I have many doubts about my mothering ability, but I try hard, read a lot, go on instinct, learn from mistakes, and hope that some day my kids will grow up to be happy, well-adjusted adults. In the meantime, it is just plain hard to remember to do the right thing (let's talk it out... how do you feel... why do you feel that way?) and not resort to instinct (stop. whining. now.) My mom-goal is to have a nice mix of both, because some times it's not worth the explanation and other times the discussion makes all the difference in the world.
K and I are planning to run a 1 mile road race next week. It's just a mile, nothing uber-competitive, and M said she wanted to run, too. I was doubtful, very doubtful, that she would enjoy running a mile at all, being as how she hates to have to go All The Way Up Stairs. But, we gave it the good college try. K, M, & I set off down our road to run. Maggie loved it... for about 1/4 mile. Then she hated it. Every step. Hated it. Verbally, vocally HATED IT! It was comical to hear her: "My arms hurt, my legs hurt, it's too far, this is NO fun, I don't want to go anymore, go get the car and pick me up."
So, after the experimental run, I told her she couldn't run at the road race. Her face made that heartbreaking expression, the subtle change that means, "I'm hurt but I'm not going to give you the satisfaction of knowing it." And that's when a "Stop. Whining" moment became a "why do you feel that way?" moment.
It seems Miss Mags is a bit jealous of the little award Katie got the last time we ran the race, and she wants a trophy of her own. And, it just so happens this particular road race has a Spectator Competition, for the spectator who does the best, most creative job of cheering on the runners. Miss Maggie is nothing if not LOUD. The girl was BORN to be a creative spectator.
And so, four of us are headed off to the races on Saturday: K and I running, N riding in the jogging stroller (I think), and M decked out in her best spectator outfit, which I am certain will include her new duck call, a pink cowgirl hat, and a glittery scarf. I can't wait!