Since it’s Mother’s Day this Sunday, I thought I would write about one of my favorite mommy skills. Or maybe I should call it “Mom-E Skil-Z” since I am ultra hip? Uhhh? Or Maybe not? Anyway..I love my kids dearly but as they get older they start to develop their own ideas and opinions about things (GASP!) I try to encourage these as much as possible (cough) unless, of course, they get in my way. When they start doing things that cramp my style, I am forced to use special tactics to gently guide them back to the mother ship. I like to call these tactics, Jedi mind tricks. There is not a soul on earth better at Jedi mind tricks than a mom. Understand me, you will.
Flynn is my quiet, shy, gentle soul but he also has a competitive side. We are constantly reminding him to make eye contact with adults when they speak to him. We have had this same lecture for 9 years. It comes across as rude, not shy, when he stares at the ground. I’m not in a mood to argue with him about eye contact, so I use my Mom-E Skill-Z.
Jedi Mind Trick: I use Flynn’s competitive nature to my advantage.
Me: (We are getting out of the car walking into a party.) “I hope your friend Jake is here today!”
Flynn: (Excited)“Oh! I think he is coming. Um, Mom? Why do you want him to be here?”
Me: “Ohhhh, I love him! He is so polite. Every time I see him he gives me a big smile and looks me right in the eye. I like that!”
Flynn: (smiles and takes it all in) “Yeah, he is nice.”
Me: “You do that too, right?”
Flynn: “Do what?”
Me: “You smile and answer adults when they ask you questions, right buddy?” (In my dreams)
Flynn: “Oh. Um, Yes.” (he thinks about it for a minute and realizes that his statement isn’t exactly true) “Well? I try to remember.”
We enter the party and he tries to impress me by making eye contact and smiling as he shakes hands with some of the other dad’s. Mission accomplished.
It’s the first warm day and Molly wants to wear her favorite pair of shorts from last summer to school. They are size 5 and she wears a size 7. Her butt is eating half the fabric and they are so short they look like boxer briefs but she thinks they look “like um totally like awesome” and… hello??? she wants to be a designer when she grows up She knows style! (Cough!)
Jedi Mind Trick: Using a fake weather report to trigger an outfit change.
Me: (I make conversation while she is eating breakfast) “You look cute! Did you pick that outfit out yourself?” (She did look cute… just about as cute as I look in a bikini or a pair of size 2 yoga pants.)
Molly: (big smile) “Yes I did! Thanks mom!”
Me: (A dramatic pause as I look at the weather on my iPhone.) “Aw, bummer.”
Molly: “What’s wrong mom?”
Me: “The weather man says it’s going to rain all day.”
Molly: “What? Seriously?”
Me: “Yup. That stinks. Maybe you should wear capris or jeans. You might be chilly in those shorts.”
Molly: “Good idea mom. I hate when my legs get freezing cold.”
She changes out of her Daisy Duke shorts and puts on a cute pair of capris. I swear she can breathe better too.
Me: “Oh Molly! Much better! You look adorable.”
Molly: “Thanks mom. I want to be a designer ya know?”
Me: “You will be a great designer but ya know what? Those other shorts looked a little small. What size were they anyway?”
Molly: “Um..Size 5, I think.”
Me: “5??? Molly, you wear a 7. I will buy you some new ones that fit. Let’s donate those to Teagan,OK?”
Molly:(sad to say goodbye to her favorite shorts) “OK Mom.”
I win. There are no tears and she gets on the school bus dressed appropriately.
Teagan will not eat her dinner. She is a skinny little thing and needs to eat. She does not typically like the meal I’m serving for dinner and I am in no mood for a struggle.
Jedi Mind Trick: I pair the unfavorable dinner with her favorite dessert and bribe her.
Me: “OK Teagan. If you want your FAVORITE dessert, you have to eat all of your dinner without complaining. I KNOW you can do it because you are the world’s smartest 5 year old.” She isn’t completely sold at this point so I continue. “And…every smart 5 year old KNOWS that eating this healthy dinner is the ONLY way to get your FAVORITE dessert, right?”
Teagan: “I have to eat ALL of it?”
Me: “No. You do not have to eat all of your dinner BUT if you do…you get to have your FAVORITE dessert.”
Teagan: “I’m definitely eating my dinner tonight.”
Me: ” I knew you were a smart girl!”
Teagan is all smiles and eats her dinner. I win again.
Maggie is my strong willed and determined child. When she wants something there is no stopping her and if you do try and stop her, be prepared for a battle.
Jedi Mind Trick: Making my suggestion seem like it was her idea.
It’s 4am. Maggie,23 months, is screaming bloody murder in her crib. I am shocked that the entire house slept through the shrills coming out of her room.
Me: (I open her bedroom door) “What on earth are you screaming about?”
Maggie: (she wants me to bring her into my bed but we are trying to put the kabash on that) “Hold me Momma, puweeease!”
Me: “Mags you really need to put your head on the pillow and go nite-nite, OK?”
Maggie: (screaming again and being bossy) “No mommy! You hold me!”
Me: “Maggie. Go nite-nite.” (I give her a hug but I won’t pick her up and this pisses her off something fierce. Now she is having a full blown tantrum.)
Maggie: (jumping like a primate in her crib)“Mooooooooommmmy!”
Me:(I use my soft mom therapy voice) “Shhhh, shhh, shhh. Now calm down. Would you like a nice drink?”
Maggie: “Yes mommy.”
Me: “Ok, if you want a drink you need to lay very quiet and I will bring you one. OK?”
She quiets down and puts her head on the pillow.
Me: “Good girl! That’s nice. Now I will get you a drink and you can go nite-nite. Ok?”
I bring her some milk
Maggie: “Tank you mommy! Nite- nite!”
She was so thrilled with the milk that she completely forgot she wanted to sleep in my bed. For tonight, I win.
Some parents might call me sneaky or deceiving. I call it survival. I guide my kids to the “right” answer. I point to it, circle it, whisper it in their ear and give strong hints (cheat) but I usually let them make the final decision (I’m flexible like that). It’s the basis of the Jedi philosophy. Parenting is relentless. It might not always be pretty but survive I will.
Happy Mother’s Day Everyone!