Thursday, May 13, 2010
A Little Pride Isn't Always Bad
There are lots of proud moments in parenting. I have felt proud when my kids learned to speak, when they learned how to walk, all of the typical moments when a parents chest swells with the feeling of “my child is smart, my child can learn, my child is good.” I know that all you parents know what I am talking about, and maybe you feel like me, that you don’t know why those things make you feel proud.
Sure, my kids learned some things from my direction and coaching, but, honestly, I think they would have learned them regardless – that’s just how people develop. They learn to walk. They learn to talk. It’s just part of growing, but for some reason it makes us parents proud.
Some of my prouder parenting moments have happened recently though. I especially feel proud of Tryn when she is being extra kind or gentle to other kids, particularly her little sister. I am glad that she is turning out to be such a good kid with a kind heart. I love it when both my kids love to help out with chores and things, when they like to ask me, “Mom, can I do you any more favors?” It makes my heart proud to be the mother of such nice little helpers. I hope they keep these traits as they grow older.
However, I think my proudest moment as a mother thus far came this last week. Lately I have been feeling pretty frustrated with Tryn’s obsession with sucking on her fingers. I remember the day she started sucking those fingers, she was only about 3 months old and I was so happy that she had finally found a way to soothe herself! Up to that point she had needed to be bounced to sleep for EVERY nap or bedtime, and even then would wake up all the time and need to be put back to sleep. She wouldn’t take a pacifier at all, so the day she started sucking her fingers, and could immediately start falling asleep on her own, I almost cried I was so happy. I remember calling Steve at work and explaining the whole thing and then saying, “The bummer is that we can’t just take it away eventually, like we could with a pacifier. But at this point I don’t even care!”
Well, now is when I care.
And over the past several months I have told Tryn, “You need to stop sucking your fingers. You need to stop. Don’t do that anymore.” And it hasn’t worked.
About a week ago I tried a different tactic. I told Tryn, “Babe, you need to stop sucking your fingers because you are getting to be a big girl. Only babies suck their fingers, and big girls who want to go to school can’t suck their fingers. I don’t suck my fingers, and other older people don’t suck their fingers. It’s not good for your teeth. And when you go to school next year nobody at school will be able to suck on their fingers.”
You know what? She listened.
That’s not that part that makes me proud though, the fact that she listened. The part that makes me so very proud is her self control. We will be riding the car, prime time for normal finger suckage, as she is normally bored and doesn’t have much to do. Now she will just tell me, “Mom, I am not sucking my fingers because big girls don’t suck their fingers.” And I know that it is hard for her not to do something she has done her whole life. Her hand will be resting up near her mouth, but she won’t put her fingers in. When she goes to bed at night she will tell me how she won’t suck her fingers, and I believe her. We haven’t needed to paint her fingers with yucky tasting stuff, she hasn’t needed to wear things over her hands when she goes to bed, I have not seen her suck her fingers one time since we had that conversation last week.
She is breaking an almost four year old habit, on her first try.
And for some reason that makes me immensely proud.