We got on the bus, both of us exhausted. As I slumped into a seat Ramona decided she wanted to have a little trundle around the lurching vehicle. Thinking that wasn’t the greatest plan I popped her on my lap. In turn, Ramona thought that idea was right up there with the worst of them and promptly decided to let the bus know it. She opened her mouth and ROARED. She turned purple and arched her back. She even started wacking her head on the window. I was pretty embarrassed to say the least, and began a fairly typical reaction; I laughed with an “Oh, Really?!” and almost rolled my eyes towards other passengers. Fortunately I stopped myself just in time and tried to pull out from the depths of my harrassed mind a better, more respectful way of responding to my daughters angst.
Above her screaming I tried to catch her eye and validate with my voice; “I see you are so angry because you wanted to walk around the bus. It is okay to be angry. I understand that it is frustrating to not be able to go wherever you want to go.”
I could almost hear the inward collective groan of everyone on board. (And honestly? Pre -Ramona? I soooo would have been inwardly, collectively, groaning.)
I am always surprised by how easy I find it to treat Ramona as a non-person, as if her supersized feelings are minor, as tiny as she is. I want to laugh off those times her feelings are so big it makes her bang her tummy with her hands like Tarzan. Rather than help her deal with how cross she is that I dare put a cardigan on her.
I go through my life trying to treat others how I would like to be treated. This guides me in loads of facets of my life – in my work, my relationships, even my consumption.I fail constantly, of course. But it is my aim.
Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.
(It has a ring to it, eh? I think it could catch on. I might get some World Religions involved with that one.)
And it is how I am trying to mother Ramona. To listen to her as I would want to be listened to, to respect her needs in the way I respect my own needs, to not force her to do things simply because I want her to do that/ go there/ come here.
I think I am just on the cusp of really needing to do this. Only in the last few months has Ramona expressed a will which doesn’t always match my own. Public meltdowns have just happened a couple of times so far in her 15 months (far more in my own three decades.) I know the coming few years will be quite tiring and will contain a few frustrations. I know that the parents that yell/manipulate/make fun of their kids wake up only with a heart filled with love for them but weariness has left them frazzled.
Which is why I have got to start practicing this. So that when a potential head butting situation arises (Ramona’s vs my own, or a window) my first response is to act in understanding, kindness, gentleness – the way I hope people will respond to me when I next get chest beatingly cross. (Really, I don’t know WHERE she gets it from.)
Emerging Mummy is holding a marvellous carnival of “Practices of Mothering”. I have blogged about those very practical practices like cosleeping, babywearing, breastfeeding, breastfeeding while babywearing (bahaha) but this got me thinking more about those intangible practices – my mothering ethos. I’m hoping to post a few more over the next wee while.
It would be lovely if you could share some of your own Practices of Mothering too…