With blurry eyes this morning I was making my children breakfast when my daughter comes up to me and says “how do you like them apples?” I literally did not know what to say because it was so hysterical to me but clearly a very serious question for her.
I often find myself in these places and situations in parenthood, where my children have said or done something to me which to me seems absolutely ridiculous but to them is of the utmost importance. I find that 20% of parenting is keeping a straight face so as not to damage the feelings of the young children I have made. It is not laughing when my son said to me “I wish you would go away and never come back.” Or with respect treating a “boo boo” that really is completely manifested. Or even just not losing my shit when I get avocados thrown in my face for the third time in one meal. I think a deep breath might be one of the keys to success in parenting.
At a young age I start to teach my children to take deep breath’s. I generally find that a deep breath is needed for a child when I myself need a deep breath. And for the first year or so it is just me taking a deep breath while they watch and observe the shift in my own behavior. But my 2 year-old will take a deep breath with me at this point. the first deep breath for a small child is generally an exasperated angry breath out. The second breath is an awareness that in fact a request is being made and still half hearted. The third breath is it actual release of the frustrated emotions that are being projected on to everybody else in the family. After the third breath there can usually be a hug and a conversation in which we can reach some sort of resolution.
Even as a parent I have to say that it is just as much for me as it is for them, I could be very well close to putting My fist through a wall on the first breath, and also be ready for a hug after my third breath. Never underestimate the power of a deep breath.