Friday, January 4, 2013

The Nice American

I dislike confrontation and try not to hurt other people's feelings;  what my Israeli friends mockingly call "American politeness."  Even after 16 years of living in this country,  I will yell if necessary in order to accomplish a specific goal, but will then feel physically ill from the stress it causes inside me.

Most parents of toddlers will tell you, children this age have a magical moment, a second in time where they switch from "Happy" and "Well Behaved" to "Irrational" and "Bad Listeners."  If you as a parent learn the signs, you can head off disaster at the pass; miss that window and you will need a stiff drink by the end of the evening.

At the beginning of this week, Raphaela was enjoying a play date with a friend from Gan when that time arrived, and in my most polite and American way possible, I suggested that we leave.  The hostess, whose company I was also enjoying, begged us to stay a bit longer, that she would prepare a light dinner for the girls so we could have more time to hang out, and I reluctantly agreed. (That whole not hurting feelings thing, especially with a new connection...)

Raphaela more or less made it through the play date, but once we got home it was a parenting nightmare.  I resolved not to be so "nice" the next time.

Last night, at the house of another playmate, it was not I but rather the other mother who abruptly cut short our visit a bit before six pm, explaining that her daughter had not napped and that she could see the signs of impending collapse.  I appreciated her honesty and her sensibility, thanked her for their hospitality, and took Raphaela home.

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