First RIE in Real Life

It seems I’ve outgrown my old method of sending emails out and it’s time to try something new. With my new look, I thought I’d try a new name: RIE in Real Life.

I loved “RIE Wins” because it was so evocative of what I feel this work does for parents; that is, it helps give you little (or large) moments of success, joy, peace, shared excitement, bliss, support…in your parenting journey. You know: wins! But I’ve been thinking “RIE in Real Life” is more descriptive, don’t you? It’s easy to read (or listen) or talk about RIE, but putting it into practice is another animal. It’s where the rubber meets the road, as they say…these articles and stories are all about transforming the theoretical to the practical.

Let me know what you think…about the name, the look and feel of the email, even the content (I’m always listening and looking for your stories to share). This is a work in progress. And I’m okay with that.

On to today’s win…and, true to this newsletter’s new name, it is truly a description of RIE in real life…even, dare I say, a description of RIE in the wild…no, not a story from classes out in the parks, but a story of a RIE parent and child out in the wild of the real world: a public restroom!

We were at a restaurant and I brought my daughter in to the bathroom to pee. I was propping her up on the gigantic public toilet, helping to hold her little body balanced on there so that she didn’t fall in.

I’m in a rather uncomfortable squat, wearing a dress with long flowy sleeves, one of which I realized was touching the rim of the toilet. My daughter was taking her time, chat, chat, chatting away. We heard someone go into the stall next to us, which prompted some more narration from my daughter.

Finally, I realized that I didn’t think she was going to pee [Inserting a note here to say this child is new to the world of toilets, and like many new toilet enthusiasts, she wants to explore all her options.], so I asked her, “no pee pee, my love?” She said nope. And I calmly said something like, “ok, if you get the pee pee feeling again, just let me know and we can come right back.”

I didn’t think anything of this interaction, so when we came out of the stall together, and the woman who had been in the stall next to us with us said to me “you’re such a great mom.” I admittedly felt very confused, and I’m sure my face showed that. I was thinking, ok thank you but how can you tell by just overhearing in a bathroom?

She elaborated and said “the way you speak to her- the tone, the words you choose. It’s really very special.” And then she added, “I’m a kindergarten teacher, so believe me, I know.” Haha! And suddenly it all made sense and I thanked her so much for the compliment, and told her it really meant so much to me.

And it did. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It was just so kind, and validating for me, but more than that, it sort of highlighted all that I’ve learned through RIE. And it made me realize, oh wow, we DO really speak to, and approach children differently. And I think because we often are in this RIE bubble, I don’t see it, because all of the other parents around me also speak to their children this way.

So, yes. RIE parents are very special. And RIE teachers! And I’m so grateful to have found this community.

(PS to add that as I was squatting precariously and uncomfortably, my dress touching the toilet (ick!), I remained calm and patient. Thank you, RIE!!)

Yes, absolutely, on the one hand, it is kind of depressing that simply speaking to your child respectfully and at their level is considered so surprising and unique that you get stopped to get complimented on it. But on the other hand…yes, absolutely RIE parents are very special and you really are doing amazing things not only for your children, but for the future of this world. As Magda said (and I’m totally paraphrasing), raising children respectfully will make a more respectful world. Okay hang on…Magda says it better:

And, you know, having a little bit more respectful world…where people allow each other to be what they are, where we don’t need to manipulate, where we can have more trust. We can trust ourselves and each other, where we don’t need to always perform. And that’s one of the sad things, we all know it’s not always easy to always play a role. And yet, we want even our infants to play roles, to perform according to somebody’s script or schedule. So it may be a more comfortable life we could create.

Yes, please.