Never grow up

I got to stay home with the kids until 11 am yesterday because they got another day off of school due to the frigid cold. We made our typical Sunday morning breakfast on a Thursday morning – awesome! Mario really wanted to make his own egg since he’s seen Ri making them for the last few weeks. He decided that he wanted to make one for Ri. He made it sunny side up, which is the easiest way to make a cooked egg, thank goodness, because I know Mario would have been so pissed if the egg didn’t turn out right.
He placed the egg on a plate when he finished cooking it and handed it to Ri.
“Taste it, Ri.”
She took a bite and swooned over him.
“You are the best cook ever! This egg is awesome. I want you to cook for me always!”
Leave it to Ri to gush over him – she does this so well. And Mario soaks it up like a sponge. He has to hear praise after he does something for someone or else he becomes extremely disappointed (something we need to continue to work on with him so that he’s not relying on that feedback anytime he does anything!).
Next I let him make pancakes for all of us. He was in heaven. He loves doing things by himself. After he made his first batch, he brought one to Ri. She was busy making a smoothie video, and he kept poking her to eat his pancake. She finally turned to him as he pled to her to eat. She grabbed the pancake and squeezed his cheek and chirped “don’t you ever grow up little man. You are so cute!” She is a hoot.
He made another ten pancakes (please, just one more batch mom?), waited to hear me swoon over my pancake, and then closed up shop.
We cleaned up the kitchen and then Ri read her MLK book while Mario drew comics. Can I just say that’s pure heaven? Having both kids off the computer, and actually enjoying a book and drawing?! It lasted a total of 15 minutes but hey, I’ll take it.
These two are my most favorite little people ever and – taking off what Ri said to Mario yesterday morning – I wish they’d never grow up….



Too Much Praise!

So I remember reading an article similar to this one back when Maria was a toddler. And I remember thinking “that is such bullish–! You can never praise a kid too much.”

If there is one fu– up that I have had as a mom, I think this ranks up there (god knows I have had quite a few). I am able to completely verify the accuracy of the study in this article.

My sweet Maria has only ever been told since birth what an amazingly wonderful, special, fantastic, incredible girl she is. Any project she works on warrants a “what a spectacular job” no matter if it’s mediocre or truly spectacular. Any sport she attempts warrants a “you are a machine out there” no matter if she tripped over everyone. Any drawing she created warranted “that is gorgeous” even if she scribbled and put in little effort. Get my drift?
And I thought “what a great mom I am lavishing all this praise on my girl.”
And she did and continues to do, wonderful things. She’s passionate, adventurous, caring, loving, aware, funny, smart. But she’s also hesitant to try new things or to push herself beyond her known capabilities. She will, at times, but it takes work to get her there. That is why after reading this article, I was beating myself up. It’s hard to think of Ri as having low self-esteem. She is boisterous and not afraid to talk to people and always ready to take a trip and see new sights. She asks questions of adults when she doesn’t understand. She introduces herself to strangers.
But she also gets worried that she’s not as good a reader as her classmates. That she’s uglier than her girlfriends. That she isn’t motivated like her colleagues. That her teacher thinks she’s stupid. When I ask her to try soccer, she doesn’t want to. When I tell her to try to finish a long article, she complains (now that could be pure laziness!). When I tell her to draw an animal she hasn’t drawn, she hesitates.
Is it because I praised her so much that she doesn’t want to risk disappointing me with a new project she doesn’t know if she can complete well? Have I inadvertently caused her to avoid challenges?
Errhh. It’s so frustrating. It’s also humbling. Here I am praising my kid left and right and inadvertently judging the mom who doesn’t – when all along I could have learned some tips from her. It also can’t be the end of the world. There are plenty of “right” things I have done with that baby girl. I’m over the delusion that I will be the perfect mom. I just don’t want to screw her up too much (by the way, Mario is a whole other story – he thrives with excessive praise but there are quite a few other areas that I need to work on…).
So, I will keep this article in mind when I have told Ri for the 10th time how incredible her drawing looks of two stick figures. And I will continue to work on exercises that raise her self-esteem because I know my girl can reach the farthest star in the sky if she believes fully in herself. And I will continue to appreciate myself as a mother trying my hardest to raise intelligent, thoughtful, confident, and empathetic kids.