Tuesday, September 21, 2010

No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. Maybe. No.

(image from blogs.adelaidecitycouncil.com)

My hubby and I are (hopefully) at the end of near to 2 months
of interrupted sleep (some nights)
or plain old sleep deprivation ( on the other nights)
thanks to a 3 year old
who would rather sleep on the hard, cold coir mat of the corridor
than snuggled up with her fleecy well loved hippo pillow under her Dorothy doona.

But the psychological and physical negotiations associated with that saga
are another story.

Let's just say that the midnight, 2am and 4am dramas
have been almost clockwork
and very wearing.

2 grumpy, impatient and intolerant parents.

And I am now that queen bee mummy of "no".

(image from www.2time-sys.com)

"Can I...?"

Some are well founded...

"No, you can't climb that ladder onto the roof."
"No, you can't walk to school alone."
"No, you can't both sit on top of your 3 year old sister"

Others (I should admit most) not so well founded...

"No, you can't spread your own toast."
No, you can't play in the bath for another 5 minutes"
No, you can't be banker for Junior Monopoly"
"No, you can't have vegemite on sultana toast"

And the only thing more infuriating than have a child ask "why not?"
when you have said "no" with good reason,
is having a child ask "why not?"
when there is no good reason
and being stuck for an explanation as you grapple with guilt.

"Because I said so" is one of those answers you swore you would never give your child.
But "Because I am tired and crabby" isn't really much better.
(image from 2.bp.blogspot.com)

It is now a habit.
Easy to say it without thinking.
The same way my 5 year old finds comfort in having his hands tucked in his trousers
and the way my 7 year old finds fun by sucking on his collars and bedsheets.
No thought.
Just habit.

Of all the parenting advice we have been given or have sought in the past 8 years,
the one we both most clearly remember is
"Try to say yes more often than no"

Not sure why we remember it.
Perhaps it is because it seems to be a reachable goal in the grand scheme of positive parenting.

I would hate to think that I am weilding the "no" weapon
just because I can.
As a power play.
I know someone who used to do that to her teenage son
and it was awful to see.

I just need to stop,
think about the pros and cons,
and say "yes" where possible.

I know that there are times when I need to say "no".
Like when my 7 year old wanted my email address
so that he could sign up to a chat room
(on a child's site but the answer was a firm no regardless)

But with my fatigue and intolerance,
I have lost the ability to empathise with
the feelings of my young kids.

So I need to get more sleep,
say "yes" unless it is going to result in head trauma,
something burning
or the next world war
and maybe even try vegemite on sultana toast one morning
and see what my 7 year old is on about.

(image from losingterry.com)

And I could even let him spread it.


Sally said...

Fabulous post.
We're completely sleep deprived here too... and very grumpy too.
I try to say yes as much as possible too - but there are days when it is much harder to do than it sounds... on those days I try to opt for 'maybe later'!

Clodagh a.k.a. Isra said...

Great post, I can very much relate. The cracker is then when you are so worn down you say "yeah sure" only to then 10 minutes later find your kids doing something VERY forbidden like colour the cat. But you said Yes Mummy! :-0

Tania said...

Absolutely you new Yes Mama, you. Blow 'em out of the water with vegemite on fruit toast for brekky tomorrow, spread by a wee one and eaten without aghast facial expression (good luck) at the 3mm thick vegemite flavour. You can do it lovely. You'll have serious Yes credits for the rest of the day. Nay, WEEK!

(and best of luck with that nightmare sleep thing).

Tracy said...

Fabulous Post. I'm like Sally but my saying is "we'll see" :)

The Handmaden said...

I've got to stand up for the boy - there is nothing wrong with vegemite on toast! Not my personal preference but who am I to judge?
We have a 3 year old nightime floor sleeper and door knocker also.

clare's craftroom said...

Poor thing !I hope you've had lots of sleep now , how was the toast ?