Friday, January 28, 2011
365 Days With Kiddos - #26 - Teach Your Kiddos (and Yourself) To Laugh in the Face of Frustration
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.