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Alexander Residence: Miss L and the conscience

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Miss L and the conscience


Miss L has been in tears twice in the last week over things she has done to other people. I am suddenly aware this is a huge shift in her understanding. She is gradually learning that other people have feelings and that if she hurts their feelings, she will feel sad too. Blimey I remember reading about it in a parenting book and watching experiments revolving around sharing cake on Child of our Time but I never thought I would see the day.


The first was breaking the teapot lid in our villa in Spain. When Dad explained she would need to help find another one because it belonged to someone and they would miss it she burst into tears. We both felt quite staggered, but took it to be a reaction to being told off and being in a strange environment.


Yesterday though we went to the dentist. While I was in the chair she and Mr G covered themselves in brave patient stickers which had been left on a table just at their height. There wasn't much I could do to stop them at the time, but afterwards I expressed my disapproval and explained the dentist might have thought we were rude. When we got home she was in floods of tears. 'Mummy I feel so sad about what I did at the dentists'. I felt really sad too, because it was heartbreaking to see her feeling sad. I realised I hadn't really made my expectations of how to behave at the dentists very clear and that I have a big responsibility to teach her how to behave to feel good about things.


It all backfired a little in the shoe shop though. This time I did prep her.


Me: "The lady does give you sweets when we buy shoes, but don't ask for them. I would like you to be really helpful, to listen and to wait to be offered sweets".


Miss L went into overdrive in terms of helpful, when the assistant went to find another pair of shoes, she started packing the other shoes away and stacking shoe boxes. Unfortunately the shop had just had a stock delivery and Miss L took it upon herself to try to rearrange every box in the shop. She also insisted on going behind the counter to 'help' put her box of new shoes on the counter. Still she didn't ask for sweets or try and take more than one packet so I can't really complain.


She has been much more affectionate suddenly and understanding. When Mr G was driving me mad swinging a broom round the kitchen today, and I took it off him she said 'Mummy he doesn't mean to annoy you.'


Blimey a whole new world, of empathy. We really are turning a corner.

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