Wednesday, August 18, 2010

what to do when you don't know what to do

Today was an interesting day for me as a parent. It was the first time I was completely stumped with a toddler situation that I had to seek advice on.

Both Tim and I had late work meetings, so we had to set the little guys up with the sitter for after hours. In the middle of indulging in rosemary bread, pasta, mozzarella, and wine during my work dinner, a little light bulb flicked on in my was going on 7:30 pm and I hadn't yet checked on the boys (by this time I was imagining them having thoughts of abandonment).

I shot the sitter a quick text to make sure they weren't calling for mommy at the door.  I shortly received in return the following:

...Their good...eating dinner. Jonas got in trouble twice for squeezing my daughter's boob. Please discipline him when he gets home about touching girls...

Now, my immediate reaction was, "oh crap, how the hell am i going to handle this?!" My next reaction was, "the kid just turned 3...he couldn't have been serious about his positioning of the squeeze...what does she mean by 'discipline him'?"

I immediately turned to the only other mom at the table (who also happened to have 2 of which was also 3)....and asked her for some mommy moment advice. I showed her the text, gave her a look of panic, and desperately asked her what to do. She looked at the text, looked at me and said, "absolutely nothing."

I cocked my head to the side and twisted my entire face into a huge question mark. She continued, "He's 3. If you make a big deal out of this and get real specific about not squeezing boobs, he is going to go right back and do it again."

It made perfect sense. I decided to take a little of her advice, and mix it with a little of mine, with a dash of advice from another. I wasn't sure how to approach the whole situation about being told to "discipline" my kid, but I let that part go.

When I picked the boys up, I made it a point to let the sitter know that I would have a conversation with Jonas about keeping his hands to himself and minding people's personal space. (I wasn't about to put my kid on time out 8 hours after he did something wrong).

Of course when I got home and brought Tim up to speed on the situation, he immediately acted upon it without letting me give him my opinion by telling Jonas that he can't go grabbing and pinching girls, that it was bad, and needed to keep his hands to himself.

What did Jonas do? Immediately start reaching out to pinch tim on his shoulder and chest over and over again.

The moral of the story is that I learned a very valuable lesson in parenting today. Sometimes your kid does things that they shouldn't do...including grabbing boobs....but there are some situations that aren't fully understood by a newly turned 3 year old...and those situations need to be dealt with immediately and then left as they are, or else the intrigue from reminding them only perpetuates the issue.

I am sure his infatuation with boobies will only grow...lets just hope he keeps his hands to himself for awhile.