Tuesday, March 18, 2014

It's Working.

I am not perfectly good at all the stuff I am constantly advocating for—mindful, positive parenting, being patient with my toddlers' dawdling, not getting upset when they do something I think is wrong, like hit each other. But I practice and practice and practice (thankfully we have a lot of chances to practice around here!).

This is something I say over and over: "You're disappointed/frustrated/upset. It's ok to let your feelings out. When you're done, we can talk about it. I'm right here. I will listen to you."

We've been struggling with naps for about 8 months now. Nick needs a nap; Dash sometimes doesn't—he tells me he's "having a hard time sleeping" and refuses to lie down, much less sleep. One of the pieces of advice we've gotten is that when the nap doesn't happen (or even if the kid in question doesn't hold the "quiet time" quietly), whatever outing we were planning on after nap can't happen. This is partly because the non-napper inevitably falls asleep in the car, thus creating havoc at bedtime and making for a very cranky kid when I wake him up after a 5-minute snooze. So we mostly stay at home or just go places where we can walk on days when naps don't happen.

What gets us through no-nap time? Smoothie and markers for D, coffee for me.
The other day, we were planning to go to the library after nap. I told Dash that if he didn't nap, we wouldn't be able to go because he'd fall asleep in the car and would be too cranky. He didn't nap. When Nick woke up from his nap, Dash asked if we were going to the library. Of course, I said, "no, you didn't nap." And he was furious. But I held the line, listened to his feelings, gave him space. He likes to stomp off into another room and cry in there; after months of trying to get him to let me hold him, I've learned to just go check in on him periodically. So I let him do his thing for a while. And then I checked in with him. He wasn't ready to talk. I checked in again. He said, "I'm crying right now." I checked in again. This time, our conversation went like this:

Me: How are you feeling now, Dashie?
Dash: I'm all done crying now. We didn't go to the library because I didn't nap.
Me: You feel better now?
Dash: Yes.
Me: We'll go to the library tomorrow.
Dash: Ye-eah! I want to play with trucks now!

It is so hard to listen to our kids cry when they don't get what they want. It is so worth it.

And yes, we went to the library the next day.