Friday, January 28, 2011

365 Days With Kiddos - #26 - Teach Your Kiddos (and Yourself) To Laugh in the Face of Frustration

Emmanuelle, after "The Cocoa Incident"...

I have bad days... yes, it is true. We all do. Sometimes, I feel like maybe I present too rosy a picture of my life on this blog. I am an energetic person and I like to be upbeat, optimistic, and positive. But, of course, I am not always this way. I get frustrated, angry, and impatient. I am better about this, in a way, now that I have kids, but I am also tested on a much more frequent basis than before I had kids. I had all the patience in the world when I was a portrait photographer who mostly worked with pregnant moms, babies and kids. That's because they weren't MY kids. I remember thinking I would be infinitely patient with my own kids. Um, hmmmmm, am I? It depends on the day and the situation. I do think I am learning patience, but sadly, I can be less patient with my own kids than with those of others. Before kids I thought I would usually be on my best behavior, in control of my emotions, the bigger person, the shining example for my own kids. Hahahahaha! I think a few people did point out to me that it was a nice thought but...

This brings me to one of several trying incidents in our house this week. And to the fact that I sometimes surprise even myself...

Quin had asked me for cocoa. It was a good day for it so I set to work. The milk was heating on the stove, the Cocoa Camino was open and had a spoon in it, and all I needed were the marshmallows. I climbed onto the step stool, and reached for the bag on the highest shelf in the cupboard and then lost my grip. The next few moments were in slow motion, like in a movie, as the full bag of marshmallows dropped from up high directly down onto the end of the spoon that was in the cocoa container. The spoon flipped up, somehow sending the entire can of cocoa powder flying 6 feet to the left, dumping DIRECTLY onto the forehead of poor Emmanuelle who was innocently minding her own business. It beaned her on the head with a clatter and covered her in the cocoa that had not already spilled onto the stove top on the way to her head.


She was completely startled, not to mention covered in cocoa; her eyes, her nose, her mouth, her shoulders... She started screaming because she was scared, she was inhaling cocoa powder, and, well, it hurts to be knocked on the head with a can. Quin was now shrieking because of the loss of the precious cocoa and the fact that there was a huge mess (she and my mother share a fondness for order..). I rushed over to dust off my baby and to try to soothe her. At the same time, I was telling Quin it was OK. This is where I would normally have started muttering about the huge mess I now had to clean up on the stove, the floor, and the baby.


I would have normally started removing Emmanuelle's clothes, told Quin not to move because of the mess on the floor, and basically started feeling sorry for myself because of the added chore. But do you know what? Now that Emmanuelle was clearly ok, I looked around, and I started laughing. And I kept on laughing, even when Quin looked at me like I was crazy (and it was a genuine laugh NOT a crazy laugh). And because she was looking at me like that, I realized that I NEED to show her how to laugh at a situation like this. I NEED to laugh at myself and these types of incidents more often. I NEED to teach my kids that set backs and unforeseen challenges are not always a big deal and that laughing can instantly make you feel better, much better than yelling or feeling sorry for yourself.


Emmanuelle, Miss Happy-Go-Lucky, whose first inclination is to smile about anything, understood right away. She bent down and started writing with her finger in the powder, then she showed me her finger.


Seeing this, Quin started to loosen up, and I explained to her that sometimes we have to laugh at ourselves and at situations that are out of our control. I explained that not everything should be taken so seriously. I finished making the cocoa, complete with marshmallows, and I even gave a little to little Emmanuelle, who deserved it. The three of us laughed, and talked, and drank cocoa, BEFORE we cleaned up the kitchen.

6 comments:

Serena said...

I needed a good laugh today and you sure gave me one! The look on Em's face is priceless!!! what an awful mess to clean up!

Stella Marina said...

omgoddess! that was terrible! so glad u laughed cause i was ready to cry just reading it! i hope they have the mindfulness practice at Quin's school. Cameron & i started teaching the kindy's the program on Friday morning...deep breaths when u get upset, sad or angry. Such a good thing to teach kids & adults!!

robyn said...

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry myself while looking at that second picture of Emmanuelle, after reading exactly what happened.
Bless your heart. This is exactly the type of situation that I think sets GREAT parenting aside from the rest. I might have shared this with you before, I think about it a lot in regard to parenting: it was a story shared in a Chicken Soup For the Soul book (I believe). It was a recollection of Einstein's and his mother installing a sense of wonder in him from the time he was a small child. He dropped a glass of milk, and instead of exploding and yelling at him about the mess and extra work he had created, his mother got down on the ground with him and they began to examine the shattered glass and cohesive milk droplets.

Tiffany Teske said...

I am glad I could make you smile, Serena! We have to connect soon...

Hey, AM, that is so cool that you and Cameron teach that at his school. I have been teaching Quin to take deep breaths since she could understand how. She is so cute when she is mad or sad and she says, "I'm taken my breath, Mom, I am taking my breath."

Robyn!! I know that picture of E is heartbreaking. I didn't want anyone to think I was cruel to take it but the camera was right there and I just did it. Poor thing has a photographer for a mom. I hope no one wants to have the debate about whether a photojournalist should cover what is happening or jump in and help... I took it after I had brushed her off and made sure she was ok, but she was upset for a couple of minutes about it. THANK YOU SO MUCH for sharing the story of Einstein and his mother!! I have never heard that and I will be thinking of it from now on. I thought of it a couple of times today. Einstein, what a great man and mind. I should have known it was his mother :) But that is also the crazy thing about being a mother... you can help to make your kiddos great or you can be blamed if they don't live up to their potential. Ah, motherhood...

Ellen TheEye said...

what a cute story... poor baby got beaned on the head but you turned it into something fun. Kids will always turn to mom for a cue on how to react. Nice job.

Anonymous said...

HI Tif
I saw these pics first on your shutterfly account and I thought uh oh, something bad happened in the kitchen! Thanks for posting the story on the blog, it is too funny! What a mess, but so tragic its funny. Good to know that Emmanuelle is ok and a good lesson for the girls to know that accidents can happen and can just be a little detour in your day (with a bit of a clean up after :)! and that there was still enough cocao to make a hot chocolate
well done mama!
oxoxo
Karina
PS the pics of Quin at ballet class are priceless! :)...(on shutterfly)