Few things are as challenging as disciplining your child. Fortunately, Grace is at an age that requires very little discipline, but isn't completely free of it either. Every couple of days, G does something that is significantly more dangerous than her average toddlerific mischief. The are a gaggle of doctors who suggest redirection and limitations and a few who suggest a firm tone and a solid scolding. With so many different opinions out there, how is a Mom to know which is right?
One of Grace's favorite perilous pass times involves electric sockets. I suspect that sometime in the past few months, G watched me plug or unplug something, and thus became utterly fascinated with the act. This is obviously unacceptable, for a number of reasons. With socket plugs in place and cords tucked away, this curious little creature of mine still finds her way to them.
So today, after a handful of tantrums, a macaroni and cheese explosion, and a mid afternoon bath, Grace went for it. After grabbing firmly onto the cable box's cord and exchanging that diabolical "I know I'm doing something I shouldn't be doing" look, Mom lost it.
I scolded Grace, much louder than I wish I had, and stormed right over to the scene of the crime. I shouted "NO!" a couple of times and then swooped her up and took her directly to her crib. Grace screamed and started banging her head against the mattress (she does this when she's pissed off now - charming right?), and I excused myself to the bathroom for a 3 o'clock weep session.
I kept thinking about how horrible Grace must have felt when I yelled at her, and how little she actually understands of the consequences to her actions. And after a couple more minutes of self depreciating thoughts, I dragged myself back to the bedroom and found this.
Finding my little girl peacefully snoozing, with those pouty little lips and an ever so soft sleepy whimper, pushed me right over the edge. As I shut her bedroom door, I wanted to punch myself in the FACE. As though disciplining her wasn't sucky enough, she feel asleep before I could even make it better with cuddles, kisses, and possibly a little chocolate.
The remainder of the afternoon was tearful and filled with regret. Horrible, horrible, horrible. The only thing that kept my mind off what an epic failure I was as a parent was packing for our impending move this weekend. As if God knew I needed a pick me up, I found these!!
These are the advice cards we collected at my baby shower! I had read through them briefly after the shower, but hadn't paid them much mind. Turns out, upon having said child, these little guys come in handy!! Some were hilarious (thanks Cassie) and others were wise, and some seemed to touch on exactly what I was feeling. Those cards came from mothers; women who'd been in exactly the same position as I was.
After reading through these cards I felt a lot better, and by the time Grace woke up from her nap, it appeared that she'd moved on too. Perhaps I shouted too loud or I could have just "redirected" (as dr.spock advises), but I'm only human and I can and will make mistakes. I forced myself to remember that situations like this are normal and will surely arise again. And if forced to choose, electrocution or scolding, I know which way I'll shoot.