Do as I Say, Not as I Do

The two most popular questions I get these days are:

1-Is Hope sleeping through the night? and

2- How is Presley handling the new baby?

I’ll start off by saying….

Presley loves her little sister. Every morning, she insists on going with me into Hope’s room to wake her up. Yes, I have to wake Hope up ;o) Isn’t that great!?! Usually Presley wakes up as soon as the sun comes up. She used to sleep until 8:30 or 9:00, but that was before Hope came and those days are long gone. I usually try to get Hope up by 8:00 if she doesn’t wake up on her own at 7:45. So, while everyone is sleeping through the night…I often feel like I’m still not! My patience wears thin when I don’t get a full nights sleep. So, you can just imagine what life was like before Hope was sleeping through the night. Poor Presley usually felt the effects of my sleepless nights.

During my pregnancy I was pretty much off of my feet 90% of the day. It was during this time that I created a “snack box” for Presley…along with many other “helpful tricks.” HOWEVER, I also created some very bad habits for Presley! Habits that I knew would eventually need to be broken once the baby got here. And believe me, I am paying for it now. I have discovered many things about myself these past few months and they are not pretty….at least it’s something I am aware of ;o) OR at least, that’s what I tell myself. ha! Presley has become quite harsh in the way she responds to me and I know it is my fault. I have always spoken to her with a calm voice that is filled with pleasant words ;o) You know, words like please and thank you. But, during my sleep deprivation days I didn’t have the strength to “be polite”  ;o) lol. My please and thank yous turned into commands, “go get…” or “do ____”   I just wanted Presley to do what I asked her to do….without having to sugar coat everything. (You know, the whole “Do what I say, Not as I do” mentality.) But, I now have a daughter who speaks to me in the same way. Presley will often TELL me what to do rather than ask. Her sweet words have become demands, and sometimes her demands aren’t even in complete sentences. lol. When she wants a drink she will say, “drink” rather than “can I have a drink please, mommy” …which is what I used to hear from her all of the time. Anyways, my point to this post is to explain that while my daughter is handling Hope with love and grace. She is also struggling a bit with the transition of not being an “only child.”

People will often ask me if she is jealous, and I’m sure she is, but I think her struggles have more to do with ME. Her behavior has changed because mine has. I have been impatient, unstructured, inconsistent, and clearly not creative enough in my discipline….something that I have found is much easier in the teaching world. ;o) A few weeks ago, I was so overwhelmed with little miss Presley’s behavior that I began unpacking my teacher boxes and files. I had things spread out all over the place! I pretty much exasperated all the teaching areas of my brain and was left with the question, “what is going on? why is nothing working? and why aren’t any of my teacher tricks working with my very own daughter?” My principal used to tell me that my classroom ran like a well oiled machine. I always walked in confidence because of my classroom management, but clearly things have changed. I was very confused as to what was going on.

Until…one morning during my quiet time I was lead to Philippians 4:9- “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-put it into practice.” I quickly realized that it wasn’t Presley who had the problem. It was me.  I had changed MY behavior. My inconsistent attitude was sending the message to my daughter that she could do whatever she wanted, when she wanted. I became inconsistent in following through. I became inconsistent in every way. I ran into a book at the bookstore the other day and knew it was one of those books that would be life changing. The book? Unglued. It is such an awesome book. It’s a great read that connects with everyday life and how we respond to daily challenges….or annoyances. I have also revisited the book, “Love and Logic for Early Childhood.” Love and Logic is a behavior management system that I used when I taught in San Antonio and in Coppell. It is also a great read. ;o) A book that I made my husband read a few years ago. A book that I have had to re-read to retrain my mind to speak with love and logic.

Even when I am “trying” to speak with a pleasant voice it often comes out in a frustrated tone. My daughter has picked up on this “tone.” She will ask me, “are you frustrated, mom?” The funny thing is, I wasn’t even frustrated with her. I was frustrated with the dog. However, the frustration in my tone of voice when she asked me a question was very apparent to her. I quickly realized the effect my frustrated tone was having on her when I sent her to her room for a time out the other day. She made it known that she was very frustrated with me…so much so that she lined up all her stuffed animals (proof in the picture above) in her room and told every single one of them. ;-/  So, while we all love our little Hope, we are ALL learning to make the transition from a party of 3 to a party of 4. :o)

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One thought on “Do as I Say, Not as I Do

  1. This has been and continues to be the hardest lesson for me in parenting. It’s nice to know I’m not alone, though I’m sorry you’re going through it! Nathan has picked up on my temper (what? I know you’re saying, “what temper?” 🙂 ) and every time we really struggle with it, I always have to go back to what he’s observing and God clearly points in my direction. Sigh! It’s so awesome that you recognize it, friend…these two little girls are so blessed to have a mom who is so internally focused and in such close relationship with the Savior to be able to see what He’s trying to show you. Love you!!!

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