When I’m running late, which is more mornings than I care to admit, I’m not as patient with Ev as I want to be. I try to be a positive reinforcement type of parent. I try to avoid telling him “no” a hundred times a day. I know it is good for his development to hear it every once and a while but with my toddler, who is constantly trying to push limits and test boundaries, it would be easy to say “no” more often than not.
But some mornings, I just can’t help it.
Recently, I was upstairs in my room getting ready when I hear Ev yell out for help because our dog has eaten his cereal. It’s one of those mornings, so I get annoyed and go downstairs. As I turn the corner to say something, Ev says “Mom, you look beautiful! You put a dress on? I like it.” Naturally, my annoyance goes away and I hug my little one and tell him how sweet he is and how nice something like that is to hear. His words made me stop whatever it was I was going to say and just help him get more cereal and think of ways to keep the food away from the dog.
The next day, Ev and I were in the kitchen. We were just about to walk out the door. I had my back to him, filling my to-go mug with coffee, when I hear a crash. I turn around and Ev has knocked the dog food bowl over (which he has done many times, intentionally).
“Why did you do that?” I asked, clear irritation in my voice.
I walk out to get our coats and when I come back Ev is on his hands and knees picking up the dog food.
“Mom, will you help me clean this up?” My irritation melts.
“Sure. Thanks, Ev, for cleaning this up. That is a good choice.”
Then Ev says, “I knocked it over accidently. I wasn’t trying to be bad.”
I think my eyes started to well up. It was the sweetest, most sincere voice. It did not even sound like he was being defensive. It was very matter-of-fact, like “Chill, mom. It was an accident and I’ll just clean it up.” I immediately felt remorseful over getting upset with him. I hate that I responded the way that I did. It makes me feel even worse that I could have hurt Ev’s feelings. I don’t think I did, but I could have.
I don’t like feeling bad and more importantly, I don’t like when my son feels bad. I know that I cannot be on point, positive and treat every moment like a learning moment experience because that is just not reality. But I do think I can try harder.
So maybe tomorrow I’ll wake up earlier.