The other night while making dinner, I turned my back on my very busy toddler for about two minutes.
“Uh ohhhhh,” I heard from over the baby gate that separates the kitchen where I was cooking from the dining room where Emily was playing.
I looked over and saw she spilled an entire bottle of water onto the floor.
“Naughty!” I snapped. I scooped her up and put her in her pack and play, then grabbed a bath towel to mop up the floor, all the time praying that my food on the stove wasn’t burning and boiling over. Jack was in the shower, calling me to bring him something or other and Emily started to cry. It was one of those moments where if mopping water up was the only thing I had to do, I would not have become flustered. But I’m a one-thing-at-a-time-kinda’-gal and with four things happening at once, I felt overwhelmed.
My heart melted and as I paused, my face made an involuntary, “Awwwww,” like I was looking at a baby panda or a gorilla mama tandem nursing gorilla twins.
Little Emily was just trying to have a tea party.
My toddler was trying to be independent and clever and fill her little tea cup with a sip of water. Something about her tenacity erased any irritation I had. I brought her the tea cup which was still held a drop of water. She smiled up at me as I handed it to her over the rim of the pack and play.
It made me realize that so much of motherhood seems to be shoot first, ask questions later (EEK! Did I really just use that comparison?) in this fast-paced life. Sometimes it could be helpful to stop, breathe, and ask what’s going on. When I don’t stop to figure out what my kids’ motivations really were it can lead to frustration, confusion, and hurt feelings on all fronts. This sort of situation happened a few weeks back when Jack brought a note home about his behavior from his teacher, and I freaked out only to find out later through calm conversation, that he had been bullied.
When I am mindful, my intentions are much more clean and clear. Problems get solved in a more satisfactory manner.
Most of the time the kids are innocently navigating the world, experimenting, and learning when they make these little snaffus. I resolved to ask more questions before snapping, freaking out, or name calling.
I kissed and nuzzled her golden head, threw the towel in the laundry basket, and went to tend to Jack.
Dinner had not burned.