My son frequently melts down over the littlest things. Crying, sobbing, wailing and stomping his feet in a performance that is often Oscar-worthy.
Most of these events would be hysterical funny if he weren’t my own offspring, for whom my heart beats on a daily basis. This morning’s episode was because “You put the waffle in the toaster and I wanted to do it.” These are major issues. The kind that Kissinger used to negotiate.
(Footnote: Teens that want to have unprotected sex should be invited into the household of a toddler for a day. It would be a wildly successful, scared-straight program.)
His disappointment expanded when I then informed him that, because of his 15 minute crying-howling-jumping-up-and-down-waffle fit, we were now behind schedule and I would be unable to drive him to school, and that mommy would be doing the chauffeur duty today. Parents reading this know how THAT turned out.
After calming him down, I held his hands, looked into his teary eyes and drew upon my infinite fatherly wisdom, delivering the following line in my most reassuring tone: “Next time remember, ‘I’m not gonna cry, because its just going to mess me up.'”
We repeated it to each other like some kind of toddler 12-step program, until I was relatively sure it had sunk in. I know he’s already forgotten it by now.
Now having a moment to think back on it, I wonder if we’re so far removed from toddlers ourselves.
When we run into obstacles, how do we deal with them? Do we yell and scream, freak out, or pitch the adult equivalent of a screaming, kicking and crying fit? Do we allow our responses – emotional or otherwise – to put ourselves behind schedule, or off the track to our own success?
How do we cope with setbacks or unforseen events? What happens when we get thrown off our game? It makes me also think of this previous post, in which I propose that kids actually have the answer to all our questions.
What do you think?