Some things work and some things just don’t. Absolutely everything looks great on paper and in theory but the practising of it can tell a very different story. Like taking deep breaths.
Counting to 10 (or 100!) taking a step back and choosing our battles.
For me taking deep breaths does not work. The opposite in fact. It’s almost as if by inhaling deeply I am providing more oxygen for my already glowing fire to rage out of control.
Counting to 100 is out of the question. That just allows them to continue to fight amongst themselves and buys them more get out of doing homework/changing their clothes time.
Sometimes taking a step back works. I’ve often made a coffee, closed the kitchen door behind me and sat on the decking with Juno for company. All in the time it would have taken me to count to the aforementioned 100.
I’m still working on choosing my battles.
But something that does work, worked beautifully for me just this morning.
Lovely Liam seems to be having a bit of difficulty finding himself at the moment. I jest he waited until he turned four to try the terrible two’s.
There have been a few power struggles since he started back in Montessori after summer break. He loves it there so I know this is not the problem.
He has begun waking at night again and experimenting with a bit of sleep walking which makes me uneasy as I fear the stairs.
This morning we were in the café where the boys love to go after the school run. Ok, where I love to go. The café where I love to go after the school run.
As you are all well aware, it was bucketing down rain and we were experiencing proper rain gear weather.
Lovely Liam had a moment just as we were finishing up and firm words were exchanged.
To no avail.
I was left with him and the ensuing struggle with his rain coat. There was a bit of a walk back to the car and he would have been soaked through so there was no question of him not putting it on.
The dilemma was, how did I go about this without stoking his fire into a full on screaming fit in the café where I love to go after the school run.
“Can you put your coat on?”
“No!” Had he been a serpent, he would have been swaying in front of me, exhibiting very strong stay away signals.
“Look, I’ll help.”
“Don’t want it on!”
Looking back, I was automatically taking in deep breaths and beginning to count.
“Right, you have a choice.” All the books say to do this; give them an option but make sure they pick the outcome you want them to pick. Again, on paper it all sounds wonderfully feasible.
“You don’t have to wear it but you will get soaked out there. And I am not changing your clothes when we get home.” I let that one sink in for a moment. Lovely Liam cannot abide even one single droplet of water on his clothes when he is supposed to be dry.
“The choice is yours: Wear your coat and keep dry or get wet and sit in uncomfortable clothes all morning. What’s it to be?”
“Oh-KAY!” Eyeballs to match the ‘tude. But he put on the coat. And we walked back to the car.
Where there was a monumental struggle to stop him from splashing through every single large puddle on the way.
But I’d already picked my battle so I let him have his fun.