I was one tired momma. In one hour's time, I was hearing, "Mommy? I need..." about, oh, 36 times. Or just hearing the, "mommy!" over and over again was enough to have the hairs stand on my neck. And as much as I love my children and hearing the sweet 'mommy' words come out of their mouths, I knew something had to change.
It's easy to figure out gratification when you have a newborn and you give into every.single.demand. Crying? Give them a paci, or feed them. Dirty diaper? Change it. Even at 12 months old, they are still crying and not able to express themselves well enough, so you just give them whatever they are pointing at to stop them from crying.
But when they get older, you start to wonder, when does the immediate gratification end and the delayed gratification end? It happened in my house this week, that's when.
I just came to a point with my 3.8 year old and 19 month old on Monday. When I had just sat down to eat breakfast with them, I decided I was not going to get up for "more milk momma!"
Yep, when I sit down to eat now (and this is after preparing one meal for my 3 year old, another for my toddler and one for me) I don't get back up a million times.
I heard, "But mommy, I said please!" To which I replied, "Yes, I know you said it so nicely, but see, mommy just sat down to eat her lunch, and when I am finished eating, then I will get back up to get you more milk." And then I explain more when she complained, "Mommy worked hard making your meal, and is tired and needs to finish eating her own. Sometimes it's hard to wait for something, but we have to learn to be patient." LOL here because she gives me a funny look.
Of course 'patience' is a word my child does not know, nor does any other toddler or preschooler, but hey, at least I am practicing the 'art of patience' right?
Now as for my toddler, I have been saying the same things to her. But her threshold is not so big, so when I tell her she will have to wait until I am finished, sometimes her wanting out of her highchair equals screaming and I finally have to give in and hold her while I finish my meal. I try practicing my limit setting with her, "I know you are having a hard time sitting in your chair, you waited a long time so I will pick you up now."
So how have the past few days been for us trying my delayed gratification?
Awh, so liberating! Seriously, there is less stress in our home.
When we are playing on the floor and my children ask me to get up immediately right when I had just sat down to play (because they need me to come with them to get a toy in another room), I just say, "hmm, well mommy just sat down to play and I don't feel like getting up right now, so let's play with the toys here and then in a little bit we can go get the other one, or you can go by yourself to get it." :)
Sometimes there are, "awh, mommmm! please!" but most of the time it's met with a sigh and an 'ok.' I'm really liking teaching my kids to wait :)