A way out

When I was 5-6 my parents prepared my lunch to eat at kindergarten. Salami was the exquisite delicious choice for my sandwich. One day they had only Zacusca to put in my sandwich. I said I don’t want it but they still gave it to me. So I threw it on the ground in the passage way near my apartment bloc. My dad found it. Duh! 🙄 

At noon, upon my return my dad asked witch a knowing smile how my lunch was. “Hungry” I replied. I was ashamed of my impetuous action. And never did it again.

Two days ago the girls asked for ice-cream. I was preparing some appetizers with cheese, walnuts and fish. I have jackie a bite before Icecream. A minute later I hear the toilet flush and jackie comes out saying she just had to pee. Seriously! Had she said nothing, I wouldn’t have questioned the events. I only pushed a little. The confession came right out. The only consequence was that she couldn’t have icecream that night. 

The following day we went shopping and the girls picked up random stuff to eat, and they push. Sometimes I guide their choices, other times I let them make decisions and live with them. Eat them in this case. Ivy got a few yogurts made of coconut milk. She didn’t like the taste, after taking a bite. But I asked her to finish the one yogurt she started. She went back out and came back a minute later with the cup empty. I asked her if she threw it in the back yard. She said no. But after asking her to come clean and it’s her one chance to avoid the lying consequences, she she nodded. Her pitiful look was hilarious. But I refrained from laughing. I asked her to show me where she poured the yogurt out. It was next to my vine. It looked like someone threw up. I told her to not throw food anymore. 

To jackie I restated my availability to hear her out. If she’ll ever be afraid to come clean about a mistake, to remind me that I’m here to support her and help her. 

They push back, and they get more creative and more clever about their skirting the rules. But at least they started telling the truth when we confront the lie. Being empathetic with our response, while we still express the importance of truth telling and trust, day after day, seems to finally pay off. They are both stubborn but they also want to please us. 

The tension is real. 

But they make me laugh. And that’s the light in my tunnel: Finding reasons to laugh amidst the tension of parenting and the fear of screwing up this one job. 

We are entering a new season of gratitude expressed, of enjoyable company (after months of irritation) and better communication: both ways talking and then listening to understand.

It occurs to me how agile my daughters are in finding a solution to the issue at hand. And how easy it is for me to fall into a rigid stubbornness of parenting. Food is not a big deal for me. I used to have clear light boundaries and guidelines. When the world pushes (junk food, candy, soda, snacks) I push back and get stuck. It seems that parents complicate their lives getting stuck on non-issues.