It’s when I am sitting quietly upstairs in the nook, and I hear Mrs. B talking to the girls. The topics range from them getting harangued to clean up their mess, to advice on how to get extra marks on a project, to why they have to brush their teeth all the time. It’s always entertaining, no matter if it’s comedy night, tearjerker night, or inspirational night.
Tonight was on how to accept compliments. It was inspirational.
I had noticed before that when there was praise given for a certain talent, it was automatically deflected to which of her friends can do it better. I had noticed it, but never thought to correct it.
This would be a typical conversation:
Me: Hey, that’s a cool poster. You did a really good job on that.
Her: Oh, you should have seen how good Daisy (I’m naming them all Daisy) did on hers. She’s a way better artist than I am.
Me: Oh that’s good for her, but yours is really well done too.
Her: Not as good as her’s though.
Me: Okay, but I like this.
I figured it was just how she was, and I had never thought anything of it, but then tonight I heard this from downstairs:
Her: Mom, want to read the story that I wrote?
Mrs. B: Yes, I’d love too… Wow, you did a really good job. You should be very proud of yourself for working so hard on it.
Her: Daisy did a much better job. Her’s was like a novel. It was so good.
Mrs. B: That’s good, but I don’t care about that. You need to quit giving all of the credit away, and just realise that you did an awesome job, and deserve credit too. You have to understand that you get praise when you do a good job, and while it is nice to mention your friend, you should be very proud of all of the work that you put into things too.
Her: Okay, thanks Mom
Wow. All of that time, and I could have just said that? I’m never going to get an award for parenting.
My baby might though. When I think of all of the times that she has calmly repeated herself several times to the girls, telling them to do something, and explaining why they need to do it, I wondered why she didn’t just lay down the law. I would have. Tell them to quit arguing and just do as they’re told. Sure it may have got something done, but what would they learn? Just to do it and not question things. That sort of goes against my belief on how things should work, but it was the way things have always been growing up, so it takes me a little while to adapt.
Mrs. B lets the girls constantly question why they have to do something, no matter what. If they can come up with a convincing argument as to why they shouldn’t have to do said hardship, then they are free. So far there have only been a few times that their argument won, but hey, at least they don’t always just give in.
Them: Can we please have a freezie?
Them: How come?
Me: Because it’s ten minutes to your bedtime, and a sugary tube of flavoured water isn’t a very good choice for bedtime.
Them: Can we just have some cookies then?
Me: No! That’s a worse choice.
Them: Then can we have a freezie? You said it’s a better choice.
They’re pretty sharp kids, and no I didn’t give in. This time.
Mommy’s alright, daddy’s alright, they just seem a little weird,