Ok, so it’s been one of those weeks. I locked us out of the house in the pouring rain; we’ve either been running late to school or so early that nobody else is in the playground and darn-it-I-could-have-brushed-my-hair-with-the-extra-5-minutes…we’ve had tantrums and meltdowns and mud everywhere and potty accidents and well, just about the whole spectrum of melodrama and histrionics available to two children under the age of five.
I largely blame the weather – after such a wonderful summer, looking out through a curtain of soggy grey wetness also makes me cranky and out-of-sorts.
One particularly low point this week was during a rather trying afternoon and I encouraged Evie to smear some cream cheese on a piece of toast to distract her. This usually takes about ten minutes or so, and she will happily smear away, without too much collateral damage.
After being engrossed for about five minutes she pronounced, “All done,” with a flourish of the knife (a blunt, child-friendly one). I took the plate from her and she sat down in the chair ready to be wheeled around to the table. Thinking to myself what an ultra-cool, fun mom I was, I made some racing-car noises and whipped the chair around. Unfortunately I was too zealous, and she fell right off the chair, legs in the air! Life was very sad for a while.
But soon she dried her tears and got up to eat her bread. She took a bite and started humming away, making the toast soar through the air like a plane. She took another bite and said, “Look mummy… car!” It did indeed look like a car. She giggled and took some more bites. “Look mummy… Doggie! Woof woof!” (Except when she says it, it sounds like “woop woop”) She promptly chomped his head off, with impressive sound effects. “Look mommy, I eat doggie,” with a wicked grin. We had a good laugh.
It always amazes me how quickly these little ones can get over a fall or a setback if there is fun and silliness to be had. It is a good reminder to keep a sense of humour and to be able to laugh at oneself – especially when it feels like everything is falling apart (and you could kick yourself because you can see your house keys right there through the window!)
I have been applying this method when we have meltdowns while walking on the way home from somewhere. When my knee-jerk reaction would be to bang heads together, I take a deep breath and start singing a silly song about “walking, walking, walking through the leaves, walking, walking under trees” or, to the tune of Merrily We Go Along: “I like Evie, I like Isaac, I like Judah, so very very much”. And before I realise it, we are holding hands and the little ones are singing along so very very sweetly, even managing a skip or two.
So when life is all going pear-shaped…. Go on, make up a silly song, or bite the head off your toast – I promise it really helps!