When I was young, I wondered how come my mom knew everything I did. My mom used to answered me, "well, because I have other eyes in my back!" I never understood how my mom would know everything even if I tried to trick her or lied to her.
Today, I dropped SL off to her class this morning and told her, "Be a good friend to your friends and listen to your teacher very carefully. See you in two hours, love you!"
When I got home, I saw over-loaded house work waiting for me.
Where should I start? Well, let's drink a cup of coffee. Yeah.. let's have a little moment for myself.
I started to brew my morning coffee, put a heart-shaped sugar lump and poured 2% skimmed milk. Having 10 minutes without interruption for myself was only luxury I could afford. Now, I needed to think about what's next step. Dishes? Laundry? Vacuuming? It was the time to stop thinking, but just doing.
Within 45 minutes, I could grab things as I used to do. Things in the house got back where they should have been. I felt great pleasure looking at neatly arranged kitchen, non-sticky wooden floor in the living room.
With slight smile on my face, I jumped in shower and realized it was almost time to pick up my daughter. I hurried; grabbing SL's snack bag, putting on my jacket, lifting my purse and key. When I started a car engine, I heard my mom's voice. "급할 수록 돌아가라/ Make haste slowly."
Yeah, mom. I'll try to calm down.
Driving through Belmont traffic, I managed to arrive on time. SL was still playing in the indoor gymnasium with her friends, and showing me a paper Easter bunny on her hand. I saw her proud face. I heard her explaining about bunny's blue eyes and one curvy line for bunny's smile. She also mentioned that she had watched other kid's work.
"Mom, some of my friends didn't draw bunny's eyes and mouth."
"Well, Sou Lynn. That's their choice. You never know what they'd prefer." I answered with calm voice.
Holding hands together, we were crossing teacher's front desk to reach the other room to get her jacket. I heard Ms. Kim's voice.
"Sou Lynn had to be in time-out. SL, will you tell your mom what had happened during the class?"
"Umm... I waited but they didn't share toys with me.."
Ms. Kim gave me a sign of trusted eyes. "She pushed one of her friends and knocked over other kids' toy castle."
I knelt down to meet my daughter's eyes. "SL, mommy is very disappointed. How would you feel if someone is knocking over your toy castle that you worked on it hard?"
"ANGRY!" She answered with full of emotion.
"Well, that must be same for your friend. Did you say sorry to her?"
"Yes, she did." Ms. Kim's voice broke in our conversation.
I raised up and walked to the club room, still holding her hands. I still remained being calm, yet my mood wasn't so lively. There, I heard a voice of Ms. Kim's class assistant. "Sou Lynn! You were a trouble maker today! I hope you behave well tomorrow!"
I managed to smile back reluctantly.
This is mutual ground. I should stay calm, and I will deal with it/ with her when we get home.
On the way home, I wasn't talking much. I was thinking how to initiate a conversation to this little feisty 3-year-old girl. She was happy having strawberry cereal bar in back seat. For her everything seemed perfect. But I couldn't let it happen again. I needed to do something firmly about her behavior. If she thought it would be fine to act that way, then it became my fault to let her be that way. After all, she's only 3 years old and she doesn't know the further consequences. It was my time to step in.
"Sou Lynn, do you know why mommy is disappointed?"
"Well, I wasn't behaving??" She answered with half-attention. Her focus was in Mac&Cheese which she wanted to have for lunch. I waited until she was full.
This has to be serious. I have to let her know mommy is serious.
"Mom, can I watch Ponyo?" She talked to me when she was done her meal and that was exactly what I expected.
"I want you to go in your room and think about what you have done to your friends."
Now, all I could hear was fake crying, tantrum throwing just because she didn't get what she wanted, and I saw sneaky scanning in her eyes if I was serious about this issue.
I couldn't believe this little girl was testing my temper. I tried to be patient, I tried to be reasonable, I did my best to give her what she needs. But for that moment, she was being a child, a 3-year-old child.
I'm her mom. I need to teach her what's right thing to do, and what's not.
She was having 20 minutes of quiet time in her room, I was doing dishes in the kitchen. I felt our invisible tension in the house. I can't believe what I'm up to. I'm in nerve fighting with my daughter. But this time, I will not let it slip.
I tried to find my Zen while doing dishes, and made cup of Yooja tea, but my nerves still tilted to her movements. While I was drinking, I waited until she shows her next moves.
I sensed her opening door, and quietly approaching to me, "Mom, I thought about what I did wrong. I was wrong to push my friend and knocked over other friends' toy castle. I'm not gonna do that again." And she lowered her voice with angelic smile, "Can I watch Ponyo, now?"
My Zen mood shattered, I couldn't believe her strategy. She thought she would get what she wanted if she apologize to me.
"No! You can't watch Ponyo today, because I don't think you really realized what you did wrong. And this is your consequences of your behavior. Mommy is very upset."
Surprisingly, she didn't throw tantrum this time. Maybe she thought I was different than usual. She got down and brought Calliou puzzle pieces and sat down quietly by kitchen table. I watched her through my side eyes while reading a Parenting magazine. We were both quiet. She finished one turn within 3 minutes. Later, she brought Candy Land puzzle pieces and started to match them. She was patient. She was looking at me from time to time to check my mood. I could tell she was trying and trying hard not to disturb our silence. But she couldn't hold it any longer.
"Mom..I was being patient. I waited and played puzzle until you play Ponyo.. Do I deserve to watch it now?"
I gave up. She warmed my mood. Her smile melted my upset feelings. She became my angel. I smiled in my heart but didn't show to her.
"Sou Lynn, mommy wants you to be a nice girl. Being nice isn't that hard. Number one, we don't push other friends. Number two, we don't knock down someone else's toy buildings. If you need to pass, go around, ok? Can you do that?"
"Yes, I promise, mom. I'll do that."