A Whole Lotta Love
Wow, but I have calmed down since my last post. While that was written in the vortex of toddler-hell, I am now in the midst of a calmer environment. And I must admit; I am really enjoying my little three-year-old human again!
After the initial shock of the terrible-trainwreck-threes, I decided to calm the hell down, to take it easy on both myself and my daughter, and to just go with the flow. And I can’t even begin to tell you what a difference that has made. Bella and I are in-sync again, we are happier, life at home is easier, and we are actually in the middle of one giant loved-up-fest!
My last blog post had followed two weeks of hell, and I suddenly sat back and asked myself some hard questions. She was fast asleep one evening, so quiet and so small, and I became acutely aware that she was still just a little girl. I had to ask myself if my daughter was felling loved in every moment of the day? Did she feel motivated, and believed in? And to be honest, amidst our fights and the tears and the constant shouting, I wasn’t sure of these answers. So I had to re-evaluate my Mama-self, and find a better way to handle it all. And let me tell you, learning to let it go when you have a three-year-old is a conscious decision. It is an endeavour you have to stick to and constantly remind yourself about why you are doing it. No two moments are the same, and you need to make some sort of mantra to remind yourself to stay calm.
So I sat down and spoke to Bella about feelings. I told her that I understand that she gets upset or angry or sad, all these feelings are not only okay, but completely perfect and part of the reason I love her. I then discussed how we can handle these feelings. I told her she can tell me anything she is feeling, no matter what it is. I also explained that when we get upset, it is okay to need a moment to re-group, to calm down and to start over. While this may seem a little beyond a three-year-old, she has taken it on really well.
Over the course of the last ten days, when we noticed her getting agitated, we gave her the option of going to her room to calm down. I call it a ‘time out’, but not in the punishment sense. For punishment, Bella has the ‘naughty corner’. A ‘time out’ for her is literally that – a two minute time away from a situation that is causing her unhappiness, two minutes to calm down and re-think, two minutes to take a break. And it has worked like a charm. At the dinner table, when she starts getting distracted, irritated and fiddling with her food, I give her the option to have a ‘time-out’. Off she goes to her room, takes out a book or a toy and chats to herself. She comes back on her own, big smiles and knows it is now time to finish the task at hand, in this case dinner. The other morning I was trying to dress her and she had woken up in a bad mood and just wouldn’t listen. I could feel my temper waning, when she suddenly looked up and said ‘Mommy, I think I need a time out’, and off she went. She came back a few minutes later, dress in hand, and announced ‘I’m ready to get dressed now Mommy’. And that was it. I was so incredibly proud of her in that moment. My Mama-heart was just bursting!
The overall mood of the Laird household has lifted, it has gotten lighter and Mama and daughter are both happier. Yes it is a daily task to try and stay calm and to go with the flow, but it has made such a difference in our lives. We will still have bad days I’m sure, but we are back to being connected in a way that outweighs those bad days a hundred to one. We are in the midst of a whole lotta love, and it is AWESOME!