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Posts Tagged ‘understanding children’

Two moments I will share with you:

A while ago, maybe a couple of months, it was after lunch and I was in a bad mood. It had been a long week in the house, lots of rain which meant not much outside play time and I was feeling cramped and suffocated within these walls. It was no one’s fault, Alice was sleeping, Estelle busy playing in her room. I was hanging clothes inside the house on the airer hoping to finally get some wet laundry dried. For the last 20 mins, Estelle had been running back and forth between the kitchen and her bedroom, I could hear her digging through the jumble in the tupperware drawer but didn’t pay any attention to it. My nerves were on edge, I felt snappy and dark and impatient. I decided I’d had enough, get me out this house and to the shops! Anywhere!

Alice woke up and I quickly got her changed, grabbed a nappy bag and called out, “come on Estelle, let’s get in the car”. I waited. And waited. A hot angry monster started stirring inside my belly. “Come on! I’m waiting!”. She called out to me, “I’m nearly ready mum”. I stood there for another minute letting the flames of anger spark up, take light and engulf me. I don’t know why I was so cranky, I just was. It felt good to be cranky, so I was.

Estelle emerges from her bedroom, a beautiful smile from ear to ear, slowly and ever so carefully balancing in her arms our Tupperware ice block set. She had gone through the drawer and found the tray, every container, stick and lid and put them all together. She says, “Mummy I make us dessert”. She made her way to the fridge, opened the door and put it on the shelf.

My heart melted. I thought, who do I think I am? What was so important that I couldn’t check to see what she was doing first? Why am I behaving so horribly?

If someone was yelling at me down the hallway the way I had, I certainly wouldn’t come out with a smile on my face!

……………………………………….

We were leaving soon for playgroup, Estelle was dressed and ready, I was busy dressing the baby and packing up all our stuff to take.

I gave her the countdown, ” 5 minutes until we leave, darling”.

I raced around tidying the house, packing the morning tea, and all those other things that must be done.

“Let’s brush your teeth now please”, waiting….no answer. I could hear her chattering away in her room.

I went in to her room, “Come now please!”

She burst into tears, “I don’t want to go, leave me home!”

I sat down and softened myself. I tried to understand what she would be feeling.

Here she is, sitting in her room with all her dolls lined up in a row and the basket of dolls clothes emptied. She is carefully sorting through it, matching the outfits and dressing her babies.

I asked her which doll she would like to bring with us and what she would like them to wear. She chose her girl Jessie and the ballerina dress. We had a hug and talked about the fun things we would do at playgroup and what friends she was looking forward to seeing. She got up with Jessie in her arms and went into the bathroom. I followed her, feeling grateful that I was able to meet her need in that moment. I got it right for once!

Sometimes I find the huge emotions of a three year old exhausting. It’s hard to keep up. I read this blog the other night and it reminded me of something, that tantrums and outbursts are outward expressions of inner confusion. I knew this, but needed reminding.

What is 5 minutes to a three year old? Why would I tell Estelle we’re leaving in 5 minutes and expect her to come when I tell her to? She has no comprehension of time like this.

What could be so important that I can’t go in and see what she’s doing first? She is completely absorbed in her world of play, every game is so real. How can I pull her from this world without first meeting her there?

I am so grateful for, and always amazed at the unlimited forgiveness from a child. And also hopeful that I can be open and willing to change my attitude when I need to.

No persons work is more important than anothers. Whether it be making imaginary iceblocks or performing brain surgery.

Both just as real and just as meaningful to the people involved.

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