Saturday, January 23, 2010

Mirroring who, exactly?

Ever since the parenting class last Tuesday I have thought quite a bit about my daughters mirroring me-- about how they learn from what I DO and not necessarily what I SAY.

Of course, I'm far from perfect. Definitely a work in process. So when Iris busted out with this amazingness today, I had to think "who, exactly, is this child mirroring?!?" Here's what went down: Iris got upset with me over something this morning and decided a good way to get back at me was to spend some time insulting me with the line "mommy's got fat boobies". She repeated it over and over, mostly I ignored her but once we were all in the car I decided to deal with it by telling her that people don't like to be in families with other people who are being mean. It was the best I had at the time (remember: work in progress!). However, that pretty much ended the insults.

We spent about an hour in the car on our drive and then another hour sledding up on Snoqualmie Pass before Iris and I found ourselves hanging out in the back of the car enjoying a snack together. During a pause in our laughing and chatting Iris turned to me and said "I'm sorry I was saying mean things before" to which I replied "thank you for the apology" and gave her a big hug.

The rest of the afternoon I couldn't get out of my head how amazing it was that Iris came back to that moment and apologized. What I meant by not understanding who she is mirroring is that it isn't ME. You see, apologizing for things I've done to hurt other people is one of my very weakest points. I'm incredibly terrible at it.

On the drive home, after Iris had fallen asleep, I told Matt about Iris apologizing. I said "next to having a kid who never says mean things, that's about the best you can hope for!" Matt thought for a moment and responded that it isn't realistic to have a kid who never says anything mean, so actually, have a kid who comes back and apologizes, unprovoked, IS the best you can hope for.

I think he hit the nail on the head.

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