This morning I recorded one of my numerous, frustrating interactions with my daughter. I recorded it, at the suggestion of my therapist, both to help me keep my tone of voice where I want it to be, as well as to help dissect what I am doing that is prolonging the battles. Listening to the play back makes me sad. The one conversation I taped lasted 8 minutes. 8 minutes spent arguing about eating more food after she had already finished eating breakfast. 8 minutes spent asking her to speak to me without whining. 8 minutes spent trying to keep a calm voice, not roll my eyes, not sigh deeply out of frustration.
I worry that her battles with me are some convoluted way to get me to pay more attention to her. I worry that my kids are going to end up polarizing themselves as "the good one" and "the naughty one". I worry that he will ultimately resent her for taking up so much of my time and attention. I worry that as she gets older our struggles will drive us apart when what I want most is to understand her and help her be happy.
Although I sometimes pretend there's a camera watching me, as I wrote about this, I was thinking about the idea of "the observer" and that there is something in all of us that is aware of everything we do. There is always a part of us that is aware of right and wrong, and aware of right action and selfish action; although often, in the moment, we choose to ignore this awareness. This observer can be thought of as the "still, small voice" of our conscience. So, just as my son's voice cuts through the chaos and stops me in my tracks, tuning in to this inner voice can help me do the same. If I think about it, I don't need a camera crew to keep me on the path I want to be on, but I do need to remember that someone is watching. And that this someone is me.
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