When Sam and I got married,
I thought I was pretty well equipped for motherhood.
I'm one of 7 children and I was 11 when the last was born,
so I had a lot of experience babysitting
both in and out of my family.
My parents had us cook dinner once each week
beginning when I was 5 years old.
I had taken numerous child development courses in high school and college,
and I even worked at a day care/preschool during high school.
But it's funny how sometimes you think you know how things go,
and then you are surprised to learn there is an entire dimension
you never knew existed.
There have been several aspects of motherhood that I've been very surprised by--one of which is the frequency with which I have to say no.
Don't pick your nose.
Chew with your mouth closed.
You need to ask nicely.
Don't climb up the balcony railing.
Don't drive your cars on the piano.
Stop throwing your food at your brother.
You can't have a snack right now.
Get back in bed.
Don't lay on the baby.
Stop jumping on the bed.
No throwing toys.
Don't play with the computer.
And on...and on...and on.
All day long.
Sometimes it seems like just about every natural tendency
toddlers and preschoolers have needs correction.
It's understandably frustrating for my kids
(even when the "no" is delivered in a positive way)
and it's really exhausting for me.
It's tough to strike the balance between allowing kids to be kids
and training them to be respectful and polite.
I've noticed that one thing has made a difference, however,
and that is to briefly reconsider the necessity of saying "no"
each time I say it.
And sometimes, I find that it really doesn't need to be said.
Often, it really does need to be said.
But that brief pause helps me select the battles
that are truly worth fighting.