Sunday, June 03, 2007

Ooops ... I'm sorry

Today I learned a pretty vital lesson. Apologize.
I'm not always good at apologizing. I'll say sorry, but I don't always mean it. I've been trying to teach Matt that if he does something wrong or something that hurts someone you should apologize. It's really hard to teach a 3 year old empathy.
But, today it was my turn to apologize.
Matt and I had been gardening and he was covered in dirt. I went to change and then we were going to go mattress shopping. I left him with the instructions to wash his hands while I got changed.
When I got upstairs he was running around the living room with a tummy covered in soap. I was cleaning him off and trying to get him ready to go.
And then he reached for the soap.
He got a whole bunch on me, and on him. I was pissed.
I was ready to go. He was getting soap everywhere. So, he reached for it again and I said no. Then I shouted it. Then I said "I'm trying to go. Stop playing with the stupid soap."
It's not the worst thing of all Mommy things to say. But it was how I said it. And then he was sobbing. And I was getting more annoyed. And then he'd shout that he wanted the soap and I would shout no.
I had to walk away.
It wasn't that big a deal. We got him dressed. We went to the store. He was tired and I was.
But, in the car I said sorry.
I didn't make a huge deal of it. I just said "Matt, I shouted at you about the soap and I shouldn't have. I know you were just having fun. I'm sorry."
It sounds so simple. But, I'm not usually good at that stuff. I'm not usually the one to apologize first. But, things change when you have a child.
This stuff matters.
He said it was okay.
Part of me thinks that today was about teaching him to say sorry and mean it. But, really I know it was all about me learning to say sorry - when I'm wrong - and mean it.


Multi-tasking Mommy said...

Sometimes saying you are sorry is a very difficult thing to do! Good for you for saying it to Matt. It is so important that we set good examples like you did for our children :)
Occasionally, I will give the bunny a warning and then she will do the said behaviour again, I will say that I am not happy (or I am frustrated or whatever I am feeling) and she will break down sobbing and it just breaks my heart. Children can be such sensitive creatures, bless their hearts!
I think I have the opposite problem to you--I say I'm sorry too much sometimes. The bunny will say, "Oops, Mommy--I'm sorry, that was my mistake" and I know that is a catch phrase that she got from me (and probably Sci-Fi Dad too!).

Urban Daddy said...

It's odd how these kids grow up so fast that we one day realize that they totally understand what we are saying and that if we want them to apologize, we need to be consistant and do it too.

For the past week, the Happy Boy has been using the following sentence.. "NO", follow by a finger wave, then a "grrrrrr", then a "hiss". I couldn't figure it out until he threw his dinner on the floor and I grrr-sighed at him. He was copying me. I said sorry.



Haley-O said...

You're teaching by example! Niice! :) I think I say sorry all the time because if I even brush by the monkey, she says a quick "si-ey" (which is "sorry"). I feel so bad that she thinks she has to apologize for every little thing. It's really cute, though, at the same time....

Naomi (Urban Mummy) said...

One of the things that I love about my son...he can be incredibly trying, and naughty. I can get upset, I can send him to his room. He can be hysterical crying and angry. I can calm him down, and then? It's gone. His anger, his frustration...just..poof.

They don't hold on to things. That is a learned behaviour.

Modeling the way to treat people is never bad.