Me: Claire, please leave your band aides on your cheeks.
Claire: NO! I no like my band aides!!!
Me: Leave your band aides on or give me your hot chocolate. Because it's not safe to have both band aides and hot chocolate. (uh ... what did I just say ... that made no sense)
Sometimes, despite no brain cells, you miraculously manage to get it spot on:
Me: "Henry, what's more important? Being right all the time or being kind to your brother?"
Henry: Being kind to Adam. I'm sorry Adam.
Me: Thank you Henry. (Did that really just do down like that?! I'll be using that one again!)
But then, just twenty minutes (and 1,000 less brain cells) later:
Me: Henry, what's more important, um, sharing your, um, I mean not putting Adam's toys, um ... uh ... being kind to Adam (what am I even saying?!) Henry, It's important to be kind to your brother! (*&#!)
Henry: What are you talking about?
Me: Never mind. Go to your room.
When Henry was my only child I had way more brain cells. As a result, I used a lot of "Love and Logic" in my parenting (the "logic" in the love and logic approach assumes you - the parent - have the potential to think logically). It's a very diplomatic approach. Give your child reasonable choices. And let him experience natural consequences. Yada, yada, yada. It was pretty fantastic. And worked. Until Henry caught on and started using love and logic on me.
"Momma, do you want to pick up my toys now or in 5 minutes?"
Yeah. I'm pretty sure that's not how things are going to work around here. So I went back to the drawing board and began reading any parenting book that came highly recommended by reliable friends, parents who'd been around the block, the homeless guy on the corner. One book taught me how I could have a new kid by Friday. One taught me how to deal with my strong willed child. One even taught me how not to count to three. I thought I was figuring it all out.
And then I had Adam.
And now Emily.
And I've found that nothing I've read - even the most applicable nugget of parenting gold - comes to mind the moment I need it most. What does come to mind however is my desire to show love even in the midst of frustration, my fervent prayers for wisdom and an intrinsic sense of which child needs what at any given moment - because heaven knows all my kids have drastically different needs.
So despite the fact that more of my brain cells vacate the premises whenever a sweet child of mine travels through the terrible two's, I'm discovering I still have enough left to parent. Amazingly, I'm even able to string together a line of logic now and again that gets the job done.
Like when I tell Adam:
"Wearing socks with your Crocs only work when the rain isn't wet." (huh???)
And somehow it makes so much sense to him that he chooses to put on his rain boots (which was the outcome I was hoping for but never dreamed would come so easily!). When things like this happen I consider it a sign that my brain still works well enough to communicate with my offspring. And I consider that nothing less than a miracle.