Ok, before I start this post, let me say that I know. It is unwise to compare yourself to others, God gives you only what you can handle, she is not the mother of my children, etc. In fact, my friend Michelle blogged about a similar idea recently. It's a good read if you are interested. I just need to put this out there to get it out of my head.
Yesterday, I met the perfect mom. Or, perhaps I should say, the mom I want to be. She was slender, but not too slender, her children were dressed in their jammies for sleepytime at the library (I forgot about the jammies) and their hair was perfect, with little golden ringlets. (in contrast my kids looked like they had just woken up and hadn't had a bath in a day or two, both of which were true).
But appearances weren't what made her "perfect." While Miss N was engaged by story time, I was wrestling with Miss M, who doesn't usually sit, and this night was particularity wiggly. I am trying to teach her to sit but sometimes she's just not interested in story time. But sister is, and so we go.
Then I noticed it. The mom's bag of tricks. Miss M noticed it too. It was simple. Just some dollar store notebooks and about three crayons. Miss M wandered over to the table where this mom's toddler was doodling away. She just stood there, watching. The mom graciously handed her a book and a crayon. For a while Miss M was entertained. I was inwardly embarrassed that someone else had the foresight to entertain my toddler, but grateful at the same time that she was willing to share.
During craft time, instead of being flustered by the grabbing that her toddler did, she calmly guided her toddler in making the craft. When she suggested something and the answer was "NO!", it wasn't a big deal.
Then, the ultimate perfection. The librarian was handing something out and the little girl wanted, but did not need, one. She started to cry when the mom took it from her. The librarian was going to offer one, but the mom said, "no, she is fine." and proceeded to scoop up her crying toddler, ignore the behavior, and calmly walk away from the scene of the disappointment.
I was thinking on it - when Miss M starts to throw a fit, I do not react so calmly. It rarely happens in a public place, but when it does, I resort to giving her what she wants to stop the fit and allow Miss N to finish the activity. I know this is wrong, but sometimes I feel my hands are tied.
Of course, "perfect mom" had one advantage over me - her toddler was a "normal" size and younger than Miss M. Having a two year old the size of a five year old makes scooping up the crying toddler physically difficult, especially when she fights being held tooth and nail when upset.
So what do I hope to learn from this? I don't know. I need to be calmer. I need to not let the toddler's fits get to me. I need to understand that it's just a normal part of being two.
But I am not calm when dealing with a screaming child. The fits do get to me. And soon she will not be two, and she needs to somehow learn that this behavior is not appropriate.
There is a lot about this mom that I want to emulate. Being prepared (bag of tricks) wards off fits. Being calm and not giving in calms them faster, and probably limits them in the future.
I do know this. If we happen to meet up at library time again, I am going to introduce myself. Perhaps if we are friends some of her parenting skills will rub off on me.