Perhaps one should not describe ‘parenthood’ as a battleground. It is, however, a never-ending battle of the wits, with your foe – aka your children – continually changing, growing, morphing into more and more capable opponents. Every skill they learn, every ability they gain is one more challenge that you never saw coming. And from one day to the next, these newly honed skills can be wielded with shocking dexterity. So. I often find myself counting the little bitty battles that go my way as victories. I find that when I do this, when I gather these tiny little nuggets of things that went my way, I can congratulate myself on yet another day when I am in the steering seat. Soon, too, that won’t be my place any longer. If I’ve done my job right, though, my kids will still gladly invite me along for the ride.
Small moments I call victories:
1. No return response that begins with ‘I just…’ when I ask them to do something. No moment of compliance ever began with a sentence that includes ‘I just’.
2. What can I do to help? I love this. Makes me happy to know they think of it, even if their helping means the entire process will take twice as long and a bigger mess to clean up afterwards.
3. Silence without destruction.
4. Cooperation without bribery.
5. The glance over from the middle of the field/beach/playground when they know I’ll be there, and just need a connection. Even better, when they acknowledge the wave or thumbs up that I give with a tiny little wave or head nod.
6. A morning hug. Sometimes I even get three, or a group hug.
7. You’re right. Especially from my eldest who believes he knows everything.
8. Family game night, especially when we (the parents) manage to eke out a victory in anything where the kids are playing on a team together.
9. Three heads together over one book, and giggling is the only audible sound.
10. When one invites the others to a game outside, especially one that involves on-the-spot made-up rules that everyone agrees to.
11. When one passes up showing me or my hubby something ‘cool’ in order to show one of their brothers first instead. I love that they think of their brothers as friends as well as family.
12. Three brothers sharing a bedroom, even though there are plenty of other bedrooms and each could easily have their own.
13. I can have (insert treat here)? Can my brothers have one too?
14. We don’t play with (toy); can we give it to the kids outside?
15. Unsolicited emails from my older two. (Youngest one doesn’t have email yet.)
16. Not having to repeat myself.
17. The jumble of words running over each other, from three different directions telling me about their day at school. I love that they still want to share it with me.
18. When they are bored, they reach for a book. Or legos. Not a computer or device.
19. They love to walk and be outside. Even on hot sweat days, they love being outside.
20. My eldest helps his brothers with things like sunblock, items on high shelves, and figuring out new email accounts. I love that they look out for each other. Sure, they also whack on each other, and be as annoying as possible when the urge hits them (like the copying thing), but they also take care. Which is awesome.