One of the unexpected benefits of children growing up is that they actually... grow up.
We put a lot of emphasis on feelings in our house, as our parenting is heavily Faber and Mazlish inspired. Lots of "tell me how you feel," lots of "use words!!!" and lots of expressing ourselves to communicate ("If that gets spilled on the carpet I'm going to be a very angry mommy!"). What's deliciously fun is when the kids get it, and not only learn to express themselves, but learn to respect others' feelings.
Two cases in point just from today, but thank God, there are tons of examples:
Expression example: Llama was quite upset, because SHE wanted to push the 1 in the elevator (yes, sometimes we take the elevator up to the first floor where we live. Don't judge), and I said she could - and then by reflex I pushed it myself (yes I have a reflect to push the 1 in the elevator to go up to the first floor where we live. Keep not judging). So I apologized, but she still was quite upset.
We got to our floor, and she gets out of the elevator and collapses in a wave of outrage and tears. I still apologize, but to no avail. Finally I ask if she is this upset (holding hands six inches apart) or THIS upset (holding hands three feet apart). She says THIS upset. And again, with my hands off the ground - she was THIS TALL upset. I start opening the door, go in the house, she's still on the welcome mat.
I ask if she wants to draw me how upset she is - she says yes, but then holds her hand about two inches apart and says - "I'm only this mad now." Then again, a hair above the floor, and says "Now just this mad." And then she bounces up and goes off to play.
Respect example: ONE of my children was being, well, obnoxious (hate to use that word, but ya know, sometimes it really IS the best one) and ran out of the room. I was left sitting there and was tempted to scream for her to come back in, blah blah blah. But I decided to try some Jewish guilt (heh heh heh) and instead said very loudly "I am so SAD!! I am so SAD!!" Immediate pitter patter of six year old feet, and Sroch (who was not the offending child) runs in from the other room saying "Oh no, Mommy's sad!" and she gives me a huge cuddle and hug.
The other kid was still being... well... three.
It's fun how they also storehouse things I've told them (Faber / Mazlish discuss parents being a 'storehouse of positive memories' for their children or something like that - basically you should tell your children good stories about when they excelled or were loved or whatnot, so the child can feel good about themselves or feel cherished). I have told Sroch before how when her neshama (soul) was up in shamayim (heaven), SHE chose Abba and I to be her parents (this is from Jewish sources, not something I made up to make it her problem when I do something she doesn't like! All souls choose their parents, but I digress). So Sroch is sitting on the couch with me, and we're having a conversation, and she says, "When I was still just a neshama in shamayim, right I picked you to be my Mommy? I looked at all the mommies in the world, and all of them had something not quite right about them. But everything was right about you and so I picked you to be my mommy!"
And she wonders why I cry all the time. At any rate, I had to blog that so I could cast it up to her when she's a teenager.
Speaking of having conversations, the most frequent conversation-setting in my house is the toilet. Both my girls like company when they are, um, sitting, although lately Sroch has had a penchant for looking at books... Anyway, so I'm sitting with Llama today, who I've told stories about how when she was learning to use the toilet, I'd hold her hand while she pooped (YES, the blog is back to poop stories!). Llama remembers this, and she starts telling me today, "When I was a little baby, Mommy would hold my hand when I pooped so I wouldn't be scared. But I'm not a baby anymore, I am big, so now she doesn't because I poop by myself!" Well, with me sitting next to her, but I guess technically sometimes I'm not there...
Yesterday being Yom Hazikaron and today being Yom Haatzmaut, the girls have missed a day-and-a-half of normal school schedule, so we've been spending a lot of time together. I found this in America as well, where we ALSO had a lot of time together (although with more distractions): being a parent is hard. It is demanding. It is messy. It is occasionally infuriating, mentally taxing, emotionally draining, and I sometimes am way, way, way too happy to close the door on them after bedtime! And yet I love my girlies with every fiber of my soul. I think that recognizing that this job is HARD, though, makes me do it better. Because it wouldn't be hard if it wasn't important. It wouldn't be hard if I didn't care to get it right. And I wouldn't trade an ounce of their capital-P personalities for any amount of blind obedience.
Okay, maybe one or two ounces. But no more!