I caught myself again about to engage in exerting useless, unnecessary negative energy with Cecilia and for what? To fit "that adult need" again that I have created in my own mind.
I noticed the other day while looking for something in my fantastic treasure "crap drawer" in the kitchen, CeCe greeted a little rabbit statue (we probably put it out at some point for Easter and it has been burrowing ever since)and she said,"well, hello there friend." I smirked and thought," aw, how cute" and continued to dig.
While I was cooking an abstract masterpiece and on the phone with my mom, Cecilia was quietly playing. It turns out, she remembered her little interaction with this rabbit "friend" and decided to play with it. At some point between being reacquainted and decapitation, this statue fell to the ground. Almost instantaneously, Cecilia began crying. Overwhelmed with Jack now crying, Cecilia crying, my mom talking to me, my oven turning on and off randomly (what's happening to my chicken?!), my coconut oil splashing me on my arms from the frying pan, within this moment, I realized i needed to be more selective and prioritize what I am putting my attention to... I got off the phone with my mom, I gave Cecilia a quick hug, I gave jack a binki, I turned down the frying pan, I restarted the oven and found my daughter still a mess over this situation.
A part of me wanted to scream. A part of me wanted to tell her to it was "ok" and not to worry about it so she would move on so I could again, be on my way... But something stopped me.... Something inside me said to s--l--o--w--d--o--w--n again... So i listened. I dropped to my knees and met my crushed little child at eye level sitting on the kitchen floor weeping. I felt her sadness and decided to use the "adult in me" for a positive teaching moment.
•I asked her how she was feeling.
•She identified that she was feeling,"sad".
•I then asked her if she wanted me to give her a hug?
•we hugged for a while and I kept repeating this process until she "got all her tears out" (a phrase I like to use with her to let her know it's ok to feel sad; sometimes she doesn't know why she is crying so she now verbalizes,"mommy, I'm just getting my tears out.")
•when I noticed she was calming down, I then asked her how we could problem solve? she shrugged her shoulders, so it then gave me the opportunity to come up with a solution for her. I didn't know where the glue was and still remembering the meal that was on the stove, I grabbed the tape and showed her how to resemble a broken head . Some how, this made everything better, so when I felt like we were in a good place, I then went back to my cooking.
Things got quiet again and then I noticed the sound of tape being pulled from the tape dispenser. Once again, my "adult need" that I created in my head told me that she was wasting tape! I turned around to tell her to stop wasting tape (that was left over from Christmas and was probably on sale for $2) and something stopped me.... Something inside me said to s--l--o--w--d--o--w--n again... So i listened.. And instead of yelling at her which for some reason was my first response, I asked her what she was doing with all that tape. To my surprise, there was again a purpose to this act. Her eyes lit up, a huge smile ran across her face and she began to tell me that she was actually making the rabbit clothing and went into detail about the skirt color and outfit she was creating. She then decided to share this creation with her brother in his high chair.
After a half hour, she then decided to take this rabbit into the next room to work in a more "quiet area". I completed what I needed to do and found my daughter working very diligently at her table. With my adult glasses on, I saw a heavily taped silver rabbit that made me chuckle, but then I asked Cecilia to help me see what she was seeing. She told me that she was now a doctor, eh hem, Doctor Sleeping Beauty, and that this was her patient and she helped to heal him.
So, if I went with my first reaction and didn't stop and respond to my child the way I did, would any of this have ever played out? If i didn't slow down, would I have ever been able to help her identify and learn how to cope with a sad emotion, how to problem solve, how to make a negative into a positive, to seek inner creativity, to visualize a possible interest in a future career... We are responsible for helping these mini humans grow and within each moment is an opportunity to help mold them. More so, through our children we remind ourselves the areas we need to work on. For the sake of their development, for the sake of helping them grow a happy and healthy ego, let's grow with them and relearn together.
(fast forward- a week, this was CeCe before bed last night continuing the "tape treatment" on her patients
You see, it is so obvious to us what emotions our children are experiencing; we have all been there before, most of us have learned how to master these feelings, and some of us haven't yet mastered these feelings ourselves so we tend to share our way of suppressing the emotion we haven't fully been able to over come yet ourselves. How do we help our child in this moment? We drop to their eye level, we comfort them by asking them questions and we do not assume the answer. Talking this process out is detrimental to the development and mastering of these emotions. The more our children are able to identify these emotions, communicate them, cope and problem solve, the stronger they will be in life.
and... while updating this post, "Dr. Sleeping Beauty" continues to make me a cast.