The book said it might take awhile. The book is right.
I do feel that I’ve made a lot of progress, though. There have already been many times when before, I’d have yelled. Or at least raised my voice and gotten sarcastic. And yet I was able to be mindful of my words, and more importantly, of my girls’ words and actions. I was able to act deliberately, choose different ways to help them, and tune in to working on what matters.
Juniper, for some reason, lost her shit at the idea of putting on shoes before school last week. I don’t know of they were the wrong shoes or her socks pinched or her toast wasn’t to her liking or WHAT. This sort of behavior is normal for 2, but so freaking annoying because every weekday we put on shoes and go to school. This is not new. This is the routine. And we were running late; I didn’t have time to sit down and talk about her feelings and preferences in footwear.
Old me would have snarled, sighed, wrestled some shoes on her and let her deal with it.
New me threw shoes in my bag and calmly put her in the car shoeless. By the time we got to daycare, she was totally cool with me putting shoes on her so she could trot down the hall to her classroom.
Dan brought up that this might teach her she can just do whatever, but I explained it was a very deliberate choice on my part to let this one slide. She didn’t HAVE to have shoes on to get in the car – we always carry the girls to the car. It wasn’t freezing cold. And I didn’t have time to sort out what was bothering her, or distract her. The book asks me to think, in those moments when I am getting heated: Does this matter right now?
Right then, it all added up to NO. So I put shoes in the bag, meltdown averted. And I made a mental note that we need to get up a few minutes earlier to avoid this time crunch.
This has been vital with the Thanksgiving holiday and our trip to Dan’s parents’ house. The girls adore their grandma and grandpa, who they don’t see terribly often, but travel really upsets the routine and can make for some very emotional, confused kids. Marigold has gotten really rotten about bedtime since we got back, so I’m working on different ways to help us both through that. Better bedtimes start way before bedtime, so we have been working to standardize the evening a little more, from dinner time on.
We’ve still had tantrums, but at least they haven’t been mine.