go to the bedroom and nurse, and had a nap. She was tired, she was enjoying being at home, and it was all good, once I shifted my perspective and worked with her, trusting her instincts.
After that, we went out (VV, groceries), having a great time all round. Back home, played in the yard, played inside, mom & dad over for dinner, bath, play, bed. Awesome.
Happy Naw Ruz, all!