Wednesday, August 27, 2008

One Small Step for Mom-Kind...

I think I've established thus far that Madalyn, God Bless her little soul, is a bit of a headstrong one. We've been working on tempering this "independent flare," at least to a socially-acceptable level. For example, even though she may have the constitutionally-protected right to throw herself on the floor on a playdate and demand to go outside, even when the other children are still politely eating their lunches (freedom of expression and all), it's not behavior that I want her carrying into her adult life!

Oh, there are no exaggerations about the "terrible twos". Whatever horror stories you've heard--they're all true.

So anyway, on the evening of the above described playdate, I had renewed vigor to step-up discipline standards at home. So when my gentle little flower started pitching a first-class fit about not being able to have a sucker before dinner, I got down low, looked her square in the eye and said: "We do NOT speak to Mommy like that. Your behavior is unacceptable. Because of the way you are acting, you are going to time out." And onto the chair in the living room she went. She of course climbed down, crying and expressing her sorrow to the fullest extent. I picked her up each time and plopped her right back down (got that technique from Super Nanny, oh yes I did. Thanks, Jo.)

After the timer went off, Dan went in to speak with our daughter. They were having a discussion about exactly why she was placed in timeout when I came in the room. I neared the chair, and Madalyn turned to me. Huge tears in her eyes, arms outstretched...

"What do you want to say, Maddy?"
"Mommy, I'm sorry." She climbs into my arms and I hold her close. In that moment I know the meaning of true, pure, immediate forgiveness. I'm a little choked up, to be honest.
"Oh baby, it's o-kay. Mommy loves you so much." I was suddenly overcome to tell her it's fine, don't worry about it, Mommy will buy you a pony.

I'm a new mom. I want to raise Madalyn to be polite, empathetic, and kind. I want her to be disciplined. So let me hear your thoughts: what discipline strategies have worked for you?

Today we walked into the library, reviewing proper library-protocol as we entered the foyer.
"Remember, Maddy, we speak softly in the library. And if there are other children by the toys, we need to share nicely. When Mommy says it's time to go, it's time to go, no fussing (here I am remembering carrying her out against her gracious will last time, all the while casting apologetic looks to tight-lipped librarians). Do you understand?"

"I understand, Mama," came the sweet reply. And she did great.

Maybe we're getting somewhere after all.

2 comments:

Meeghan said...

I COMPLETELY understand where you are coming from. Did you read my blog yesterday??? Meltdown aka throw ourself on the floor kicking and screaming. I will tell you the same thing that Rebekah told me...they won't be under 3 forever.

In terms of dicipline...I find consistency is the key...saying that though, somethings work one day and and the next they don't and it is SOO hard to be consitent 100% of the time. You are doing a great job!!!

Mia and Beepa said...

Laura,

You are an amazing mom! I am continually impressed by how you so lovingly guide Maddy through her "episodes"!

She is a wonderful 2-year old because of you!

Love,
Dad