Monday, August 19, 2013

Finally! A Breakthrough After Rock-Bottom!

Everything in life goes in cycles.  At least, that's what I keep telling myself.  After many months of relatively well-behaved children, suddenly we've had a rough couple of weeks with the kids.  For example:
  • Suddenly they are purposely trying to annoy the CRAP out of each other.  
  • I can't get my five year old daughter to go to bed at night.  She keeps coming back down, over and over with these supposed problems, just to stall her bedtime.  The other day she claimed she needed a band-aid and when I asked her where she wanted me to put it, she couldn't find the "ouchie" anymore.  Yeah, it must've been a pretty bad ouchie then.
  • Lots of whining, lots of "Mommmmmmyyyyyy!  I can't find my shooooooes!!!"
Honestly, I've been beginning to wonder why all my hard work wasn't paying off.  I really do my best to make them do things for themselves so they learn to be self-sufficient, I try to build up their self-esteem so they don't feel the need to try to get attention all the time, and I follow all the bedtime rules.  So why suddenly is everything wrong???

Then last night we finally had a break-through, and I'm telling you this so you can have hope too.  We had the attic fan on since it was a nice evening and all the doors and windows were open.  However, this meant that the doors weren't staying cracked open the way the kids like it at bedtime because the air in the house was pulling them shut.  I remember realizing this and thinking, "Uh-oh, she'll be visiting us about 10 times tonight and I'm sure that'll be one of her issues.  We'll have to figure out how to keep that door open."

But then I forgot about it and she never came down.  On my way up to bed later, I saw this when I glanced toward her room:

Now, this may not mean that much to you at first glance, but it meant the world to me.  Stupidly I even felt tears in my eyes, I'd never been so proud of my daughter and so happy that finally all my hard work was showing some results.  She obviously realized the door wasn't staying open the way she wanted, but instead of wandering down to whine to me and demanding that I fix it, she went into the guest bedroom, found a pillow, and figured out how to prop it open so it would be cracked.  Then, miracle of miracles, she went to bed!!!  

I've honestly never been so proud of her.  Talk about problem-solving skills, right!?!?  It made me think of the quote that my lovely co-author Susan Case found for our book:

"In everything you do in your family, keep in mind the miracle of the Chinese bamboo tree. After the seed for this amazing tree is planted, you see nothing, absolutely nothing, for four years except for a tiny shoot coming out of a bulb. During those four years, all the growth is underground in a massive, fibrous root structure that spreads deep and wide in the earth. But then in the fifth year the Chinese bamboo tree grows up to eighty feet!  Many things in family life are like the Chinese bamboo tree. You work and you invest time and effort, and you do everything you can possibly do to nurture growth, and sometimes you don't see anything for weeks, months, or even years. But if you're patient and keep working and nurturing, that "fifth year" will come, and you will be astonished at the growth and change you see taking place.”  ~Stephen Covey

For some ideas on ways to keep your toddlers and preschoolers busy, I hope you'll check out my book!