I never thought I would say that-till I became a parent
Did those words really come out of my mouth?
Being a parent is one of the most rewarding, hardest, never ending, and funniest jobs on the planet. You are responsible for not only meeting the needs of these little fellows, but also teaching them so that they become good, productive and happy members of society. Every parent must find their own style of discipline based on their beliefs and needs, and the individual child involved. My style varies depending on the situation-typical silly mistakes I either ignore (he is learning and exploring) or I show him how to properly do something. Willful disobedience such as ignoring, hitting when he knows better, biting and other infractions equals a time out. He isn't very good at time outs and they always go longer than the specified 2 minutes. A few times he has decided he enjoyed the time out and would put himself back into time out once the punishment ended. Not sure yet on the effectiveness of this intervention. Running toward the road while laughing and ignoring me gets a pop on the butt. I know parents don't believe in spanking these days, but when safety is involved I find it is very effective at stopping the behavior. I then sit him down and explain why the behavior was bad and why mommy is unhappy. Once again I am not sure if he understands at 2, but I feel that I should always follow up with the why.
The hardest part of discipline for me occurs when he is doing something wrong, but it is funny. I have found myself having to use the sentence, " Do not eat the furniture. Furniture is not food." Really? I never would have thought that would be something that needed to be said, but one day my son decided the strings and piping on the green chair looked like a good snack. So what do you do? Is timeout the correct punishment for eating the furniture? In this case verbal correction was all he got, because I then had to quickly hide my laughter.
Yesterday's gem was, "Don't run over the ferret with your suitcase. Don't put the ferret in the suitcase." I still have not figured out why our ferret goes anywhere near what should be his mortal enemy, our two year old, but he sticks to him like glue. Poor Hector (the ferret) has been squished, hit, ran over, buried in stuffed animals, tormented by slamming doors aimed for his middle, and generally terrorized. And, yet he had never bit the little one. Amazing!
My poor husband is also prone to having to use sentences that a person never should have to utter. Last week it was a firm, "Stop putting your fingers in my holes!" Hmmm, that one had me wondering when I heard it. Turns out Jacob was trying to stick his fingers as far as he could up daddy's nose, in his ears, and in his belly button. My husband was not a willing participate to this exam, so we have yet another moment of parental insanity.
The list continues:
" Don't eat that bug!" He refuses normal food, but a cricket is a gourmet treat.
"Don't drink water off the porch. That was the dog's water." This was spoken as he lapped the water off my mom's porch while the poor dog watched,
"You can't eat a stick of butter. Put it back."
"It's okay, everybody pees and poos. It is natural. Nothing is wrong." This is in response to him grabbing his butt or front of his diaper and crying when he has to go. It seems to really upset the little guy.
I was naive enough to think my conversations with my son would always be informative and intelligent. I would teach him about the world and everything I learned in college. I would share my love of literature and science with him. He would be my little man-instead he is a healthy, typical toddler. At this point our conversations are one sided and a bit humorous. He would rather eat his books and puzzles, and that is fine. I am the one who needed to adjust my expectations, and realize the reality is that everyday I will say things I never thought I would. Hopefully one day we will have the conversations of my dreams, but in the meantime I need to teach him cardboard is not part of a healthy diet. And I am going to love every moment of it!