I know which one I am -
"Perhaps they’ll touch the lives of a few deeply, or touch the lives of millions in some momentarily engaging way." Chasing Hollyfeld
The first. Two lives I will touch deeply belong to Raccoon and Robin. Do I expect too much from Raccoon, not in the prodigy way like the blog post discusses, but in self-awareness and self-control?
He didn't want to nap today. His cousins were here, noisily having fun, so I couldn't really blame him. As a child I never wanted to sleep if there was the chance that I was missing out on something. So he and I made a deal. It got to be 10 pm and he wasn't fulfilling his part of the bargain, so I found myself giving him a lecture and pulling out the "I can't trust you to keep your word, so you'll be napping tomorrow" line.
Who put me in charge? I just possibly might be crazy. He's only three. A few minutes later, he came back upstairs and did what he promised, all the protests gone. He's now snoring away and I'm left wondering, the mommy guilt coming on strong. I've been thinking about the messages I send him, spoken and implied.
With N and J, I read in some parenting book that you tell the child what you expect and also the consequence (preferably a logical, natural one). "Please put on your coat or we can't go to the park" type of statement. This worked well with them and became a parenting habit. I've done it with Raccoon as well, but I recently realized that he perceives it as me threatening him, like a power and control issue. Now he mimics it back to me but with his own made-up consequences, "Do this or I won't play with you." Emotional blackmail. Where did he learn that? I don't want to be that parent.
My love for him is unconditional. I play a made-up game with him called "I love you when you're..." inserting random feelings and acting them out. He thinks it's hilarious and asks me to repeat it. I end with "I love you all the time, no matter what." Does he really feel that, know it, believe it? Do I show it to him with my actions and not just my words?
Patterns, habits, little things we do over and over again every day. This is how I'm touching his life. And only God knows which kind of person he'll be, the first or the second... Or maybe a little of both.