Noah moved on pretty easily, thrilled to play with toys in the waiting room while his eyes dilated. But I felt terrible. I was sure I could have found a less violent way to help the doctor get the drops in. I had overpowered Noah physically and I felt I had betrayed him.
I was beating myself up. But then a friend reminded me that my job as a parent was not to model being perfect, but to model being human and compassionate and forgiving.
When we got home, I apologized to Noah and told him that I would never do that again, which I think is valuable. I don’t need to model getting everything right. That would be too neurotic. It’s OK to mess up. I just need to model taking responsibility, apologizing for my mistakes, and forgiving myself.
Brian Leaf is author of the yoga memoir, Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi: My Humble Quest to Heal My Colitis, Calm My ADD, and Find the Key to Happiness. You can find him online at www.misadventures-of-a-yogi.com