Last summer I was driving back from a trip – hot, tired, and stressed. My two year old son had been crying in the back seat for about 30 minutes when I looked down at the speedometer and noticed I was driving 62 in a 45. I was reaching back with one arm, trying to soothe him, with no pacifier, and no toys in the car. He pushed my hand away. I tried singing the ABC’s, a surefire hit around our house, and he yelled “no sing mom that’s MY favorite!”
Then “No talk me MOM! Leave me ‘LONE!” But kept screaming.
Defeated, I realized why little children are given all manner of distraction via tablet, iPhone, DVD player, etcetera. And I wished I had one.
**I routinely deprive my children of electronics. Fairly rigidly too, so this inside voice-tantrum sort of slapped me upside the thinker and brought everything to a halt. Through crickets chirping inside my skull, I realized we don’t let them be frustrated, because it frustrates us. We are overloaded, and screaming toddler meets hot tired summer mom = no good.
All this windsock-ish thinking opened me up again – shifting me to feel (instead of think) the situation differently, despite still-screaming love bug in my ear. I quieted my urgent flapping about and mom shuffling, and imagined what he might actually enjoy. Then I asked him to join me in that.
It was easy that day, because my son likes machines. “Look at that big tank truck!” Turned into “woah, see those tractor guys?” Followed by “woah, there are BIKES in that TRUCK!” and the rest of the drive was spent peacefully with his little neck stretched out looking for various machines. Also, we spent a lot of time pretending every truck was “yellow” and every truck was pulling “two” big trailer boxes.
I think next time I won’t wait 30 minutes to shift perspective.