Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Long distance parenting

Sunday evening I was watching home videos from when Alena was much smaller. In the video I was reading a story with her. Well, I was pointing to objects and naming them and she was too. I watched myself trying to understand Alena's budding speech. She pointed to something and said, "ylolo." At first I thought she was saying yogurt. That was one of her words at the time. She somehow communicated to me that that wasn't what she was saying. I guessed again. "Lotion?" I then proceeded to talk with her for a few minutes about lotion. She kept saying, "ylolo" and pointing to the page. The video me was content to believe I had figured out what she was saying. The watching-the-video me realized that she was saying "yellow" and pointing to something yellow. How had I missed that at the time?

On Monday evening I was nursing Reasor and listening to Kevin and Alena doing her bedtime routine. She was being less than cooperative. I had all sorts of suggestions for Kevin on how to get her to do what he wanted. I didn't shout out to him for two reasons: I had a sleepy baby on my lap, and I refuse to become that kind of bossy, naggy wife. Instead I sat and thought about what I do when I'm doing Alena's bedtime routine, and realized that when she's less
than cooperative I don't have any good ideas of how to change that. None. It's like it's impossible to think in that situation.

These two experiences have lead me to this conclusion: Parenting is easier -- even easy-- from a distance. That's not how it works though. Parenting is a full contact sport. Parenting from a distance, although easy, is less effective. In many cases it's entirely ineffective. I guess I just have to roll up my sleeves, prepare to be all out of ideas much of the time, and just get to work.


Blogger Kristi said...

This is a great post. Unfortunately, sometimes I am the bossy, naggy wife. I'll have to practice biting my tongue. Maybe if I had a baby who would sleep on my lap it would help... or maybe not.

7:50 PM  
Blogger melody said...

This is very true. My kids screaming from the other room where Jonny is with them sounds a lot worse than when they scream under my own supervision.

11:06 AM  

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