Diesel has been working some long, crazy hours, which leaves me and Choo-choo a lot of Mommy/son play time. However, the amount of playtime depends on Choo-choo’s willingness to cooperate with naptime, meals, teeth brushing, and potty time.
So many times before, things have gone way out of hand in terms of him not wanting to do anything. He would scream, cry, whine. Kick at me or hit me. Literally throw himself on the floor.
I wish I could say I always kept my cool. I really, really, really wish I could. But so often, I didn’t.
Yesterday, though, was a different story.
After a surprisingly quick breakfast (be still, my heart! <3), Choo-choo and I painted using my paintbrushes and his fancy magical finger paints. You know, the kind that only shows up on the paper so I don’t have to worry about him painting his face, my clothes, or the floor.
After almost 45 minutes of brush and finger painting fun (because of course he had to put his fingers in the clear-ish, sticky gel paint), it was time for lunch. Now, naturally, Choo-choo couldn’t stay a perfect angel all day. Oh no. While we were on the sofa watching Diesel drive away, Choo-choo decided kicking Mommy was a good idea.
Not so much.
So, the paint, brushes, and book went into timeout until further notice. Usually, I would have been so angry and wound up, that would have been the end of fun time. Did I do that again?
I am pleased to say I absolutely did not!
Instead of me pouting and turning on TV to drown out my angry inner voices and my son’s whining one, we played. We had his bulldozers, excavators, forklifts, cranes, and dump trucks all together, moving some colorful plastic balls from one machine to the next. And of course there was a monster truck in the mix for good measure.
After nap and snack, Choo-choo was all geared up for painting again. I explained that this was so not going to happen. Then I offered an alternative: modeling clay/dough.
His eyes lit up as bright as his smile. “I want to do that!”
We spent the next almost hour turning colored globs of “dough” into animals, construction materials and tools, and even a tow truck, the truck made lovingly by my sweet little boy. He was so proud of what he’d created, even if it looked nothing like the real thing to me. That simply didn’t matter.
Then came time for cleanup and dinner preparations. Now, this is usually when he freaks out at first. When he is so not ready to stop playing and there is nothing I can say or do to alleviate his frustration about it.
Not this time! *Clapping my hands and doing my happy dance*
Choo-choo helped me put the dough and accessories away. He even happily washed his hands, a rarity for him sometimes. I got to make dinner without the soundtrack of a screaming child in the background. While I cooked our real food, my kid cooked his pretend food.
I have to say that no matter how much Choo-choo might frustrate me, I still love him dearly. And I love the fact that we had such a great day together. I chose to be calmer in the stressful moments and present in the happy ones. I know for certain the former led to the latter.
I would say I’m hoping for more days like this, but hoping just isn’t enough. Hoping for good days only leaves me disappointed at the end of the day. Nothing changes when I just hope and do nothing else. I will make more good days.