Things I’ve learned from my therapist.
So I saw Dr. Hamm today (have I mentioned how much I love her? Because I do.) and we talked about the kids and how I parent. She had recently re-read a book written in the 1960’s about raising kids in a more democratic way rather than the authoritarian, my way or the high way, way. In it, the author notes why we shouldn’t label our children as a specific trait. For example, Claire is not shy, she is more of a studier, in that she will sit back, test the waters, then join in. Because she is by no means shy once she warms up to a crowd. The author says that by labeling your child they will in turn use that as a defense mechanism and hide behind it.
Makes perfect sense.
When I was a kid, Carly was the “shy” one and I was the “outgoing” one. (You guys seriously never saw that coming, right?!?) But I was told I was outgoing so often that I in turn really believed that I was. However, I was petrified half the time. When someone would say, “Oh don’t worry, Cassie’ll do it.” I really believed that I had to, because that’s who I was. I’m not sure if I really was all that outgoing. Even now. As a nurse, I’ll stand up for my patient, but I HATE CONFRONTATION. Hate it. Loathe. I hate being yelled at. And when a situation arises where I may piss off a doctor, I do everything to avoid it. (But my patient always comes first, promise. I’ll take a bullet for them.) I’ll even ask the charge nurse to handle it for me. I’ll add that issue to the list of things I need to work on. For now, I’m glad I have the charge nurse!
Also – I had asked Dr. Hamm if she thought I handled tantrums and such correctly. Believe it or not, I do! By not giving Claire attention when it’s negative, I’m teaching her that that’s not how you get your way. She also said, and cited many books, that walking away during a tantrum is OK. (Phew!) I have to give Claire choices. So when she’s having a tantrum because Mommy’s making her pick up her blocks (I know, I’m so mean, right?) I should give her the option of cleaning up her toys or sitting in her time out chair. Her choice. And it works! Wow. And further more, she’s picking up her blocks on her own now when she wants to play with a new toy. Holy crap.
When I came home from therapy, Claire was in one of Luca’s toys. Now of course, Mom didn’t know in advance that I don’t let Claire go in that toy. How the heck was she to know? So I told Claire calmly to get out of it, and she did. When she tried again to get into it, I said, “Ah ah ah. No, that’s not yours.” She stopped. Then she looked at me and I said, “I don’t think it was very right of you to take advantage of Grammy while Mommy was away. You know better than that. You should say you’re sorry.”
Now, those of you who are sitting there thinking, her kid is only 2 for God’s sake…let up some! I say this back: When do you begin disciplining your child, then? Because I’ve started from the get-go, it’s been much easier to stick to the same rules and she knows her boundaries. I’m not a wishy-washy kind of gal who says, “Oh, it’s OK, just this once.” Because the second I say that, Claire will be all over my shit, figuring out other ways to manipulate me. She’s a damn fine manipulator. I’ll give her that.
It’s funny. My therapy sessions began because I was having issues with postpartum depression, but we haven’t really talked about that. The meds fixed that issue. Now, we’re just talking about all my basic irks in life (boy do I have a lot) and I feel like I’m cleaning out the cobwebs from my brain and am finally feeling human again. I feel almost as if I’m getting my own personal identity back. I’m 24 for god’s sake, living the life of a 30 year old. I feel old some times. Sure, it’s the life I chose, but dammit, I’m not ready to be a soccer mom and drive a van and get Mom jeans and do the Mom hair cut. Ick, bleh, no! I refuse. I’m a Mom, yes, but I’m also a sister, daughter, wife … fun girl! I have likes and dislikes that don’t include whether I like Dora or Diego more. And yes, while I spend most of my time discussing my children, it’s just because I really don’t have much of an exciting life aside from them. But I do read and pay attention to current events! I also have great work stories that don’t violate HIPPA.
These are all things I’ve learned from my therapist. She’s really earning her pay check, I tell ya.