I know, I know. That escalated quickly.
Let me set a scene for you: My kitchen table, in a rain storm; markers, construction paper and scissors are scattered and Kade is banging his hands on the table and growling (yes growling) at me. This week we're learning about the letter D. I planned a craft for Kade to make a dinosaur in the shape of the letter D and in planning, had an idea of what it should look like. It should have spikes on the top and feet on the bottom and a smiling face and it will look like a dinosaur because D is for dinosaur.
Kade disagreed. He wanted the spikes in the middle, the feet in one group in the corner and the head layered over top of the spikes. I kept pulling the paper away from him and showing him the right way to do it. I was getting frustrated because I had this grand idea of how adorable this project would look and he was ruining it. It hurt my feelings. As if my feelings should be at all tangled in a piece of wrinkled construction paper and a sticky smear of paste. By the end of the project, we were both grumpy. Mean Mom won the battle and Kade caved and did it my way. Afterwards, I was even more emotional (because that's what I do). I stared at the D dinosaur on the dining room wall and wanted to cry. The truth is, I would love it more if he had done it his way. Hind sight is, after all, 20/20.
This is where Ian comes in, normally. I know he would put his hand on my shoulder and say, "Babe, it's his project." It's hard to have him working late- not here to remind me to chill the heck out and just let things BE. We're a good balance in this way.
Somewhere deep beneath my skin is an anxious, obsessive little gene that insists on things being a certain way. I need my towels tri-folded and I organize Kade's room meticulously.
I remember being a kid and being furious that I didn't get to set up my own room. When we moved to a new house, my mom did that for me. This is fine; she was trying to help. But now I'm doing the same and somehow not understanding why Kade knocks things off the dresser or dumps out toy containers. He wants things in his space to be done his way and of course he does. He's my child.
It's hard to stretch myself from this comfort zone. It's hard for me when a project goes array, things are out of place, Ian doesn't completely empty the sink. It makes my skin crawl and my blood boil.
But of course, it's complicated.
Because on the other end, I have always been one to let Kade experience things. I let him soak himself in puddles, wear his underwear all day, get muddy, paint his face, whatever he wants as long as he's learning, stretching, growing, experiencing.
What, exactly, is the difference here? I'm still trying to figure that out. In an attempt stretch my comfortable little pocket, there will be more open-ended projects. It's not going to be perfect. I'm sure there will be plenty more Mean Mom days. But we have to start somewhere because Mean Mom is bully and I'm tired of her controlling crap.
Today, we received a package from IKEA. It came with all sorts of fun packaging cardboard and Kade saw it and said "Oh mama, I think we should paint it!" I pulled out everything I could think of- paint, crayons, markers, glue, scissors. And I let him at it. I haven't walked back in there yet because he's in his zone and thoroughly enjoying a project without my help. This is just another lesson of letting him be him.
We'll keep practicing and hopefully, he can be patient with me.
Thanks for being my gunieu pig, little bug. I'm sure your baby brother appreciates it.