“This Hurts Me More Than It Hurts You.”

A toddler girl crying

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We’ve all heard that phrase, and we all know we didn’t particularly enjoy what followed.  I’m sure as kids we didn’t understand how it could possibly hurt Mom or Dad more than it hurt us, but they continued to claim it did, and we continued to disbelieve them and pouted about it for as long as possible.

Last night I experienced the other end of that phrase, and the truth of it finally hit home.

Appropriate dinner behaviour proved to be an impossibility for Little Miss, and the meal ended with her not eating more than a bite and sitting in a time out in the corner.  She sobbed, tears and snot streaming down her face, while Mommy and Daddy put the food away and cleaned the table.  When I finished my tasks, I sat down on the floor next to Little Miss and offered her one last opportunity to eat her dinner, which she promptly refused.  Instead she climbed onto my lap, buried her face in my neck, and held on tight.  (All the while wiping snot all over my shoulder, of course.)

I held her, rocked her, stroked her back, and when she had calmed down, I handed her a sippy cup, which she gratefully took.  She again refused any dinner (which was, frustratingly, something she actually usually enjoys eating), and instead we got jammies on and sat on the couch reading books for half an hour before she went to bed.

While we read books together, dinnertime events finally caught up with me, and I couldn’t stem the tide.  I laid my head down on Husband’s shoulder and cried while he read to Little Miss as she sat on my lap. When she saw me lay my head down, she reached over and lifted my head off Daddy’s shoulder.  “No, no!” she said with a frown.  Then she gently rubbed my cheek with her little hand as if to say, “Don’t cry, Mommy!”  Which of course didn’t help me stop crying, but made me smile anyway!

It was true – punishing Little Miss had hurt me more than it hurt her.  She got over it quickly and moved on with her evening, but even this morning I felt terrible about making her cry.  To make matters worse, I had to be at work early this morning and left the house before she had even woken up.

Fortunately, that little hand gently rubbing my salty wet cheek is enough to get me through the day until I can wrap her in a bear hug tonight.

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