"We are made kind by being kind." Unknown
Today, my older daughter received a "time out". This is VERY unusual in our home, since she's generally a pretty good kid who responds to reasoning and calm discussion. But today, I gave her a big, fat time out. And I'm glad. Here's the story:
We had a busy day-- an early morning trip to the movies, then up to my office, then over to the pool to meet "Da" (Grandma), Aunt Susie, and Cousin Nicole. We had a lot of fun, but Charlotte got pretty pooped. THEN, Charlotte's BFF (as featured in cute pictures, and, coincidentally, daughter of Mommy BFF) came and met us at the pool. At first, it was quite lovely. Everyone played quite nicely, while I sat with Mommy BFF and Da, and nursed Kate as discreetly as I could while in a bathing suit :).
Of course, it was too good to be true, and Charlotte, in a move that was uncharacteristic of her general demeanor, began to be mean to her BFF while in the pool. Perhaps it was the dynamic of three, perhaps it is the aftermath of having a new sister, but she was REALLY mean. And since I was nursing Kate while this was going on, Mommy BFF went to tend to the situation, and help poor BFF in her time of need.
Suddenly, I see Charlotte SCREAM at Mommy BFF, "BFF can't PLAY with us if she's crying!" My angel, My SWEET ANGEL, then proceeds to SPLASH Mommy BFF. The splash, as far as I'm concerned, is the ultimate act of pool disrespect. And so, I RIPPED Kate off of my booby, handed her to Da, and in my firmest mommy voice EVER, featuring the perfect balance of volume without yell, said:
It was like time stopped. Every kid, every mommy, every lifeguard within the vicinity looked up to watch me. And, at that moment, I was fighting for every kid who had ever been picked on. As a former victim of the "I Hate Caroline Club", I was not going to let my child turn into a "Mean Girl"...Even if this were a one time only occurrence (although truth be told, I've seen this coming for a few weeks now), I was going to make sure that Charlotte knew how hurtful girl-on-girl meanness could be.
Charlotte came out of the pool. She was hysterical, and surprised that I pulled her out. I took her into the locker room, helped her calm down, and explained how important it is to be nice. I think she got it...and by the end of the day, although she was exhausted, it was a lot better. Now, she's sleeping, and she looks like the beautiful cherub I am madly in love with.
For tonight, I am Queen of the Mommy Kingdom. I am Mommus Perfectus-- the one who teaches you not to bully, and won't let you be bullied. I am Numero Uno Mami-- the one who can give a time out to her older and then go back to nursing her younger without blinking an eye. For tonight. Tomorrow, I'll be back to Messy, Mean, Mixed-up Mommy. But hey, there are four hours left until tomorrow, and eleven hours until my kids wake up again. So, for tonight, I'm kicking up my feet and celebrating. Chalk one up for Team Mommy.