It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Today’s “Way to go, Mom” Award goes to…

Mamacita Tina.

For this post.

Go over and, if you don’t have time to read the whole thing, look at the picture. (But it’s not a long post, and well worth the read!)

See that sad, sad face? What parent wouldn’t melt in the face of such pathos?

A parent with an eye to the goal, that’s who. A parent who sees their role as developing positive character traits in a child, not maintaining the child’s minute-by-minute happiness. A parent who understands that, in order to BE a good parent, you will sometimes, necessarily, unavoidably, inevitably make your child unhappy.

Boooo…. That’s one of the parts of parenting we rate “difficult”.

See, children aren’t born rational. They don’t know about deferring gratification. They don’t understand cause-and-effect. They don’t do/know any of this till we give them the opportunity to learn it.

And don’t be thinking they’ll be thanking you for the opportunity.

The story has a happy ending, and if young Ian hasn’t learned the lesson 100%, it will only take one or two repeats and/or reminders before he does. And then his happy mommy will never see that face again! Well, not over this particular issue, anyway …

Well done, Mamacita!

February 20, 2008 - Posted by | food, parenting, power struggle


  1. That’s a heartbreaker alright. Good for her.

    Good for her! That’s what I thought, too.

    Comment by Sheri | February 20, 2008 | Reply

  2. Too true. I hated to come home late after a long day apart, only to make my Pumpkinpie cry last night, but at past her bedtime, I really had to take away her doggie cards and make her go to bed. Poor muffin. But it would be worse to have her even more tired this morning.

    They are so truly woebegon, even when they’re being ridiculous. Only they don’t know they’re being ridiculous, poor mites. “Go to bed! Bed is gooood!”

    Comment by kittenpie | February 20, 2008 | Reply

  3. Yes! Go, mamacita.

    Our refrain lately has been, “if you’re not hungry now, that’s fine. When you’re hungry again, you will see this same plate.” Then we stick with it, and she has to at LEAST eat something before she can consider anything else (especially dessert).

    Otherwise, my kid would have me making 10 meals per day, just for hear — and only eat 1/3 of them!

    That is absolutely my strategy. If I’m feeling nice, I warm the plate again. But not always. And all the kids I’ve ever cared for (including my own! and, when they’re a little older, allowing for a few genuine dislikes) eat what they’re given without a fuss. Eventually.

    Comment by Allison | February 20, 2008 | Reply

  4. Thanks for sending me over there. Mamacita did the right thing there, which as Professor Dumbledore said (sort of), isn’t necessarily the easy thing.

    The right thing, but not the easy thing. Exactly. When we do manage that, we should be supported!

    Comment by Florinda | February 20, 2008 | Reply

  5. Mary, thank you for the shout out, you are too kind.

    You did the right thing when it was hard. You deserve the support. It’s one of the things we mother should be doing for each other: helping each other do the tough stuff.

    Comment by mamacita tina | February 20, 2008 | Reply

  6. you rock for giving kudos to the sucky parts of parenting.


    that was linked on such an apropos day for me.

    It’s those sucky parts that separate the sheep from the goats, the backbone parents from the jellyfish (to use a Coloroso metaphor I’ve always loved). I’m glad it helped you, too!

    Comment by gwendomama | February 20, 2008 | Reply

  7. Go mamacita!

    Comment by Lady M | February 21, 2008 | Reply

  8. hah, reminds me of when I describe what I did last summer. “I made a five year old cry.” Which is the short way to say “I taught a five year old how appropriate behavior is the only way to get what you want, and no amount of attempted manipulation will change that.” Ahhhh un-learning aggressive behavior, it takes nerves of steel.

    It was hard, but it wasn’t malicious, and now he has the right tools for social interaction.

    Actions and consequences: they need to be taught, nothing for it but to have realistic expectations and follow through.

    “It was hard, but it wasn’t malicious.” There is a difference. “Realistic expectations and follow-through” (to change your phrase a bit) are in shorter supply than one might wish, which is why I like being given the opportunity to show people what it looks like!

    Comment by Joel | February 21, 2008 | Reply

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