Thursday, August 15, 2013
Wa Wa Word Power, (Wo)man In the Mirror
*Sings Michael Jacksons "Man in the Mirror" and attempts a sad version of the moon walk*
It is silly sometimes the moments serious life lessons hit me. As you read this post you will understand what I mean.
Currently, I am potty training my two year old. What? What does potty training have to do with word power or M.J. or sad looking dance moves? Keep reading.
Yes, he JUST turned two and it's a bit early in the eyes of some and a bit late the eyes of others.
I am his mother and have decided to take a laid back but, predictable approach to potty training.
I have never done this before, nor have I ever seen or been taught how to do this.
Often survivors who become parents have to learn how to parent in a way they've never experienced.
Potty training for us (my son and I) is basically, I put my son on the pot after he wakes up, after he eats, and before he lays down. Some days every potty trip is a success and other days... I am just grateful if I didn't get peed on (OR WORSE).
At two years old my son's vocabulary is still pretty limited. Add to the fact he is my only child and I am a stay at home mom and it makes for a perfect recipe of delayed or lazy speech.
I can sense what he needs and wants are at any moment. I don't NEED his words to communicate...or so I thought. I have not required him to use his words like I should.
I am aware of this, and it is because of this fact I am writing this post.
Rabbit trail warning! Keep reading.
My son's first word was "Dadda" and I made it a point to make his second, third and forth words.... "Please, Thank you, Sorry" and so forth. Even before he could fully say "Mommy" He could say "pweese" &"tank u". I firmly believe in manners and made it my goal to make sure my son used these words like second nature. Now it's time to teach my son (especially at two years old) to express his emotions with words.
Still waiting to see the connections? Keep reading.
Here comes that serious life lesson in a silly moment. While playing with my son on the floor, suddenly he looked at me and dropped to the floor and in a "whiney" tone says "noooooooo! mommy" I was baffled about why he was doing this. We were playing and having a good old time and then he fell out. After rolling around for a minute fussing and acting like I had somehow destroyed his world, I joined him in this ridiculous display. I threw myself to the floor and said "NOOOO!!!" I made it a point to be louder and more obnoxious to show my son how silly he looked doing this. (I have no idea if this was a good idea but, again, I am a survivor who has no clue how to do this and I am trying).
He stopped, stared at me, sighed and then after a minute laughed at me. After I got up from my spell he said "Mommy pweese?" Holding out his hand... I was holding a block he wanted for this fort/castle/who-knows-what-kind-of-tower we were building.
Oh, my bad, I was holding a block. I handed it to him and said "block please" and he repeated and followed it with "Tank you Mommy". I responded "You're welcome baby. You happy?" Without looking up or even really know what I asked he said "Yeees".
Then it hit me... I have not taken the time to teach this kid what happy even is.
He has experienced it but, he doesn't know what it is. *Facepalm!*
I decided I will start practicing making facial expressions and teaching my son what each one means.
I will even be using a mirror so he can practice these faces.
My long term goal is teaching my son to tell me everything he is feeling...and why. I know he is a boy and according to some this will be a challenge because of that but, I am not limited by these "some" opinions.
It is important to teach kids how to find their voice and find it early.
I know what it's like to have this taken from me and be subject to abuse and not tell. I had no voice to tell. No one ever taught me to say my brother made me feel uncomfortable, sad or afraid. No one said "If someone touches you in your bathroom parts, you should tell a parent or trusted adult." No, instead I was taught my mother can't handle such facts and you don't talk to anyone about anything going on at home because it's no ones business you're being abused.
As an adult survivor I still struggle telling my husband when I am upset or why.
I feel like even when I know why I am upset, I am not "allowed" to feel that way. This how I was trained.
Obviously, I do NOT want this for my son, so I must be vigilant in teaching him how to use his words. I need to require it of him and myself. I have to learn how to use my words to tell him how mommy feels and teach him to do the same.
I know at two years old there will be tantrums and at times he won't even know why he feels the way he feels. However, if he can tell me how he feels and learns how to use his words I, as his mommy can help him cope and understand why.
Survivors, we can't let the fact we have never lived a healthy (note: did not use the word "normal") life be the reason we never learn how. Especially when it comes to OUR children.
Once we become adults the task is on us to learn, get help and do better. We are SURVIVORS now... we take back control and grow and do better. We talk to our babies, we are the parent and trusted adult we never had. We owe it to our children to learn how to use words and teach them the same.
If we really want to break the cycle of abuse it's time to look in the mirror. It's time to mirror what healthy, safe and good is. I am looking in the mirror and I am using my words. Join me