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Saturday, September 5, 2009

Parenting with a whisper

It's amazing to me how sweet and cooperative my sons have been while I have had laryngitis. What voice I have sounds like a whisper and I'm using clapping, tapping, gestures, and sign language to communicate. They are being helpful and responsible, following directions, taking the initiative to get things done, and trying to take care of me.

Last year when I lost my voice they both told me they thought I was going to die. I assured them I wouldn't die from laryngitis, but I'm wondering if that was buzzing around in their heads as they became oh so helpful the last few days. "If we are nice enough to mama, maybe she'll get her voice back and she won't die."

I was with some dear friends last night when one of them posed the question, "Why do my kids stop when I say 'that's enough,' but not when I ask them to stop the two times before then." As I noticed this recent increase in compliance with my own children, I wondered the same. What is it that is different when we are sick or exasperated that gets them to stop? And how can we bottle that so it happens all the time? Are we doing something different or are they?

Perhaps our children are better at reading us than we think they are. Perhaps we don't deliver the first message with the same intent, therefore they perceive a bit of wiggle room. Maybe we aren't fully engage or attentive with the first request or directive. Maybe they tune in more when we are sending out different signals. Maybe I should do some research!

I'm going to attempt to observe myself over the next few days with my limited voice and as it fully recovers to see what I'm doing differently that they are interpreting in my tone or body language. My mini research project for the weekend.

Stayed tuned for the results...

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