Tea For Two- A Stop On My Journey Learning To Ask Questions FIRST


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.

20131002-165923.jpgThen I noticed the tiny purple tea cup which had rolled under the dining room table.

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.


15 responses »

  1. An important lesson to us all… It sounds like you completely repaired any damage in double quick time though.

    (as an aside – we have these cups – and they have holes in them…. why?? my kids are forever making a mess with them!!)

    • They DO have little holes where they were tied to the packaging with wire, I think… Yeah, not cool or very functional. I guess it will give me an excuse to buy a nicer tea set and have tea parties at some point. Mmmmmm, tiny sandwiches and cake. . .

  2. My first kid didn’t sleep at night, he just screamed… For like 2 1/2 years! But I accepted the fact that I can’t do the controlled crying thing so that meant I would be pacing the room rocking him singing as long as he needed it and it trained me an enormous amount of patience in me- because wether or not I got grumpy with him would have little effect on how long I was having to console him for. But it meant the difference between feeling tired and pleased with myself for being a sweet mum or tired and filled with self loathing for snapping at him or whatever. People always comment on my patience now, I’m very proud! A bit of understanding goes such a long way with kids sometimes- but even when it doesn’t at least you can still pat yourself on the back for showing it!

    • This is a beautiful comment. I think it is great when we can open ourselves to letting our children teach and expand our humanity. What a gift your little man gave you in helping you to become more patient. I am constantly working on it, but when I am able to be mindful about what you said about being patient and pleased with myself “for being a sweet mum” or being tired and angry, then the choice is obvious and yeah, I feel so much better about life when I am able to take the higher road. Thank you so much for sharing this with me. Peace.

      • You know what else… Once both my boys have grown up I have a feeling I’ll remember all this stuff which is so tough now with nostalgia. Cuddling them for hours on end… At what age does that stop?

    • :O That sounds like my breastfeeding journey with our son Elizabeth.. Pretty sure my patience didn’t grow though, too sleep deprived! Love this blog SO much.. Resonates so much, this post too. We’re so busy doing the best we can in a high achieving, give-our-kids-the-best-we-can world, that we are often so overwhelmed that things like this tip the balance and patience! There are so many things to juggle!

    • OMG are you from Hawaii?! Do I have someone special in Hawaii reading my blog??? I have been looking for blog buddies from Hawaii– it is my favorite place on earth. Anyhoo, thank you so much for reading and taking the time to comment. It means so much to me. Aloha!

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