Sick little ones home today- but not that sick.
Blanket of snow on the ground outside my window. Feels cozy here.
The two of them color at the coffee table in the living room – they trade crayons and I am at peace to watch their small heads- bent in concentration.
We go downstairs to work together on the Playmobile house my son was gifted from Santa. A little while later I am almost finished as I listen to them begin their dance – bickering, nudging, bickering,escalating… I push my luck knowing that they are hungry (and mildly sick with colds) – just a few more pieces and…
Her reaction to his torment is to kick him in the face. Usually he would retaliate by lunging- they would resemble the cartoon characters where all you see is a ball of dust or energy with fists and legs poking out. Except my seven year old son made a different choice choice today and instead turned on his heel and left the room crying. Wow. I’ve never seen him do that before.
Usually when they fight they get a reaction from me. I just hate it when they do it- and yet it seems to happen at least once a day. Sometimes no biggie- other times blood and tears although these times are rare. Because he chose a different response, so did I.
Instead of getting myself all worked up and involving myself in the drama I just kept working on the Playmobile. My daughter defends her decision out loud and when she does not get a response she rages out of the room stomping as loud as she can.
I love Playmobile. It’s pretty amazing stuff. Each little piece no matter how tiny is intricately designed to fit exactly where it should. Sometimes the “particles” drive me insane but if I relax and just follow the instructions I can usually do just fine and really enjoy it. There are no such instructions for parenting. Each day is yet another series of small experiments and combinations of optimism and patience. On my good days I am level and can respond in the most loving of ways. Redirection is an art form now. I can redirect the way a ballerina might gracefully float – making it look effortless. It’s so not.
As I’m fitting the window boxes on the windows and attaching the front lights to the outside front door – my son comes back and in snuggles up next to me- tears drying like small paths down his freckled cheeks. He sticks his tongue out to taste one.
He apologizes and asks me if I think his sister will still help him “decorate” his new house.
I shrug my shoulders and keep working.
I hear my daughter stomp again… then it’s quiet. Ten minutes later there is a knock on the door and she’s got hot chocolate in her hands – one for her- one for her brother.
I finish putting the extra pieces away and stand up to go..
My work is here is complete… the house I mean.
My children – like everyone else must have their chance to independently work it out.
When they came upstairs later – I told them what I observed. My daughter rolled her eyes at me but I could see that she was pleased. Anyone can fight and in fact most do… it’s who ends it and how you recover that matters.
Whats sometimes missing are the small gestures and choices that make it easier to recover and begin again. In watching them today I learned that they know what to do if given the space to do it. Watching them recover from their upset was really a beautiful sight. They too have their own dance…
What do you do when you’ve lost your temper? How do YOU recover and what gestures have you made to make it right again with those you love?