I have a friend who weekly adds a post of great little tricks that work for her. She is a domestic goddess so often they are ways of getting organized or delicious recipes or cool crafty things. Check it out at learning patience.wordpress.com. (Sorry that I haven’t asked how to do that cool thing that sends you right to her site. At the beginning of this blog I wrote the technologically impaired disclaimer.
Anyway in honor of her – I’ll add something that works for me… Memmy just came to me and said, “I peed on the floor on accident, well, it was on purpose, but I’m sorry ’cause I wish I didn’t. I peed by that chair but I’m sorry.” I could get stressed out over such an “accident” from a four year old who has been successfully peeing in the toilet for over a year. Instead, it was a joyful (on the inside) conversation for me. I mentally thanked God for our easy to clean hardwood floors. I was also thankful that the accident-on purpose concept has really taken hold.
For a while every time Memmy did something rotten (which is relatively often – he has his father’s penchant for mischeif and he is an attention seeking last born…) he would quickly announce that it was an accident as hope for instant question-free absolution. I tried to tell him that when you mean to do something that it isn’t an accident. I finally explained it to him in a way that he could understand by dividing mishaps into these categories:
- accidents – you didn’t mean to do it and you are really surprised that it happened
- on purpose and in trouble – you meant to do it, knew it was wrong and you’re glad you did it
- on purpose and sorry (and in less trouble) – you meant to do it, but you really wish you didn’t
Believe it or not he puts behaviors in all of these categories daily! Sometimes when Lucy drives him crazy he loses it and gets physical. If you ask what happened, he’ll own up, “She hit me, so I hit her on purpose.” Most of his goofiness is truly accidental and, though not surprising to me, is actually surprising to him. And then there are the true moments of learning, when he pees on the floor, but sees all on his own (with his own little sense of right and wrong)that it wasn’t a good thing so he wishes he didn’t!