When you're parenting preschoolers, you often feel like a broken record playing the same phrases over and over. For example....
"It's never ok to hit your sister. She is always more important than a toy."
"Please put your shoes on NOW!" (after three requests!)
"Please do not leave your shoes on the floor." (I've stopped counting)
"Girls, please put your toys down. We need to leave now or we will be late." (um, every time we need to go somewhere - no matter how early I started prepping)
"No, we're not buying a toy just because we're in a store that has them."
(Note to self - Stop being so picky all the time!)
Maybe it's just me but everything with preschoolers seems infinitely slow - like herding cats. And, I really do wonder if anything I say penetrates the space in their consciousness so fully occupied with imagination - princes and princesses, horses, Star Wars (yup, they like that too!) and Barbies.
This weekend, I got confirmation that my oldest has been listening. I felt gratified and not a little amazed.
Lately, after my youngest crashes out (no drifting for her, she runs till she falls over!), my 4 year old and I have been cuddling close - giggling and having a delightful time together. I almost feel like a kid myself staying up past bedtime with her and she clearly loves it.
So, there we were - snuggling and giggling when she asked me to tell her the story of her birth. So, I proceeded to tell her the story in detail, including the part about how it was in a hospital, it was really long (over 28 hours!) and how the doctor offered me Pitocin, a drug that stimulates labor. She interrupted me to ask, "But, mom, you didn't take the drugs did you?" After all, she is Organic Mama's daughter.
At our house, we frequently talk with our kids about how food and herbs do a lot to keep us healthy and that more focused medicines like prescrips should only be a last resort. The conversations started over food and extended to prescription drugs because my girls kept seeing CVS and Walgreens and wanted to know if they were Trader Joe's. It opened up the opportunity to talk about drugs - both prescription and non - with my kids.
So, you can imagine I was a little taken back by her question. I paused for a moment before saying, "Yes. I did sweetie."
Oh the depth of disappointment and shame (for me!) she infused into her short response! She dramatically shook her head and lay it on my arm as she said, "Oh no, Mom."
I stifled a chuckle. But inside, even as I told her that I've learned a lot since then - and finished my story, I felt the warmth of encouragement. There may be days I feel like my words are bouncing off the insides of my house, but I know that some of them are finding their way straight into my daughters minds and their hearts. I bet it's the same at your house...
(second note to self - stop being so hard on me!)
p.s. you can read my oldest's hospital birth story here...and my youngest's homebirth here.