Slowly coming back to life while her body fights off the last of the evil throat infection, Leah finds herself able to sit at the computer. Having given up on eggs and letting her savage son Silas devour most of them, she tries to swallow the last bits of food and collect her thoughts. Her son is pressing his magnadoodle into her lap and demanding that she draw a star. She’s too exhausted to say no, no means screaming. She’s so tired of screaming. Silas continues to ask for a star twice every second. His voice is getting more shrill. Leah’s thinking of other things, of how relaxing blogging is. It’s so much fun, typing away.
Leah swallows and can feel the evil massive sores on her tonsils. They’re like canker sores and they make it hurt to swallow and talk. Leah privately wishes that Silas had something on his tonsils to stop his incessant screaming that he’s been doing for the past few weeks. Perhaps some duct tape to stop the hitting?? (I’m kidding my friends) She wondered if they surgically remove a dog’s bark, could they remove the scream of a toddler? What about the hitting and kicking and plowing into the baby?
The angry child begins to freak out more and more. Leah finally sends him to his bed to read books and to get a grip. With a few silent moments in her hands Leah begins to blog, using all of her will power to not blog about the horrible sickness that she’s been through or the evil child who ate Silas and took his place in her home. No, she musters up her courage, pretends to be sane and begins to write…
You know something I’ve realized these days? The power of the sentence “you can do it”. Silas will be so frustrated with something he wants to do. He begins saying “I help you I help you?” (which in Silasish means Help me please….which he sometimes can say in real English too) and if I say to him “you can do it Silas” he automatically tries again and usually accomplishes whatever he’s doing on his own.
I am continually amazed at how empowering those words are. The other day on the playground I was trying to get Silas to climb up different parts of it where it would be more challenging to his gross motor skills. At first he wasn’t so sure of it all. He was awkward with the footing and just downright scared. My saying “you can do it” and helping him through it a few times took that fear away and he’s turning into a regular monkey on the jungle gym.
I just wonder how much those word effect older children. Not always would we see such immediate results. Seeing that our toddlers are still learning new things all of the time, we can easily see how those words can encourage them. But I think they’re just as valuable to older children and people of all ages.
Do we say those words enough? Have we been told those words enough? I love them because they’re not saying “do better” “try harder” ” be more”. They’re just 100% confidence building words that I think we can say and it will automatically get the child to try harder and do better and become more.
Leah begins to lose it and starts writing about the evil child who ate Silas and took his place in her home.
I usually feel a lot of guilt about saying encouraging things to Silas. On days like this where I’m constantly saying: “Silas be careful”
“Silas stop hitting”
“No I’m not drawing you another star”
“Give Isaac his toy back”
“No horsie rides on Ikey”
“PLEASE give Isaac some space”
“Stop hitting me”
“No you can’t have another purple vitamin”
“Go sit on your step!!”
I feel like all that’s coming from my mouth is negative stuff. He gets into this mood where he wants to destroy anyone who makes him the slightest bit unhappy and we almost go into a cycle where he’s naughty so most of what I say is just constant corrective things and nothing that’s uplifting. It’s hard, when all you want to do is lock them in the basement*, to say something encouraging.
I HATE these phases, I just want it to go away. We seem to go through them every few months. Sometimes I feel like one of those mom’s on Nanny 911 accept that I feel like I’m doing most things right. I do have a backbone and I am consistent. Brent and I never undermine each other and we’re always on the same parenting page. We let each other follow through even if we don’t agree with their parenting technique at the moment is and then we talk about it after. I wonder what I’m missing here or is it just a phase and Silas can just be naturally difficult in these areas? I need to watch Raising Your Spirited Child DVD that my 0-5 year old whispering sister, Jill, told me to watch. Right now I have “How to Parent Without Beating Your Children” By Barbara Colorosso the title sounded appropriate to my situation**. (I forgot I had ordered it from the library and when they handed it to me I was SO embarrassed. The title is a bit of a joke but it looked like I was about to beat my children!).
Anyway, I hope to be the mother who can say “you can do it” often enough that my children start automatically saying it to themselves. I wish I could say it to myself. I hope that today I can muster up enough good mommy molecules from the air around me to be more than just a dictator, to parent with encouragement.
*Disclaimer: I do not have a basement nor would I ever lock a child in one!
** Disclaimer #2 I do not beat my child
Leah just opened her mouth to talk and the evil infectious sores on her tonsils bit her sending sharp shooting pains ripping down her throat. She blinks and feels how tired she is. The evil antibiotics that she gave in to are making her feel yucky and her body just wants her to sleep so she can fully recover for the vicious throat infection that has plagued her.
Time for what I like about me. The part of the show where Larry comes out and sings a silly song. Wait no, the part of the show where Leah does her daily assignment from her counselor…
o·pen-mind·ed (pn-mndd)adj. Having or showing receptiveness to new and different ideas or the opinions of others
I never used to always be as open minded as I am. Being raised in the church I was actually fairly closed-minded about a lot of things. Gays were bad people, drug dealers were bad people, Liberals and NDP’s were bad people, secular music was BAD, the outside world is BAD BAD BAD….ahem….anyway.
So over the years I’ve begun to form my own opinions about things. Through life experiences I began to realize that a lot of gay people were really nice. I worked with one for over a year before finding out he was gay. I was glad to see it didn’t change my opinions of him.
I married a former pot head. I married someone who’s not conservative. I married someone who really likes secular music. And he’s a WONDERFUL person.
My husband actually helped me have more of an open mind about things. I’ve really become not hard core in a lot of my opinions. There’s always two sides to each story and there’s always a reason that someone believes in something. Heck, even if someone is trying a new “miracle juice” and it’s working then I’m glad…even if it’s all in their heads.
Brent actually opened my eyes to a big,wide world and I’m so glad he did. I took it to where my interests lie (in health and what not) and we make a great open-minded team. I’m sure I could get better in the area but I really like how this is a part of me and how I can try to see different aspects of situations that used to make me uncomfortable. I’m very open to new things and I really really really like that about me. It makes me a better wife, a better mother, a better sister (which is actually #3 on the importance list), a better friend and a better member of society.
Leah clicks the publish button, takes a deep breath as to breathe in the good mommy molecules around her and goes to face her toddler. Good thing Auntie Jennie just came for a visit.
Great post, Leah…hope you feel better soon.
You can do it! I feel that your good-momminess comes through even when you feel crappy and have to deal with difficult situations. Hope you feel better soon. 😀
I didnt’ get to read this post till today (tuesday) and i read the one you wrote today and heard how funny it was. YOU”RE RIGHT! I laughed my head off at work. I got ” what’s wrong with you? you work at a bank and nothign is funny” look. I love how Silas says things like “Do you want some juice?” when he means he’s thirsty. Cracks me up everytime. And poor innocent Isaac having to deal with that violence :).
I’m a random reader and pledge to comment more! I love your posts! Esp. about Silas’ speaking and gardening!!!
Hi Leah, I found you from your comment on my blog post about mealtimes with my son. This was a great post – so honest and heartfelt! We all feel that way sometimes. I’ve noticed it a lot among moms of toddlers who also have babies, which appears to be your situation. I know it sounds trite and I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but the fact that your attention is now divided between the two is such a huge deal for older siblings like Silas.
Your instincts are right on in that you know that you want to be giving more positive strokes than negative comments. And some days we just seem to start on that downward spiral that seems very difficult to turn around. I’ve been there.
Maybe the key could be in a little more presence with Silas. It doesn’t have to mean more time, because we all know that you don’t have any more time – you’ve got two kids! It just means that some of the times you are with Silas, you’re really focused on being completely in the moment with him, honoring who he is, following his lead, and letting him know with your attention, smile and love that he means the world to you exactly as he is. You’d be amazed at the difference it can make in his behavior to do that for little chunks of time in just one day!
I hope I haven’t overstepped myself here. I offer this as encouragement to you, in the hopes that instead of judging yourself and getting frustrated, you’ll feel supported. You can do it!
Thanks for stopping by!!
I think that about spending more time with him as well. And I do, I’ve been trying to do it more often. It’s frustrating when he always turns sour after it’s over. He’s a very intense little boy.