Friday, December 11, 2009


George, that is. He is in town and, after much consternation on my part about whether it would be okay for Sabrina, stayed at my home last night. On my sofa, though this ended up being not the best use of my sleeping resources, as I ended up (not really) sleeping on the floor next to Sabrina's room.

At 1 in the morning when Sabrina woke up, George read her a story and--made her smile. I had forgotten just how adorable Sabrina is when she smiles.

I don't remember myself at 4, but I do remember myself at times in my life when I was very particular about who I would let make me smile. And it was never the people, in retrospect, who were the "logical" people. That is, it was never people in my family, never my close friends... so I get it that Sabrina needs to invest a lot of energy in being angry at me. That doesn't mean, though, that I wouldn't rather her smile more often!

It also is really helpful having someone in the apartment seeing how I interact with Sabrina. George offered me some good feedback (my mom offered me the same suggestion yesterday after hearing me on the phone, and while I think my mom really messed my sister and me up in our childhoods, that doesn't mean she doesn't know what she SHOULD have done in parenting us)--now the struggle for me will just be practicing to implement the feedback.

Here's the feedback: I don't speak forcefully enough. (This is also a big part of why I'm not good at litigation.) My mom also explained why I don't speak forcefully enough--I went from one extreme (tantrum after tantrum after tantrum) to the other (avoid conflict at all costs) and now need to work on finding a happy middle ground.


  1. Have you ever had a dog? That helped me a lot in learning to speak with a firm, calm voice, and because of that the dog obeys much better for me than she does for Lee, though she was Lee's first. I realize it's not an exact parallel, but it's an easy way to get practice. Maybe you could watch The Dog Whisperer if streaming Netflix gives you that option? There was a NYT article lately about parents dealing better with their preschoolers because of having seen it.

  2. I agree that dog training gives really good tips for child-rearing. Voice, attitude, and the immediate reward thing that we forget with kids.
    I know you mentioned the How to Talk Book. It has some really good suggestions.

    It takes time.