I had one of those amazing parenting moments this afternoon. When we finished our reading, I decided it would be a fun idea to end the week by playing Wii Sports for PE for the day. Isn't that a great idea? What kid wouldn't love a chance to play the Wii under the guise of education?
So it all started out perfectly for about one minute, when Duncan and Laurel starting bickering about what mode to play in. Good grief! Within five minutes, exasperation erupted on all parts. Duncan ran to his room, sobbing, and because this is what moms do best, I instructed both of them that if they couldn't play the Wii nicely, then they should clean their rooms!
I may have shouted, or at least spoken forcefully. I went off to do laundry, thinking about how ungrateful these children are. And then I heard Duncan talking aloud in his room, as if he were having a conversation. I eavesdropped outside his door as he was saying,
"She hasn't been nice to me all day! And only me! She is nice to everyone but not to me!"
I wasn't sure whom he was speaking about at this point, me or his sister. But eventually I heard:
"My mom! I am talking about my mom and she has not been nice to me all day! She doesn't have anything nice to say to me!"
"My mom is being a…a… a JERK! She is being a JERK!" (but it's more like "juk" because he doesn't say his "Rs" quite right yet).
And here's the part that really got me:
"She always says to me 'speak kindly' but SHE isn't speaking kindly to me!"
Ouch. Well, "ouch" tempered with a little bit of amusement (just a little bit) and a little bit of "Hey! Yes I was nice to you today!" Another more detached part of me was thinking how interesting it was to see him being so dramatic and that neither of my other kids ever had loud conversations with themselves. And still another part of me thought, "This doesn't sound like him. Where did he pick up this kind of drama." And jerk? I can't think of us ever using that word. I'm always amazed at how their personalities can show surprising characteristics.
But anyway. Mostly I felt chastened because he was right in one level: I wasn't being kind to him. And so after a few minutes, I went in to him and crawled next to him on his bottom bunk. He moved as far against the wall as he possibly could to avoid touching me. We prayed, I apologized, we hugged, and he smiled. This evening we spent a couple of sweet hours together, just the two of us, playing games and reading. I asked him if I was still a jerk. He said, "No, Mama! You are NOT a jerk!"
Phew. Being a parent is a never-ending learning experience.
Anyone else had a bad parenting moment this week?