Picture if you will:
ME: yelling and finger wagging, my face in its meanest mommy grimace. "Do NOT kick me!"
MAGGIE: laughing and kicking and refusing to put on her pants, "Mommy, you're fighting with me, ha ha ha."
ME: gritting my teeth and looking murderous, "If you do not cooperate right now, you are getting a time out."
MAGGIE: her face amused and placid, "I want a time out."
ME: to myself, "holy shit, what do I do now?"
Seriously, we just had our biggest fight to date and I was utterly defeated. I mean, yes, I finally got the pants on her (after some abuse-bordering manhandling that made her laugh even harder), and yes, she finally took a nap. But man, I really lost my cool and she, well, she just held her ground, cool as a cucumber. I looked like such a blustering hothead compared to her.
Not only does this not bode well for the future teenage years, but it just really bugs me to feel as if I am in opposition to my kids all the time. It's not at all what I had in mind.
My friend Vida, who has two of the most awesome kids you'll ever meet, once said her approach to discipline was to raise kids who wanted to do right by her, a we're-all-in-this-together approach. Right on, I thought at the time, back in those idealistic, pre-kid days. And I still like it in theory. Only what do you do if you've accidentally raised kids who determinedly want to do WRONG by you, who stare down your requests and commands and laugh? So far, the answer in this house is to become a yelling, angry, frustrated dork, someone so ineffectual and cloddy that two-year-olds look at you and laugh. I'm at a loss, really.
On a happier note, I've been super good about my resolutions, especially 3, 4, and 5. I even brought the Mister a cupcake one day. The BUY NOTHING policy does not extend to food. Nice, huh?
A thing I like
Parenting help from the ladies at Symbio in San Francisco. Noelle Cochran (above), infant sleep specialist extraordinaire, and Lele Diamond (below), marriage and family therapist extraordinaire, have come together to form Symbio, the biggest boon for frustrated parents since the invention of the cocktail hour. They will help you with figuring out how to get your kids to sleep, bolstering your kid-ravaged marriage, disciplining your toddlers, finding the right preschool for your child, and just talking you down from the ledge when it feels like you are doing all the wrong stuff. Really, they rock. And their fees are reasonable.