Saturday, April 2, 2011

a lesson from my daughter

This Saturday was like any other. Pip and I got up at 9:00 (early for us), went to theatre for a 4 hour rehearsal for peter pan, and then came home to the rest of the crew. My stepson and his bff were here for the weekend and hubz got an emergency call for a furnace repair, so all the boys went with him and were going to ride their bikes in the cul de sac where the house is located. As last minute plans were being arranged, and re-arranged, kids were scurrying around, dishes were being done and bikes were being loaded onto the truck. Also, shoes and gloves were being looked for, the remote was no where to be found and the girls were mad that they were being left behind.
For those of you who don't live in a 3 ring circus, this is quite typical. As we make spur-of-the-moment plans, try to transition from one activity to another, my stress level steadily rises. By the time we find 6 pair of shoes, 4 pair of gloves and make it out the door, it takes approximately 15 minutes. These are not 15 regular minutes either. They are stressful, tortuous, self hating minutes that make me feel inadequate and ill equipped to handle the job that I have been blessed with.
Once the boys were gone, I still had to get the girls outside because, during the tirade of transition, I somehow conveyed that I would be taKing Pip for a bike ride. Let me state a few facts.1. I don't like being cold. 2. In order for Pip to ride her new bike, we need to walk it two blocks into the ally behind our house because that is the only non hilly area for her to ride. 3 . I am not a fan of the ally.
As I begrudgingly left the house, I began to finally relax. It was cold, but not too cold. It was difficult to push Peanut's stroller while helping Pip push her bike, but not too difficult. Once we reached the ally, I was pleasantly surprised at pip's bike riding skills. It was only her second time on her new bike and she was unsure of herself at first. She made a lot of negative, fearful statements at first but with a little coaxing and cheering, she began some positive self-talk. I heard a steady chant of 'i can do it, I can do it', with different tones and inflections. I heard some 'don't stop now'-s and even a bunch of 'go, go, go'-s. It took me back 11 years to when my step-son was 5. We used to take him to my in law's to ride his little motorcycle in a big circle around their house. As he would whiz by, we would hear him talking and laughing to himself, and when we would catch a word or phrase, it was always encouraging, like 'yeah baby' and 'you'll never catch me'! Hearing Pip made me laugh and smile and as I jogged beside her, I wondered what my difficult days would be like if I cheered myself on instead of making negative statements. Would I be able to cheer myself througthe finding of the always lost shoe? Would I be able to 'go, go, go' my way through editing the preschool yearbook? How about some 'you can do it'-s while emptying the dishwasher? I'm not really sure, but I think I should give it a try....
Do any of you ever hear your little ones engaging in encouraging self-talk while working on a new or difficult task?

1 comment:

  1. Great post! Funny you should write this now. We just started doing positive affirmations with Lily Mei. A friend from our China travel group started doing it with her daughter and saw amazing results in only a day or so. Lil loves doing it and it's a great lesson for Mommy too. "I am beautiful! I am Chinese (well, not me but she lol) I am American! I am smart! I am brave! I can do ANYTHING!"