Wednesday, June 2, 2010

"Mama, can I...

have a slumber party for my birthday this year?" Sweetie Heart asked.

Are you kidding me?? You're too young! You can't handle it! Not a chance!

Those were the things that I thought, but I kept it all to myself. What I said was, "I'll have to talk to papa about that." I needed some time to sort it all out. In the beginning I was thinking about all the reasons why she couldn't have a slumber party. I was working up my list of justifications for saying no. Then I remembered that I had told her when she was 5 that she could have/ go to slumber parties when she turned 8 or was in the 3rd grade. Umm, that's this year!!

Then I watched momTV on Democratic Parenting (dated 5/25/10). One of the things Vicki said that really struck a cord with me wast this. Kids need to have a voice in their lives. They need to feel and know that they get to make decisions about their lives. This got me to thinking. I am a dictator and I'm permissive. Bad combo. I want to be democratic and to do so I need to listen and hear what the kids are saying and consider what they say. They need to know that I believe in them and respect their choices. The only way I can do that is by letting them do the things they want to do...especially if they've really thought it through. I was reminded of this blog post Vicki did on "Letting Go" and I realized it was time for me to let go of this little piece.

When Sweetie Heart came home from school (I still hadn't talked to Webby about it) I asked her what her plan was. No plan, no party. Honestly, though, how could I say no if she had a plan?

Here's her plan:
  • 3 friends (I know all of them and their mothers)
  • dropped off at 3:45
  • play at pay ground until 5
  • come home and make pizza and have cake and ice cream
  • play more at the home
  • watch a short movie
  • go to bed at 8:45 (sideways glance at me to see my reaction. I stayed passive and just nodded my head.)
"What about the morning?" I ask.
  • have breakfast (can't remember what she suggested, but I can figure that out)
  • pick up at 9...maybe 11?? My response: 11 is too late for me. 9 then!
SH: Can I have the slumber party?
me: I still need to talk to papa.

She totally had a plan. Webby and I talked and the party is a go. I'm giving her a $40 budget to buy the stuff (food, snacks, drinks, ice cream etc) for the party. She will go with me to buy all the stuff. It should be lots of fun.

They grow up so fast and it's hard to let go. But I know this is how she is going to learn how to navigate her life. It will open the doors to her coming to me and asking to do the things she wants to do. It will instill confidence in herself and her abilities to think things out, make a plan and follow through.

Next up: She wants a pet!


Lori S. said...

Wow, it sounds like she's really thought it through! And it sounds like a safe & easy first slumber party for her to show you she can handle it.

Now my daughter wants a training bra! My immediate reaction was similar to yours -- no way! you're too young! (she's 9) But then I channeled Vicki and thought "she's inviting me into a conversation... don't shut her down!"

Have great fun with the party! :)

Midwife Mama said...

Congratulations on rethinking your automatic reaction. It sounds like you handled it perfectly - invited her to show you that she is able to handle this, listened to her, compromised with the plan so it works for both of you. I will think of this next time I feel myself resisting right away.