Thursday, March 10, 2011

the turnaround

So, I have to be "dangerously maternal" for a bit and relate this marvelous conversation with Clare from a few days ago.

Clare's request for her new room was that it have rainbows on the walls. She asked for this months ago, so I called my interior-designer sis and got her advice, which was: wall decals. I found these online at a ridiculous discount--spent about $15 total for 2 packages of rainbows, clouds & stars. And so, last week, at the top of the unpacking priority list and second only to "find the damn dinner plates already" was, get the rainbows up in Clare's room.

I also consulted her about where she wanted the rainbows and how she wanted them to look. She was very specific: she wanted 2 full rainbows on opposite walls. And I said okay.

And then I didn't do it like she said.

Instead, the wall opposite the one pictured above has 2 half-arches, one beginning in the corner and coming down, and the other coming out of the window. It looks great.

But it's not what she wanted. And she let me know. Like I knew she would.

She was super excited about coming home after school to see her rainbow room. And she walked in and saw the first wall: rapture. Then she turned and saw the second. And turned to me, mad face on, and said, "I don't like it." Pause. "It's not what I said." Flopped down in the chair, very prissy-pissed-off-princess. Longer pause. Then: "It's not all about you."

Oh, I knew it was coming. I was tired, I had put off other things to get this done, my arms ached, my back ached, I had spent all day putting together this beautiful room just for her...but she was right. I had asked what she wanted; she had told me exactly what she wanted. and I hadn't done it like she said.

So I said to her, "You're right. It's not all about me. What is it all about?" She looked at me and said. "Me. I get to give the instructions." Then, "You didn't do it like I said." And I said, "You're right. I didn't do it like you said. I did it this other way. Can I tell you why?" She looked at me darkly, but didn't object, so I went on. "I tried it your way, and the wall with the window is smaller than the other wall. It just didn't look the same and I thought it would be prettier this other way. I know it's not what you said, but I wanted to make your room the prettiest it could be. So I did it this way instead." There was silence. And then, after about a minute:

"Okay, mom. I see you had a good reason." Then: "I think I could like it." Then: "Those can be the baby rainbows hugging the window, and this is the mama rainbow smiling at them from over here."

I mean, damn. "You had a good reason"?! She's not even 5, and it took her about 5 minutes to process personal disappointment and outrage, listen and understand another point of view, and come up with some forgiveness and acceptance. I know so-called adults who can't seem to do that.


*K* said...

dang. i LOVE it. some days i have to remind myself that i WANT my kid to ask the questions and process the answers, and when it actually happens... it's beautiful. clare and ea will be primed for some great conversations together when their older.

*K* said...

AAAHHH... i did the "their" "they're" thing!!!! i'll blame it on my severe lack of sleep last night.

JJT said...

Lack of sleep is the culprit for all sorts of unimaginably uncharacteristic behaviors!