Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sometimes they say no, we say yes, and then there is compromise.

I never ever imagined I would compromise with a 5 year old. Really, she does not know better, she has not been to school, although she swears she can doctor me because she graduated from Explorer Preschool. I mean really, why should I compromise with her; let her negotiate with me? I am the parent! Yes I am the parent and 'mother knows best'. It is my way or the high way. What other nonsensical statement can I make to support my sense of absolute authority? It drives me crazy, regardless if I agree or disagree. Actually I feel crazy because I can't do it my way. I have now decided that song is bogus! Old blue eyes was blind to the reality of today's child, or any child for that matter.

How would I have felt if my choices could have been better negotiated? Would that have left me with a voice as a young adult? I did have a voice for sure in the area of politics and social justice...and even where I would go to college. But was it a voice grounded in security, or only in the differentiation every adolescent and young adult is to go through? Was my voice grounded in rebellion, the calling of youth or simply wise understanding. I have been told by my siblings, I have always marched to my own drum beat. I have also been told by many other adults, and teachers, that Margo has her own perspective about life. Her Occupational Therapist says her perspective of physics with regards to her body is wrong. Meaning, movements are done to her rather than her doing the moving. I suppose such an understanding would explain why I had to put the street in time out, two years ago when she tripped while walking. It is very difficult to put a street in time out. I had to make the appropriate finger wagging at the street, and use a fierce and authoritative tone as I said, "ok, time out!" to the street. It worked, she was satisfied that the appropriate punishment was meted out to the street for tripping her. And yes I did this with all authority and seriousness. That was the hard part.

Will giving her a voice now; encouraging such a voice, be a benefit to Margo while she grows up? Or will it cause her difficulty because she may find it difficult to conform. Or will she become some incorrigible little spoiled brat....and its all my fault???? Yes? No? what is the truth? I think if I can do this with some sense of boundary for her, it will all work out for the best. She already has a different way of looking at life, and the physical world, because of how her brain and body work together. This different perspective will affect how she moves through life in social settings and friendships. She observes groups and situations before she jumps in and participates. Right now she is comfortable with this type of action. She plays with the girls and the boys too. She loves her best friends Aria and Lilly...and I think a few more from school are developing along those same lines.

What are the boundaries I set? She reaps the consequence of not receiving a gift because upon its presentation she said she did not like it and did not want it. So I gave it to her daddy. That was at valentines, today, 8 months later, she now wants the puzzle to belong to her. But I stood firm, even in the midst of her complaining and whining. I explained, next time she can say, "thank you for thinking of me," set the gift aside, and decide later in private if she wants to keep the gift. "Yes Margo, the puzzle belongs to daddy, but he likes to share it with you." Of course there is still more discussion on her part requesting ownership of the puzzle, but, it is too late little one. And she will wrestle with this and eventually understand a lesson in learning graciousness. Margo still has a voice, its just she must learn the consequence of a quick voice.

I so wanted her to join the swim team this month...but she felt she was not ready. Margo said perhaps when I am 6 or 7 years old I will be old enough to join the swim team. I know, she is just very anxious to follow directions from a coach standing outside the pool giving directions. After much listening, to all the pieces of her complaints in choosing not to join the swim team, we have created a compromise. She will take swim lessons on Tuesday and Wednesday to garner more confidence. She will also do 10 sit ups and 10 push ups every day to help her core gain strength. I am hoping this will be enough for her physical development. Me, I will struggle for a while because I did not get my way, and see her get fit through swimming on the team. Yes that was important, but perhaps the compromise will work, and then I can allow her anxious heart to slow down and gain confidence in her abilities.

To be honest I find it a lot of hard work to negotiate and compromise and listen to her needs. But I am gambling, in the long run, it will make for a balanced little girl who will be able to take on the world as she gains in age and wisdom. So perhaps I am doing it my way???


  1. You're a better parent than I. I rarely compromise, I mean, I listen to them and encourage them to be in the decision making process but once it's made, there's little compromise! I love that you value your daughter's input.

  2. Jake also has a quick voice. I like the way you put that. That is exactly what it is. He is also learning the consequences of using that quick voice. Lately he has been very quick to appologize, trying to erase the consequence. I try to stand firm and not give it to his pleas. It's painful sometimes but he's learning.

  3. Auntie Max, one of the things i think my mom and dad did in raising me that really helped to shape me was to ask for my input and tell me things and listen to my opinion. the older i got the more they did that to the point that now, when i am out on my own i love getting lunch with my mom (admittedly it is also nice that lunch is free) because we have such good conversations and she actually listens to my opinions and advice and thoughts on things and we really communicate as equals.

    you are on the right track, i know margo will turn out great!