Thursday, June 10, 2010

Little Victories...

Today... is a sad day. I mean, in general it's a good day. It's my husband's birthday. I got up early and made breakfast to order with P's help. P had a great day at Summer Camp. I had a restful morning with A. We're all going out to a nice dinner tonight with my parents.


This morning I gave in and spanked P :(

It's the first time in about half a year. He's been slipping out of control more frequently since preschool let out a few weeks ago. I know spanking actually calms him, gives him a big dopamine dump and sets his nerves at ease. I know the proper procedure and used it: warning, calm demeanor, flat hand, clothed bottom, one smack, talk about it, hugs and sorries, etc.

Even so... I mean, I'm not anti-spanking. When done right I actually think it can be quite positive. And it did work wonders this morning.

But still, it's ME. Spanking. MY kid. And I mean... it just doesn't feel right, even if it helped, even if he was a million times calmer afterwards and more focused and had a great day.... And even if I'd stand behind another mom in my situation 110%.

It's just. ugh. Uuuugh. Yuck yuck. Don't like it.

Here's hoping it's a long time (or never! Never's good!) before that has to happen again...


On another note, sometimes I really need to cheer myself up. Some days I really, really feel like a crap parent. No one will ever judge or berate me like I do to myself. Why do I whine so much about my kids? Why do I raise my voice so frequently? Why didn't I seek help for P that first year? Why don't I seek more aggressive help for this, that or the other thing now? Why do I suck so much???

So sometimes I have to sit back and count my small victories. I look at my kids and I think about what I've done to help them. Not just that, but I consider what I've done that other parents might not have done. No guarantees there, of course, but can I really pat myself on the back for, say, getting my formerly malnourished son back to health through good food when just about any other family would also be feeding this kid?

And so without further ado, my "brag" list:
-I expose my boys, from an early age, to a variety of foods with varying flavors, ethnic origins, textures, heat intensities, etc.
-I've provided breast milk for Ambrose for 8 months now.
-I didn't have either of them circumcised (something I'm against though not typically vocally)
-I cloth diaper, which is better for skin as well as environment
-I maintain close physical contact with my children
-I am typically down on the floor playing with my children
-We sought help for P's behavior rather than write it off and now have a diagnosis and treatment plan.
-We meet our sons' emotional needs... and oh, do they have needs!
-We model a loving marriage where the parents are also partners.
-We give P chores.
-We respect and speak frequently about first family, culture, race and surrounding issues, feelings, emotions, problems, etc. I engage my older son in talk about such things without forcing the issue. He's now started to come to me to talk, knowing right from the start that he can openly ask questions about his Ethiopian family, his adoption, his race, others' races, genetics, how families work, even sexuality.
-We are constantly out of the house, constantly seeking entertainment and culture and education, we are social and model good behavior in public and proper ways to address others. P is now one of the most socially aware and friendly children I've ever met, shaking hands with a "nice to meet you," asking people's names and replying with "hello ____!" and engaging new people in conversations daily, if not hourly.

We are, somehow, someway, doing a good job.

Often I do feel like a horrible parents. Perhaps they would have been better off with someone older, someone with more money or better cleaning skills, someone with more education, maybe someone who'd raised children before...

But then I look at our sons...

P, with all his issues and all his anxieties and all his baggage, just running and playing and laughing and joking with us and lounging around, totally comfortable in our house, totally at ease expressing himself, totally at home with us...

A, colicky and refluxy and clingy and fussy and high needs, sleeping peacefully at the breast, snuggled up close in his side-carred crib, grinning from ear to ear constantly while up high in a sling, laughing his head off in a swing, slowly but surely sleeping better at night and letting us put him down more, back away more, feeling reassured enough that he can finally start to discover his world...

I think... I think we're doing a good job with them. I think we're actually good parents for them. Not perfect, no. We're still young and passionate and sometimes we micromanage too much and sometimes we get too upset over stupid things and sometimes we forget something basic...

But we also have two thriving sons who might very well not have been thriving had we parented any other way. And in the end, that's what matters, isn't it?


Also I saved P from drowning weekend before last, AGAIN, so I'm still patting myself on the back for that one.

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