Parenting WIN!

One of the huge drawbacks of being a parent is that you don’t get a lot of feedback on your parenting.  I don’t get a report card that tells me how I’m doing with my redirection or positive reinforcement techniques.  I don’t get grounded when I use my angry voice or stickers when I wake up 5 times a night with a fussy toddler.  No one throws me a parade when I change wet bed sheets at 3am or when I make a nutritious meal for my family.  (To be honest – I don’t get a parade for cooking because I never do it.  The meals in my house are made by my fabulous partner.  And I probably should throw him a parade but that’s another post for another day.) 

Often, parental feedback is reserved to the most unfortunate situations: a family member or friend gives unsolicited advice on your parenting style (which I also call criticism), a random parent sends a look your way at the mall, or your youngest daughter, Pumpkin gives you a look like this:

This is not a “You are doing a great job, Mommy” face.

But every once in a while if you are really paying attention, you get a dose of feedback from your own kids.  It isn’t a direct assessment like a report card, of course, you have to look for it.  I had a moment like this with my oldest daughter, Peanut (4 ½ years old) recently.
Peanut about to drop some knowledge.
Peanut was happily drawing with markers.  It was a page out of a coloring book; I think the one she had chosen was a town scene. 
Peanut was engaged in her art.  She was drawing dramatically with one color then the next, making the trees pink and the street yellow.  There was a grown up sitting with her who said, “Gee, Peanut.  I see you aren’t coloring inside the lines.”
Peanut replied, “Nope.”
The adult pressed (somewhat critically), “How come?”
This would be the point where I froze and gave my husband, B, a panicked look.  The helicopter mom in me wanted to swoop in and navigate the conversation to less “why-are-you-passive-aggressively-criticizing-my-4-year-old’s-artwork” waters.  My husband gave me the “let’s-just-wait-and-see-how-she-handles-this” look.
Peanut didn’t stop coloring.  She didn’t even look up.  She just said flatly, “You don’t have to color in the lines, you know.  You can color any way you want and it’s still beautiful.”
SHAZAM!  Parenting WIN!
My husband just looked at me and winked.

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