Friday, January 23, 2015

I Have Bad Days, Too

It was time to head up for bed and my three year old had to relinquish his bag of Tootsie Rolls.  My husband had taken them on a spontaneous trip to CVS to stock up on candy and he had been holding the bag for a full hour.  He wasn't eating them; he was protecting them.  I knew he wouldn't be happy about putting the bag in the pantry.  I considered letting him bring them to bed (His bed the place that his brother can't touch so it is is full of treasures like golf clubs and cars and window gels.)  But I couldn't let a three year old go to bed with a bagful of candy so I squatted down to eye level to let him know the bad news.

"Hey bud.  We've got to put your Tootsie Rolls in the pantry for bedtime.  I will make sure to keep them safe for you."  
He clutched them closer to his chest as his eyes welled up with tears.  "NOOOOOOO!!!  You can't take my Tootsie Rolls!"
"I have to, love.  You can have them in the morning.  You can either hand them to me or I can take them out of your hands," I explained.  This only made it worse. 

"AAAHHHH!" he screamed.  "I'm so mad at you!"

"Drew," my husband said firmly.  "Give your mother the candy and go to bed or else you won't be able to eat any tomorrow."

Drew thrust the bag at me then marched to the stairs, still crying loudly.  I was determined not to react to the tantrum.  "I'm going upstairs to read to Luke.  Feel free to join us when you have calmed down," I said as I stepped over him on the staircase.  

The crying continued as he trudged slowly up the stairs and into his room.  He tucked his little body behind a curtain I made for his bottom bunk so that he could hide.  I sighed and grabbed his pajamas from the drawer.   When I turned around, I saw his older brother trying to make some headway with a different approach.

"'Sometimes I have a bad day, too,' Robot said.  'Are you having a bad day?'"  
My oldest had gotten out a robot and moved it behind the curtain to talk.  
"Yeah, I having a bad day because Mommy took my candy.  Why did you have a bad day?" my three year old asked.
"I have bad days when Lukie forgets to play with me and I sit up here all by myself.  Everybody has bad days!" my oldest said as he moved the robot's head back and forth.
"Yeah!  Everybody have bad days!" my three year old agreed as he emerged from the curtain.

"You guys ready to get your jammies on?" I asked.  They were.  I kissed both of them on the head before they could escape my grasp.  "You guys are lucky to have each other, you know that?"

"Yeah.  It's good to have a brother," my three year old agreed.

Sometimes we just need someone to meet us where we are at.  We don't want them to rationalize with us.  We don't want to hear logic or intolerance.  We just need them to say, "I get it.  I've been there, too."  My son reminded me of the importance of being there for someone completely. 

Is there someone in your life that needs more understanding than logic right now?  How can you give them that gift?

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