Some of you know immediately what I am referring to as some of you do it, you are parents.
No one really tells you as you embark on the journey that it will challenge you mentally in a way you have never before encountered.
No one tells you that you spend those early years trying to work out a routine that suits you both, as mother and child, then just as you think you have it the routine changes dictated by someone else, no one tells you how a child's sleep patterns or bowel habits can consume your every thought.
The sky yesterday.
Nothing prepares you for the next step, the next stage, the next level of development ... as ... it is dictated by a little person, that one, or the ones, that your life revolves around now. Its a learn on your feet, fly by the seat of your pants gig at times.
Long story follows, get a cuppa.
My heart broke and mind boggled as my little girl just 5 lied to me in a most deceptive manner on Wednesday. Not only saying she was sick but mimicking the behaviours exhibited by her younger brother who had actually been sick earlier in the week.
I was meant to work on Wed and had committed to extra hours, welcome income at this time of the year.
She was not entirely convincing, but my son is not as advanced in communication skills, we did not actually realise he was sick until he vomited, so with this in mind and seeing her go back to bed and refuse breakfast, loaded with mother guilt about sending a potentially sick child to day care I gave her the benefit of the doubt.
Once Daddy and Brother headed off for the day things started to change.
Signs of hunger and Energy emerged and most notably many requests for recorded TV and ABC kids.
My Boss was most understanding as I rang and explained my situation to her, she gave me some extra time to think it through and spoke to me logically as a mother about it, without letting her need for me to be there play into it to heavily.
I went off for a shower ( where some of the best thinking comes from ) and came out asking her about her preferences for the days activity which indicated no level of sickness at all, but an aversion to go to Day care, I examined this more closely and it was not a dislike of Day care at all but rather a desperate want to not miss her favourite TV shows and not to have a brother weighing in on the decisions of what got watched !!!
OMGoodness what a rude slap in the face and lesson for me.
So off we went to day care after an open admission that a lie had been told and she had pretended to be sick - sob sob, we used the word lie! not a fib or little lie ... A LIE!
I let her know the ripple effect of what she had done and how it affected everyone in our family with a consequence for all of us. A consequence for her too, determined and delivered by both parents and accepted graciously by her. I did convey the seriousness of it, but was at the same time gentle about it.
I went off to work too. My boss was very understanding.
I told her my Daughter she had taught me a valuable lesson about the inappropriate value placed on TV here and that the TV watching habits of our household would be changing. Immediately.
It also got me thinking about the age appropriateness of what they were watching in more detail too.
The bees going about their busy day.
So yesterday at breakfast we ( mum and two kids ) made three lists.
1. Fun things to do at home with no TV or computer.
2. Fun things to do - not at home.
3. Favourite TV shows from ABC kids and ABC2. ( do you know between them they named 6 ... only 6 programs all in the 10 to 15 min viewing time brackets )
So yesterday we did not turn on TV at 8am as was our previous habit.
Dad got engaging goodbyes as he left! ( nice work )
I used less computer time ( nice work )
We went for a bike ride ( on the list of fun things to do not at home ) to the shop ( also on a list )
They watched one DVD of a half hour kids cartoon they like.
At lunchtime we went out on the front lawn under the plum tree for a picnic, Daughter commented how lovely it was as she could hear the birds singing. ( Picnics also on a list )
Later in the afternoon we watched 6 pre recorded TV shows that my kids like to watch and that are age appropriate.
In between times they played Lego, ate home made ice blocks, made things from paper Daughter played dollies.
As the afternoon rolled on Mr3 had a bit of a melt down showing me again how oblivious I had been to the TV watching routine I let them have.
So while I felt heartbroken and shocked the day before, I can look at it as a rite of parenthood passed now. It was going to happen sooner or later, I was thinking later ... what do I know! lol
Yesterday we had a nice day, a busy day, a good day. I'm the first to admit I'm far from a perfect parent ( what ever that is ) but I really felt like I had gotten it right yesterday.
Nothing fancy. Perfectly simple and simply perfect.
I'm looking forward to those lists we made getting dog eared and dirty as we roll into summer and by then it will have all changed and we will need to make new ones anyway.
Hope you have glorious weekends and you can take some time to lay in the shade of a tree, in the sun, listen to the birds and watch the bees.
Ahh Tammy, You poor thing. Thats one milestone I am not looking forward to at all! You handled it really well and should be proud of yourself.ReplyDelete
What a great post Tammy, nobody tells you what it is actually going to be like. Some days it's hard to be the mum (even with a very supportive hubby). I think we will make our lists this weekend! Great idea, thanks for sharing this post :)ReplyDelete
L'il B is only 14 months and I am already worried about him and the TV. He only "watches" 1/2 hr/ day (max) or sesame street or bear in the big blue house and even then he is running around playing with toys as it's playing in the background (mostly when I know he's needy and i have to get dinner prepared). BUT what scares me is one of his first words is "Bih Bah" for big bear and he points at the TV and he also knows exactly what the remote controls are for. We never watch TV around him but I can see (and this was reempahiszed in your post) how easy it is to get your child into a habit that is hard to break.
Plus side to your story: the summer is coming and it'll be easy to get outside and do things. It'd be harder to break the TV habit in winter when you're inside a lot more often. I put a post up a week or so ago with a list of fun activities for children to play outside. I think it's under "bub-worthy" so check it out when you get some time although I'm sure you have it covered.
xo Have a great weekend. Meagan.
Ohhh, I hear you Tammy!! Funny we have just been through a similar experience.ReplyDelete
You handled it very well! Definitely a reminder of the changing times, and definitely a reminder to enjoy the great outdoors!
Glad you enjoyed your day yesterday too! ;)
Loved reading your post and sharing in your reflections on that parenting curve ball you encountered. What a full on couple of days you've had. I just loved the way you bounced back from it all and really empowered your children to discuss positive alternative (your list) and them made it happen.ReplyDelete
It may very well be the most difficult job in the world but it sounds like you're really giving it your best.
I know exactly what you mean about the TV. Our days are so much nicer when I make sure the TV stays off for most of the day.ReplyDelete
And *big hugs* for the way you dealt with little Miss. It is so hard when you realise they have learned to lie. :(
Less TV is the right way to go! :)ReplyDelete
Tammy you did well. i am proud of you.ReplyDelete
A friend who had 5 children in their teens....some of them really difficult....once asked me with a big sigh......."Why do we have to spend the best years of our lives saying "No!"?ReplyDelete
I only had one at the time.....a teenager....and I related to that comment....
We have rules now to. Its amazing how much fun you can have without the box!! Well done to you!ReplyDelete
It is on going....ReplyDelete
Like you have just shown - you are the parent and you make the decisions to what you think it enough. We all have different 'rules' but what is most important is you are the parent of these children and you decide what you think is right.
I find I have to really control the TV with one and the other has rare interest in it. When I push it to be off they often go off and produce these most amazing fun and games. Worth the effort!
What a wonderful honest post from a very sweet and concerned mom. You! I have tears of appreciation in my eyes for you. You have learned an important lessons and taken postive steps for happy times without the use of the TV. I am proud of you!ReplyDelete
Have a nice day.
I started reading this on friday but had to stop after a few lines when I realised where it was going because i'd just witnessed the worst, most humungous 8 year old tantrum the world (at least I) had ever seen. Thankfully I just read it now and could cope just fine because last Friday is now history. All I can say is well done to you for handling it like a star. The tv is one powerful medium, the less the better I say.ReplyDelete
Beautifully handled Tammy. There is no such thing as a perfect parent, we can only ever do what's right for our own family & if it's done with love, then that's all that matters.ReplyDelete
My boy is 18 in January & it's a fantastic feeling to see your child ready to embark on adulthood as a decent, loving, intelligent person & know that you must have done a great job.
I keep reminding myself that as a teacher and now as a parent, I will expect the kids to make mistakes. In fact, at school we actively look at mistakes as a way to learn. Yet I so often find myself disppointed at my decisions or mistakes I have made as a parent. I am learning.... lots. Why do I not allow myself the scope to make mistakes and learn? Because it is about our kids, who we adore and protect and love beyond words. But they will survive us and our mistakes. Especially when we are - as you so beautifully demonstrated - reflective and committed to their well being. This must have been a hard post to write but it is inspiring Tammy. Your kids are lucky to have you.ReplyDelete