Sunday, August 7, 2011

Mama's Toolbox

Major meltdown for Z this afternoon. He wanted to go with Daddy to get Uncle B because they're going to pick up a motorcycle. Sounds like a fun boys afternoon, right? He went back and forth between "I wanna go!" and "I don't wanna go!". We were lost. He wanted both. He wanted us all to go. We didn't get mad but of course we were frustrated. We knew he was confused and felt lost too so we didn't want to compound his frustration with ours, mixed in with anger. We made time for the meltdown. We sat and gave him a choice to go or not. He got in the car-seat and out several times. Walked back to the truck then the house a few times. Through tears and sadness we did all we could. "You wanna buckle yourself in/get a drink/take a different toy?..." He finally walked in the house. He started crying again then Bodhi woke up and started wailing.

I could feel my patience begin to wane but I had a choice. React with anger in a way that makes it worse for all of us or sit through the perfect tantrum storm. It's hard. I'm not always able to do it with grace, but today I did and it made all the difference. I picked up Bodhi to nurse and held Z crying. I didn't know what else to do. He settled down and I told him I understood his feelings. He told me about being sad and mad and he wanted to go. I told him it was OK and I understood. He wasn't wrong or bad. He's two. He knew I understood and cared and eventually stopped crying. The storm was over and we were back to where we were before it all began. Home and playing.

I never know that what I'm doing is "right" but that all depends on the moment. I have no method. There is no formula. There are no repeats. There is only now. Sometimes it's a quick fix, sometimes it's full meltdown. I wonder if I'm responding right. But no matter what I do I have to sit through it and be in it. Do I end it or do I let it go? How long? End it how? Is this a healthy response? Am I over-reacting? Under-reacting? All I can do is my best. I can't rely on "well it worked last time." Last time is gone. There is only the moment in front of me.

The only things that work for me are in my Mama's toolbox. Yes, I forget them. Yes, I get angry. Yes, I can lose my temper and meltdown myself but I always fall back on them. Even if I have to say I'm sorry and move forward with them. We're all human and as a parent I admit my mistakes too. And yes, especially to a two year old.

The only things I really need in my toolbox are:

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