During times when my kids’ reactions seem over the top or uncalled for in my grown-up opinion is precisely when I need to remind myself to stay calm, to trust and to be gentle. I’m sure many of you can relate. Below is a little episode I wish to share. I love how it ends.
My gal was drawing a picture with her new glitter pens when all of a sudden she started crying and fussing at me. “You messed my picture up!” Since I was in the kitchen making our breakfast and she was 6 feet away at the dining room table, I was a bit confused. So I asked her to explain. She then proceeded to cry and carry on that I distracted her because I was talking to her brother and I should never talk and that this was the worst day of her life and that I was mean. This goes on. I went to her to see what had happened and to offer my help if she’d take it, but she continued to blame me. It was my fault her picture was ruined. She had “the perfect plan for her picture and I messed it up.”
Now, as she cries, she begins taking her pajama top off. I realize that when I spoke to her brother, she turned to look at us and apparently brushed her picture with the sleeve of her top. This caused the glitter pen gel goop to smear, instantly crashing all her hopes and dreams! In her mind this was a BIG deal.
As I listened to her unfairly unload on me and watch as she tried to fix her picture, I continued to make her breakfast (a little faster now) then I walked over with a toothpick hoping to straighten up the edges on the rays of sunshine she was creating. This seemed to help a little. She watched and took in what I was doing. Calmly, caringly offering some help to “undo” what I had obviously, in her mind, done. Then, I walked to get her breakfast. A few times during this episode, I confirmed her feelings by saying, “You are really frustrated.” and “You had an idea in your mind about how you wanted your picture to look and it got changed.” I did not raise my voice and I did not use words in a way to turn this into a situation about MY feelings. Neither of my statements alone calmed her down, as a matter of fact, after each one she got louder, but eventually she “heard” me. After about 5-10 minutes of what some would view as ridiculous crying and overreaction, she then asked for another toothpick, sniffled, thanked me for the breakfast, sniffled some more and said, “I think I can fix it. I’ll do it this way. Sunshines don’t really have all these colors anyway.” Well, Sunshine, yes they do.