One of our worst days

How could this cutie be so mean to her mommy? Yesterday was one of our worst days ever. I know, I know it’s normal for kids to say no and talk back to their moms, but it’s not normal for Ava (or it hasn’t been up to this point).

First, I should mention that she didn’t take a nap yesterday, so that surely contributed to her attitude. When I got to school she was going down the slide and I told her “one more time.” She said something about the number 4 and I thought she just meant she would count to four and go down- so I said “sure.” Turns out, she was trying to tell me she wanted to go down 4 times, so when I told her she was done and it was time to go, she had a fit. On my way out, the teacher mentioned that Ava was shouting at another teacher that day who was trying to help her put on her coat.

We got to the car and I was buckling her in. She tried to move me out of the way with her foot and said, “MOVE!” I didn’t move and told her she needed to ask me nicely. “NO! MOVE!” We went through a few rounds of this and I came to the realization that I could not MAKE her say please. I told her my feelings were hurt and I was very sad. I asked her to say sorry and she said, “NO.” I closed her door, practically in tears, and got into the front seat.

From the back, as sweet as ever, she said, “Mommy, I say move, please.”

“Yes, Ava that’s what mommy was trying to tell you. That makes me very happy.”

“Your feelings are happy now?”

“Yes, my feelings do not hurt anymore.”

And then I beat myself up for making her feel guilty. Aaaahhhhhgggg. I see kids in the grocery store with much more challenging behaviors, but this took me by surprise and I was so sad that she wouldn’t talk nicely to me. Then, of course, I was wondering if I went overboard making her feel guilty.

I know kids need to learn that adults have feelings, too, but I think she’s already prone to feeling guilty. Often when I tell her that a behavior is not okay, she insists that I hold her and she says she’s tired.

So, to wrap this up, I felt like I did the wrong thing and I feared that we were raising a brat. Today. . . everything was perfect. She was an angel at school and couldn’t have been sweeter when I picked her up. I’ll just tuck that bad day memory into the back corner of my mind and continue to believe that Ava is the most precious human on earth and I am a decent mom.

(lots of cute pictures on Flickr)

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2 Responses to One of our worst days

  1. Courtney says:

    Well, hum. I must say from the distance of Atlanta it does sound like Ava was being a brat and you were not being too hard on her by saying how you felt. After all, it is your job to teach Ava. You have to teach her when her actions are going to hurt others so she can be aware of her impact on the world outside of herself, how else could she learn that? She did not know she was hurting your feelings, she just knew she was tired and wanted to do the things herself (of whatever it was she wanted) which is perfectly natural (I feel like that a lot as I am sure you do too). So, it seems by telling her that the way she communicated was hurtful you were doing your job, teaching her. And better you teach her then she not know right? Or someone else teaching her by yelling back … ooo that sounds awful! I certainly understand that you felt bad that she felt bad. But I suppose this is one of those things people are talking about when they say it is really really hard to be a parent.
    So, in conclusion, from the friend who does not have any human children (although I can certainly relate this to my dogs) …. it sounds like you just continued your lifelong job of helping Ava to become a thoughful and aware person by showing her in a calm and appropriate way that when she is tired and grumpy she can not take it out on other people. Good Luck! Lots of Love, Courtney

  2. Paula says:

    Oh Diana, I know how you must of felt. It is a real shame children do not come with a manual or guide, isn’t it? So we must rely on our own mostly natural instincts—which are usually good. As much as I know you don’t want to make Ava feel guilty, it is not OK for her to talk badly to you and hurt your feelings or anyone else’s for that matter. As parents, it is our job to teach kindness and the very best way for Ava to understand when she hurts others feelings is for them to communicate that to her. In a kind way, of course… You are an excellent mother to Ava and have wonderful natural insticts—go with the flow. You handled a hurtful situation in a loving, caring manner. No one could expect more, that is for sure. Ava is just a normal kid figuring out what is acceptable behavior and what is not. You are helping her with that very nicely. I admire your skills as a first time parent and your gentle but caring ways of dealing with a child. Isn’t it wonderful that Ava behaved like an angel the next day—see you know she can and does do it! You are the best, Diana, hang in there.
    Thanks for putting the picture of Ava in the outfit we sent her—it is so cute on her! Looks like the jeans may fit fairly well…glad she is putting them on now! :~)

    Love,

    Paula

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