Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Preschool Part One

I have started to question the importance of my language to Strawberry. In particular, I am having doubts about the routine motherly advice that I offer. Every morning, after we drop Buttercup off in the infant group, Strawberry bounces over to the fountain to take a sip of water. I see this as her way of stealing an extra moment with mommy. We then climb the stairs to her senior preschool group. It's hard for me to imagine that my three year old is a Senior! That sounds so funny to me.

She often wants a few hugs and kisses before she will leave my side to go join her buddies. I cherish this display of affection and know that it won't last nearly long enough. Naturally the words slip though my mouth "Be a good girl." I find myself cringing. Is this the message I want to leave with my daughter? Well, yes and no.

I do want her to behave but it's not so important that she become a natural rule follower and pleaser like me. I want to her to know what is right and to choose to live a life that is right for her. A life that brings her great happiness. Overwhelming happiness with the courage to turn her dreams into reality. I want her to have a strong spirit that challenges ideas and yet to have plenty of common sense in order to keep her grounded.

Her manners have been reinforced both at daycare and at home so she knows her please and thank yous. She's currently a little bit obsessed with the words Poo, Pee and Toot but that is because she finds them funny and has always shown a great interest in making us laugh.

So now I catch myself. Before I let my rule follower tendency slip out a motherly "Be good," I'm consciously replacing that with "Have a fun day!"

20 Singing the blues:

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metro mama said...

I like the rephrased version. I hope Cakes doesn't follow the rules all of the time--especially when the rules are stupid.

kittenpie said...

That's exactly what I say to Pumpkinpie too: "Have a fun day, and we'll come and pick you up before dinner."

kittenpie said...

and hey, it took! I haven't been able to comment on your last several posts and was thinking I'd have to email you and say I have been by, really, just couldn't leave a hello!

bubandpie said...

Repeating myself today - I just made this very comment (in a different context) over at Motherhood Uncensored, but here goes:

My mom sent me off to school each morning with the words "Be kind." I remember it because there was something loving about it - it showed me that she valued my kindness over anything superficial like grades or looks. I suspect I'll do the same with my own children, once they're old enough to understand. For now, "Have fun!" sounds good too.

anne said...

What a thoughtful post. I love it when we catch ourselves and realize we are doing the good girl/kid thing. Manners are important yes. But so is Have Fun, Play safe and Live Authentically.

Nicely Done. Oh and the affection doesn't go away all that soon. My 9 year old still smooches me in the hallways....

Jenny said...

I vaccilate between "Have fun" and "Don't play with poop!"

Because I know my daughter.

mothergoosemouse said...

I remember stopping myself from saying "Be good" when Tacy was still in the infant room. Like you, I say "Have fun!" and "I'll see you soon!" to both girls.

What I need to stop doing now is asking, when I pick her up, "Were you good?" I usually don't, but every once in a while it slips out.

sunshine scribe said...

I have had the same rephrasing debate with myself. We do the "Have a great day" schtick now and its all good.

Course I just tried to type in your word verification and it looked like it spelled "nonsense" ... but I swear it isn't.

penelopeto said...

We have been thinking about this very thing - bumblebee is at that crazy age where every moment there is a new accomplishment, a new endeavour, a new success. and i find myself reacting with 'good girl!'

but that's not what I mean or what I want. So I am very careful to say 'good job!' because being good is not the most important thing for a little girl to be.
oh, I feel a post coming on.

Lisa b said...

I worry about the same things. The same habits, the same phrases that may convey something different from what I want to say.

but right now I worry that blogger beta will reject me again!

Chantal said...

(let's see if blogger beta will let me comment today! ;) )

You're a kick-ass Mom. I love it!

jen said...

I agree. Wanting our girls to be good is our own stuff from our own upbringing. What about "kick some ass today" or "goodbye strong, powerful child"....or something.

Mommy off the Record said...

I tend to be a people pleaser too and that's not always good in every situation.

But I like your approach. Saying "have a fun day" or "be kind" like Bub and Pie said are nice alternatives. I'll have to remember those.

sweatpantsmom said...

My new parting line is the one that Jamie Lee Curtis yells after Lindsay Lohan in Freaky Friday.

"Make good choices!"

Mrs. Chicky said...

Who knew there could be so many messages in "Be Good"? This post really opened my eyes, thanks!

mama_tulip said...

Something I always have to remain conscious of is my tone of voice with Julia. Not to sound as though I'm bragging, but she is quite advanced verbally and sometimes I have to remind myself that I'm not talking to a ten-year-old -- I'm talking to a three-year-old.

It can be hard sometimes.

lildb said...

I think this is a fascinating post, simply because I'm so far from having to experience something in this realm. I like the new choice, and I think it's cool that you're conscious of something so simple, but so potentially issue-y.

and Mama T? I think that's cool about Julia. challenging, but cool.

Naomi said...

Have a fun day. I like that. I tell The Happy Boy to have a good day, but fun is better. It's all about habit and ritual!!

Jamie said...

I tend to say "have fun today...I love you! I'll see you tonight!" Caitlin, my oldest, is 4 and is very sensitive about doing the right thing and not having us laugh at her if we think something is "cute" to the point that if she draws a funny flower or bunny I have to take care not to laugh but to praise her and say something like "That's an awesome bunny! You are such a good artist!" Being the type of person who just blurts out any old thought, I think becoming a mother is helping me choose my words more carefully. I hope so any way. I at least try not to cuss in front of the kids. ;)

And Caitlin is completely obsessed with the words toot and poop.