Saturday, March 31, 2012

Once in a while I do something right...

Based on Jacob's behavior for, oh, the last two years, there are many moments when I doubt my parenting abilities.  Jacob's a pretty good kid for the most part, but there are times when I wonder what on earth we did to deserve a particularly difficult and ill-timed tantrum.  I wonder if we discipline too much or too little, or focus on the wrong stuff.  I wonder if we respond too rapidly to his freak-outs, or not quickly enough to make him feel cared for.  The parenting blogosphere can make you question things forever, because everyone has an opinion and every experience is different.  There are an infinite number of parent and child behavior/response combinations (in both directions, no less), so just because kid behavior + parent response = kid response in one scenario, it doesn't mean it'll work the same way in our house.  You just never know.  And just when you think you've figured it out, your kid enters a new developmental phase and you're back at square one.  Making it through these phases usually takes an intimate knowledge of your child and an abundance of creativity.  Getting those two things to work together, particularly at the right time, often takes a miracle.  And when it happens, it's nice.

Yesterday, I'm pretty sure I did something right.  I got a random call from daycare mid-afternoon.  I dread seeing those calls come in, because inevitably it's something negative.  Generally it's a sick or injured kid call, and neither of those things are particularly great...or at best, it makes you momentarily worry far more than was necessary.  On this particular day, the assistant director told me that Jacob was fine, that it wasn't an emergency...but Jacob certainly thought it was.  He was in hysterics on the other end because his beloved eagle/hawk, his stuffed Knighthawk birdie, had a hole in him.  Jacob was inconsolable and crying so hard I couldn't understand a word he was saying on the phone when she put him on to talk to me. 

When I posted this story on Facebook, most people expressed surprise that daycare couldn't handle this themselves.  Admittedly, I thought the same thing, but I also know my child and am well aware of his persistence.  The kid doesn't stop until he gets his way or you can convince him that there's another acceptable solution that skirts his plans just enough.  Perhaps they tried everything and he wouldn't calm down, or perhaps his freak-out was making his friends nervous and they figured a phone call might distract him.  Maybe they figured the pure logic of me saying that I couldn't come right then, but would be there at the end of the day and take the bird right home to fix him, would be enough. 

Well...after telling him repeatedly that I couldn't come just then but that we'd get him all fixed up, he was still inconsolable.  And then, it came to me.  When the assistant director came back on the phone, I suggested a band-aid.  The second she relayed my suggestion, Jacob smiled and laughed.  And that was that.  He was done crying and his bird was going to be fine.  Crisis averted.

I picked him up in the evening, got dinner started, and immediately started "surgery".  I peeled off the band-aid, threw a couple stitches around the hole, and the bird was good as new...or at least, good as he was a few hours earlier--well loved but hole-less. 

So, for one day, I know I at least had one good idea.  It averted a "crisis" and made my child happy.  Those days don't happen too often, so when they do, it's worth reporting.  And if you can't immortalize stuff like that on your blog, what good is it?  Once in a while, we all need proof that even once, something went right.

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