Children Learn What They Live

This morning Morris was brushing his teeth when I heard, “Uh oh mommy, I spilled, and it’s a big one.” Then it was followed by a small sniffle which I could hear slowly escalating into one of those cries that kids try to hold back because they don’t want you to see or hear them crying.  I opened the bathroom door and Morris was standing in the middle of a huge blue puddle. He had dropped the brand new bottle of Spiderman mouth rinse that he uses before he brushes his teeth. It’s actually pretty cool because the areas that have plaque on them turn blue until you brush the plaque away. Perhaps we have a lot of plaque on our bathroom floor and bathtub because they were covered in the blue mouth rinse as well. As I surveyed the damage my eyes shot instantly to Morris. That’s where the most damage was. He had a fearful look of shame on his face and then he said, “I’m sorry mommy.” I wanted to cry.  I stepped right into the big blue puddle and gave him a big hug.  I didn’t have enough words to tell him that it was ok so I immediately broke out in laughter and we reminisced about the time I broke a 16 x 20 picture frame at Aaron Brothers. Morris was with me when it happened and I remembered him being on the next aisle and shouting “I didn’t do it mommy” when he heard the shattering noise. We chuckled about that for a while and I explained to him that accidents happen and it’s not a big deal when you spill or break something. I told him even grown ups have accidents and make mistakes. He let out a small smile.

Together, we proceeded to clean up our newly turned cobalt blue bathroom and laughed about times other people (mostly me) spilled, fell, or dropped something. That was the one time I was proud of being such a clutz since it provided a great distraction (not to mention amusement) for my 4 year old.  It reminded me of one of my favorite poems which I have pretty much adopted as my parenting philosophy. In “Children Learn What They Live” by Dorothy Law Nolte, it says “…if children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.” Just seeing the hurt look on Morris’s face launched me into mommy mode. I instantly wanted to fix it and couldn’t bare to see my son so sad. Then I remembered another line of the poem, “…if children live with acceptance, they learn to love.” I was reassured he was all better when he ushered me out of the bathroom so he could finish brushing his teeth to defeat the bad guys (AKA cavaties).

To view “Children Learn What They Live” click here.

Spider-Man Pre-Brush Rinse -I found mine at the 99 cent store, but you can also order it here.



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