Ok, so this is the very first time I have put out two posts in the same day. But, I wanted to follow-up on my post from this morning (What Do You Do When You Don’t Know What to Do?) in which I shared the problems we’ve been having with our 3-year-old and the emotional toll it has been taking on me.
I have not had any big epiphany on how to handle all of this, but three pretty fantastic things happened today to help me put things in perspective and put me in a better mood.
When I wrote my earlier post, I figured I’d get a handful of comments like I always do. But you fine people have really blown me away. That post has now become my second most-viewed post of all time (ok, that’s only like 2 months, but still), behind only my Momopause post from a few weeks ago. And all of the encouragement and helpful suggestions you have all shared–and even just the comments to say, “Hey, I’m sorry you’re going through this, I am/have, too, and yes it does suck”–have really comforted me and made me feel less alone. The fact that so many of you reached out to share your own stories and experiences means so much. So, thank you!! (And keep that shit up!)
After publishing my post this morning I was feeling super introspective. So I began thinking about different ways to approach our 3-year-old’s behavior–different ways to help avoid escalations, different punishments for unacceptable behavior, different coping mechanisms, different ways to handle my reactions…
And then I remembered a post my friend Amy at Funny is Family wrote for another blog about a day she happened to be at the mall with her 3-year-old before it opened and how her accidentally leaving her phone in the car turned into an amazing morning of following her daughter’s lead and delighting in every moment. (You can read Amy’s post here.)
And this inspired me to do the same. So with big Sissy at school all day, I packed up the boys and we headed to our town green. When we got out of the car, I turned things over to my 3-year-old. “Have at it,” I said. “What would you like to do?” “Let’s take a walk, Mommy.” And so we did.
I let him take the lead and didn’t interject one bit. His brother and I followed him around the green as he explored the rocks and sticks on the ground (every.single.one I might add) and the steps leading up to Town Hall. We wound up and around the church and even down some paths we had never been on. I never once said, “no” or asked why he wasn’t listening to me. And there were no meltdowns. It felt good.
Not only did it make me feel good, but it also made him feel good–he was able to do what he wanted on his time. It was something for him. He owned it and he was happy. Now I realize I can’t always let him take the lead like that, but we’ll definitely be taking advantage of his excellent navigation skills much more. And I’m excited to see where we end up.
And last, but certainly not least, my wonderfully amazing friend called me up this afternoon to tell me that she was going to take all three kids this evening so that my hubby and I could go out on a date. So that we could actually go out to dinner alone. With no kids, just the two of us. Did I mention we’d be alone? With no kids?
I was hesitant at first, not because I didn’t want to go, but because my friend has 3 kids of her own (one a few weeks younger than our littlest), and I didn’t want to be a burden. But she called BS on this and said she wouldn’t have offered if she didn’t want to, she was taking the kids, that was final, and I’d better go out and enjoy some time with my husband. (She actually said it much sweeter than that, but that was the gist.)
So as not to disappoint, my husband and I did just that. We were able to go out just the two of us for the first time in I don’t even know how long. And it was glorious.
We don’t have any family in CT (our closest family members are 5 hours away), and not many close friends in the area, so being able to go on dates, or to do anything without any of the kids, actually, is next to impossible these days. I literally never have a moment alone (except for when I’m sleeping, and even then I usually have one little visitor at some point in the night), so my friend’s kindness and generosity in the midst of the craziness of the past few days really meant so very much to me. And helped me remember that my husband and I need to do this more often.
So there you have it. I’ve ended my day in a much better place than I was in this morning–and even the past few mornings for that matter. And I have the encouragement from all of you, a simple walk where my 3-year-old called the shots, and a date night made possible by an amazing friend to thank for it!