Help Me Help You

Help Me Help You
Yesterday my kids made a horrendous, sticky mess in the kitchen. I yelled at them while I stormed around cleaning up. Seeing how upset I was, Avery grabbed the broom,  spreading the mess even further. I could see she was trying to make it right, but I was too inconvenienced to acknowledge it.
Help me help you, Momma.
I put them in the tub, took a deep breath, and apologized for yelling. I was feeling like a really bad mom. I helped them wash their hair, carefully guiding their reluctant heads back so I could rinse them without getting water in their little furrowed brows or eyelashes.
Help me help you, babies.

As I was getting Avery (4) dressed for her first theater class, she insisted on wearing a cheerleader outfit. I told her I don’t think other kids will be in costumes and she said gently, “I don’t care what anyone’s wearing. Besides, you always say, ‘You do you, boo boo.'”
Which I hadn’t realized was my thing.
*I picture Avery sitting in a retirement home someday working on a “You Do You, Boo Boo!” cross stitch and saying “My mother – God rest her soul – she always said that. Got me through some real hard times.”
After theater class last night, she told me she didn’t really talk to any of the other kids, just sat with the other girl named Avery. I asked her if she had any questions about the other Avery. She didn’t and I could tell she was tired so I didn’t ask anything else.
Today we were in the kitchen together having a quiet moment over lunch;  I said to her, “While I was waiting to pick you up from preschool this morning, I saw a girl on the playground feeling left out by another group of girls.”
Avery “Maybe they didn’t want to play with her.”
Me: “Well, what would you have done if you saw that little girl feeling left out?
Avery: “I would play with her.”
Me: “Me too.”
Avery: “That’s why I sat with the other Avery last night. Forcause no one else was paying attention to her.”
I’d totally forgotten about it already, but that little girl named Avery that she sat with last night has Down Syndrome, which my Avery hasn’t really encountered before. My Avery saw a girl that could use some company so she made a friend.
So much of parenting is desperately pleading with your children, “help me HELP you! For the LOVE, child! Don’t you SEE this is for your own good?” And today it occurred to me that all these challenges in parenting are actually for my own good. When I’m at my worst moments, my children are there to remind me of things I’ve taught them in my better moments.
I’m helping them help me.
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6 thoughts on “Help Me Help You

  1. Emily, I love this post! I believe that everyone is both our teacher and our student and that absolutely goes for our children too. I’ll even go so far as to say especially so. They teach me every day not just about themselves but about me. It’s easy for me to forget, like you said, getting caught up in the initial reaction to the mess or the not listening, etc. but when I slow down, get present and really listen – deeper than the words – I learn and can make active choices to support them and ME.
    I am constantly wowed by the power of this relationship!

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