As per my last post I decided to try some new things.
First, last night I played with Little Moon after her bath until she held up her hand and said “5 more minutes.” I hadn’t said anything about going to bed. Amused I said “OK,” and smiled. I didn’t pay attention to the time and she played for a bit longer. Right around 9pm she ran into the bedroom, lay in bed and said “night night,”. She decided when to sleep. I told her a story and she drifted off peacefully.
Today we were watching Sesame Street and her dad said “OK, better go sleepy soon…” I said, “I’m trying for more natural transitions. This is almost done.” He understood and Moon and I watched for a few more minutes. She lost interest before the end of the episode and hopped down to get into her dad’s papers, which he didn’t like. I distracted her with a bag full of audio connectors (stereo mini plugs and RCA cables, etc) which we both happily sat and played with for a few minutes. She was quite absorbed in finding which connectors fit together.
After that I decided not to give any instructions or orders. I said “I’m tired. I’m going to go lay down and rest. You can come have milkies whenever you’re ready.”
She followed me into the bed immediately and nursed right to sleep. She made the decision that she was ready for her nap.
Now I haven’t figured out how to be so relaxed when I have to catch a bus with her, and I need her to get dressed, and she wants to take her time. She has a way of saying, “put aside the agenda and reconnect with me right now!” It’s called “milkies.” I rarely refuse milkies and she knows if I fall out of touch and start making impatient demands, she can bring it all to a stop by asking for boob. It’s quite ingenious. It soothes her and grounds me in the moment. Not much you can do with a toddler latched on to your breast. Sometimes I have to wait an extra 30 minutes for the next bus. And even so, I still get anxious and push her to hurry. I need to figure out how to calm myself down to make things go more smoothly and not generate stress. The harder I push the more it’s like walking through wet cement. My goal is not to bend my daughter to my will or, god forbid, break her independent spirit. My goal is to find the “win-win” way. To stay tuned in and connected to her while still getting groceries so we can eat that night. Force is a short cut that makes everyone miserable and exhausted – and thereby not a short cut at all.
In general, the laid back attitude is working out well so far! I’m learning, little by little.
Now if I could only be as easy-going with my husband. I find myself trying to give him parenting advice and instructions. Of course this is just annoying and doesn’t foster good will. I need to do what I think will work and allow him to figure out what works for him. All the while I can discuss what I’m learning without expecting him to behave just like I do. His relationship with our daughter is theirs to negotiate, not mine. I need to extend these new unschooling ideas to my marital relationship, and I may find that struggle is not a daily occurrence in our household.
Does your inner control freak ever come out with your kid(s)?