This morning my son lost his mind, but guess what? I didn’t! And that’s no small feat… not letting my son control my emotions, that is.
It’s Spring Break week and all my boys are home. All day. For a week. It’s also cold & rainy. And my kids are indoors. For a week. We don’t usually travel over Spring Break, but I do try to come up with some sort of plan so we have some fun things to do. I came up with that plan the day before Spring Break started and I was pretty proud of myself. Day 1 (yesterday) went off without a hitch! We drove about 40 minutes to an awesome indoor play-space, spent hours burning off energy and then drove home close to dinnertime. Whew. Made it through the first day, I thought.
This morning our plans were to stay local and I’d signed my oldest up for a local Lego club for the morning. My middle son was given the opportunity (multiple times) to attend this with his big brother, but he was adamant about going to the library with my youngest son and me. As we got close to the library, my middle changed his mind and wanted to go back to Lego club, but it was too late as we pulled into the library’s parking lot. He got a little upset and had a scowl on his face, but (begrudgingly) got out of the car and went with us into the library. We briefly reviewed the Library Rules for Appropriate Behaviors, as we do before we go ANYWHERE on God’s green earth.
Upon entering the library we headed straight for the bathroom so everyone could play and socialize without potty break interruptions. I was excited to see a sweet friend and her two boys playing near the train tables and was looking forward to chatting with her while our kids played. However upon leaving the restroom my kids lost their ever-loving minds and became like wild beasts, unable to be captured and tamed. My youngest attempted to run away from me and when I went to get him and lead him back to the play area he yelled a long and loud “NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!” and wriggled free like a rabid dog. My middle then remembered that I wouldn’t turn the car around and take him back to Lego club and he got mad. Fighting mad. His scowl became an angry and ugly growl and he (not-so-nicely) told me he did NOT want to be at the library. So with my sweet friend, God bless her, standing there with me I made the split-second decision to make this a “lesson learned” morning. I had two kids in front of me that were not listening, being disrespectful and not the least bit grateful that we were at the library, a request I granted because they’d asked me to go. I told my friend we were leaving, picked up my 3 year old and took my 4 year old by the hand and started walking, relatively swiftly, towards the entrance. All eyes on me and the crying kids. I could just hear their thoughts… “Is she going to lose it?”, “I wonder if she’s embarrassed?”, “Glad that’s not me!”, and “Boy, her kids are awful!”. But I kept walking and I stayed focused, like a soldier going into battle, I was mentally and physically preparing myself to get two little boy bodies into their car seats and home in one piece. I calmly opened the car doors and put my youngest, I mean bent my youngest, into his car seat. And in my best calm voice I reminded my boys about why we were leaving the library. About that time another mom, complete stranger, walked up behind me. I was just sure she was going to offer her judgment or opinion on how to do it better. But you know what? All she said to me was “You’re doing a good job… it’s hard.” I could’ve hugged her. I could of used a hug in that very moment, but I returned to the task at hand. I got my middle into the car, got myself in and started driving… tears, crying, “I DON’T WANT TO LEAVE!!!!!” coming from the back seat. But I remembered something I’d recently been reminded of… my children do not control my emotions. I do. And even if they are upset, or angry or frustrated, does NOT mean I have to be too.
Once we made it home I transferred everyone into the house, because for some reason their legs won’t work correctly when they’re angry. It’s by the grace of God that I was still calm and in one (emotional) piece by this point. For the next 30 minutes my middle son continued a tantrum/fit/emotional diarrhea, if you will. My youngest was over it by this point and went off to play. So for 30 minutes I endured. And it is enduring, isn’t it moms? We endure. We do. During this time I made myself available to my son, but I didn’t allow destructive behaviors and he was given consequences, particularly for the disrespectful words he used. But after a bit I could tell he’d had enough. And though he was still upset, he was ready to move forward. So I offered him a hug and some cuddles and told him I loved him, and he physically relaxed in my arms as he regained his self-control and reigned his emotions back in. This is my kid with big emotions. In everything he does, his emotions are big. And he has been a tricky kid to raise so far. And I have failed a lot. I’ve gone nose-to-nose with him, allowing myself to get sucked into a 4 year old’s emotional rollercoaster. I’ve given him control over my good senses at times. But not today.
Following through is one of the hardest parenting skills there is, but probably one of the most valuable.
When we commit to following through, it speaks volumes to our children, just like it does when we don’t follow through. It’s not always fun for everyone and it was too bad we had to leave the library, however I’m hoping and praying that it was a lesson learned. I’m trusting the Lord that it was.
Enduring right along with you,
P.S. Here’s a picture of my big emotions kid after the whole ordeal.