Tuesday, September 02, 2008

being nice to Hazel

So, I think Hazel and I have turned a corner in our relationship....phew!

When I left for a week to go to girls camp things were pretty bad. She was just so needy and so fragile. She would melt down immediately if the TINIEST thing happened....if I didn't let her stir her cereal and yogurt, if Charlie looked at her the wrong way, if she barely bonked her head. My approach to her was to just ignore this behavior or tell her to be brave, or to stop melting down....to remind her that these things were not big deals. Basically, I was worried that if I gave her any sympathy she'd get more and more fragile.

When I told her I was leaving for a week for camp she said: "My wish came true! You will leave for a long time and other people will take care of me!"

And then when I came back even though she acted excited to see me she told me:
"but mom, I wanted you to leave FOREVER!"

Around that same time we were having a conversation and she said, "mom, do you know what Heidi does when I'm sad or hurt? She is just really nice to me. I want to be part of her family."

Then, about a week later Heidi came over with her kids and one of them got hurt pretty bad. When Heidi rushed in to see what was wrong and comfort him Hazel just looked at me and said, "see?" "See what?" I said....hoping beyond hope that she wasn't remembering the exact thing she told me a week before. But, she was referring to that statement, "see, she is so nice to her kids when they get hurt."

Man, did I feel like a rotten mom. I have to confess, that one of my biggest fears as a mom with an eldest daughter was that I'd have a rocky relationship with her. We are pretty similar, and we clash head on a lot. I really really want to get this right....I love that little girl with all my might.

Around the same time I was feeling pretty pregnant and achy and overwhelmed with everything going on in my life and found that I was complaining to Jeff a LOT. Despite all my complaints he wasn't giving me too much sympathy and it was driving me crazy....making me want to complain more and more and louder and louder just in case he wasn't hearing what I was saying.

I was thinking about this one day and it dawned on me that Hazel and I were doing the exact same thing! I realized that maybe the way to get her stop being so fragile and melting down so easily was to give her the sympathy and compassion that she was asking for with all that melting down. It dawned on me that maybe by ignoring her frequent emotional episodes I was making her be more dramatic to get the sympathy and security that she needed from me.

So, I'm trying it. A little motherhood experiment. I'm being extra nice to Hazel and I'm happy and a little amazed that it's working (at least for now)....she isn't really melting down as often, I think she feels more secure and happy and attended too. And she hasn't asked to be part of anyone else's family for a while!

Jeff, maybe you should try it on me :).

1 comment:

  1. You are one smart mom! I figured that out once with Shawni when she was about five and thought she had cancer EVERYDAY! I was just a little more irritated every time she came to me with something like "cancer of the eyelash". As soon as I knelt down and looked her straight in the eye and sincerely sympathized and told her that I was sure it wasn't cancer, she quit complaining...although she probably still thinks she has cancer once in a while!

    Love that you figured out that it works both ways...mother to daughter, husband to wife.

    Someday Hazel will die laughing that she thought she'd like another mother. She is one lucky girl!!!



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