Archives for January 2014

Ducks in a Row

Momma duck never really waits for her ducklings to get in a row. She just goes, and the little buggers follow. Not so with you two, my loves. You can be big time procrastinators. More than once, picking you up from daycare, you don’t want to go home. This is the same daycare you were screaming bloody murder about not wanting to go to in the morning. So I gather your stuff and say that I am leaving.

One of you falls into line, and the other has a fit of panic that I am going to leave you and screams “NOOOOO Umi!! Don’t leave me!” But eventually gets into gear. Once, I “left” with Lucas, meaning that I took him to the car to buckle him up, with every intention of walking back into daycare to get you, Anna. You were not happy, gathered everything and followed immediately, screaming the whole time.

But as I do this, maybe once every other week, it makes me wonder about an experience I had when I was probably 8-10 years old. I lived one one side of a small lake, and there was a shopping center on the other side where my mom would go for groceries. On this fateful occasion, she brought me, and I must have wandered off. Apparently, she tried to find me but to no avail, so she left without me. I have no idea how long it was before I realized what had happened – that my own mother left me behind. I don’t recall being scared, but probably more frustrated or upset. It was not so terribly far back home, and so I walked. But to this day, the memory I have is that Mom was willing to leave me behind. Not just as a warning, or as motivation to get my butt in gear, but to do so in fact.

So it is with some caution that I engage in the activity I described above, and I am always sure to reassure you “I would never leave you, my love… and it’s also time to go. Now get your stuff and come on already.” So far, it’s worked. But I also imagine that it’s only a matter of time before you get so obstinate that one of us ends up putting the other to the test. And so, my beloved little ducklings, please come when I call, and if push comes to shove, I’m fine with you screaming the whole way back to the car as I carry your wiggling, squirming, tender and featherless little bodies under my wing.

Empathy, The Hard Way

Emotional and social skills are important, and one of the things I try to instill in both of you is a level of empathy and understanding for the impact of your choices and actions. Typically, when I pick you both up from daycare at the end of the day, you have a small bit of lunch or snack left over, and I give it to you in the car.

On this particular evening, there were just a few slices of apple, and a bit more PB&J sandwich. Anna, you wanted the Apple, and Lucas wanted the sandwich. But when your apple was gone and you were still hungry, you asked Lucas for some of the sandwich. Normally, you both share quite well, but I’m guessing that Lucas was still hungry too, as he would not share.

Anna, you asked quite nicely, and even asked if you cold have just a bite… not the hole thing. Truly, it was such a tender request. Lucas still refused, and you got quite upset. So I asked you, Lucas, how you thought Anna felt. Maybe you had peanut-butter in your mouth, but Anna answered right away:

“I’m sad, and I’m ANGRY at Lucas.”

Lucas, I told you that you did not have to share – that you got to choose – but also that there will come a time when you want Anna to share, and she may remember that you did not share with her. I asked if you would share with her now, and you promptly stuffed the remainder of the sandwich in your mouth with a mix of indignity, hunger, or both.

Anna threw a fit, but settled down rapidly. So then I pulled out part of a granola bar from my console, which I keep in there mostly for when you two are still hungry. I took just a small piece, and gave it to Anna. Lucas, you wanted some too, and asked me for some. I told you to ask Anna if she would share, she said no, and you then got upset.

“Lucas, how do you feel right now when Anna is not sharing with you?”
“I feel sad,” you said.
“Well, that’s how Anna felt too, when you would not share with her.”

At that point, Anna belted out “But I was ANGRY too. Lucas, I was sad AND angry! So I’m not going to share.”

Shortly thereafter, we were home. But the NEXT day, you were both better about sharing with each other, and I made sure to praise you both for being nicer to each other.