Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sending a Message

Days before we left for Mexico, Shelby got frustrated with me.. I can't remember why now, but she was very mad. Oh, yes- I remember. She had picked two dandelions outside (her favorite flower, that lucky-for-her, grow abundantly in our neighbor's yard) and she wanted to tape them to a picture of a seal, that she had colored for me earlier. I taped them to the wrong part of the picture, and then (instead of taking the tape off and repositioning them on the seal's head like she wanted) I popped the flowers off the taped stems and tried to just tape the flowers to the seals head. You would have thought I'd just decapitated the cat and the gecko. She gasped. And then I laughed (BIG I an idiot!?) I think that I was just thinking, let's go pick two more dandelions from the hundreds that are growing down the street. But maybe these were special dandelions to her, not sure...let's just say things deteriorated from there.

To show me how frustrated she was, she ripped up the picture. And always wanting to "fix" things, I took the scotch tape, and began to tape the picture back together. That put her over the edge. She took the picture back from me, and this time ripped it in to TWICE as many pieces, AND then crumpled the pieces up with all the force that she could muster. She stormed off in to her bedroom, where I left her while I went to run errands with Dalton.

It was Easter Eve.

While we were out, I received a text from Gavin. It read:

Shelby just cut her hair.

My heart stopped.

This had to be a joke.

I immediately called him back. Turns out that when Shelby came out of her room, she was still upset, and went downstairs where she found a pair of scissors (left out by the babysitter, since they are contraband in our home now) and cut one of her pigtails off.

And this is the point where I say "What is the Universe trying to teach me?"
You know how people tell you that you get the same "trials" over and over in life, until you learn the lesson that you needed to learn?...Yeah, I don't buy it either....But it does start to make me think that I have entered the Twilight Zone, when I can't even remember if this is the 4th or 5th time that Shelby has cut her hair !! So again, what's the lesson?....

The next week we are at the hair dresser, attempting to "fix" her hair, when, after recounting how we got to this point, the hairdresser asks, "Does she have a temper?"

And that's when I realize...

She does not have a temper...She was communicating!

It wasn't the method that I would prefer. But think about it...she'd tried every other way. She told me she that I'd made her upset. She ripped the picture to show me she was upset. And every time I shooed away her frustration, downplayed her emotions, she searched for another way to let her mother know how IMPORTANT her feelings were.

And so a piggy tail lopped off was the final communication attempt:

"Mom I am furious! And just TRY to tape this back together!"

It worked.

Never again will I dismiss her feelings, or downplay them. What do I care if she rips up one of her pictures?? Do I have that big of a control issue, that I can't handle the idea of her tearing up something that she created?

So, good lesson learned for me. Thank you Universe...thank you for sending me such a clear message, that I need to let my kids express their emotions, no matter how untidy and uncomfortable it may be for me.

And so, she still got a time-out, cause cutting hair is definitely against our house rules. But I let her know that she could do whatever she wanted with her pictures, and that I should have listened to her from the beginning. Cause isn't that what we all want:



Chip and Lisa said...

You know she's lucky that she has a mom that got it when she was four and just cutting off her piggy tail. Some girls mom's don't get it until she has run off in her teenage years to marry the greasy motorcycle tatoo guy who is twice her age just to get back at her mom. There is no greater lesson's in life than parenthood and I love when we all share with each other and maybe just maybe we can learn from each other rather than going through ALL of it by ourselves. I will try and listen to London when she is throwing around a bit of girl attitude and maybe we can avoid the haircutting!

Jared and Delia said...

Thank you! What a great mom you are. I think that we, I am definitely trying to work on it, label our children and each other too much instead of LISTENING to each other and appreciating each other. My whole childhood my family said, oh that girl has a temper. what if I am passionate? That also makes me a hard worker and good at many other things. I just think the world of you Ashley.

I love reading your blog and if you ever wrote a book I would buy it.

Ashley said...

Delia, I can't access your blog anymore. Can you email me and let me know what the address is again? I am at And thanks for the comment. I share your passion for life, and appreciate your friendship!

Hawk Highlights said...

very insightful - thanks for the wisdom - I pray I can put it into practise in the heat of the moment