Yesterday was all about family! I was sad that it was the first anniversary of my beloved Aunt Frannie’s death, so Kim and Kendal came over for dinner and ice cream.
After ice cream we wanted Kendal to try on her bright orange NASA jumpsuit that Tim purchased for her last week. I put adorable photos and a video of Kendal running, jumping and squealing in delight as an astronaut. BUT that’s not how the story began….
Kendal took one look at the jumpsuit after we asked her to try it on and proclaimed a very loud “NO!!!” “I don’t like it!”
Kim said “let’s just try it on for Pappy”…. “Ok” Kendal said in a very soft voice clearly not wanting to comply. As soon as the jumpsuit was on she burst into tears and once again started to say “NO, I don’t like it!” and began pulling at the zipper to take it off.
Kim then calmly said “Kendal, let’s have a talk”. So Kendal calmly walked over to her mom and listened to everything she had to say. Kim explained that Pappy had purchased the jumpsuit just for her as a special gift and that she needed to thank him for it. “Ok” Kendal agreed. Still not happy, Kendal thanked Tim but then quickly tried to take it off again.
Tim asked “Don’t you want to fly like an astronaut?”… Not knowing what an astronaut was, Kendal responded with a loud “NO” and more tears.
Kim called Kendal over for the next round of talks and began to explain what an astronaut was and how they use rocketships to fly to the moon. “Oh” Kendal said. Kim explained that she could be an astronaut one day, and that right now they could “practice flying to the moon!” “Wanna try?” Kim asked… Kendal looked much more intrigued now… And the tears stopped. “Ok, I wanna try” Kendal replied. It’s a phrase she uses often when she is going to do something for the first time.
So Kim picked Kendal up, told her to put her arms out like she was flying and began running through the living room with her. Kendal’s tears had suddenly turned to squeals of joy. “Again, Mommy!” Kendal implored and they “flew” over and over.
Then more instructions from Kim. She explained the countdown and the blast off of the rocket. Kendal was now out of her Mom’s arms and down on the ground ready to fly by herself!! Kim yelled “off to the moon” and Kendal repeated it. When the countdown reached one, they’d both run like mad through the house on their trip to the moon. At the end of the flight Kendal would jump from the floor and leap into Tim’s arms ….. Making Tim her co-pilot and a Very happy Pappy!!!!
Tim and I were both astounded at how calmly Kim talk with Kendal. She was down on the floor with Kendal, looking into her eyes and giving just the right explanations of astronauts and space. She encouraged her child to “go to the moon” a far off place she wasn’t familiar with, but a place her mom convinced her she could reach. There was no yelling or ordering Kendal to do something “because I said so”, just a calm and confident presentation of how far you can go if you just try.
I felt like we all went to the moon last night thanks to Kim. When Kendal was crying, I even suggested that we take the jumpsuit back and not force her to wear something she seemed to dislike intensely. But Kim said “no, let’s wait, I’ll talk her through it.” And that she did!! I remembered right then how many times I’ve had to “convince” my Mom to do things she had lots of anxiety about just with a few calm
words. But in those cases, it was something Mom HAD to do for appointments or her own safety. In the case of Kendal’s jumpsuit, I didn’t think it was important enough to have Kendal in tears. But Kim did, given that Pappy had purchased it in his favorite color in the hope that Kendal would love it.
Lesson learned for all of us in this story is sometimes it’s all about how you present it!! Being calm, comforting and encouraging sure beats yelling and demanding. I learned that even 2 1/2 year olds can listen well if you just use the right words! Our daughter is one fabulous mother and we are so proud of her! Thanks Kim!!
A lovely, lovely story, Loretta, of parent (and patient!) love. Kim, this was and is an amazing example of care and understanding. I’m given to reflect – I wonder how many conversations/confrontations between and among adults might fare better toward reaching the goal of understanding (if not always agreement) were we to speak with the calm civility Kim demonstrated, indeed, embodied. Thanks, Loretta, for sharing!
Glad you liked the story Paul, it was soooo cool to watch!! You would have loved seeing your little astronaut in person!! A true parent / patient love story!
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!! I am ABSOULUTELY loving this time in my life with her (of course I love every time – LOL). We are able to (somewhat) talk through things and she generally complies. Uuuunless it’s veggies, then it’s “nooooooooooo” and a look like ‘are you crazy lady?!’. Thank GOD she’s so agreeagle and willing to try things she is scared to do at first. I have found that in being ok with her NO, she often later says ‘I want to tryyyyy’ In those moments, unless truly the opportunity is gone, I always go back to whatever it was and allow her to try. I want her to know that I support her decision and allow her to process things in a manner that suits her best. Even if she doesn’t go for it, I remind myself that as articulate, beautiful and decisive as she is, she is still only 2 1/2 – LOL. It is important she knows she has choices and the decision making process I have learned, begins at a very early age. BUT she must also learn to acknowledge and respect things that are given to her. I ain’t raisin no BRAT!!!!!! So she must still acknowledge it and appreciate the person and thought that was involved. Seemingly grown-up concepts for a toddler, but they are capable of more than we allow.
Her Montessori education is great for me as well!!! I learn sooooooo much from watching Kendal’s actions and considering the philosophies Maria Montessori has presented. I am able to (mostly) calmy consider her demeanor in respect to her reactions and respond accordingly; However, in the instances that she does NOT want to comply with instructions like “please don’t touch or do that”, she again is given choices……escalated choices….’do we need to talk?’, ‘Do you need time out’ and finally ‘You’re going to get a spanking!’. She usually complies by then and if not…….oh well – LOL. Again….I ain’t rasin no BRAT!!!!
When I remenicse (sp), on my own child (errrrrr and adult hood), I have never been forced to do anything I didn’t want to do. Oh….wait….there WAS that time in Clearwater Fl when my Dad and the waterslide attendant BOTH pushed my down the THREE story waterslide! But I digress – LOL.
Patience begets Patience and GREAT parents creates other great parents. One of a child’s most important goals in life is to have their parents approval and pride. I am VERKLEMPT!!! I am glad that out of alllllll the things I have gotten so wrong, I’m so Thankful that parenting is going well. I KNOW that it may not always be this joyful, but I’ll take all the awesomeness I can get now!
Amen!!!! True love for sure that you have for your Kendal!!! And you digressed in your story just like Paul does!! LOL! But for the record that was a REALLY scary slide!!
Keep doing what you’re doing!! We are indeed as proud as we can be!! And who knew that patience begets patience and great parents create other great parents!! I know we enjoy every single moment with her!!! So Thank You!!!
Great attitude along with much patience – not always easy to do./
Carole, you are sooooo right! Attitude and patience can be in short supply as a parent. But Kim sure has a lot of both!!