When your daily activities are in concert with your highest priorities, you have a credible claim to inner peace. – Hyrum Smith


7/21/10

It's MY turn!

Why is it that young children are so fixated upon order and taking turns? Everything at our house is now dictated by turn-taking. Parker articulates his concerns about the order of things quite clearly, while Maddie simply shrieks if she feels she has been slighted.

Here are some every day examples:

Parker begins to cry because he is told it's bedtime. Moments later Maddie begins to cry when she realizes her sippy cup only contains water (and not the apple juice she's been jonesing for). Parker erupts: "NO MADDIE! You're not the person who is sad! I am the person who is sad right now!"

We are climbing the back steps to go into the house. Parker is in front. I attempt to go around him so I can unlock the door and unload armfuls of groceries. Parker sticks his arms out to prevent me from passing. "No Mommy! I am in front. It's my turn to go up first!"

There is only one usable child-sized watering can remaining. (One has a slow leak on the base and the other died a cruel death under the tire of our van.) I explain to the kids we are going to take turns. Maddie has a turn, then I tell her it is Parker's turn and reach for the can. Screaming, "NOOOO!" she throws the can across the yard. When Parker runs after it, her eyes widen as she realizes she just voluntarily relinquished her prized possession. She propels her tiny body in his general direction with all the grace of running penguin, inevitably falling face first and bursting into tears.

Maddie is crying about something (who even knows anymore). Parker takes up his guitar and begins strumming. He softly sings "Silent Night" to her. She stops crying and turns her head to listen. Caught up in the sweetness of the moment, I join in the singing. Immediately the serenade ends. "No Mommy! I am singing to Maddie. It's not your turn to sing yet!"

In writing this entry, I realize that I, in fact, am the one to blame for the turn-taking-obsession. How many times have I pried a newly-snatched toy out of Parker's hand and explained it was not yet his turn? If I had a quarter for every time I forced my kids to take turns with each other and with their friends, I might be able to hire a cleaning person, and maybe my floors wouldn't be sticky, and maybe there wouldn't be crumbs in Parker's bed, and maybe the dust bunnies under my bed would finally be shot and killed (or at least swiffered to death)...I digress.

I suppose my point is, I am just reaping what I've sown. Maybe next time I'll be a little more careful about what I plant.

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