Meltdown mindset

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I’ve got a new mindset to try and jump into when I’m having a tough five minutes (or so….) whilst in the company of my kids.  It could do with a catchier name but for now it is my “Let me show you” meltdown mindset.

This is how it went today when I found myself in a Post Office at 12pm (what idiot does that pre lunch?).  Anyway…..M starts having a complete meltdown; let me show you how to be compassionate, kind and patient.  He wants two toy magazines; let me show you how to be gently assertive, quietly persistent and patient.  He is really asserting himself back now; let me show you how to give him space.  People can’t get in the Post Office to post their letters; let me show you how to deal with embarrassment and bum shuffle with a two year old under your arm.  He is really losing his rag (insert your own); let me show you real patience.  He is getting quite animated (again please do insert your own); let me show you how long you have to be &£;!&£@ patient for sometimes.  He says he’ll be happy if we go to a playarea; let me show you what relief looks like and how to admit defeat (we will call it compromise).  And so we ate our lunch in a cold playarea because I said we would (let me show you how to keep your word).  Let me £&@£@@£ show you.  I don’t say the “Let me show you” bit btw.

Joking apart it did help and it does help me regularly.  I think I go a bit out of body, maybe even a bit professional.  I don’t feel professional but you know what I mean.  They get me back when they calm down.  And I guess they want me back because the let me show you woman is alright, but she doesn’t half grate after a while.

To help our children deal with the world I have come to accept a bit of adversity is needed.  They need to see you working hard at being patient; they need to know that it is hard and it feels hard, but that there are benefits.  That it is worth it. That things recover quicker and people may never say thank you but do appreciate and benefit from it.  That its the right thing.  That it can make you calmer and happier.  The firmness that goes with the patience can be quiet, kind and almost hiding.

The kindness is so important but make sure that it includes you; they’re modelling themselves on you afterall and you want their future self to be kind to themselves and happy.  And you want to be happy!  I think they benefit from hearing you say something kind to yourself outloud – sounds strange I know.  Let them hear you going easy on yourself when you make a questionable choice or forget something.  And just as importantly be kind to yourself when patience escapes you – like it does us all.  At least I assume it does.

Your children will probably find their own way of dealing with the sunshine and happy side of things quite easily.  Although having said that, it is perhaps not instinctive to share, be graceful and grateful.  I can do sharing but am only just growing out of my competitive streak, so I am not sure where they’ll get the grace from.  Dad I expect.  (Although he does run by them at ‘park run’ shouting “Yes I’m winning” when he is not even winning.  Never mind gracefully winning.  We may have to outsource grace.)

I’m touching wood as I write this, as we all do I guess when we are feeling lucky.  I feel very very lucky that tough today was literally spilt milk, not having enough layers on at the park (me that is – brrrrrr) and a meltdown in the post office (that was M the two year old, meanwhile T the three year old – and me – enjoyed being all reasonable).  I also feel lucky that my mind although tired, is today a happy and upbeat one.

I am grateful for having an easy “Let me show you” day but hopeful that it helped the boys learn some hard to master skills.  Skills I am still working on.  I mean really. Ffs.

As easy as ABCD!

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Or ABDC anyway…it’d be too easy if it was ABCD.  Read on for a way to avoid a meltdown.  Well it works sometimes….but in toddler world that means its worth a go right??

For every moment like the one I am about to describe there are ten others – the random pushing over of a random kid in playgroup (what was that about?), the meltdown in the supermarket, the screaming for me to “put the bogies back” when I wipe the same toddler’s nose.  Lets not dwell on this stuff though –  they’re meant to tantrum aren’t they?  My youngest has his 2.5 year check tomorrow and its one of the boxes that needs ticking apparently.  Anyways….I promised you something to try to avoid a meltdown….

I brought two beakers into the lounge and gave them over to my two and three year old.  I was taking a risk;  they had different coloured lids and beakers (I know, I know.  I just like to live on the edge sometimes.)

“Me want that beaker” says my two year old M with a voice that spoke volumes.  A voice that said no messing.

Are you ready for the ABDC bit….

A is for ACKNOWLEDGE…..”You do like pink don’t you.  You have a pink lid with your orange beaker. T has a blue lid and a pink beaker.”

Silence.  Golden.

B is for BUILD UP…..”Wasn’t T kind swapping drinks with you in the restaurant and weren’t you kind sharing your ball with T in the park.”

Still silent.

D is for DISTRACT…..”I like this programme, what are they doing?  Is that a dog? (Insert Father Christmas/flying unicorn etc as appropriate.)”

No reply.

C is for cross fingers.  The clock ticks.  Sanity balances on a precipice.  FREEZE.  M slowly takes a sip from the beaker.  I back out of the room.

Easy as ABCD.  Nearly.