16 June 2013

good intentions and the unintended consequences of Yes

So, I had good intentions.
Before Della was born, before I knew who she was, I imagined creating a world for this new being that was full of yeses.
I imagined making the kind of space that would allow for free ranging (with supervision of course) but without the million navigational "nos" that I had seen others use.

Yes, a fantasy, a FANTASY created by me, kate, with no prior experience with kids.

So, I tried yeses.
As many yeses as I could.
I yessed whenever possible, and sometimes spend energy making a no situation into a yes situation just so I could stick to my oh-so-innocently-conceived party line.

Then, inevitably, the Nos came.
They had to, right?
and they were met with shock.
And defiance.
Really? No? What does that even mean? (I could hear her infant brain asking with stunned surprise).

I had one of these too during my teenage years. A clear memory of a No that came out of left field, the shock that came with it, and the hurt that felt as if I was not trusted.

(I know so much more now, I know that was not the case, sometimes limits are protective in other ways).

So here we are, navigating a sea of Nos that corresponds to 2 and a half, an unbelievably willful child with a clear vision of what she wants.

And I confess this:
I have, in the past 3 days, begun to use 5 chocolate bits as a once-a-day outright bribe. Nothing awful-- I say-- standing at the top of yet another well-intentioned slippery slope. Nothing bad--I say-- since I am just trying to get out for a walk, or wait a few hours before nursing (another post for another day on not weaning)...

And I am aware as I am doing this that the solution that feels the most harmonious right now, may simply screw me in the near future.

I did not realize how much of parenting is survival in the now, and regret in the soon.


sprogblogger said...

Oh Yeah! I DO hear you on the utter disbelief that I turned into one of "those" parents!

On bribes--I was determined nevernvernever! And yeah, I totally bribe Hen for going potty without making it into a power struggle. One incredibly-difficult-to-procure After 8s Mint per potty session. Oi. However, the cool thing is that he forgets to collect his bribe more & more often--where it used to be a five or six mint a day habit, now it's once or twice, and it's not the peeing that's slowed down.

If you don't keep upping the bribery stakes, they DO grow out of wanting them so much, even if it's something delicious & previously unobtainable like candy!

Korinthia Klein said...

So much of parenting is playing it by ear as you go. There is no way to really plan ahead for much of it, regardless of good intentions or studying up. And every child is different. What works for one of my kids is disastrous for the others sometimes. Whatever works, works, and be forgiving to yourself. I'm sure your daughter will be.

It Is What It Is said...

I agree with the 'survival in the now' but not with the 'regret in the soon'. Surviving some days just to get through them in whatever manner necessary doesn't have to mean you will regret the day. Parenting is an evolution. You learn about your child, what works, what doesn't and when, you learn about yourself, what works what doesn't and when, and the only place for regret would be in not evolving when you could have.

Cut yourself some slack. You couldn't possibly have known what the reality of parenting would be. Now you do.