My chiropractor is a single man, and I’m guessing he doesn’t have any close friends or relatives with young kids. He is constantly remarking about Moira: her energy, her intelligence, her vocabulary…. Frequently, he mentions her bossiness, or how well she “has me trained”. I always rephrase or contradict his statement loud enough for Moira to hear: “She’s not bossy, she’s two.” She has limited ability to describe what she wants. She has her own opinions.
When we go to his office she expects the same series of things to happen, stories while we wait, playing with the wind-up toy, using some of his lotion, receiving jelly beans or a sticker when we are all done. Most toddlers love ritual and routine. Unfortunately, they also have limited vocabulary skills to express what they want.
Today he said, “Moira, you have to learn that Mommy is the boss.” I don’t know if it was the fact that he directly addressed Moira, or the exact phrasing, but that was a step too far for me.
“No,” I said, “she doesn’t have to learn I’m the boss. Moira is the boss of Moira, and I am the boss of me and we like to work together. Our life works better if we can agree on a goal.”
“Really,” he asked, “that works?”
I asked him, “Well, does it work with you? Do you prefer to work with people or have someone boss you around?”
He agreed that it does work with him. Of course it does. He started his own collective of independently operating medical professionals (including our Naturopath, a Rolfer, and a couple of massage therapists) because he didn’t like working in a traditional practice. On my first visit, he spent much of the appointment telling me why traditional Chiropractic care doesn’t work as well as holistic care. They are encouraged to get the patients in and out as fast as possible.
This led to a discussion about parenting, something he hasn’t thought much about. I pointed out that even though Moira is little, she is still a person. Just because I’m larger doesn’t mean that my wants and whims are more worthy of respect then hers are. If I want to go inside and she wants to stay outside, that doesn’t mean that she’s wrong and I should force her. I told him that I hope that working out compromises with her now will make it easier for her to work them out in the rest of her life. Compassion, understanding and compromise are all things I want to teach her. The best way to teach most things is through modeling.
I think my chiropractor is awesome. He takes his time and deals with each of his patients as an individual with different problems that need different solutions. Hopefully, if he decides to have kids, he can learn to treat them the same way.
Photo credit: anissat
About the author: Shannon is a former nanny and the happy and tired mama of an energetic and always enthusiastic two year old. They spend their days playing, reading and crafting. A version of this post was originally published at Pineapples & Artichokes.