The past few days there’s been epic amounts of 4 year old drama. We have enough drama to make drama cupcakes. With icing. To last for months. We canceled a trip to the pool because of drama (which of course resulted in MORE drama). My husband and I have been snapping at them a lot. Clearly, everyone is a bit on the edge.
Yesterday was the girls’ swim lesson and on our way out, Cricket started fussing. Yes, rather than say something helpful like “Mom, my foot hurts”, my kids prefer to just tend to whimper, fuss, squeak and look sad. And they do this crazy fake hyperventilating thing (see above about drama). Once I managed to get the story out of Cricket (a boo boo on her foot was hurting), I had her sit down on a chair so I could take a look. I got a Band Aid from the first aid kit I had with me and went to put it on her foot. She pulled the foot away, fussed and did the hyperventilating drama thing.
I looked her in the eye and I said rather sternishly (that is so totally a word now) “Cricket, put your hand on your tummy and close your eyes.” It took two or three repeats, but she did it (which is unusual – her normal response to requests under duress is “NO, I DON’T WANT TO!”) Then I told her to close her eyes and breathe in and feel her tummy rise under her hand. I had her breathe three more times, then I was able to put the Band Aid on with no fuss at all.
Score one for practicing mindfulness with kids. What’s interesting, thinking back, is my choice of a stern-ish voice. Not sure if this was the “right” thing to do (if there is such a thing) but in my mind, I was thinking “Yes, you must do this so I can help you.” I wonder if that thought helped me communicate my desire to help rather then a sort of “Do this or else” message.
Now, my task is to not get cocky. Progress with children is NEVER linear. But obviously there’s a seed that at least has a tiny little root poking out. With some care, it might just turn into a tree.