Saturday, May 1, 2010

An Exasperating Dialogue

Today, I took my three younger children to the running trail, without my husband. I pushed the stroller and ran next to my 5-year old daughter, who was riding on her bicycle. I had my ipod with me, but decided I didn't need it; she was staying close enough that we could talk and she kept me quite entertained. Here is a snippet of our dialogue after we began:

5-year old: "Why do I have to be in preschool two times, when [her older brother] only had to be in once?"
Me: "He did actually go to preschool for two years, just like you are doing."
5-year old: "No he didn't."
Me: "Yes, he did."
5-year old: "No, he didn't."
Me (note: this is very hard to talk this much as I, (not my husband), am struggling to push the stroller with 54 lbs. combined weight inside of it): "Yes, he did. He went to the same preschool for two years, and you have gone to preschool for two years, but to two different preschools."
5-year old: "No, he didn't... I know."
Me: "Why don't you believe me?"
5-year old: "Because I know."
Me: "You don't know."
5-year old: "No, you don't know."
Me: "Yes, I do."
5-year old: "No, you don't."
Me (by now, a bit excited, and breathing harder as I try to keep up with her and continue talking): "Yes, I do. I don't lie or play tricks, remember? - you know me. He did go to preschool for two years, just like you."
5-year old (as she picks up speed, she calls this to me, over her shoulder): "You're wrong! I have a better mind than you! I know it!"
Me: (panting - and trying to think of how to refute that probably-true-statement)
5-year old (she yells this as she pedals even faster and gets further away): "I am more good at remembering than you! I know he didn't!"
Me: (more panting, my lungs refuse to attempt to yell a response to her as she is now quite far away, and I have to keep pushing and running. She had won, and she knew it.)
Luckily, I had been forced to stop responding. Right then, a white lizard jumped out onto the trail and sprinted with me for a short distance before diving back into the bushes. I was so taken back that I watched it in awe, and then laughed out loud. I was immediately re-grounded and had a different perspective.  I was so caught up in this conversation with my daughter. I was surprised at how calmly she acted as I became more and more riled up. Thanks to the lizard, I was able to regain and retain my composer as I chatter with my daughter the remainder of the four miles on the trail.

I can vividly remember (when I was small) thinking that my own mother was clueless, and I unequivocally know now that my own 5-year old daughter thinks that I am clueless. Life is an interesting thing. We learn so much from children. It is painful, (sometimes more than others, physically, mentally, and/or emotionally), but so exciting and joyful to experience.


Barb's blessings said...

YOU amaze me. Thanks for sharing. It's amazing how early they learn to push our buttons. When Rachel was about three I fixed dinner after a long day at work and put a plate of food in front of her. She looked up at me and said, "You can make me sit here until the cows come home, but I'm not eating this." So I made her sit there until her dad got home a couple of hours later and he just told her she didn't have to eat it.

There will be many battles of will and intellect ahead of you and you will win some and lose some. The key is to keep the lines of communication open and value the relationship more than winning or losing.

You are doing a wonderful job as a mother and your children are blessed to be yours.

Luv you, AB

CYNDI said...

I had a similar conversation with my mother once. I was so certain that the house they had just bought in Provo could not be located just across the street from the Old Academy building. I was positive there were not any houses there. I had the Old Academy and the Provo Tabernacle confused in my head. I vividly remember how sure I was and that my mother had to be wrong.(I was older than Brooklyn, though :) I think my mom just laughed. I mean they had just bought the house, they had the address! I am now embarrassed at how vehemently I argued with her. And while I was absolutely sure then that I knew more than my mother, I am absolutely sure now that she knows much more than me! Hopefully it won't take Brooklyn until she is my age, but I know she will come to be grateful for your knowledge! One wonderful my parents did teach me was that there were times when they weren't always right and they always tried to listen to us and value our opinions. So maybe Brooklyn feels that you value her opinion, too!

Liz said...

Valuing the relationship is so difficult when I am determined to win the argument - even with my kids! It is so childish - really. Kids sure make you grow up - and shed some of that pride that I somehow have been so richly blessed with.