Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Parenting: Win, Lose, or Draw

Image credit <here>

Happy November!  Happy Belated Halloween!  I had a ninja and a ladybug—along with four of their pals and two big brothers of said pals, herding through our neighborhood, which goes crazy with the fog machines and mini-haunted houses and lit up pumpkins in every size and shape (saw two minions this year, so cute).  So my heart is really full and happy about that!!

Ok, I’ll start with the win—at least, I think of it as a win in that I figured out how to talk to DD1 about the bath/training bra issue.  I couldn’t write about it in my last post, because I was so worked up, had to mull it over in my brain on how to handle it in a way that put DD1 first and my feelings and the Ex's motivations, second.

So one night before dinner, DD1 was reading on the couch and I joined her for some pre-dinner snuggles.  We started talking about how at her dance class, she gets to change in the dressing room all by herself.  And how her privacy at dance is a right—not a question—and she agreed.  Except she likes to change with her BFF, and I said, that’s totally fine, because you want to, and because your BFF is a girl. 

I followed up with privacy being something she is entitled to—when changing at school, when changing at dance class, at mom’s house, or dad’s house.  She agreed with me, and then she started talking about her training bras, she said she wears them because at dad’s house, her t-shirts are too thin (DD1 has been conscious about her “upstairs” development for a while now), but at mom’s house, she doesn’t need them, because we have nice, thick t-shirts.  I responded that it’s her body and great if she wants wear her training bras, and I could pack thick t-shirts in the overnight bag if she wanted, and she said yes!  (p.s. I noticed she does wear her training bras every now and then lately, even with our thick t-shirts, so just letting her experiment and do what she wants with her training bras). 

So then I broached the topic of her bathing at dad's--if dad still helps her with her bath, and she said he only helps her turn on the water, then he leaves.  She said he used to wash her body, but she washes her own body now.  I told her that was great, because I knew she knew how to take her own shower, that she’s a big girl.  She then said that she always leaves the door open when she takes a shower at dad’s house, and I said, well, if you want to close the door it’s totally fine, because privacy isn’t a question, it’s your right.  Then we talked more about how girls’ bodies change (she’s read the American Girls The Care and Keeping of You from cover to cover), and that it’s okay to buy training bras with dad, but when other body changes come up, like periods and tampons, that’s a girl/mom thing to do.  She nodded thoughtfully.  I could see the wheels turning. 

At any rate, I took this as a win—in the sense that DD1 was confiding to me about her feelings and thoughts, that we talked about privacy, and ultimately, that she seems comfortable and okay.  I was relieved to hear about her dad backing off a bit on ‘bathing’ her, and we normalized the training bra issue.  /Parenting Win.

Parenting Lose:  this morning, both DD1 and DD2 were so fussy and rude and bratty about getting up, I totally lost my temper.  After 20 straight minutes of the whining and fussing, I finally got upset and told DD2 to change her clothes RIGHT NOW.  I told DD1 if she didn’t sit still, her pony tails would be ALL MESSED UP for her dance exam that evening (DD1 cried a little bit, :(  :(  :( ).  Then the dog decided to steal the comb we were using, and I yelled at the dog to DROP IT RIGHT NOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW.

Sigh.  They stopped fussing and whining immediately.  The dog dropped the comb.  I said, so you guys are acting mean and fussy and now I’m yelling, so everyone is feeling bad, right now!  Rawr!!

I then finished DD1’s pony tails, perfectly, to DD1’s relief.  I opened the master bedroom door and roared at the hubby lying in bed (he gets up after us), YOU have to feed the dog, because WE have to leave NOW.  I checked the bedroom and DD2 was dressed.  We all went downstairs.  I let the girls give the dog a treat and put her outside, then we loaded up and left.  I of course forgot DD2’s homework, my water bottle, and so that entailed two returns from the carport, and two slams of the kitchen door.  (Kids were already in the car, so slamming was for my benefit). /Parenting LOSE.

Parenting Draw.  So…on the way to school, I told the girls that no one is perfect, and we have to try our best to be kind to each other, and not be mean.  DD2 piped up and said, well, daddy said it’s not okay to be mean to him, but it’s okay to be mean to mommy.

For once, DD1 didn’t pipe in right away to defend her dad.  Either her voice wasn’t working, or DD1 wasn’t disputing the truth of the statement.  I took a breath. 

I asked DD2, “are you sure he said that?”

And DD2 said, “yes!” in her confident, chipper voice.

So I said, “gosh, you know what girls, no matter what, I would never want you to be mean to your dad.”

There was silence as I made my way over the next few minutes down the road to DD2’s school.  When we got there, DD2 bounced out of the car, held my hand, and skipped into the school, giving me hugs all the way.  DD2 said, “I’m sorry I was mean to you,” and I said, “I’m sorry I was yelling this morning, too, Mommy loves you a whole lot.”  Off to school, my sweetheart, bouncing ladybug, so zen and in the moment, she has probably forgotten this crazy morning all together.

When I got back into the car to take DD1 to school, there wasn’t much talking, but DD1 has lost her voice due to her allergy coughing over the last few days.  She did ask me what to tell her teachers about her voice, and I said, well the doctor said your coughing is due to allergies, and the post nasal drip is dripping on your voicebox, but since you don’t have a fever, it’s okay to go to school.  When I dropped her off, she gave me a hug and a kiss on the lips, which is her way of telling me she loves me.  So I told her, “I love you honey,” and “I know you love me, even when you’re mad at me.”  She walked into school, I can’t tell if there was still a chip on her shoulder or not.

Later, I emailed DD1’s teachers about her allergy condition; I got a reply from one of them, thanking me for keeping them in the loop—and that DD1 was so cute, DD1 had told her the same thing!  My sweetheart, conscientious DD1.  So…/Parenting Draw.

I think I’ll call it a day. I need hugs.  And to do better next time.


  1. Awesome post, Jane! WE all get frustrated. Just reading this I was remembering back to the days of getting the kids up for school. My son was a bear in the morning. Doing hair for girls though just adds that extra mom touch and we don't always have the time. I had to laugh reading about the dog grabbing the comb. They always get their nose in at the worst moment. It's like they're saying 'what about me? I'm still here!'. I love the title you've chosen. It's so true. You're doing great. Sending a big hug out to you!!

    1. Thanks so much, Lisa!! I laughed out loud about your observation on the dog. We love G so much, and even though she adds extra spice in our morning, I'm so glad she's there with us. I feel a whole lot better and much more patient about everything. <3

  2. So glad you're keeping the lines of communication open with both of them. In the long run that will really make a difference. And we all have bad days - as long as we make a conscious effort to do better next time...

    1. Thanks so much, Liv! I think I have another blog post...DD2 shared something concerning about her dad, and DD1 is definitely in puberty transitioning...the hormones are just dripping off the walls. I do feel so lucky that the girls can talk to me... and yes, every day I strive to do better...thanks so much for your kind words! <3