Giving myself a pat on the back

This morning was rough. Ben and Molly clearly woke up on the wrong side of their beds and everything I asked of them was met with flailing, screaming hysterics resistance. Now a year ago, thanks to a mild but chronic chemical imbalance in my brain commonly known as “dysthemia” or chronic depression, I would have been all:

Baby Ben in full tantrum mode
©PicklesINK 2013

But this morning, with the aforementioned chemical imbalance under control, a good night’s sleep under my belt, and my Supernanny and 1-2-3 Magic inspired parenting toolkit in hand, I was all:

Grinning baby Ben
©PicklesINK 2013

So when I told Ben that he couldn’t have his usual morning cereal bar because I was ready to give him his actual breakfast and he screamed, yelled, and hit the table with his hand, I led him to the time-out step and calmly explained that he was sitting out because he had yelled and hit and needed to calm down.

And when I told Molly to go to the bathroom before she finished getting dressed and she refused and collapsed to the floor crying, I told her that if she didn’t go pee before I counted to 3, I would NOT take her underpants off Ben’s head and give them back to her.

Thinking back over the morning routine, of the about 40 minutes of actual routine parts — feeding breakfast, doing bathroom stuff, getting kids dressed and out the door — probably 3/4 of it was spent with one or both of Ben and Molly yelling or crying (NB – I think an early night is in order tonight). But amazingly, in that time I didn’t cry or raise my voice, and what’s even more amazing is I didn’t FEEL LIKE crying or raising my voice.

And the end result was that by the time we were ready to go, Ben and Molly were all:

This is actually Ben and Molly last week when they decided to play a funny joke on me and switch outfits!
©PicklesINK 2013

And I call that a WIN for everyone!

~ karyn

How do you handle it when your kids are melting down? How do you keep your cool?


9 thoughts on “Giving myself a pat on the back

  1. Popping over from Honest Voices hookup. It’s AMAZING the difference taking care of yourself and getting your chemicals balanced can make, isn’t it? I remember one morning, pre-meds, trying to get my kids (then 4 and 6) out the door, watching them drag like sloths, finding them playing legos naked on the kitchen floor instead of getting dressed, and absolutely losing my you-know-what. I cried on the way to preschool dropoff more times than I can count. Now? WAY better. They behave better when I do, too, but even when they don’t, I am able to keep my cool. Huge quality of life boost.

  2. First off, the “we switched outfits” pic is too cute for words! Second, feel your pain on the duel screaming, especially as they start to feed off each other and reach higher pitches. Thanks to some depression meds and some self-counseling, I’m learning to tune it out or I walk away for a few minutes. After separating the two of them, natch, lol.

    • Aww, thanks!! They are hilarious when they’re not being holy terrors! You’re absolutely right about feeding off each other, and that’s a huge part of why it’s so important for us parents to do what we have to to be able to respond calmly; if we get worked up too, it just adds fuel to the fire!

    • For sure – I love the whole concept of “time out” – although it is a form of discipline, it’s not a “punishment” – it’s simply removal from the situation that’s causing the problem. If talking about breakfast is making Ben yell and hit, then he needs a time-out from that so he can calm down. If they can’t play together without fighting, they need a time-out from each other. And, just like you said, if I can’t deal with it calmly, then I need a time-out until I can!

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