Recently, on Facebook or Pinterest or somewhere, I saw this quote: "that awkward moment when you realize you punished your kid for acting exactly like you.". On countless occasions, one of the boys will do something, and Matt or I will instantly look to the other making a facial expression that says, "that's all you, babe". And it's not just the times I punish them for this behavior that I notice, but more frequently, it's that I let a behavior go unpunished or allow something I probably shouldn't because I can empathize with their condition.
Matt was in charge of teeth brushing tonight. On most nights, Brock brushes his teeth first, then a parent finishes up. He prefers this. He's a bit paranoid about his teeth turning black and falling out...which I credit to a first time parenting mistake. How was I to know he would take that statement so seriously!? Don't have to worry about tooth hygiene with that one. Anyhow, tonight was a long night, I don't feel good, we went to my mom's for dinner to celebrate Xander's 7th birthday; Matt didn't feel like brushing his teeth. I get it. Well, Brock doesn't. This was an unexpected change. He panicked. He began to cry and point to various regions of his mouth that he did not feel we're thoroughly brushed. Matt insisted it was fine and suggested he get over it. But I couldn't stand to watch the poor thing fret. I know what it's like. I go from side to side, front to back, etc constantly until every tooth feels clean and equally brushed. I get annoyed, impatient and want to stop, but can't. Some nights, when I am REALLY exhausted, I will even give my self a little tooth brushing brevity pep talk. Bargaining with myself that if I just do a quick once over now, I will be sure to brush extra long in the morning. I did not want to undermine Matt's ruling, but it was hard to hold my tongue. Very hard. Trust me Brock, I get it. More often than not, I get it.
Tough love ain't no joke. And you have to retrain a lot of your own habits that are acceptable from adults, but not from kids. I am quickly finding, the word "hate" sounds horrendous from a 4 year old. But he gets it from his momma. I frequently express how I love or hate things. Not in any aggressive way, I just simply say, I hate popcorn flavored jelly beans. Or I hate the smell of burnt toast. But what I really hate, is my baby boy using that word. So I will continue trying not to use that word. And I will continue to punish my child for saying exactly what I might have said...because its wrong, inappropriate and vulgar. I guess, I will just continue to try and do what I think is right for my kids. I will try to retrain myself to be a good example. And I will hope that, someday, they will appreciate my discipline and effort.