8 July 2008

Benefits of playful parenting

Getting dressed can be, some mornings, one of those things where I want to scream at Jenna. This morning it was looking like one of those days already because she would NOT put down the small wooden dolls to put her things on herself. I went for the ask, remind, make it happen pattern but when I got as far as "remind" I could see that it wasn't going to happen. Struck by a fit of madness I decided it was the time to become Playful Parent again, and grabbed her pants from the sofa.

"Are these for on my head?" I asked. She turned around, gave me a very old look and said, "No." Totally deadpan. It isn't working.

"Are they for on Morgan's arms?" She looked at me again, giggled a little like sunshine breaking over the horizon, "No, don't be silly mummy! They're pants!" Warmer.

"Are they not for mummy or Morgan?" More giggles, and finally, "No, they won't fit you. They're for my BOTTOM!" (Lots of peals of giggles at yelling "bottom".) And she put them on. Then took her trousers and put them on her own head for a little silly dance around the living room before putting on the rest of her clothes with plenty of smiles and chatter.

Score, one all. She kept her dignity and I didn't have to wrestle her to get the clothes on. She had a fun morning even though the dolls were put down, and I connected with her in a way I couldn't have by taking the dolls away. It's 9am now and she's back playing with the dolls again by the way, sometimes everyone wins.

We've had La Leche League today and then soft play, and Jenna has been wonderful. I was most impressed of all when she was feeling really cross with me (for not buying her a sandwich on our way home, only two hours after she didn't eat her lunch) and managed not to throw a total fit. I stayed calm, validated, and then offered her the ideas of a stompy dance ("NO!" says Jenna) or using words ("NO!!" says Jenna, "I'm just busy being a bit sad so leave me alone, please!"). And that was about it for that particular averted disaster.

Morgan seems a little more challenging though, to make up for it, and has been getting really cross with me when I offer her the "wrong" side at nursing sessions. How irritating this is to me is indescribable, and my reactions are often *sigh* less than graceful.

I've just remembered that I promised to offer some thoughts about why Attachment Parenting isn't just for babies, and haven't talked about all of the reasons why I'm loving LLL meetings! Another day maybe, so much to say so little time. ;)

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