I read in a book once the line that goes something like this:
Kids behave this well because you pour hours of work into it.... and it can be undone in a matter of minutes.
That is so true. I've noticed a phenomenon since being in this stage of our parenthood journey:
People think kids come this way.
Bam-Bam says: "I play with that, please," instead of "I want that." He's looking at me as he says it, and I smile at him, because he did it right, and I mention to someone, "We've been working on saying 'please'."
What does she respond? "Oh. Well, he was doing it really well the other day."
Apparently this person doesn't realize that we have been working on that for weeks. Weeks, I tell you! And he wasn't doing it the other day. He's been getting corrected for weeks for demanding, "I want!"
He's saying "please" now, because we've been working on it.
Can I explain that to the therapist? No, not really. But I can tell you. He's only saying "please" because we've been working on it. Kids don't come saying "please". At least these didn't. Maybe yours were different.
"Wow, these kids are sitting so quietly. You must enjoy that they already know how to do that."
Well, yes, I am enjoying it.... now. They didn't used to sit quietly. We worked on it. A lot.
"Joey, can you tell your mommy what you did?? He wrote a J! I'm so surprised... I just showed him a few minutes ago, and then I looked back, and he'd done it himself, and he did it again four times!"
She doesn't know that I worked with him on that.
I don't want to sound prideful. I really don't. This feeling I'm having now makes me really sorry for all the times I know I did the exact same thing to Ivy over Will-- thinking I taught him something, when really she must have worked hours on it. I think the only thing I taught Will was bouncing. Yes, I know. She probably wished I hadn't. :)
I am enjoying every single minute of teaching our boys these things. And it does take constant work. I have to be on the ball every minute of every day.
Yesterday Joey got mad at Bam-Bam, and whined, and scattered the game he was playing all over with his hands. I was exhausted, but I still got up, went in there and made sure he didn't do that again any time soon.
These kids have to be taught everything. They don't know how to play nicely. They don't know how to say please. They don't know how to sit in church. They don't know how not to go up to a lady and look in her shirt. They don't know how get a drink of water without spilling it everywhere. They don't know how to hold a spoon. Well.... they do now. At least the spoon part.
They don't know that when you get them out of the bathtub they can't jump around like wild men. They don't understand that if you hop on one foot in the bath tub you are going to fall down.
They had to learn how they can't touch everything under the sun in the house. They had to learn how to say, "Yes, Mommy," instead of "KAY!!!!!!!"
I am not saying I want appreciation as a mother. Indeed no. I get my appreciation all day, and it comes in the form of seeing my sweet boys under our roof, at our table, in our arms, and in our hearts. It comes in hugging them, and in the deep seated satisfaction that God has given us a blessing after years of saying WAIT.
I am saying that I am determined to give other mothers more appreciation for what they do instead of assuming that their kid came that way, because boy, have they worked hard to accomplish that "Please".