So I feel the need to tell y'all: I think I have now managed the
Allow me to set the scene:
My four year old is struggling a little lately with his behavior. Normal stuff - like doing the OPPOSITE of what he has just been told to do. Intentionally messing up his older siblings' stuff. You know how it goes.
He's also dramatic. Oh wait, I mean DRAMATIC. I think he has learned it from his older brother. And maybe there's a bit of drama in the Ethiopian genes as well.
So recently he intentionally ran his finger through his sister's drawing while the ink was still wet. And I'm all about some restorative discipline but I'm also human and I have three kids and I think I was trying to cook dinner and so in that moment I had no energy for one of those wonderful "let's work together to make it better" moments.
I sent him to time-out. And gave a little push to send him in the right direction.
And my wonderfully dramatic child throws himself to the floor. Screaming. Giant alligator tears.
At the exact same moment, my 8 year-old rolls his eyes and says, "he has to go to time-out for THAT?!?" Sass, people. Eight year old sass on top of four year old tantruming. Have I mentioned how much I am nailing this motherhood thing? Nailing it.
So in all my motherhood wisdom, I sent the 8 year old to go sit by himself in another room for being disrespectful.
At this point at least I did one smart thing: took care of the potential burning dinner on the stove while the boys sat. In time out. That parenting technique I no longer use (ha!) because those restorative discipline strategies work so much better. Failing parenthood but hey - at least we still eat!
And I gathered myself together, took some deep breaths (and a handful of chocolate chips) and calmed down. We always process together whenever any discipline has happened. So I talk with the 4 year old, make sure he understands why he had to sit in time out, he apologizes to his sister. All good.
I call the 8 year old over. He sits on my lap on the kitchen floor and says to me, "I just didn't like it when you hit Amani into the kitchen."
I'm shocked. We don't even spank in our house and my 8 year old believes I just hit my four year old (I told you - this four year old is seriously good at the DRAMA. Oscars, here we come.).
Have I ever mentioned that I talk with my hands a lot? Um... so my response to the 8 year old: "Oh my goodness... baby... Mommy would NEVER hit Amani into the kitchen!" To emphasize the "NEVER", my hands went out and into the air and ...smacked him right across his sweet face! And he has crazy chapped lips from all this winter air so his little already-split lip starts bleeding.
Y'all. In the moment of explaining to my child that "Baby, you know we do not hit! Mommy will never hit you or your siblings!" I actually smack him in the face! And make him bleed! Mom-fail of the year. Of the century. I thought I might sink into the floor right then and there.
You are welcome, universe. I think I can successfully make every mom on the planet feel better about herself with that one.
This parenthood thing requires a lot of self-forgiveness doesn't it? I'm still working on forgiving myself for that one. And in case you were wondering, we did a LOT of snuggling after the face-smacking incident. And lots of chapstick. I think everyone's going to survive.