Parenting Bonus Points

For Travis.

Petra walked over to him this afternoon and bit him on the thigh (she’s never been a biter in the past; I’m not sure why she decided to be a biter today, but bite him, she did). Travis let out a pained and surprised yell and lurched backwards. Petra lost her balance and ended up on her knees on the floor. Travis and I exchanged “oh my god, did that just happen?” looks. Then he crouched down to say to Petra, “When you bit me, I jumped backwards and then you lost your balance and fell over, so the takeaway message is that biting me is not a good idea.” Or words to that effect. Petra stayed on the floor – she didn’t cry, but she didn’t get up – and Travis moved away. After a moment or two, he crouched down again and reached out to her. She turned into his arms for a hug. They stood up together, and all was well again.

Lots of points to Travis for keeping his cool and for handling such an unexpected situation without making a big drama out of it. He explained the consequences of her actions to Petra, left her to her own devices for a minute, then reconnected with her and carried on, all very smoothly and calmly. He’s not a big reader of parenting books or analyser of parenting strategies either, so he did it all spontaneously. I was and am impressed.

Petra’s going through a particularly vigorous boundary-testing phase. She’s trying things out now that she’d never even have considered a few months ago, to find out how we’ll react. It makes for an exciting home life!

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6 Responses to Parenting Bonus Points

  1. trayflow says:

    Sofia is going through a similar stage. Alex is learning to walk and she is very jealous. She is going through this emotional phase as well. Drama! And to add to this is hypochondriac. Overwhelming to say the least! The boundary-testing is frustrating. I use time-outs but don’t think the small boundary-testing things she is doing really calls for corner time. I am at a loss really on how to deal with her sometimes. She will cry and scream and whinge at the drop of a hat and it can carry on for all afternoon. sigh. Another phase.

    • Janettes says:

      Yes, another phase – they just keep on coming! Three is tougher than two despite all the stories you hear about the terrible twos. Three year olds seem to have a greater range of things to get frustrated about, and they’re more emotional and more persistent than smaller children.
      I think they just need to cry and complain at least some of the time, because they’re overwhelmed and it helps release tension. But that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. It’s not always easy to stay sane and be patient and keep some sense of humour when faced with a preschooler. I want to run away from home sometimes.
      Lucky for them (and us), that they’re also charming and entertaining and smart. Petra’s a really big girl all of a sudden – she knows stuff and thinks of stuff and has lots of new skills and is just so damn proud of herself. Watching her makes me smile.

  2. Yes, points to Travis for staying calm. Even if I had managed to keep my cool in that situation, I would have had to point out to my daughter (in no uncertain terms) that biting HURTS! and that’s reason enough to never do it again. Glad all that is behind me.

    • Janettes says:

      Yes, I’m not sure that I would have managed to be as cool as he was either. I get indignant if Petra hurts me, even when she doesn’t mean to.
      So it gets easier then? Preschoolers are challenging – I’m hoping for smoother waters ahead!

      • I don’t know about easier – just different. I relate to older kids better. The little ones scare me!

      • Janettes says:

        I live in hope that bigger kids are not quite as anarchic and unreasonable as small ones! Although, I have to say that I admire and enjoy the way that preschoolers bash and crash their way through the world, soaking up everything they encounter with enormous enjoyment and enthusiasm.

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