How I say it matters

This evening, I got a quick lesson on parenting courtesy of a paper towel.

I was changing Isla’s diaper. As always, I talked to her and she cooed as if responding to me, and she kept smiling. I took my eyes off her for about 5 seconds to talk to my husband. When I looked back at her, I saw that the paper towel next to her was torn. Her hand was in a fist and already positioned on the side of her face, near the corner of her mouth.

I panicked.

I pried her hand open and saw a piece of the paper towel. She was still smiling at me. I held her jaw (gently), my thumb and forefinger on the right side and left side, respectively. And I said “Open your mouth”.

Immediately, her face contorted and she screamed and cried.

I realized that the tone of my voice had changed when I said those three words. It was an angry and a stern tone that I’ve never used on my three-month old baby, a tone that I grew up hearing whenever I did something wrong. I wasn’t angry at Isla; I was worried that she may have put a piece of the paper towel in her mouth (and would eventually swallow it). But the tone of my voice didn’t convey that emotion.

Thanks to that piece of paper towel, I realized that I have to be more mindful of my emotions, especially an emotion that is driven by an immediate reaction to a situation. Saying something is not enough. How I say it matters. It is difficult, but I need to control the tone of my voice especially in stressful/worrisome situations involving my child.

Hopefully, as I grow into my new role as mother, I’d be able to do that.

Here’s to the years ahead!

PS: No, she didn’t put the piece of the paper towel in her mouth.

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One thought on “How I say it matters

  1. Moments like that are always stressful. We react without always realizing how it must sound to the child. My daughter is now old enough to point it out to me. 🙂

    Like

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