- "Come here, (please)".
- "Stop it."
- "Stand up!"
- "You need to have your teeth cleaned by a grown up!"
- "Get up off the floor."
- "You need to go to sleep."
- "I'm going to count to three......"
- "If you don't (*insert desired behvaiour*) then ........."
- "GET INTO BED!"
- "We need to get dressed"
- "Because you're too little to stay at home on your own"
- "Stop pulling on my clothes!"
I don't want to have a child who behaves 'perfectly' at all times, and by that I mean, a horror-film-esque child who always stands still, smiles sweetly, and does whatever she's asked immediately with no fuss. It would be creepy, and very wrong.
What I do want, is to be able to get out of the house every day without a battle over brushing E's teeth, and have a daughter who doesn't pull on my clothes when we're out, at the risk of my trousers falling down. One who isn't likely to run off out of sight when we're in public places, and who can socialise with other children.
So, for her own safety and so that E learns the general idea around acceptable behaviour, the OH and I have to teach E that "No" means "No", even if it causes tears. That it's not OK to pull all the flaps out of a Spot the Dog library book and rip them up (I really must take it back to the library and replace it), that there are consequences to such actions (bye-bye library books for the rest of the day). It's part of our job description.
I think it's hard getting the balance sometimes between being a fun parent, and having your child feel like they're being told "No" an awful lot. We try to give E as many choices as we can; "do you want X or Y", so she feels like she has some control over things. But still, at this age, she gets a lot of "No." Sometimes I feel like she must think we are no fun at all, that all we do is say "No".
The other week I worked 4 days straight, including over one bedtime, and I commuted another 6-7 hours on top. I was exhausted and felt like I hardly saw E. So the last couple of weekends I've made a real effort for us to have fun together, and for us to have time as a family. We've had lots of playtime in the garden when it's been sunny, a BBQ with the neighbours, trips to the park, a visit to the beach, jumping in muddy puddles, snuggling down watching a film, and quite a lot of general playing. We haven't seen other people very much but we've had quality time as a family, and it felt good. The world became a bit more balanced again.
(Photo from a trip to the beach with my two favourite people)