Choose your own adventure

I think parenting looks somewhat like a choose your own adventure book – which is problematic, as I’d work out a way to read all possible outcomes through to the end before actually choosing how to proceed when I was younger. Life doesn’t let you peek ahead.

So Tess is angry at diapers, but doesn’t seem to be taking to potties, which leaves us with the status quo. In protest, she stripped to her birthday suit the other day at naptime. I went in and found her (and her bed) covered in poop. She was howling in frustration, as I sense that wasn’t the outcome she was looking for. I froze: I could comfort her or correct her. What to do? It occurred to me in that moment that this is where we shape our kids, how that nurturing makes each little person unique.

I know a lot of moms – nicer moms – that would comfort. And I got around to that! But first, I corrected. Tess has such a strong response to time-outs and verbal correction that we focus on those. In this case, the verbal did it. Howling became screeching as we swooped her into the tub and stripped her bed, chastising all the way. (I dragged Dave in on this joyride.)

As he scrubbed her down and I loaded the laundry machine, I heard a plaintive,


from her bath. My heart broke.

As I was the one to scold, I was the one to comfort. I toweled her off, got her dressed, and snuggled her in the rocking chair while explaining why the diaper stays ON until she can be a big girl. We were in a great place, but I couldn’t help thinking,

I wonder if this is the best way to work with Tess?

Alas, I can’t skip to the end, so we won’t know for a long time. Sheesh!

On other adventures, I got my first dose of mommy & me. We put the kids in a class – doesn’t matter what kind, as any class for 0-3 is pretty much the same. Dave and I took the kids this week – and we were not the norm. (Are we ever?!) The teacher is very focused on parent interactions with the kids – while we’re more interested in having the kids interact with other kids.

The other parents didn’t even say hi to us. It felt like we’d somehow announced, by having Dave take the first few classes due to my work schedule, that we both work. The other mommies do not, and don’t seem interested in crossing to the other side for chats. I feel quite alone, and I’m sure Dave did as well as the only dad! Tess and Remy kept trying to ‘talk’ to other kids, but weren’t having a lot of success. They eventually gravitated to each other and played together like they do at home. I’m not entirely sure we’re going to keep this up. Fortunately, we have a lot more adventures to choose from.

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