Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Great Moments in Parenting: Bad Morning

Seth and I are about to become parents to our own child, but for the last year we have been full time (24 hours a day) caretakers to 60 kids.  Luckily for our kid, it has taught us a thing or two.  We've even had parenting fights - a surreal experience I have to say.

Over the year there have been some great moments, here is one.

Bad Morning
Kasara is with me and numerous other children in the Parent on Duty office.  We are having a full blown battle over her taking her medicine. You see, Kasara is an independent girl and I've learned over time to not get into these battles of wills with her. I've learned that if I want Kasara to do something I better be careful in how I go about it.  Here are a few of my rules:

  • Never directly tell Kasara she has to do something
  • Always give detailed explanations
  • Give her options
  • Talk to her alone if possible
  • Make sure the consequence it a fair one and you follow through
  • If you pick a battle make sure you win
  • Be quick to ask for forgiveness and to forgive
But this was a bad morning.

After cleaning Kasara's infected foot for the millionth time, it was only looking worse.  She'd been hobbling around on it for well over a week, complaining the whole time.  So I decided it was time she took a round of antibiotics (you didn't know I could prescribe antibiotics to 10 year olds? Pffft, shows what you know. I'll tell you more about my medical misadventures another time). 

I say to Kasara with no explanation, "You have to take this medicine for 5 days, 2x's a day, you can't miss and you have to finish it. Here take this now."
Kasara goes into complete and total stubborn battle mode - she is not budging.

Ah, poop.  What are my rules again? Oh yeah. Ok, give her lots of explanation so she can decide to make a smart decision.

"Kasara, you have to take this medicine.  Do you want to end up like Concy?"

Context: Concy is one of Kasara's bffs, she doesn't live at the home but is around a lot.  She only has one leg, she lost the other leg from an infection or cancer or cancer that was treated and became infected - the story is a little muddled a lot like the medical care she received.

Yes, that is really what I said.  Brilliant, huh?

The sound of shocked gasps turns out to sound the same in Nimule as everywhere else and this is what I hear as the office goes deadly quite.  

Concy is standing behind me.  I am a complete jerk.

So now I've got another hole to dig myself out of.

I turn to Concy and apologize for my insensitive remark, but then ask her to justify what I just said ("I mean, that is how you lost your leg, right?").  Once a jerk...

Luckily, children are gracious.

Concy forgives me.  Kasara, for her friend's sake, takes the medicine and immediately changes the mood of the entire room to a light-hearted fun environment.  I'm telling you she has this kind of power.

A few minutes later we've all moved on and are enjoying each other. I'm continuing with medical issues and Kasara is my happy side kick.  Mostly I think she is trying to make sure I don't screw up again.

The two of us are standing in front of our very large very tipsy medicine cabinet.  Kasara then decides to lean her weight on the cabinet door. The whole thing starts to come down on us.  This is what I do:

Yell "KASARA!" Grab the cabinet and hit Kasara.  Yep.  HIT her.

Again, silence.

Kasara and I look at each other shocked and dumbfounded and then break into hysterical laughter.  Then I know that to be given this much grace, I must not always be the worst parent ever.

Concy & Kasara

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