Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Three is a Magic Number

Veggie Tales are on the TV, the nearly three-month-old is sleeping on me, and the nearly three-year old has leaned against me, pinched "the squishy part" of my arm (her favorite comfort method) and has fallen asleep.

In only training pants. Couch, brace yourself.

As the water system is on the blink (is inundating my house with major iron and manganese) I am exempt from any type of cleaning involving water. By my own command. Thus sayeth the Clara. So I'll start another rambling series on my blog.

Three is truly "The Crucible" when it comes to ages and stages that children go through. A taller and more potty-adept version revisits around age 13, but it's really just the same thing. Three year olds wake up in the morning with the thought: "What shall I conquer today? And how shall I mete out the torture when I hit an obstacle?" And this is where parents can either help or harm: it's time to either jump right into the pool and help sort this out into appropriate manifestations, or to punitively squash and shame and ridicule. Being an "appropriate manifestations" fan myself, we're steering towards that direction.

It's easy to look down at your sleeping newborn, and your adorable, new-to-sitting 6 month old, and your freshly toddling one year old and say, "I will never harm you." Three is the age where the adults are sorted out from random infantile morons who happen to procreate. Strong words, yes, but adulthood is truly a state of being in control of one's own actions. Children have to learn this (hence the term"childish." If a child can't behave in a childish manner, when exactly can they? Post adolescence? By pop media accounts, one might actually be persuaded of that.)

So what, then? Should we allow threes to "rule the house?" To dictate every move we make? Somehow that seems to be the default option that most people like to leap to, when they discover that we fully plan on using gentle discipline methods with our children- no punitive, shaming, arbitrary,"take that you little brat," juvenile nonsense around here. It certainly would feel pretty satisfying to land a smack on my child when she's pushing all of my buttons at once, but what exactly would that teach her?

Adults who really do want to guide and teach and model grace and methods of amending mistakes, to the right. Those of you who are retributive, vindictive, and do not own your emotions and have no desire to do so, you have a seat over there. Everyone in between, who want to do the right thing but finds themselves caught up in how they were parented, perhaps it is time to examine how we were parented and "re-parent" ourselves. Especially those of us whose childhoods were "black and blue and red all over," mindfully owning our emotions will be one of the very best tools in our bag of parenting tricks. Our kids, wonderful and wild, loud and clumsy, loving and greeting each new day as exactly that- a chance for a fresh new beginning, deserve exactly that.

Here we go...

1 comment:

David Deangelo said...

I think for you this proves be a three as a lucky number. This can be easily determined by your article.