I erased my last blog post.
I was pissed.
I was sitting right next to my eight year old when it happened… Just one click of a button was all it took. Just one. And it was gone.
And it was a good one.
I was pissed.
“AH!” I said.
“What happened?” asked my son.
“I just erased my last post – nooooooo!!!!” Somewhere in my mind I was thinking, oh nice, an opportunity to model what it looks like to handle disappointment. I quickly pushed that thought away.
I said the “f”word. Quietly….. but I said it.
He didn’t hear me, I asked him later.
Oh my gosh, self regulation is so hard!!! ESPECIALLY when we are dealing with major disappointment and frustration.
“Its not a big deal, mom. Just write it again.”
He was trying to help. In fact my husband had the same response, “Can’t you just write it again?”
Fortunately, no one got punched in the face.
But that disappointment lived with me for a while. It was really hard to shake off.
The title of that blog post was “Climbing out of the Rabbit Hole.”
It is so easy to be the adult and dismiss our kids emotional outburst, label them as irrational, manipulative, ridiculous… And yet we, THE ADULTS, can so easily be knocked down by disappointment and discouragement and fall apart. Or maybe its just me??
We have work to do…
Today I got to practice my work. Our family went up to our local ski area and my son found himself feeling anxious about his snowboard lesson. This was week 3 for him and he was still low on the learning curve.
Funny though, it didn’t come out that he was anxious about the lesson. Instead he found a million other things to fall into a funk about. Before we could head out of the parking lot, he was throwing his little neck gator on the ground, “this sucks” he said, over and over.
“You suck,” I said, not triggered, just to shock him.
It totally did.
He got in the van, crossed his arms, and closed the door.
I told my husband and daughter to go ahead, that we would meet them on the hill. My son was stuck and discouraged and I didn’t think everyone needed to pay for that…
I have been in this exact situation with him before. In fact, I think we were parked in almost the exact same spot that this went down. I even blogged about it, Mommy's Mistake.. Neatly 2 years ago and today we were living the same challenge…
This time was way different. I was determined, I had declared that I would stay positive no matter what he dished out.
I got in the van and sat down.
“You said I suck,” was the first thing he said.
“I did. I don’t really think you suck. I just wanted to see if you heard me.”
“Can I tell you a story?” I asked, “two years ago we came up here for ski lessons…” I told him the story of another time that he was so discouraged, and I was not helpful. I told him the story of me being a mean mom.
He perked up a bit at this. Mean mom stories are always interesting to my children. My mistakes, my human-ness, is, apparently, really intriguing...
After the story, we sat there for a few minutes.
“I’m nervous to get on my snowboard today,” I said. “I haven’t snowboarded in a few years.”
“I’m nervous too,” Ian said.
“Is that what is going on? You’re nervous about you lesson?”
So we talked a little bit about that. About how uncomfortable it is to learn something new. About how challenging it can feel to push through the process of learning…
“I think I’d feel better if we did a couple runs on the magic carpet. Will you come with me?” I asked him.
“Yeah,” he said.
And that was it. He turned it around.
We did a couple short runs before his lesson started, and I dropped him off with his instructor. I worried about him all morning, hoping he was able to shake off the discouragement and have a good time. I reflected a bit on how I also hoped he wasn’t a “tough kid” in his group, that he was easy and well liked. Hmmm, it is so interesting what we are attached to…
Turns out, he had a break through day on his board today. It was the day he went from “I know what I can’t do and I don’t like it” to “I’m getting it!” He had a great time and was all smiles when we met up with him for lunch. He was ready for more and we all did a couple more runs before we left for the day.
Today was a win.
Today I shared space with him, let him feel discouraged, and was present with him. He worked out his resiliency muscles.
“You are the one in charge of designing you’re day.”
This is what I told Ian earlier, while we were in the van. I said it again before his lesson.
Later on, I became moody about something or other, and Ian got close to me, put his hand on my shoulder and said, “you design your day, mom.”
Sigh. I love my kids. They teach me so much. They drive me crazy and force me to work harder than I want to sometimes….
But I love them.
And today was a win.