Tuesday, September 08, 2009

A rule with many applications

I am sitting in my chair with the computer on my lap trying my very hardest to finish an article I am reading. The four-year-old sits beside me on a little ottoman pulled right up to the arm of my chair. Although the term "sits" is wholly inappropriate because this child does not sit. If she has even half an ounce of energy left in her gangly body she is squirming and bouncing and wiggling and finding some way to get one of her razor-sharp elbows into my side.

At any rate she's there, sitting and yet not sitting, giggling and trying to catch a small leather ball that is being tossed erratically in her direction. The pitcher? The three-year-old of course. This one seems to think that yelling "catch" at the top of her lungs is a substitute for actually aiming her throw.

The two of them crack each other up. Rachel gets louder and Anna gets higher-pitched. It's a brain-piercing combination. After about five minutes of this, the little leather ball goes whizzing past my laptop screen and I open my mouth to try to move this scene to another part of the house.

Before I can speak a word my brain does me a favor (this is banner news as it does not happen often, particularly before words leave my mouth). I mentally flash through the next few minutes: request, resistance, insistence, whining... enough said. I stopped at whining. I closed my mouth (more banner news) and repositioned the laptop.

When Anna was a very fussy colicky six-week-old baby, Dan got some excellent advice from his best friend, himself a father of two girls. This piece of advice came with a title: The Happy Baby Rule. In any given situation we were to ask ourselves, is the baby happy? If the answer was yes then we as parents should sit down, shut up and do nothing to change the situation. Period. It didn't matter if it was time for the baby to eat or she should be napping. Happy baby equals happy parents.

I hereby adopt this rule for my preschoolers. Maybe it is due to the temporary (ha! I hope so) increase in bickering that occurred when Anna came back from her vacation (there will be more on that soon) (and by the way can I use any more parentheses in this post?) or the fact that school started again today and I am now surrounded by many more preschoolers every day but I just do not have the energy to try to run the show right now.

So now I am living by the Happy Kid Rule. Are they happy? Are they safe? Then they can be as annoying as they want.

You can drop that parenting award in the mail at your convenience.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a good rule...one that goes with, "are you bleeding? is it broken? do I need to call 911? No? Then you're fine."