Parenting is often easiest when we are relaxed and calm; and able to pre-meditate on our approach to various learning opportunities. The moments that can easily get the best of us are the rushed, distracted ones, (whether real or perceived.) Being cognizant of our own reactive state is key to ensuring we don’t fall into a parenting cycle of reaction and rationalization.
The other night, in the midst of my attempt to prepare dinner in a timely manner with my baby on one hip, I realized halfway through cook time I had forgot to put in the separate (plain) chicken wings in the oven. Desperate to evade the inevitable outrage of my nearly-4-year-old daughter having to eat Louisiana hot-sauce spiked “adult” wings, I raced around to try and get it the plain ones thawed and prepped for the oven. In the corner of my eye I saw that she had our last roll of tape out and was tearing MASSIVE pieces out to stick to the floor. That familiar SCREAAAAACH as the endlessly long strand of cherished adhesive is being yanked with abandon.
I admit, my instinct was to bellow “Noooooooooooooo! Stopppp!” leap over, toss it back in the drawer and rush dramatically back to my oh-so-minor kitchen nightmare, while imploring the importance of preserving such a relic of modern convenience. (Must.Use.Sparingly! As though we are in some king of tape famine.) Luckily this was a more introspective day, and I got no further than the slow-motioned “Noooooooooooooo! Stopppp!” before I paused mid-leap to modify my extremely reactive approach. Internal dialogue was as follows;
Of course she wants to use the tape! My own overblown outburst was testament to the awe-worthy qualities of tape. It’s sticky! It’s useful! On the other hand, it’s still only tape, so who even cares, right?
So, rather than smuggling it away, (parenting Aha! moment FTW, sorry raw chicken,) I regained my composer and sat down. I tore off little pieces and showed her how to control the size while avoiding her fingers being pricked by the tape dispenser’s feisty metal teeth. She was finished after happily sticking half a dozen small strips to some pieces of paper, and then we returned it to the drawer. She displayed her finished ‘art’ on the fridge.
5 minutes later, the plain wings made it to the oven, nobody harmed but, perhaps, the birds.