Hi there! It’s Brooke from Blissful Roots. How was your Mother’s Day weekend? I hope someone made a big fuss over you, and that you did the same for your mom. Speaking of Mother’s Day, I don’t know about you, but it’s usually a time of reflection for me. I loving being celebrated as a mother, but sometimes I wonder if I deserve it. Okay, I do (all mothers do!), but there’s always room for improvement.
Right now the big issue I’m dealing with at our house is the comparing/competition syndrome. I have twins, and it’s probably something I’ll constantly be dealing with with these two boys. They are best buddies, and get along amazingly well, but there are those moments. All you mothers out there know these moments. Moments when one of your twins (or any child) scores three goals at Saturday’s soccer game, and the other scores none. Moments when one twin notices the letter (reading level) on the back of brother’s home reading book is higher than his. Moments when one twin gets invited to play at a friend’s house and the other doesn’t. Moments when the younger (not quite 5) cousin from out of state comes to visit and can read chapter books when your kindergarten twins can’t. I could go on and on, but I’m sure you get the idea.
A few months ago I was at my parents’ house and ran across a little book that had simple ideas for nurturing your child’s self esteem. There was an idea in the book I loved. It was called the “I Can…” Can. It’s as easy as it’s name suggests. The idea is to have a place (a can) where you can keep a record of all the things your child CAN do. When you begin the can, sit down and put as many papers in as you can. Brainstorm with your child everything he/she can do. Hop, jump, read, climb, make toast, tie shoes, get dressed, whistle, ride a bike,… Then for the days that follow, keep slips of paper and writing tools close by the cans your child, or anyone in your family, can add to the can as your child learns to do more things. My three-year-old recently learned to snap. He’s amazingly good at it too (another moment, big brothers remembered they couldn’t snap until they were six). He was so excited to have us add it to his can.
Not only are you constantly adding skips of paper to your child’s can, but then on those days when your child is having a rough time because so-and-so can do such-and-such better than him, you dump out the “I Can…” Can and read every single piece of paper. Celebrate everything that is in the can, and help your child focus on what he/she can do instead of what can’t be done. Also, remind your child that they should not only celebrate what he/she has done, but celebrate what others have done as well.
Here’s what one of my twin’s “I Can…” Cans looks like. I used a stewed tomato can that I had saved. I covered it with scrapbook paper, added a label, and stamped his name on the bottom. I have papers and a pen close by, and added a picture of Carter next to the can. He’s on top of Nanny and Poppy’s swing set in this picture. This boy can climb!
You know, after I made these cans for my boys, I seriously contemplated making one for my self (which I still might do on a smaller scale- at least a notebook to keep a running list). I think we as women tend to be just as bad, if not worse, as our little ones when it comes to comparing. I dare say we could all benefit from having an “I Can…” Can. Learn to recognize what you can do, not what you can’t, and learn to be happy for others (as hard as it can be at times) when they add to their own can.
Thanks so much for letting me take a little bit of your time. Let me know of any other great ideas you have for keeping the comparison syndrome at bay. Come see my at Blissful Roots anytime, and enjoy your day!