We are entering discipline territory. Last night, after trying to feed the dog off of his plate again, Z laid down the law and startled 'Rad with a loud and firm "No. Stop it." I could see the corners of Connor's mouth start to turn down, and after flushing a deep shade of red for a few seconds, his mouth opened and the waterworks began. And continued. The crying probably didn't last more than 5 minutes, but I felt terrible for what felt like an eternity and just wanted to pick him up and comfort him. I began thinking, "Sure, we don't want him feeding the dog, but he doesn't know better. What he's doing wasn't that bad. Did he deserve to get yelled at? Should I pick him up and let him know that dad didn't mean it?" But I held strong. I didn't rush over and pick him up. I let him be, and when he came over to me, arms outstretched, I held him in my lap without fawning over him too much or saying that we were sorry.
It was a big deal for me. For Z, there were no questions about what he did or how Connor reacted. I, however, remember visibly putting my arms under Connor's pits to pick him up and comfort him, then putting my hands down by my sides, then doing it again because the fight inside my head was waging so furiously. I know that we need to teach him wrong from right and appropriate from inappropriate ("appropriate" and "inappropriate" seem like words created just for teaching children), but handling his reactions to those lessons will be a learning experience for me and a practice in solidarity. God, I'm a softie. But it's worth it because I don't want a whiny, self-entitled little booger on my hands. Harumph.
A rainy day project: Painting with food-colored yogurt (Blue ate most of the "paint" and Connor was more interested in the paint containers than with painting the canvas, but I still call it a success).
The finished product, which now rests on the credenza in our dining room.