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attitude management

the boys in the stroller

stroller buddies

This is right before Harvey said, "I like you, Mama. I like it when you give me cheerios and juice and when we walk. Everything!"

As I mentioned on Sunday I am starting an experiment in being nice to my children. Getting them things before they ask. Playing at their games until they're ready to be done. Setting fewer expectations on other areas of my life.

This does not really match up with what I believe. I believe that God appointed me Harvey's mother to teach Harvey to act appropriately. And while we're at it, I deserve cheerful obedience. What I believe isn't really working out, is the problem.

I am trying to look at things from Harvey's point of view. He's really trapped. He knows what he wants at any given moment, but there's not much he can do about it. He can't get juice for himself, he can't get down the stairs by himself, he can't deal with the poop under his butt by himself (not that he ever wants to.) I try to get him to use the potty, to look around for his juice cup (for heaven sakes, it's RIGHT NEXT TO YOUR FOOT!). I try to get him to crawl up the stairs, Lord knows I'm tired of carrying them both up and down the stairs twenty times a day, but he just cries "I'm scared" and looks at me like I'm a Nazi.

It's hard not to become angry in all of this. From Harvey's point of view, there is no framework for "It's five o'clock in the morning and I was up nursing the baby every single hour last night." From his point of view all he hears is: "Blah blah blah, I'm not getting you juice because I'm a nazi."

I think that when I'm nicer to him he's a little bit nicer to live with. It doesn't seem to be helping with my feelings of anger (obviously) but it probably stops me from expressing them so much.

I am working on determining my anger triggers, because theoretically if I figure out exactly what makes me angry I won't get angry so much? I know, it sounds like bunk to me too, but we proceed for the good of the children. I think if there's one thought that makes me angrier than all others it's "You're hurting me." I have a headache and you're yelling — you're hurting me. My back hurts and I have to carry you around — you're hurting me. You want a hug so much you're digging into my legs with your fingernails. What the hell is the matter with you? I just read you a story on my lap and then carried you around in the Ergo! Is there every any limit? Do I EVER get a moment to not be in pain?

Okay, you get it. I just managed to fly into a completely imaginary rage. I guess this is a real sticking point for me.

There are a few people in the bible who managed to love people while being hurt by them. I think it was because they were men. Still, it'd be a lie to say that women deserve to suffer every moment just because they're responsible for children. God said, "I will greatly increase your pains in childbirth," but childbirth is short and finite. He didn't also add, "and every time you pour juice it's gonna hurt your back like a mofo because you absolutely MUST buy the big glass gallon that's impossible to lift while you're holding a baby."

Unfortunately, my game plans for "be less in pain" and "be okay with being in pain" go in different directions...

If you'd like to weigh in on this issue, I'd love to hear the comments. Remember we just changed our commenting process to keep away all the "underage lolitas" who were spamming up our comments with unnecessary redundancy. Now if you want to post a comment you must put in a name AND an email address. It needn't be a real email address, it's just that after Dan approves your comment the first time you'll always be able to comment with that name and email in the future without it going to approval first. Does that make sense? If not, well, don't post a comment and if we get no comments for a few weeks we'll just have to change things up again.

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