Thursday, April 7, 2011

Be 'kay, Mama

A month or two ago, Teresa started responding to my scolding with some new phrases. They sounded like a combination of my comforting words to her: "It's okay, Teresa. It'll be okay..." and David's frequent admonition to me: "Calm down."

If you can imagine:

Me: "No, Teresa, stop that. Don't X, Y, Z!"

Teresa: "Be 'kay now, Mama. Calm down. Be 'kay."

At first I was impressed that she knew the phrases and was using them (somewhat) appropriately. Teresa shows amazing glimmers of compassion and kindness, and I thank God for that. But I was also mildly irritated that she was trying to divert my attention from her misbehavior to my own demeanor. When David heard her say "calm down" with a raised voice, he responded strongly: "You don't tell Mama or me to 'calm down.' Obey Mama. Obey Papa."

Since she started, though, she has more often used the calming words when I truly am frustrated, and not necessarily at her. For instance, this morning I was impatiently struggling to get Teresa's pants on her. I told her I was having a tough time and she held her legs still to help, then added (in a sweet, gentle voice accented by stroking hand motions): "Be 'kay, Mama. Calm down." So I did calm down, got the pants on, and picked her up. She looked into my eyes, repeated her message, and stroked my face.


If I were a saint, I wouldn't get so uptight/cranky/frustrated/demanding and need my child to help diffuse me. But I'm not a saint (yet), so God sent me an excellent helper.


Diane said...

How sweet!

Katherine T. Lauer said...

That's precious!