Our son recently celebrated his second birthday, and in the past few weeks he’s started to show us why the twos are often called terrible. Lately he’s been especially rough on his baby sister Cecilia, whether it’s playing the drums on her head, trying to use her torso as a launch pad, or using her hair as a dishrag. She’s going to be one tough woman when she grows up.
Trying to protect Cecilia is exhausting, and its especially challenging since protecting her means leaving the rest of the house at risk. For the last week or so, when friends ask us how Gabriel is doing, our first response is often “he’s naughty.” It seemed like every time we’d share a story of his misdeeds he’d thank us by coming up with a new way to misbehave. Kara and I were at a loss, and that’s when I remembered something my dad taught me.
Growing up my dad always reminded us of self-fulfilling prophecies. He’d tell us that attitude is everything, and that if we wanted to have success we have to believe we will. And that’s when Kara and I started to remind each other of all the good things Gabriel does.
Even though Gabriel is becoming more ornery, he’s also one of the most loving boys I’ve met. He tortures Cecilia, but he also kisses her constantly, and always wants to sit by her and hold her. He drives us crazy, but he brings us incredible joy, and the more we celebrate his goodness the easier it is to deal with his badness.
Our attitude adjustment hasn’t changed his behavior but I do think it’s made us better parents, and it’s certainly made parenting more fun. It’s also not a one-time resolution; instead Kara and I need to remind ourselves daily, if not hourly. It’s a challenge, but when we do it well it makes everything a bit easier.
What helps you get through the hard moments of parenting? How does attitude effect you?