Monday, September 26, 2011

Mirroring Emotions and Fast Food Rules

Friday night was nice. Sweet M* had a little trouble playing but hubby was able to draw him in and calm him down and he finished the night really well.

Saturday was very pleasant and that included me dragging Sweet M* and Belle to a baby shower where they were the only kiddos there and to Belle's Nutcracker practice. So, win for me. Actually, total win because hubby and the big boys went to a baseball game so I had the littles with me all day and through bed with no incidences :)

Sunday was okay. The boys were in moods and were constantly bickering with each other. It was hard. But, it was normal sibling stuff so I was glad that Sweet M* was able to be talked to just like the other boys without sending him into a fit. Sunday night we went to church and all the kids did really well. Sweet M* really impressed me because the service is about an hour and a half long and it is hard to sit that long when your little. Sunday night however, the emotions ran too high. After church we went to my parents for a family dinner. It was a little later than we normally eat and it was 45 minutes past Sweet M*'s bedtime and he just couldn't take it anymore. He was engulfed in complete sadness at any little thing that did not go his way. We collected the kids and went home. I was able to draw him close and put him to bed, but I didn't feel like the mood was completely gone.

Today is Monday and the morning was off. Sweet M* was not following his normal morning rules. He was testing me in little ways. And, he tried reaching out to his brothers but they were annoyed from the night before and did not play with him. That is HARD. I get it... I know Sweet M* is a lot for the other kids. But, when he reaches out it is heart breaking to watch him get rejected. On the way to my mom's I just knew he was not doing well. I dropped him off and he didn't want a kiss or hug. He didn't ask to run and wave on the sidewalk as I drove away like he does every other day. I was sad.

But, I picked him up from school and he had earned two day tickets. I think he used his friends and school to escape his hard morning. He excitedly screamed good bye to EVERY friend he could see. Got in the car and it began. First the constant jabber, then if I tried to re-direct he acted like I was against him. He was crazy hyper when we got home and then he lost it when I tried to lay him down for a nap. He SCREAMED piercing screams and when I tried to hold him he kicked and tried to bite me. I held him and lovingly looked into his eyes. I reminded him that I loved him and no matter what he did it would not change the fact that I loved him. But, this fit lasted about an hour and it was exhausting. I did keep my cool the entire time (YAY! ME!). But, what really helped was towards the end I started mirroring his wimpers and cries... I tried to empathize the way you do with an infant. His screams mellowed out.

He started talking while he was crying about why he was upset, nonsense excuses for those big emotions really, but I repeated each one back to him in his same tone. I had learned this from the Harvey Karp books when my other kids were toddlers. It is called the fast food rule. Just like the drive through repeats your order YOU REPEAT YOUR KIDS WORDS. It totally worked. He slowly came back. Apologized and snuggled with me for a few minutes. Than he laid down for nap.

So, I am going to try and remember these for the next big meltdown. Maybe I can cut off the length of the next one by 15 or so minutes??

1 comment:

MRK said...

Big YAY for you for keeping your calm throughout a 1 hour tantrum. I KNOW how hard that can be (when you are already exhausted by working so hard at this every minute of the day). You made it through the tantrum with a CONNECTION rather than a disconnection at the end. That is huge.