Earlier today my son had a minor dramatic episode at home. It was time to cut his finger nails, and when we got to the pinkie finger of the first hand, he started whining that he was getting hurt. I was in a bit of a bad mood, and I would not have any of it.
Now, I’m sure this goes for all moms – I really do take extra care when cutting my kid’s nails. For one, cutting someone else’s nails really freak me out. Plus my mom used cut our nails as short as she possibly could when we were small, and so we’d go through maybe a day or two with tender finger tips. Because of that, I don’t really trim my son’s nails all the way down.
Going back to this morning’s whining. I took his hand, put it near my face, and then pointed out that the nail was still pretty long, I wasn’t pressing down on his finger, he wasn’t bleeding and there wasn’t even a scratch. I asked if it really hurt that much and he said that hurt just a little. I then asked him why he reacted as if his finger was coming off, when really it wasn’t so bad.
He just sat there and stared at me. After a few minutes, I asked if he understood what I was asking and he said that he did. “So how come you aren’t answering me,” I asked. He said that he wasn’t sure what to say. So, I finished cutting his nails and asked him to stay away from me for a bit. Like I said, I was in a bit of a bad mood.
He crawled over to his bed, lay down on his tummy and stuck his head under his pillow. Of course, I immediately felt guilty for getting irritated at him and for telling him to go away.
After a few minutes, I noticed that he had started crawling towards the foot of his bead, headed toward our bed. I called him over, gave him a hug and asked if he understood why I got mad at him. He said that he did. Then he pulled away, sat across from me and started on this monologue.
“Let me tell you mommy, this morning when I woke up, I went to the room of lola (grandma), then I asked if I could watch TV. She said no because she was watching a show about the elections. And then I asked if she wanted to play with me. She said we can play later when she comes home from voting. Then now you got mad at me while cutting my nails. I don’t know, I can’t explain it!”
“Are you having a bad morning,” I asked. He said yes.
I told him that I was having a bad morning too.
Then, in hopes of teaching him an important life lesson, I told him that bad mornings happen. Sometimes you even have bad days, or bad months. The trick is to remember that it’s not all bad.
I used this morning as an example. Sure, he didn’t get to watch TV or play with his grandma, and yes I did get mad at him. But in the middle of all of that he got to eat his favourite breakfast and watch a Superman cartoon with his dad. I asked him if those weren’t fun moments, and he said that they were.
I told him that I wish I could just continue to treat him like a baby, but we both agree that he’s a big boy already, and so we need to start making adjustments. We both need to remember that there will be mornings like the one we just had. I explained that this is how it is when you grow up – you experience more, you feel more, you understand more. Sometimes things won’t always be sugary sweet, but what’s important is that you know how to see the positive in the midst of all the negative things.
I think this little boy might have taught me more this morning than I taught him.
I realized that kids have bad days too. As his mom, his bad day trumps mine and I need to learn to set my issues aside and focus on his first. The words I imparted on him served as my reminder to self as well, to always try to see things positively and not let the bad moments get me down. My optimism is one of my greatest strengths, and just when I thought it was starting to fade away, my 7-year old knocked some sense into me right there.
I was also reminded this morning about how important it is that I’m there for my son for important times like this morning, and I am happy to know that I can be there for him when these moments strike.
So we hugged, and we kissed, and the rest of the day now seems a bit brighter for the both of us. I know that this is just the start of many serious discussions to come and life lessons for me to impart. I only hope that my optimism really does rub off on this guy.
To the moms with bigger kids, what are the important life lessons that you’ve shared with them over the years? For those with smaller kids, what are the things you hope to teach your children as they grow up?
This is an original post for World Moms Blog by Mrs. P Cuyugan of the Philippines.
The photograph used in this post is credited to the author.