I have discerned that one of the buzz-words in behavioral training is “redirection”. It’s the idea that instead of simply scolding and saying “NO”, which certainly has its place (I’m old school), it is important to add a positive element to the situation by redirecting the child’s focus to a more, shall we say, profitable activity.
“NO, you must not put the Tinker Toy into the wall socket; how about I help you build a bridge?”
“NO, your baby brother would not prefer eating his applesauce over your ice cream made of Lego blocks.”
“NO, we must not cut the feet off your sister’s Barbie doll and glue her ankles onto the snow skis you just made; let’s fashion something else to fit her orthopedically challenged posture instead.” (Hmmmm…wonder where THAT one came from??)
No, as the title might suggest, I haven’t been gone in some foreign country for two years.
At this writing, Bob and I just returned home from a week-long extended family vacation in Maine where we all stayed in a huge old house (older than my own, fancy that, and in many ways, reminiscent of…) The week prior we were superlatively blessed to have our two-year-old granddaughter and her mommy (our eldest) with us before the four of us flew out to join our son-in-law and the rest of the crew.
Here’s what greeted me upon returning home from the airport this morning at 1:30AM…
It’s been about 30 years since I’ve had a toddler. I believe that one really doesn’t appreciate parents adequately until you have children of your own. Now, I’m thinking the same about the grandparenting experience, so here goes.
Open letter to my mom (now a great-grandparent several times over!):
Whenever we came to visit those, oh-so-many times, did you ever find yourself—
—cutting fresh peaches into small pieces for your own cereal?
—arguing with the Pack-n-Play about fitting back into the carrying case? (oh wait, you didn’t HAVE the convenience of Pack-n-Plays back then…!)
—Cleaning the oatmeal (or worse, as I remember…) from your Sunday outfit before church?
—locating a forgotten bag of (used) diapers upstairs after the house had been closed up for a week?
And did you start noticing how many horribly dangerous plastic bags there are in the world?? Sheesh, they’re EVERYWHERE!
Did you ever wonder if there is a heavenly equivalent to rocking your granddaughter to sleep on a patio with cool breezes gently blowing? (Or maybe that’s just a little piece of heaven that God allows for us to have down here.)
Hey, Mom, I continue to appreciate why you loved Erma Bombeck so much, with pearls of wisdom like,
“When a child is locked in the bathroom with water running and he says he’s doing nothing but the dog is barking, call 911”, and,
“Onion rings in the car cushions do not improve with time.”
I remember your wisdom as to why the knees always wore out in my long trousers, and now, thirty years later, how my knees just feel, well, worn out.
But one thing I know never wore out was, and continues to be, your prayers for us, a gift far too precious for adequate expressions of gratitude!
Mom, it’s not technically Mothers’ Day, but we would have no days at all without you. Thank you for teaching me to be a mother, and now teaching me how to be a grandmother.
I think it’s time to start ordering my own library of Bombeck classics. In fact, it’s on my “to-do” list for today, along with laundry, and picking up the dog from the vet, and cleaning the car…
(nah, just wait until the fragrance makes itself known a little more, right?)