Baby Doll Birthday Party

Stella’s great-grandma, Connie, made her a mini chocolate cake today, just because she’s sweet like that. I decided to add to the fun and turn the mini cake into a birthday cake for her baby doll, complete with a candle and the “Happy Birthday” song. Stella thought it was quite fun ūüėČ

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Parenting with Empathy and Respect — it works

I know that gentleness and respect “work.” ¬†It’s the foundation upon which I ran my infant/toddler classroom and the way I now interact with my own one year old daughter. Sometimes though, in the midst of a difficult situation, I overlook the obvious. ¬†It’s nice to be reminded through interactions, like this one, of the power of empathy and respect:

Stella had a fever before bed last night (teething), so I gave her some Tylenol. ¬†She has been HATING taking it. ¬†I had to give it twice the day before (which is a lot for a mom who RARELY gives meds!) and she cried and got very worked up both times. ¬†I had to put the syringe in her mouth with her resisting. ¬†I kept telling her it was yummy (even though I tried it and it was disgusting) and tried to make a game out of it by pretending to drink it myself — “Mmmm! ¬†It’s good! ¬†Look, Mommy’s drinking it! ¬†Here, you try!” — but it just made her more upset.

Last night, the same thing was happening, but then I realized that she could see right through the tricks (duh).  She knew that I was being fake and dishonest with her and she was probably feeling very unheard.

I stopped and said, slowly, calmly, and kindly, “Stella, I know you don’t like the way this tastes and you don’t want to drink it. ¬†You have a fever and your teeth hurt and I have to give you medicine. ¬†It will help you feel better. ¬†Will you please take this medicine?” ¬†She looked at me for a moment and then reached out for the syringe with a cringe-y look on her face (like she knew it was going to taste bad) and she put it in her mouth. ¬†I pushed a little out and she swallowed it, made a “yucky” face, and turned away. ¬†I said, “Thank you for taking some of your medicine! ¬†There’s still some left. ¬†Will you take some more, please?” ¬†She did the same thing over and over until it was gone. ¬† I said, “You took all of your medicine! ¬†Thank you so much!” ¬†She looked at me with a big smile. ¬†I picked her up and she laid her head on my shoulder — a stark difference from the day before when the medicine-giving ended with a teary-eyed, distraught one-year old and a mommy who felt the same.

She totally didn’t want to take the medicine, hated the way it tasted, but was cooperating because I empathized with her and gently invited cooperation rather than trying to force compliance. ¬†Wow!!!