Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Focusing on what he's doing right

During my 1st trimester of pregnancy I was feeling pretty lousy most of the time, and I must admit that some of my best parenting intentions went out of the window. I felt ill, exhausted and moody, and that made me snappy and irritable. I could see the impact it had on E and my relationship with him. Murphy's law is always so that when you're not at your best, your child will act out as well. Nearly as though there are two children in the equation. And because E has a relatively strong will - this often ended in power struggles, misbehaviour and shouting (from both sides).

Boy am I glad that those months are over! And thank goodness for my mother who picked up a lot of the slack. However, as soon as I started feeling more like myself - I vowed that I would make right and correct the damage or gaps that might have grown between E and I.

What I have been doing for the last couple of weeks and seeing some amazing results, is purely focusing on what E does right, and let him know how pleased he makes me. I brag on him to others (in front of him) as often as I can, and tell him whenever he has done something positive, no matter how small. What I've started doing with him is give him a high 5 for a job well done - whatever it may be. Its lovely to see his face light up and his self esteem soar in these moments.

I find this quote from Dr Laura Markham in her post on the same topic very true:
"Finding fault with kids doesn’t help them change.  (Does it help you change?) Children, like other humans, grow and change when they feel loved, accepted, appreciated, respected. That lets them drop the need to defend themselves.  It makes them want to cooperate."
I encourage you to read her whole article here. She is a very wise woman.

Why would someone who hears what they are doing wrong all the time want to change? I have found from personal experience, positive affirmation makes me want to be a better person. Why would my child be any different?

If my son hears how happy he makes me and in turn feels good in his own skin, he will act 'good' because he feels 'good'. It is after all my job to build him up, not break his spirit.

Proverbs 31:26
"She opens her mouth in skillful and godly Wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness."

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Sticking up for my unborn

We recently found out that we're expecting another boy!

At first everyone thought that it was a girl because my morning sickness was considerably more intense, and then the gynaecologist also suspected that it was a girl. He said he was 85% sure.

So there we are walking around for 3 weeks certain it was a girl, buying pink. And then at the next gynae appointment we saw without a doubt that it was a boy! One cant imagine the presence of a certain anatomy that is missing with a little girl!

The first time you have a baby you are just so thrilled with whatever you get. The second time around there is an unspoken pressure and expectation - mostly from other people. Everyone has a comment on how I must just be wanting a little girl next, and how that would be so perfect - almost setting up an 'external' expectation in myself. A Pigeon Pair - they call it. So you start imagining the life that could be with 1 boy and 1 girl. Perfect in theory. Textbook.

And then you find out that its another boy. Another E? That's all I know - raising a boy. No pink? I thought about the scenario I might find myself in that it would be another boy instead of a girl. I wondered if I would be disappointed on hearing the news. Would I feel as if I was being short-changed? But when I heard the confirmation of the sex I felt disbelief, yes, but disappointment - no way! I was actually quite surprised that I wasn't disappointed. 

But immediately after the surprise of this news, I felt a different emotion, a very strong emotion. It was defensive. Protective.

Defensive of my unborn child towards the world. Protective of his uniqueness, his right to be special in this world. Just as special as his big brother. My heart hurt for him even at this early age. When E came into the world he was so anticipated and celebrated. The firstborn on both sides of the family. The first boy in 50 years on the one side of the family. The first baby out of our group of friends. He was cooed over and made such a fuss of. To the degree that I felt claustrophobic of all the attention we were getting. 

So when I broke the news that my other baby was in fact another boy I couldn't help but pick up a sense of disappointment from others. Some outwardly expressed their disappointment, and some tried their best to cover it. The novelty of a little feminine energy wasn't happening anymore.

So understand my defensiveness, my protectiveness. The need to promote how truly special this little one is in his own way. Yes, it is hard for me to imagine how another boy can bring something so different to E. E has fulfilled all my expectations. He is the apple of my eye, and everything I could expect an angel boy to be. But my prayer every day is that this second one will be born with the same love and specialness as the other. That he will be valued and cherished for who HE is and not as a mini E. That he will have the opportunity to show his own idiosyncrasies and quirks without having to stand in the shadow of his big brother.

I will make sure that happens my little prince, your Mom is your biggest advocate!