I cannot be the only one...whose child's behavior, or lack thereof, has an uncanny ability to make you lower yourself to a level of response that you are ashamed of later (or in my case, immediately). A child can bring out your childlike happy go-lucky side or a petty not-so-nice side that has been hibernating within your psyche since junior high school.
I have adapted to my surroundings as a Mama, my aptness at tuning out whining or just general six year old blabbering could amaze the best of them, but there are times that even my ever long patience is pushed to the brink. In hindsight, the straw that broke this mama's back is generally ridiculous, but at the time my reaction seems appropriate for the situation at hand.
To illustrate my point, I offer you: The Ungrateful Lego Boy.
While playing with a brand new Lego City logging truck set, Sonny Boy began to make grunts and grumblings of frustration. I tried to ignore his animal sounds hoping they were just part of the play, but I knew they were a sign of grump heading our way, and that it wouldn't be long before I heard the, "Maaaaaaammmm," that accompanies any, "I need you to do it," moments.
Looking over the counter of the kitchen, to see what was going on in the world of Lego's, I could see Sonny Boy attempting to put a piece of the truck that had come loose back together. His eyebrows furrowed and his cheeks turning pink he said, "I hate this truck!" This is when I sunk to the level of a six year old, annoyed and dismayed by his lack of gratitude that he has brand new toys to play with, I launched into a high pitched, almost yelling tirade, of just how lucky he is. I shrilled at him about how there are children in this world without shoes, much less new toys to complain about. I finished it up with by letting him know that I didn't want to hear anymore complaining about his "fabulous, wonderful toys that he is so lucky to have," and asked (more like demanded) him to go play in his room.
It was obvious that Sonny Boy learned a lesson by the tears welling up in his little eyes and how his jaw had gone slack, but the lesson wasn't to respect and be grateful for what you have, it was Mama has gone off the deep end. I had such a good message to teach him, a great opportunity to explain gratitude, and I allowed my delivery to completely sabotage the meaning.
I was immediately wishing I could borrow the DeLorean from Back to the Future so I could rewind and do the moment over again, this time sans ravings and that shrieking sound to my voice, but it's not 1985 and I don't have Doc Brown on speed dial, so I was left with my own sense of shame.
Every time this happens, when I decide to react to a my child like a child, I promise myself that I will not allow it to happen again, but the only time I remember that promise is when it's already happened again. This time I mean it. I really, really mean it (just saying "really" a lot isn't going to actually help, it it?) I am not going to allow myself to sink to that level anymore. Next time I am going to talk to Sonny Boy like the almost well adjusted adult that I am, walk away feeling good about my behavior, and stop the shame cycle once and for all.