Dear Hill Shade,
If you were outside last night, you might have experienced some confusion. Yes, you did hear a child's voice screaming an occasional "SHUT UP!" while simultaneously hearing a middle aged woman belting Karen Carpenter, Barry Manilow and most of the soundtrack of "Moulin Rouge."
A bout of crying (read: refusing to let me help them regulate) had ensued so I invited this child outside with me, in hopes of switching around their energy and avoiding a bigger battle. Instead of staying near me, they took off.
What? You thought you saw a child walking up and down the road, barefoot, with their hands over their ears? Yup. That, too. It happened. Perhaps you did have a few too many beers, but your eyes were not deceiving you. And yes, I DO know how to carry a tune, but last night was more about volume (the love songs reaching my child's ear as I declared my love for them). I apologize. I know it was painful for you, but it was important. However, let's be honest: the way I incorporated their name into "Close to You?" That was classic.
Um, yeah. If you were outside down near our home, you heard that, too. My kid call me a rather colorful name. I take credit for that one. You see, after returning to me on their own accord, I pushed a little too far and a little too quickly. I know better. I teach other parents how to do this, for Pete's sake. But I'll be the first to admit I don't always do the right things in the moment, even when I'm doing a GOOD thing. You see, I looked right into their eyes and said, "Honey, what can I do for you? You are hurting, and I'd like to help you. What do you need from me right now so we can be okay?" Yup. Too much. This child is dysregulated and will continue to be until some exciting events take place. I knew better. What I did was absolutely controlled and loving and giving and thoughtful and therapeutic, but it was the wrong thing for that moment. I figured that out about the time you did, when that lovely word was spat in my general direction as they walked away from me again.
But I did better. I immediately saw that my approach was all wrong in that moment. I sat, and waited. I asked my husband to bring me my jacket and some bug repellent. I then pulled out my phone and began playing "Words with Friends." I waited some more. Once again, my child returned to me.
I waited until they were very close, but in a VERY nonchalant sort of way, I simply said, "Dang it! Your dad is beating me so far. Wanna' help me kick his butt?"
And this child ... the one who had been crying and putting their hands over their ears and calling me lovely things ... nestled right up next to me on the step. They started to give me some ideas of words, and we made an excellent play. Little fist bump. Then I said, "We make a good team. I would like to hug you now, if that would be okay with you."
I didn't want to hug. I wanted to scream. I was still mad about the last 30 minutes. But I put on my big girl panties and decided to be the grown up. I HATE BEING THE GROWN UP! WHAAAAAAAA!
And my kid said, "Okay." And we hugged. And I did not ask any questions. I just stated the truth. "You are really stressed about all of the good things that will happen this month. You don't think you deserve them. So, let's talk about the truth for a minute." And we started to state things that ARE. My child IS loved. My child IS fun. Other people DO like to be around my child. My child IS creative. My child IS a gift to others.
And my child cried with all of these words. They don't believe it. But we said them anyway. And we healed a little more. And we talked through our plans for surviving this coming week.
So, yes. You did see the pacing child and the crazy singing woman hug after a game of Scrabble, by the light of the iPhone.
But hey, they won't bring cable out into our area of the country yet. So, consider us your prime time viewing ... for free.
I am also available for parties and bat mizvahs.
Hill Shade RV Park