Tonight was another challenging dinner time in our house. Mr almost 11m was hungry and tired and I, once again had failed to prepare dinner in time for him so I warmed up some peas, which he devoured in the same manner in which I devour chocolate, so I guess that it was a win. However, in taking my eyes off Mr 2.5yo to attend to the baby, I missed his sleight of hand with a kilo bag of frozen peas. Yes. You already know how this is going to go:
The baby is starting to grizzle because he’s tired so I’m trying to clean him up a bit before extracting him from the highchair and suddenly we both go still; there is a new sound filling the room. It sounds a bit like marbles rolling on a hard floor. Except it’s not marbles, it’s an entire kilo of frozen peas, falling from a height and charging across my lounge room floor. Have you seen how fast frozen peas travel on a hardwood floor? At least 200 of them must have trained with Usain Bolt.
I screeched the toddlers name in the despair-filled way that all parents have done at some point and he switched immediately to meltdown mode. Gathering all of my inner strength, I took deep breaths and silently promised myself a glass of vino as soon as they’d gone to bed, then I got on to the floor and asked him if he could help me pick them up because there were too many peas for me to manage myself and to my utter surprise, he stopped crying and started picking up peas! I don’t know if you’ve read much about Positive Parenting, but by golly – there really is something magical in it! Mr 2.5yo then decided that it would be more fun to pick up the peas like a snake, and so that’s what he did. He retrieved every last one, hands free, with a smile on his face. It kept him busy for a good 20 minutes which calmed us all down nicely and really changed the whole atmosphere of the evening.
It’s hard as a parent not to feel a constant bubble of frustration building, especially with toddlers BUT, so much of the way we handle their emotional outbursts, directs the mood and emotion of the entire household. For me, at least twice daily I want to run away and hide from something that my toddler has done, but in finding the strength to show him that I can calmly deal with the situation in hand, and that I need him to help me fix whatever disaster he’s just created, I am also teaching him to calmly deal with frustration and highly emotional situations. I’m the one who is learning to be better. I am the one who is learning to create a happier household and, fingers crossed, in the process I am helping my boys become emotionally mature. Now I am only at the very start of my journey into Positive Parenting but I’d love to hear your experiences and opinions about it.