Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Taking myself too seriously

As usual, my child taught me a lesson while I was trying to teach one to her. It just took me a few days to figure that out.

We went to a park on Monday afternoon with other moms and their kids. It is a park that has a play-scape and sand on one side, and about 50 yards away, some bars and balance beams for strength training (for adults). Of course, the kids never want to play in the kid part, they want to go over to the other side and walk on the balance beams, climb the bars, etc.

I was talking with the other moms, holding Max, over on the playground side, there were a couple of their boys playing on the strength training side. Charlotte wanted to go over there with them, so I said she could, but to please not climb the bars too high. She promised she wouldn't.

A few minutes later, I see one of the boys climb up a little hill, drop his pants and start to pee on a tree. I thought to myself, "awesome, Charlotte's watching him do that and she is going to want to pee by a tree too." But, I was too far away to really do anything about it before it started to happen. Sure enough, she marched up the same little hill, dropped her pants, and just stood there peeing. I guess she thought hers would squirt out in front of her too, but as we all know, that's not the case. It just dribbled down her legs.

I handed Max to a friend and ran across the park to see if she had really gone and how bad it was. She was just standing there, kinda surprised at her little experiment, soaked from the waist down. I told her it was time to go, I didn't have a change of clothes for her. She screamed, "But I want to CLIMB." I said, "fine, you can go climb, but you have to do it in wet pants." She did not want wet pants on and tried to take them off. I told her that she could not run around the park naked from the waist down. Not only was it not very polite, but it was a little chilly. She didn't like this and started a tantrum. I tried to get her to pull her pants up and go climb, but she refused. After a few minutes of this, I picked her up kicking and screaming, and put her in the car.

Luckily, my friend holding Max saw all of this go down, as did everyone else at the park, and put Max in his carseat and started walking him to the car. I got him in the car then attempted to wrangle Charlotte into her seat - no easy task. Finally we were all in. Once again, a tantrum in public in front of lots of other moms - one of which was there to witness the "after school tantrum".

For some reason, this episode has stuck in my mind for the last couple of days. What could I have done differently? I heard the Indigo Girls song this morning, "Closer to Fine". You know that part:

"The best thing you've ever done for me
Is to help me take my life less seriously, it's only life after all"

It dawned on me. Why do I take it so seriously? It's just a 3 year old girl wanting to pee like boys. Why didn't I just stay over on my side of the park and let her figure out what to do herself? Why didn't I just laugh it off with her - that she was such a silly girl to try to pee pee like the boys? Why am I so quick to discipline and take charge rather than try to find the fun in the silly things she does.

I want to have more fun with my kids. I want to find more joy in the day to day, rather than it feeling like a burden. Judd said to me as he left for work one day this week, "Just enjoy your kids today." I want one of the best things they do for me is to take my life less seriously. I'm sure there is a balance, I can't let them run around like hooligans peeing on trees all of the time, but there are situations I can handle better. All I can do is try to find more silliness in the day to day.


*Jess* said...

I have 3 older brothers and I have to tell you that I tried the same thing when I was little! :)

Drena said...

Love this post.

Don't beat yourself up on the past. Looks like you have a great attitude for next time. ;)

Emily said...

I'm telling you Carrie, she absolutely cracks me up. Just look at Katie if you want an example of a carefree kid who doesn't care about being one bit serious. She crabwalked across a middleschool stage in red sparkley antenaes singing "Under the Sea" and loved every minute of it. Charlotte is so much fun and you do a great job.

Carrie Beth said...

Don't be too hard on yourself! I feel like I'm constantly reminding myself the same thing (to just enjoy the kids). However, I would have handled that situation at the park the exact same way.

Sarah said...

I am probably the same way with Kathryn, and have learned to handle things differently with my younger children. Unfortunately, the first-born is our "practice" for a lot of things! But they survive and so do we. You are a great mom!