So, I talked to Dr. Dave about the MG vs. my "squishy" tummy thing. He agreed that this was a behavior that we need to stop (gently, compassionately) because it's my job as Mom to teach her appropriate boundaries. He even went so far as to say that if I don't nip this in the bud, she could go to school and feel some kid's tummy, and the parents and teachers freak out, and suddenly child protective services is knocking on my door - he's seen these things happen! Suddenly the desire to extinguish this behavior is a lot more urgent on my part.
He says I should tell MG, "I'm just not comfortable with that, how about we hold hands, instead," and then make her hold hands instead every single time she tries to touch the tummy. We also talked about trying to fill her physical affection cup up before she feels anxious and needs to go after the tummy (because it seems to happen more when she's in an unfamiliar place or a chaotic situation - transitions, particularly). He suggested that we make it a routine for me to spend 10 minutes rocking her every morning, to try to fill up her affection/security cup for the day. Also, at bedtime when she's asking for me (but I'm with Claire) I can say, "Hey, not now, but I'll rock with you in the morning!" instead of just a flat, "No, I'm with Claire right now."
Also, we're going to rock with Biscuit the (stuffed) cat, to try to get her to associate those good feelings with a neutral object, so that if I'm not available for some reason she can have a substitute Mommy object.
Sounds like a plan, huh?
Please know that I am very affectionate with the kids. I kiss and hug and cuddle and tickle and wrestle and all that good stuff. And this is in no way meant to be instructive (or judgmental) toward those of you who said, "Yeah, my kid does that too, don't sweat it..." But Dr. Dave correctly discerned that this is a behavior that I'm uncomfortable with, and that could have long term consequences (if she generalizes the behavior to others) and thus we need to make it stop (in a gentle, compassionate, careful way so as not to damage her little psyche or make her feel rejected). If your kid loves on your tummy and you're ok with it - more power to ya! If you are worried about it, now that you've read this, I highly recommend that you find a Dr. Dave (but I am not giving out MY Dr. Dave's name anymore because I've got half of our town seeing him and suddenly I can't get an appointment for weeks!!) to talk to about it. I think everyone should have a parenting expert in their back pocket for times such as these.
A couple times he gave positive feedback to things I described myself doing with the kids, and at one point I looked at him and said, "Could you just say that over and over, because it's like crack to me to hear I'm doing something right! It just feels so good!" and I sort of dramatically laid my head back on the couch, closed my eyes, and threw my arms out to the sides. I could seriously go off of one "atta girl" from Dr. Dave for a month.
Maybe I just need to schedule regular appointments with him where I say, "I did this and that and this and that," and he can say, "That's great!" and "Research really supports that!" and "Your instincts are right on, in this case."
It was so helpful, too, to hear him say, "I don't think she has any underlying problem that's causing this..." I was worried that the kid had some kind of attachment disorder. She doesn't. She's fine, and she's doing great in every area (socially, cognitively, developmentally, eating, sleeping, disciplinarily, etc.). Sometimes we all need a little tweak, right?
Someday Dr. Dave and I are going to go into business together offering classes for good parents - where people who aren't complete CPS cases can go to get advice and support from an expert. There's a lot of help for the really, really bad parents, out there, but there's no one out there helping the regular, even good, occasionally excellent parents who just want to be a little bit better. I told him he could be the next Dr. Phil, and he has the added bonus of not being obnoxious.
I also gave him the address of the blog, so I'm sure this is all going in my Permanent Record. Someone could write a doctoral thesis about me, seriously...
Moving right along, then we went camping. BJ and I loaded up the kids and the dog and the tent that we got as a wedding present 8 years ago and had never used, and we set off for BJ's dad's farm. We had a campfire complete with hot dogs and s'mores, and Jiffy Pop popcorn (which sucks, don't bother with the Jiffy Pop) and we slept under the stars with the coyotes. The kids were really good, and it went pretty well until it was time for MG to go to sleep. She wasn't really down with being left in the tent with Claire while Mommy and Daddy stayed awake and talked (10 whole feet away). Finally at midnight we gave up and went to sleep, too. After that, everything was fine, except the air mattress was too small and we didn't all fit on it. If we're going to make a habit of this, we need a second air mattress. And a blower to blow it up. These old bodies aren't able to sleep on the ground and then bounce right back, like they used to. It's not even 9 pm, and I'm already thinking about going to bed.
After we got home and cleaned up this morning, BJ took the kids to Uncle Brandon's and I went shopping with my pal Casey for BlogHer. I found a cute top to wear during the day. I think I can figure out the rest from what I already have. Hopefully, cause I'm kind of running out of time. Then we went to the spa and Casey got a hot stone massage while I sat in the steam
My Facebook friends were treated to a picture of what the water looked like after the foot detox. I'll spare the rest of you. It was pretty nasty. They put tap water and salt in this foot bath thing, then put in this little electrical doohickey (that plugs into the wall!) and it does stuff and (supposedly) sucks all the toxins out of your body through your feet. It did something, because the water looked like tea when I was finished. It was... interesting. If you mention me at Caribbean Mist in my hometown you can get $3 off a treatment and try it yourself. I can't say that I feel any different, but I'm really too tired, at this point, to feel much of anything. Maybe tomorrow I'll be a size 6 and have abundant energy and a healthy glow. Tonight, though, I just want the rest of my ice cream and my bed. I am in no position to judge the efficacy of the foot detox.
Then I got a pre-BlogHer facial, which I really needed. The facialist (I can't spell esthetician) at Caribbean Mist is new, and she's very good. Kelly has moved on to only doing waxing. I guess she's the best Brazilian waxer in town, and she says she just loves doing it
I am the only person you know who can take you from the shrink to the Brazilian bikini wax, from the camp out to the spa and back in one post. That's the kind of journalism that keeps you coming back, right?