Friday, April 19, 2013

Does it Matter?

Will the No Monster come today?
I have started to hear the word "no" coming out of my mouth a lot.  "No, you can't pour the juice yourself.  No, you can't jump on the couch.  No, we are not going swimming today."  I am becoming a no monster.  I hear myself say it and I cringe, mostly because I know what will come next.  The great inquisition.

"Why can't I pour my own juice?  You told me that I'm really good at pouring," my oldest replies.

"You are good at pouring but we are leaving right now and I'd like to get this done quickly," I tell him.

"Why do we need to do it quickly?" he asks, trying to figure out the best angle for his argument.

"Because it's rude to be late so I'll just go ahead and pour it," I say as I start lifting the edge of the juice bottle.

"Mommy!!!  I said wanted to pour it!" he cries out, as if I have just put his favorite toy in the garbage disposal.

Been there?  I figured so.  I talked to my mom about it because, honestly, after he asks me why, I don't really have a good reason.  I just said I was going to do it and so I dig my heels in and try to stay consistent. "That's dumb," she told me with love in her voice.  "What's the big deal about telling him you realize he has a good argument?  Wouldn't you rather he was the kind of man who listened to all sides before making a decision?" she asked.

Uh, yes.  Yes I would.  She went on to tell me that consistency matters with discipline, not with a trivial matter like pouring juice.  She recommended that when I start to feel like there are two four year olds in the room, I should probably back off.  The woman has a point.

So, as I hear the word "no" coming to my lips, I stop and ask myself, "Does it really matter?"  If it doesn't, I drop it.  If it does, I tell him I would rather he didn't do XYZ but I'd like to hear why it is important to him.  I have started telling him that I appreciate his side and need some time to think about it (especially if it's a big thing that I really don't want to do) then come back to him with my decision.  I really and truly do want him to be heard.  But I also want him to remember that my husband and I have the final say.  That's what my mom always did for me and it's the least I can do for him.

How do you prevent yourself from becoming a "no" monster?  What things really do matter to you?  Timeliness, cleanliness, kindness, etc?

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