Thursday, November 19, 2009

EB's and Coddling

After a candid conversation with Brandon last night (not myself, thank goodness), I came to the realization that what happened yesterday (and the day before) was another emotional breakdown. I have EB every 4 weeks or so, and they tend to coincide with Aunt Flo. The irony (except it is not ironic to any woman who has ever had a visit from Aunt Flo) is that I always forget about my EB's until I am almost past them. And then I realize Aunt Flo happens to be visiting (that awful, awful woman!) at the exact same time as my EB's. Or just before. Or just after. What I mentioned to Brandon, though, was that my EB this time was not as messy. It was really just a really weird blog post and some passing words that hurt my husband. [Okay, so the hurting words probably weren't non-messy. But he easily forgives me. Because he rocks.]
My EB's tend to be riddled with a lot of tears and dramatic sweeps of accuastions and resolves, so I was happy to see only the blog post and hurting words this time (note to self: forget the hurting words next time. For there will be a next time. In about a month!).

Thank you to all of you for your fabulous, fabulous advice. It made my day! There was no judging, only helpfulness, and that's what I like in a blog reader. And a friend. Thank you, friends!

I used to make fun of parents that would coddle their kids. You know, bail them out of stuff. Make excuses for their behavior. Buy them cars. That kind of thing. But after this morning, I think I get it.

See, last night, #1 had her 2 hour theater class. After a quick dinner, all the kids came to the church with hubby and I because he had Young Men's and I had my Relief Society Meeting (not to be confused with the previous Relief Society Home, Family, and Personal Enrichment). Luckily for us, there was a children's class going on in the nursery so we could both attend our aforementioned activities (not enrichments). #1 brought her homework with her to the theater class because she couldn't finish it due to theater class.
But she didn't finish it. The nursery environment was way too much fun! I didn't think too much of it --she could finish in the morning easily.
This morning proved not to be easy, and she didn't finish. She was crying her eyes out as she sat at the table, already past the time when she and #2 and #3 need to leave to walk to school to get there in time.
I wanted to give her the time to finish and to just drive her to school.
But I knew I couldn't do that. I needed to provide a very safe, yet important lesson.
I told her that she knew she needed to finish her homework last night, but she chose to play instead. I told her I was sorry it was hard and I knew it was frustrating, but next time she would need to remember this and choose differently.
She cried about how she would miss both recesses.
I told her I was sorry, but she still needed to get to school and if she missed a few recesses, she'd be okay.
She cried and cried and the kids left and I felt really bad.
I told Brandon that I wanted to let her finish and drive her, but I knew she needed to learn to manage her time better --even when it wasn't really her fault.
He agreed with me; tough lessons are sometimes needed.
And golly --it's not like we sent her to school naked or anything. This lesson was an easy and harmless one. A simple and natural consequence to a simple and natural dilemma.

But now I get it. I wanted to coddle and fix. I can see why that is so lucrative and tempting. I'm just glad I didn't do it...this time. I'm sure there will be times when stepping in is good and appropriate. I just hope I'll know the difference...


Annette Lyon said...

I love those light bulb moments, even when they're hard to learn from--and neither of these are easy ones, but they're big.

FluffyChicky said...

It is so hard not to try and fix everything that goes wrong for your kids! I think most of the time, the punishment the kid has to deal with is harder on the parents...because we feel guilty for not stopping our kids pain when we could have and...wait...I lost my train of thought. Damn.

Uh, being a parent sometimes sucks.


I'm gonna go now.

Alison Wonderland said...

I think you may have sent your breakdown my way (and aunt flo's not even here).

Good for you for sticking to your guns. One day she'll be glad you did.

Anonymous said...

Lurker, delurking for a moment...
Just something to look into, since you are noticing a pattern to your EB coinciding with your cycle:
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). After months and months of EB with my cycle my doctor had me start tracking my emotional behavior and my cycle and wala, an answer, help and I feel so much more balanced around my cycle.