Leah did wonderful today. She earned all 8 stars before dinner (which hardly ever happens). She was sweet, non whiny, and played so well with Brayden. We ran around outside after dinner and let the kids burn off some steam. Leah was so excited about her project tonight (burning gumballs with just Daddy and Mommy). This is all she talked about the entire time outside and throughout the bath. She couldn't wait! Cavan and I were really excited too as we knew how much Leah enjoyed it, and the fact that we were doing it with just Leah.. that made it even more special.
If you've ever had the pleasure of meeting Leah, you know she is very particular about what she wears (among many other things). She would live in just a dress and undies. It was so nice out today, I made it extra special for her and pulled out one of her old summer dresses, she ran around with it and said, "A dress!! A yellow dress with no sleeves!!!!". She was seriously so happy... I am getting to my point very soon...
Right after her bath I was about to help her get on some warmer clothes (ie.. not the dress). She totally freaked out. The kind of freak out that I honestly didn't know what she was crying about because I couldn't understand a word she was saying. I asked her to calm down and tell me what was wrong. Oh man. You guessed it... she didn't want to wear pants and a long sleeve shirt. She wanted to wear her dress, the one that was so special. I explained to her over and over how it was getting too cold outside. I tried making it so cool, and told her Daddy and Mommy were going to put warm clothes on too. She wasn't listening. The only thing she heard was, "You can't wear your dress.".
In the moment, I can honestly say, I had no idea what to do. She was being very unreasonable, loud, and wasn't listening to anything I was trying to say. I validated her feelings, and then... told her if she didn't calm down and put on her warm clothes... she couldn't go burn the gumballs tonight. The second I said it, I knew I shouldn't have. I don't want to bribe, threaten, or punish. I want to teach, respect, and love.
I am sure you guessed, she didn't calm down. In fact, she got even louder, started flailing, and was more emotional than I think I have ever seen her (the lack of a nap today did not help one bit). I started putting her pajamas on, which got her even more upset. She was trying to talk herself out of it, and I kept saying how she needed to listen, it was seriously never ending. We had to close the bedroom windows as we thought people would think we were hurting her or something... it was so bad. Then, I told her if she didn't stop I wasn't going to sing to her tonight.. oh, that one pains me to even type.
I sing to her every night. It is something we both look forward to all day. I get my snuggles in, and we always do this thing where whenever I am about to leave the room, she grabs my shirt and begs me to come back for one more cuddle... I always do. We blow kisses every night until the door is shut. I just love it.
As you can imagine, she got that taken away as well. To make matters even worse... Daddy was helping me brush her teeth (which, I must say, is amazingly easy when she was crying... never had to ask her to open and say AHH) and she was so mad and kicking, Cavan said he wasn't going to read to her tonight if she didn't stop. Well, she didn't stop.
My mistake made Leah's night terrible. My heart hurts, and I want to badly to take her outside and have a fun fire like we were supposed to. I want so badly to go upstairs and sing with her. I want so badly to listen to Daddy and Leah reading books together like they always do. I know parents make mistakes, but it's not an excuse I am going to accept.
Cavan and I have been talking about what we would have done differently tonight....
- I would have shown her the outfit I picked out while she was taking a bath to prepare her for wearing something other than her special dress.
- I would have given her 2 choices, "You can either sit here and cry, or we can get the warm clothes on and go make a really big fire.".
- I wouldn't have threatened her, or taken away something she earned all day long.
- I never ever want to take away her special reading and singing time, no matter what she does.
I did go upstairs and cuddle her, explained everything, and we prayed together. I laid next to her for a while until I knew she would be ok with me leaving. I feel bad, but I know I am learning and I know next time I will do better. I love my little girl, and hate when she is hurting. I am ready for a fun day tomorrow with lots of snuggles and fun times with her.