As a result, I have been acquiring a growing knowledge of my kids' needs and their needs. I used run into the room at the first little cry for help by one or the other, but this can no longer happen. I have been working on an in-depth analysis of their needs based on different components of the given situation. I also ask myself a series of questions concerning the situation in order to determine whether or not I will need to summon the non-existent energy from somewhere in my body and attend to the crazies or whether I should let things work themselves out, despite the screaming. Here are some of my observations:
1) The early morning hours are unfortunately when my eldest always decided to relieve herself of all non-liquid bodily waste and therefore there are often cries from the room for me to come and fetch her to go to the potty or change her already soiled diaper. This is an instance that requires immediate attention- when immediate attention has not been given, it has generally led to the carpet needing to be cleaned and scrubbed later that day- not worth the extra minutes laying in bed. This can easily be assessed by the words she is using like "Mommy, I went pooo...!". Alright, on to the next.
2) The pitch of their screams. I am of the opinion that at least my girls, when they are crying, are crying wolf. A toy will be taken away by one and the other screams like someone just killed her puppy. I usually wait a good 3 minutes to see if the screams die down or build up.
3) If loud noises such as doors slamming or thuds and/or bangs accompany the cries, the child should probably be attended to.
4) I try to assess how quiet it has been and for how long? I have always heard moms say that when it is totally quiet, that is when you should be really worried. Going off of this advice, I have ruined many a peaceful moment by running into a room only to find perfectly happy, content children playing or reading or doing something harmless.
|case in point|
Once they see my face the contentedness leaves and the demands start: "I need juice!", "Beeka!!!!(blankie)", "Baaaoooo (bottle)"- whatever. I am there so they are no longer happy. So I do not go into a quiet room anymore, I listen for surrounding sounds (toys clanging, pages turning, etc) and if it has been a really long time I tiptoe over as silently as possible and attempt to peek in with one eye and not be seen. (If you're really serious you could purchase a picture frame or mirror to hang on a wall across from the doorway so you do not have to go into the room at all but can make sure all is well from their reflection.)
5) Sometimes other sounds will start to concern me, like toys banging together or on other surfaces or things dragging, but again, I try to wait this out and listen for any echoes or ripping- this will give you a good idea of what toy it is (super breakable or not) or if any real damage is being done.
6) If a child politely requests something from me from the other room, on the merits of good manners and sweetness, I generally get my butt up and get it for them. I am not so bad.
7) And if you just enjoy being with your kids and soaking up every second you can with them, you could just be in the same room as them and not worry about any of these things. I love them, but I love my couch perch too.
I think I win the Bad Mother of 2012 award.
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