Thursday, May 24, 2007

Bad Parent : Part Two

I guess when I wrote a post about cold shouldered toddlers I was doing the bloggy thing. Casting out my parenting nervousness for you-know-what.

Well, what? you ask...

You know. Forgiveness or commiseration or other maybe more general feedback. You guys gave me all that and I thank you for it.

The more I think about what I posted, and what happened, the more I do think I knew what I was doing was wrong. Not the nuance of forcing hugs so much, as seemed to be the emphasis of that spun off the post. But rather that in the face of my daughter's tears I looked to others to provide remedy. What I failed to convey it seems in what I said was how much my girl's crying shocked me. I mean these two kids spurn each other over things all the time. They are, after all, two going on three it is just normal for their age. But this time she was an injured party. Add to this my guilt that I have failed to arrange enough playdates for her since she left daycare a couple months back and I am a wreck over this subject.

This first experience of my daughter feeling pain for 'social' reasons was a hard one. Rejection seems a solemn milestone to me. A road lies ahead mired in my own fears. I think of all things parenting it is the getting along that intimidates me the most. Count me one quick to say 'Oh, physical needs those are no biggie. It's the emotional needs that scare the crap out of me.' How can I help her? Where does our responsibility end and her character take over? It all sort of seems like a level of social engineering that -- to be blunt -- pisses me off. Life can't really expect me to do that. I can't make people get along.

P-man and I are blessed with some really tremendous friends. We are lucky in love some might say. But I count among my dear ones some not always so lucky and this makes me acutely wary. My brother, for example, suffered the wretched geek ostracism that characterised 80's North American teen culture. You know how they say, kids are cruel. I've seen it. It's true. I want so much for my kids to get along with everybody. (Though, of course, I don't.)

I hope I won't make the mistake again and fail to help my little girl, or little guy as the case may be, when someone else's choices or needs hurt them. I was wrong to look to others to smooth over her hurt. I mean that mother naturally had to put her kid first just like I was trying to do.

This is something I see as a level of mothering maturity that I still need to achieve. Time to stop idealising the relationship of humanity to my precious, gorgeous, dear, clever and sweet offspring. Over-simply put is my row to hoe. Though, to be honest, you all pitch in on a semi-regular basis and it does help me to remain in my comfy-not-completely-jaded place. Thanks again. And, chalk that up as Inclusion 1, Exclusion Nil, for blogging will ya Ginga?

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Blogger Crunchy Carpets said...

thanks and your welcome...
I think with parenting is we are so filled with our own emotional baggage and memories of hurt feeling and so forth that any anguish our kids experience jumps up 200% in our eyes and our hearts...we feel their pain and ours.

It sadly is all about life and experience and growing up...but it is all the stuff we want to protect our kids from too.

10:56 a.m.  
Blogger Mad Hatter said...

You know, Wo, that post has been all I've thought about for days. My daughter is terrified by other kids. Her shyness is over the top. Today, we had a play date in the park with a few of the kids from my mom's group. One of the little girls--not yet 2--wanted to be Miss M's friend. Miss M painicked. "No, no, no, no" she repeated as she climbed on my lap and tried to hide in my arms. I was splintered into a handful of pieces. One piece was saying to Emily, "Miss M is feeling shy today" while I tried to play with the buckets and shovels she was trying to share. Another piece was trying to apologize with my eyes to Emily's mother who was in the Mo-Wo shoes. "I'm sorry my daughter is forcefully rejecting your beautiful, loving, and sharing child." Another piece was comforting my daughter, giving her a big hug and telling her that she could always come to Mommy when she felt overwhelmed. And the final piece was also saying, "but Emily is your friend. She just wants to play and spend time with you and (unspoken: you really need to learn how to be with other children b/c this shyness is a destructive force). By the end of the play date, both Miss M and I were so emotionally exhausted that I secretly vowed to never interact with other children again. An hour later, I got a grip. Now I am just worried about how I might better handle the situation that is sure to happen again and again...

Whew. Talk about blather. All this is to say, thank you for that last post and this one. They have really helped me work through some heavy issues in my own family life.

6:34 p.m.  
Blogger mo-wo said...

Two smart lady comments there CC and Mad.

Mad -- I know what you mean. But differently. In our case this is a friend of Miss Fancy's who shunned her. They have shared a daycare for over a year and know each other from the neighbourhood. In our case I saw my daughter cry for the first time after being out of daycare for 2 months and away from her "friends".. I interpret it as a sort of lonely lament. But is it?

I often think of some advice I got from Mary P. last year that playmates don't function the same way as friends.

Still, when a long-time playmates refusal of affection that was met with my girl's cry instead of the yelling more typical of these two... I think maybe I am seeing the emergence of perceptions of friendship in my girl.

Is it a mirage?

You and I both looking for 'friendliness' to turn on like a tap.

I know what you mean. And, I'm sure they will all get to it in good time.

10:01 p.m.  
Blogger NotSoSage said...


I just posted a HUGE comment and Explorer cut out on me.

To summarize:

a) Yay, bloggy world for helping us all get/share advice with experienced, understanding people without having to deal with the inevitable baggage of pre-existing relationships, resistance to being talked down to by "experts".

b) I've learned from these two posts, too because while Mme L is affectionate and friendly, there are times when that affection is not as easily bestowed and this introspection of yours has made me realise that I need to support her in that.

2:04 p.m.  
Blogger Mad Hatter said...

Thanks, Mo-Wo. It's interesting but your post and Jen's this week came at such a fortuitious time. Each of our experiences comes from different places along that toddler socialization continuum yet each speaks to the diffifulty we have as parents when we are unable to intervene and set the social situation to rights.

5:30 p.m.  
Blogger Her Bad Mother said...

Gah, just lost a loooong comment.

The gist of which is this: our own girl is tremendously social. Wants to engage with everyone. EVERYONE - children, dogs, cats, birds, adults. And my heart rejoices for her, because I was not like this. But invariably, every day, there's the smack of reality. Someone doesn't respond - sometimes it's another child, often it's the birds or squirrels, butmost usually it's the grown-ups. She waves, they rebuff. She hoots hello, they avert their gaze. She smiles, they glare. And I think - is it inevitable that cold hearts will put a chill on her own? Will she grow to expect the absence of smiles, of waves, of hellos? Will it be better for her heart to NOT expect those things?

10:31 a.m.  
Blogger kittenpie said...

It's true, I imagine you feel the cutting words and glances even more keenly than your child does for knowing it will matter more and more and that kids are cruel beasties. I can only hope that Pumpkinpie comes out okay - not bullied like her father, not a queen bee fighting the backbiting as my sister did, but somewhere in the middle, sort of content, at least.

9:38 p.m.  

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