Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Every Day, I Am the Mom

Today is way better than yesterday.  First of all, we have internet back.  Hooray!

internet is BACK!
Zinashi supervised.  I'm pretty sure that made all the difference.

Second, power struggles have been minimal.  Part of the success is that she did want to have a better day today.  We talked about it before she went to sleep last night, and then again this morning.  That even when a whole day seems to have gone horribly wrong, it's okay, because you can wake up the next day and make better choices and have a better day. You might also get to have craft time as soon as you're out of bed.  I mean, if your mom is awesome and impulse purchased some craft items at IKEA.

crafty morning

We had a couple of, um, special moments, but for the most part, the day went smoothly.  I pulled out a couple of new parenting tricks, variations on the same old theme but different enough that she hasn't figured out a way to circumvent them when she gets really panicky.  Zinashi needs to know that, regardless of anything and everything, terrible behavior included, I am still her mom.  Being a mom means that I love her no matter what, that I believe that she is good at her core and confirm that to her daily, and that I can handle any problem that comes our way.  If the problem is that she is trying to feel safe by being in control of every person, situation, and pet that she can possibly control, then I need to be the grown up and show her that control is not what keeps you safe.  (This, actually, is a lesson a lot of us grown ups still need to learn.)  In fact, giving a five-year-old control of many things can be quite dangerous.  She need the security of knowing I'm in charge. She needs it desperately.  She deserves to be a kid, and to worry about things kids should worry about, like what to play with next and which funny face to make when telling one of her endless stories.  She needs to be free from the worry that if she can't control things, that something might happen to her family.  She needs to be free from the worry that I might stop taking care of her, so she needs to make sure she can still take care of herself.  She needs to be free from the worry that I might stop loving her because she doesn't do something right.  So every interaction that we have, I pepper with the same words:  I love you, all the time, every day, no matter what.  Whether things are going swell or heading straight down the toilet, she hears those words.  Out loud.  Up close.

She needs this now as much as ever, and she needs to hear me saying it to her baby sister as well.  We are a family.  All of us.  Forever.  In fifteen days, we will be on our way to make that happen.  That is a shockingly small number of days.  We'd better rest up.

countdown to ethiopia, 15 days


  1. 'control is not what keeps you safe'

    Holy moly that is brilliant. I'm going to tattoo that on my hand for myself and everyone I know.

  2. I also loved that line! When you have a chance, would you share some of your new parenting tricks/variations on tricks? I'd love to have something to add to my own repertoire...

  3. What a beautiful post! You obviously know what the heck you're doing--She's a very blessed little girl, and her sister is, too :)

  4. what a wonderful post. You are truly such an amazing mother. I am really at a loss for words, but had to get that bit out and in the comments.


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