Hitting Your Stride

Sometimes when you run or hike you start off feeling out of balance. Creaky. You can't put your finger on the problem...there was no injury and the weather is good. But still, it doesn't feel right. And then, like magic, you settle in, and hit your stride.

Parenting is like that. You head out for your routine jog one day, and it just doesn't feel right. Things that used to work, don't. There are tantrums and friction over things that shouldn't be a big deal. Nobody gets enough sleep. And then, it clicks back into place, and you hit your stride again.

We hit a big milestone this week with Laurel being able to talk about the connection between her behavior and consequences. I will not fight or cry, and then we can go to the playground, she said. And then, at bath time tonight, I told her we only had enough time to watch a tv program if she went fast. There was a minimum of tears when she realized she took too long. Then she went downstairs and reported to M that she took "too long and no Thomas now."  No tantrum.

The tantrums have been extremely disruptive to the whole household. She runs away and is getting too big and wiggly to scoop up. Similarly to when she was an infant, she really escalates quickly if you don't nip it in the bud. Tears, shouting, flinging herself around. Obvious frustration on her point...sometimes she even says "I'm frustrated!" A lot of these tantrums have happened in the middle of the night, keeping us all awake for an hour or more, and then leaving M and I too wired to sleep when it's all done.

But today was a good day. She got right in the car from daycare, helped to carry things into the house. The three of us sat down to dinner (taco night!) and we all actually ate for a change. For enough time for me to have 3 tacos. M took her to the playground after dinner while I did the dishes and there were no battles about getting there or coming back. She played with other kids. When she came home, we took a bath and read a few stories, and now it seems she's asleep.

It feels natural and good and right. Our stride.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes, yes, beautiful. Thank you for writing that.