Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Love & Logic & Nudity

So a couple of months ago I had basically had it with myself (while on some level this happens more than I'd like to admit, it's usually just my lovehandles that I curse). While Holden has been very nurturing towards his baby-sitster, it seemed like there was some sort of shift -- a disturbance in the force if you will. I'm not sure if it was his age, the new baby, my lack of sleep, a not-so clean home, too many cinnamon rolls or most likely a combination of everything; but I was not being the kind of parent I wanted to be.

I could feel myself being frustrated. I want Holden to have boundaries; but at the same time support him in his inquisitive nature and warrior spirit. I was failing miserably.

I had tried to incorporate the Attachment Parenting principles of "gentle discipline" in our home -- but felt like I was failing miserably. We've never used corporal punishment, and "time-outs" are something I reserve for toys (although I have given Holden plenty of opportunities for "quiet time" when emotions are a bit too elevated)... but I felt like there had to be some sort of discipline/teaching tool/etc that I felt good about and help my relationship with Holden thrive...I wanted more of a how-to to try. But I felt like I just hadn't found it, or if I had, sure as hell hadn't figured out the practical application for our home. I had heard a few friends talk about the book, the concepts and my sisters were familiar with it -- some of the techniques I had seem them successfully integrate in their families - so I ordered the book and tried it out. (Because what is being a parent if not a journey of trial and error -- oh my poor little guinea pigs!

While "Love & Logic" is not technically AP, two areas that I think are working in our home are "natural consequences" and "choices."

-- "Do you want toast or pancakes for breakfast?"
-- "Would you like me to lay down with you or would you like to do it yourself?"
-- "Do you want to wear your coat or carry it?" (Usually he says "you carry it mom.")
"Do you want to bring your lovey into the grocery store and risk losing it or leave it in the car?" Maybe this last one is a bit more manipulation than choice, but I have learned if I tell Holden to leave a toy, a lovey, etc in the car, he'll do a mini freak out and insist on bringing it. If he decides, 99.8% of the time he'll opt for leaving it in the car "so the other kids won't take it."

I don't apply all of the Love & Logic principles perfectly (there is not a single parenting book/philosophy I follow to perfection)...but the other day we had an awesome "love & logic" moment:

We were all in the car on our way home from church. Somehow the entire family made it through all three meetings. We were due at Danny's parents for Sunday dinner at 4pm. Church gets out a 3... basically our meeting schedule is 3 hours right smack-dab EXACTLY lined up with both my kids naps. I knew they were exhausted and I could either let them come inside, nurse Zoe, have her fall asleep only to be woken-up (waked?) 15 minutes later to leave...or we could dash inside, grab a change of clothes and head to the grandparents early and let kids relax there before dinner. So I had the kids stay in the car.

I ran inside, changed clothes, grabbed more diaper bag supplies and dashed out to the car. Danny ran in changed clothes...
Then Holden decided he needed his lovey ...and to go potty.

I rushed him inside, sat him on the toilet and ran upstairs to grab his lovey. I ran back down the stairs, out into the car, slammed the door, turned around to hand little bits his lovey to discover he was not in his car seat, but inside...on the potty, exactly where I had left him.

When I made it back inside, I discovered that he had discovered that without an elmo-insert, if he dipped his bottom down far enough he had his own "make-shift" bidet. Gross, I know.

And since he had dipped himself so awesome-ly in the toilet, the back of his shirt got wet... which when he stood up dripped onto his pants and voila! Now every piece of clothing he had on, had to be changed... minus his socks (which is odd, because that kid hardly ever wears socks.)

So we get his clothes off (Danny and Zoe are waiting paitently in the car) and he darts into the family room. Naked. And I can feel my vital signs getting elevated.

There's a part of me that wants to say, "We're going to leave without you." But I know we won't; and of course he knows we won't. I tell him he needs to get in the car fast. I ask him to please get some clothes on. He giggles at me and runs around the room in circles... chasing himself apparently.

I take a deep breath, "Okay!" I say, sighing but with enthusiasm. "Holden, the car is leaving in five minutes to Grandmas." And walk out to the car with his clothes in my hand. I open the car door, set them on my seat and say to Danny, "I'm about to be the awesomest mom in the world."

I walk back inside and say, "It's time to go to Grandmas. You can go with clothes on or not, but it's time to go." And he stopped running, looked at me and made his way to the car -- naked.

At this point, I wasn't really sure where to go from here - but thankfully, I had a whole car ride (5 minutes maybe?) to figure out step 2 of my game plane. But one thing I did know is that my child wasn't screaming, my vitals were not elevated, and Danny and I were doing our best not to laugh at the pre-schooler in the back of our car who's seatbelt seemed to be chaffing his privates a bit.

"Oh, I know," I said, responding to his complaint. "I've found when I don't wear clothes the seatbelt can be itchy." To which Danny looked at me inquiring about how often it is that I drive in my birthday suit...

We pulled into Danny's parents driveway, with shoeless-Joe-Jackson wearing the Emperor's New Clothes apres socks and I offered Holden yet another choice.

"Holden," I said. "You can either stay in the car and be naked or put on clothes and go into Grandma's to play with toys. Your Dad or I will stay with you in the car if you don't want to get dressed, but you can't walk around outside naked because people can see your private parts. Either is fine with us," and I really was preared to sit, but you know what I was hoping. "What would you like to do?"

And with great enthusiasm (and to my relief) he declared: "Get dressed and pay wiff toys!"

Which happens to be exactly what we did. 


The Lamoreauxs said...

Awesome. You're a good mom, Sabrena!

Alicia said...

AMAZING! You are amazing!