Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Family first

If I had sat down and written this post EXACTLY as it first hit me in the head this evening, it might sound more dire than this one does. As is always the case with me, the exact phrases are slipping out of my brain as I try to remember them now.

As it is, some might say I am making a mountain out of normal behavior (and maybe I am, but no more apologizing).

Lately at daycare we have been getting reports of Ruth throwing tantrums and (at least to us) appearing to be difficult to handle. This is not something that I like hearing, of course. I don't want anyone to suggest that my kids aren't perfect or that they are maladjusted in some way--because that reflects poorly on my child and on my ability as a parent.

But Ruth is only two after all. It is common for two-year-olds to throw tantrums. I just don't remember Ariel being quite this bad. They aren't the same kid, naturally, and I often say truthfully AND facetiously that Ruth is more of a "bruiser" and more aggressive than Ariel.

But, I can't simply take these reports and dismiss them. It is my responsibility to try and deal with these actions.

My anxiety at the news about Ruth is twofold: 1) I worry that our recent family dynamic has contributed to her behavior and 2) she is learning from me.

First one first.

Tegan has been working very hard for many months now and as a result she has been spending less time with the kids. I don't want the kids to be overly reliant on parents to provide them activities--sometimes kids should play by themselves--but work should not overwhelm the responsibility of parenting. (And, I know that Tegan agrees with me on this, so don't think I am badmouthing her in my blog.)

The fact that she is working more means that I am watching the kids more than she and this deals (in part) with the second concern.

You see Tegan and I (being of different personalities) react to the kids differently. She reacts to setbacks, backtalking, disagreement calmer than I--not that she never yells or overreacts, but she holds it together longer than I. I, unfortunately, tend to expect a lot from the kids and probably demand more from them than they are sometimes able to give. But, I have high standards that I want them to uphold. I don't want them to act like brats and I don't want them to expect more than they should.

Long story short (and sorry about the rambling nature of this), I think that Ruth is reacting to setbacks in "tantrumy" ways because I react that way--raised voice, anger, etc.

So, as I was driving the kids home tonight I tried to explain to them that I was going to try and be better about the way I get angry at them and I hope they will be able to work on their tantrums, whining, etc.

You probably don't care about any of this, but I felt like I wanted to get it out there. It is sort of my public pledge that I will work on this.

Anyway, there it is.


Anonymous said...

I have two sets of twins... My girls are 8 and my boys are 8 months.

The girls grew up in the exact same environment because they were (and still are) together all the time. They are COMPLETELY different. Don't blame everything on yourself... Kids are just different sometimes, and two is a rough age.

lulu said...

I have to agree with Anonymous! Kev and I sometimes wonder if our second is going to be a monster to balance the near-perfection of the first. We'll do what we can to keep that from happening!

I wouldn't be able to dismiss those reports, either. It sounds as if you're doing the right thing--don't let 'em rattle you so much.

Just remember the Simpsons when you're feeling blue:

H: "Ohhhhh, why do we have to have one bad kid and one good kid?"
M: "Homer, we have THREE children!"
H: "Maaaarge, I'm not talking about the dog!"
H: "Oh yeah . . . "