Saturday, October 20, 2012

Maybe Baby

This is all just hypothetical, of course.
Because this NEVER happens all of the time....

My children are in a constant battle, with them selves. They somehow think it is with me, but it is not, until I am stupid enough to engage , then I have welcomed the fires of hell and brimstone with a couple of my favorite word faux pas by asking the "W's":

WHY did you do that?
WHEN did that happen?
WHOSE was it?
WHAT were you thinking?

Do you get that I want to "know WHY?"...and let me tell you how much that is working for me.....ummm, it's NOT.

I have learned after grilling, demanding, begging for these answers, is only an opportunity for a control battle, that I WILL NOT WIN.

It also impedes my children's healing, when I literally with these "W"s am triggering my kids over and over again to lie to me.
I  am shoving them into a stressful state of fear, handing them one thousand opportunities to lie, strech the truth and try by all shapes and forms to either tell me what they think I want to hear...or control the information, therefore controlling the situation.
and this is not good for anyone.
Also, this makes my eyes shoot red scary lasers.
For realz.

Again for "hypothetical fun" lets say a blanket was urinated on and shoved in a make believe closet.
Lets say once found, said child that is owner of the closet swore up and down that the cat peed on said blanket.
"Interesting, Hmm, well next time you want to play kitty sweet cheeks, let me know and I will get you a litter box in here."

Said child giggled, and then remembered she was MAD.
Because well, somehow the Sunshine-esk sprayed blanky was my fault.
....She quickly tried to gain control with a ....

"I didn't do it today, I did it LAST WEEK, I promise."

(Since the blanket was on said child's bed, YESTERDAY)...but I didn't remind them of this....though both cheeks are bruised from the biting of the insides.

..if I engage in this , I will lose my evening,if I want to be "right", "right" will take the form of hours of wailing, and swearing and doors being kicked down...I soooo don't feel like being "right" I give er' a "Maybe".

"Hmmmm, O.K., maybe you peed on it last week."

Her eyes light up with power.

"Or maybe you did it this morning"

Eyes light up, smile/anger/justified rage shoot across heat rises...

and I defuse the bomb with;

"Maybe you did it Last Christmas, or for the Easter Bunny...maybe, a Green one-eyed Alien beamed down and turned time back and you did it three years ago? "Hmm that would have been interesting."
."..maybe you did it this morning, or last week, either way sweetie, lets toss it in the Washer with some soap, and while it washes, could you get your room vacuumed for me?"

Light of fight goes out of her eyes, her shoulders slump jus' a little from loss of engagement....but later, while I am sharing Marshmallow fluff on a Dark Chocolate Dove bar.
Her bed remade and floor vacuumed....I am so so VERY glad, I didn't decide to be right.

The truth was in the mix of "Maybe", it was there, she knew it, and I knew it....
And what is important is not the moment of being right, but the moment her eyes light up while I eye to eye pass that chocolate into her beautiful mouth and know she feels my love.

Maybe Baby, you will love me...Maybe baby, I will wait right here until you doooo....


  1. "...control the information, therefore controlling the situation."
    This is brilliant! Why have I never figured this out?

    Thank you for continuing to blog through everything you've got on your plate. I seriously get giddy when I see on my blogroll that you have a new post :)

  2. I have got to practice this more - thanks for stepping me through the scenario so I can picture it with some of our situations. You are an inspiration!

  3. I wish I would have had this perspective earlier in dealing with my daughter that we adopted last year. I just think of how many tears and how much screaming could have been avoided on both sides. Thank you for blogging.

  4. Hey, this is one post late. What's this about moving? You know I really like that you are 15 minutes away from each other although we never visit. You are an awesome family that I like thinking I might bump into at Costco or somewhere. I'm sad. Are you moving far?

  5. Couldn't agree more
    Never ask why
    don't worry about being right
    don't give the opportunity to lie or struggle over what is true
    after a while of this there is a certain sort of respect that builds
    when we can play their game and nobody looses face

    love you wise woman

  6. Is there a variation on this for sibling vs. sibling issues of who is right ? We like this great post as a reminder of how to not enter battles with our kids when it's something between us and them. But yesterday when I tried to whip this out in a different situation, we couldn't figure out how to make it work. Three of the kids were playing a fun game with each other while raking the backyard. WHAT!?!?!? Okay, that was strange. They were playing together happily for about an HOUR AND were also getting a chore done ? Weird. We meant to nip it in the bud, to catch them being good, to praise them and invite them in to do something else fun. But, inevitably, we let it go too long, and it spiraled out of control. One kid came in crying that another, who'd been trying to control the play at the end, had hit her and bent her fingers back. The other child talked mainly about being upset that the first child wouldn't play by his rules but then threw in, for good measure, the claim that she had tried to hit him with her rake first, so that his physical violence had been in reaction to that. Now, we weren't there. We were inside with the 4th child at the time. We didn't see it. We don't really know what happened. But we were fairly convinced that the finger bender had not been threatened with a raised rake. He is our birth child, but he has the trauma of ADHD, anxiety, a muscle condition, and living with two adopted children who've brought lots of trauma to the home for the past two years...and we could see him invent the lie (we could see it by reading his body language) to try to get himself out of trouble. Still, we couldn't KNOW. So we tried various things: (1) focus not on what made him mad but on the fact that physical violence against his sister is never ok. Of course, he raised the issue that he was defending himself from imminent physical harm at the time. (2) the maybe baby strategy. "Maybe she did raise the rake, maybe you were just really upset because she wouldn't play the way you wanted her to"....He refused to accept the maybes. He was quite set on ensuring that we believe him OVER her. He told us that if we didn't believe him over her that it was because we loved her more. And so on. Now, when it's believing him vs. nobody (did he spill the stuff on the floor or not)? the maybe thing works well. "Maybe you spilled it, maybe I did and didn't notice it at the time. I'm not sure, but could you please help me out by cleaning it up while I make your dinner?" But when it comes to maybe YOUR story is right or maybe YOUR SIBLING'S story is right or maybe neither is right, the intense sibling rivalry seems to make it impossible for us to use this. Is there a way TO use it in that case ? Example please. :-) Or is there a different strategy you use for that ?

  7. Chris, things are not falling into place teh way we needed them to, so as of right now we are still looking at options, but no "right now plans."

    MRK, I can so see how a case of the "maybe's" would not work between siblings. When it comes to sibling arguments,and I wasn't there,and I believe both children were involved, because one can always walk away and come ask for help in an argument, if there has been one nice attempt at resolvent..
    If neither chose to do that they are both responsible for the argument. I do not focus facts, I try to focus on the feelings and the relationship.So AS HARD as they are trying to tell me their side, what they are really asking me for is validation. I let them each have a chance (without the interruptions of the "Nuh-ughs" from the other sibbling). Once both sides are spilt, I say "WOW that sounds like one humdinger of a fight that neither one of you were willing to walk away from." I grab one little face and say, "I am so sorry your feelings got hurt with A.,B. and C...sounds like you were opperating out of hurt feelings and anger, I see that you need an apology and probably need to give one too. Then I follow suite with the next child.
    If they can do it then great, sometimes my kids are too elevated for an immediate apology,so we do a 15 minute cool down period, and then if apologies can be made, they do one activity (chore, puzzle, jumping on the tram together and counting to 100, and come in for a sweets for the sweets.(a snack to share)

    IF and WHEN one will not comply, and are too wrapped up in riotous anger and refusing to let go that they too were wrong, they are the ones after the cool down to do the chore...and are more than welcome to ask that repair with their sibling when they are ready darlin' because it takes two to fight and one to walk away.
    I try to never make it about the details, unless blood is involved. ;0)