Mallory has been exceptionally sweet to her sister lately. Last night, for example, Phoebe was playing with Play-Doh while I made dinner. Mallory came over, saw that Phoebe had smushed three different colors all together in one big ball, and said, "Phoebe, that's great! You made a rainbow!"

A few days ago, we were getting dressed to go somewhere and Phoebe asked to wear a princess costume. I said no, but that she could wear her denim Elmo jumper instead. I put it on and she collapsed into sobs. "I not pretty now!" she wept. Mallory ran over and hugged her and said, "You are pretty, Phoebe! I always wanted a pretty little doll to play with and instead I got you and you're such a pretty real baby!" Which cheered Phoebe right up and made me cry.

I've read that parents of my generation are creating a bunch of "praise junkies" because we tend to say "Good job!" to our children too often. This makes kids expect to be praised for every little thing and keeps them from feeling intrinsic satisfaction in their accomplishments. I don't know whether I believe that or not, but I feel a bit of knee-jerk guilt every time I let a "good job!" slip out. But what else, I ask you, can you say to a 2-year-old learning to use the potty? "Nice pee, Phoebe! Excellent bladder control, young lady!" Phoebe herself examined her potty chair after one successful foray and commented, "Wow! I peed really very high!"

And here's the age-old dilemma. What do you do with the above-mentioned potty-learning 2-year-old when they ask to go potty when they're supposed to be going to sleep? It's the perfect excuse to get out of bed and she knows it. I hate to say no (because usually she really does pee) but I also want her to stay in bed. Sigh. Parenting, it's all so hard.


aimee said...

Make them go to the potty before they go to bed. I mean right before. Then no more drinks.

Then say Good job! Hee hee!

J&H Noble said...

How precious! I love it when our nephews hug each other and are affectionate.
A particular touching conversation overheard:
Jared- "I love you, Tire."
Tyler- "Lub too, Jed."

Breaks my heart!!