Friday, January 21, 2011

Coping Skills

My darling middle child is 2 1/2 years old and full of sunshine and spunk. She wears her emotions on her sleeve and while she is a happy go lucky child by nature she is definitely a 2 year old with meltdowns and whining and the flux of emotions that come with trying to figure out your place in the world with only a couple hundred words at your disposal.

Last night she was already in her jammies when she had a potty accident- since she's been potty trained for about 7 months it was a surprise to both of us! After I stripped her and started cleaning up she was complaining she was cold so I thought she could just get dressed in a pair of comfy sweatpants that were within reach.

Around an hour later, after all the bedtime routine was over and all of the girls were tucked into their beds, I went downstairs for a quick game of tile rummy with my DH ( tile rummy is a weakness of mine). And I hear a blood curdling scream coming from my middle child- I run upstairs frantically and she is sobbing- " I NO HAVE JAMMIE PANTS- I NO HAVE JAMMIE PANTS" . I had a game waiting for me downstairs. If I didn't act fast she could very well wake up the baby and that would be the end of my "me time". I looked around the room and saw a basket of clean laundry that wasn't yet put away- a basket that had some clean "jammie pants". I could swap her comfy sweat pants for almost equal jammie pants (except these had cute little monkeys in dresses on them) and keep her quiet or .......or......maybe I could use this as a learning opportunity.

So many times I look at my children and feel so thankful that we live in Canada, that we are so blessed and really long for nothing that we really need. I feel so thankful that each day I don't worry about trying to find food, or worry about bombs or raiding or worry that they just might not make it to the end of that day. And I look at my little darlings and see that they are so happy and so blessed and so soft. They don't have the opportunities on a day to day basis to learn coping skills- it is too easy to just give her the monkey jammie pants- they are there- they are clean and so there is no reason not to give them to her. Except for the fact that I think she should learn that sometimes she can make do- even if the covers are not straight or even if she is not wearing matching jammies or even if something isn't perfect- she'll still be OK.

She will still be OK. What a great comfort it would be to us if we as adults could believe that in whatever trials we deal with - we'll still be OK. Those who have this confidence and this strength are happier adults. And since I know she will be OK if she sleeps in the red sweat pants- I just now have to figure out how to teach her that she will be OK. And since she's 2 I did the only thing that I felt I could do- I told her that in the morning she could change but tonight she is sleeping in those pants. If she wanted to take them off that was up to her but it was bedtime and lights out and I told her she would be OK and I was not coming back upstairs.

And downstairs I went. Waiting for the inevitable crying, screaming meltdown and the chaos that would ensue. Silence.



Why didn't she cry? Why wasn't she upset? She had been devastated just moments before. I was bracing myself for a meltdown and she just started talking to her stuffies and soon fell asleep. She was OK. So I have to wonder what would have happened if I would have come upstairs and responded differently to her distress. What if I would have acknowledged her distress and said "oh dear you don't want to sleep in those pants- oh well then I'll just get you new ones" . Would I have been called back 2 mins later for something else? Or would it still have just been ok?

I'll never know. And maybe I'm reading too much into this (it wouldn't be the first time!) or maybe it was a small victory in teaching coping skills- maybe by showing her confidence in the fact she'd be OK - she learned she really was.

No comments:

Post a Comment