December 18, 2009
It seems like the troublesome threes have been less troublesome lately. Maybe I'm just getting a little more used to heading off or dealing with the challenging moments. When my little thespian decides to show me her dramatic acting chops, I often slow her down with a few words or just take the time to hold her. When I get frustrated, I talk to other mamas who believe in peace parenting - like Stacy over at Mama-Om. Her post about finding "The Good Place" has been a real encouragement. http://mama-om.blogspot.com/2009/07/good-place.html
Then, something happened this week that reminded me my daughter is definitely still three. My husband picked her up from a class while I was at work. When I arrived home, I discovered a band-aid on her shoulder, covering a full mouthed bite. Apparently a hard core Twilight fan attended preschool with her that morning. Some creative questioning revealed that the boy who bit my daughter had tried to play with her but she hadn't - um - consented. He hadn't bitten her first, he'd bitten her BACK. Ugh. This is a first!
We spent a little time talking about it and my daughter said she'd felt hurt when the little boy bit her. But when I asked if she was sorry and ready to apologize, her little chin hit the ceiling and she regarded me coolly from the corner of her eyes "No, I am NOT." We don't force false apologies because we prefer they come from a sincere place, so I decided to address it when she'd had a chance to cool down a bit.
Later in the week, we visited a friend's house where my daughter's five year old cousin and several other kids (all boys) were playing in the yard when we arrived. She ran out happily to join them. After a few minutes, I noticed all the boys were playing in another part of the yard, but I couldn't see her. I went out to check on her and found her standing alone, looking forlorn. Apparently an older boy had told her she wasn't welcome. She was crushed. We resolved the conflict and another little boy took her under his care and they played happily till we went home.
The next morning, before she returned to her class, I asked her about this incident with her cousin and friends and how being left out had made her feel. "Sad" she answered. Then I asked how she thought the little boy who'd bitten her had felt when she would let him play with her. Looking chagrined, she said, "Sad, hurt."
Encouraged by the progress we were making, I asked, "So, now that you understand how much it hurts to be left out (and bitten), are you ready to tell that little boy you're sorry?" Once again, she employed the sly, corner of the eyes glance and said with a sweet smile, "Oh mom. I don't think he'll come to class today."
"Um, O-k." Maybe that didn't go as well as I thought.
p.s. I did notify her Royal Highness, Princess Three Year Old that in future, she may bite FOOD but that any further people biting would result in her staying home from her beloved class for at least a day. That, at least, moved her enough not to bite anyone in the near future.