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Wednesday, 5 January 2011
Sir Elton wasn't kidding!

We had a rough morning~ getting ready for school is never easy, but when it starts (late) with Rowan bemoaning the fact that Puppy's dress has a hole in it due to a missing button and she can't possibly begin her day without it fixed, I know it is going to be rough.  We compromised by putting Puppy's tail through the hole.

Then Daddy pulled a fast one~ no pudding until you eat your meat (thanks Pink Floyd)~ he has pulled the perennial pudding from the lunch until Rowan begins to eat other things. Pudding is about the only thing she ever eats at school, so it has been a compromise: miserable hungry kid, or empty calories enough to get her through the day on a more even keel. He isn't wrong, but I might debate the timing.

So, on to the snowsuit. We are perilously close to bus time and the promise of going to her room after school instead of playing outside did little to hurry things up. By this point we were already in a train wreck. No one was on their best behaviour.  Rowan was crawling around with her snowpants half on whining about being unable to stand up to finish putting them on. She was trying to use Archie, the Sheltie, to pull herself to a stand. Enough was enough and I asked her to stop behaving like a twerp and get a move on.

She dissolved into a puddle of tears, demanding I apologize for behaving like a 'twert'. She was right, I should not have name called or raised my voice.  But I hit a sticky wicket we have hit before.  I don't believe in trite, unmeant apologies. I wasn't willing to apologize because I meant it and did not feel sorry.  At a snail's pace she finished dressing, and I held my tongue (very difficult, but I could hear Barbara Coloroso saying 'don't lecture!' from my shoulder). 

Again she demanded I apologize, I countered with the fact that I felt we both needed to make apologies but I wasn't ready yet. And she said she didn't know what to say.  So we kissed, hugged and agreed to think about our choices and talk about it after school.  I *hate* letting conflict ride.  But I believe there is a lesson in this for us both.

Apology needs to be genuine and accompanied by, if not forgiveness, a softened heart, willing to move forward towards forgiving.  It makes me crazy when we demand apologies from our kids that they don't understand or feel, so they toss out a breezy and petulant "sorry" and move on with nothing resolved. 

I am torn between chagrin at battling with my 5 year old and stubbornness about the importance of real apology. I am torn by my need for closure of conflict and the value of working with my daughter rather than 'doing to' her. BUT I am convinced that these small moments are the teachable ones, and learning is not always (rarely!) comfortable and that we both have a lot to learn.

This parenting stuff just gets harder, doesn't it?


How the Sun Rose said...

Thanks for sharing this post and for reminding me never to offer half-hearted apologies to my children whom I love whole-heartedly.

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