Sunday: Played Stuffed Fables at Zulu’s for the first time. Benji enjoyed deep-fried mac ‘n’ cheese — truly a match made in heaven. All of us liked Stuffed Fables, and we brought a copy home to keep playing ourselves.
Monday: I made a dentist appointment for Benji, but the day got better as we went to Grammy and Papa’s and played superheroes in the park nearby.
Tuesday: Benji spent the morning with my mom while I went for a bike ride. I made it home in time to join them on the drive to the airport to pick up Colleen, who came up for only one night.
Wednesday: Making the most of Colleen’s visit, we went to see tulips in Mt. Vernon, a long drive for a short, rainy experience. Then we went to Mukilteo where Colleen met a friend of hers and we all played at the beach for a while.
Thursday: Exhausted after a very long day of driving around, Benji and I laid low, making superhero masks and just playing around home. In the afternoon we ventured out to Snapdoodle, where Benji spent $8 of his allowance money extremely well — on a 64-crayon box of Crayolas.
Friday: I went for a bike ride while Benji played with Grammy and Papa. We went to dinner at my parents’ house, where Benji played with his friend Thea and little sister Hannah. Mom got out the big box of supplies to tell the Easter story and went through it… with some tears from Benji.
That ended our spring break week, which — on average — we all greatly enjoyed.
I say “on average,” because Benji’s going through a rough patch right now, where he is easily upset, worries a lot, and dashes off crying and yelling “I give up, I give up!” He gets so worked up, it’s hard to get him to calm down and deal with the underlying issue.
I’m not exactly sure what to do, because he does this seemingly at the drop of a hat. There are reasons, but the reasons are “I don’t like wearing jeans” or “I wanted raspberry not strawberry yogurt.” To me, the response feels out of proportion with the problem…
…but I guess I need to remember that kids’ feelings are real, even if whatever caused them seems ridiculous to me. It’s not ridiculous to him, and telling him “It’s not a big deal” just belittles his reaction and his feelings. Let’s be honest: Are issues that upset me really that much more of a “big deal” in the grand scheme of things? I was really, really upset about my bike getting crushed, but in the end it’s a toy. Nobody’s life was endangered.
Anyway, I want to find a way to respond that respects his feelings — it’s okay, normal, even right to feel upset, angry, frustrated, disappointed in some circumstances — without encouraging more outbursts. I want him to become more resilient when upset, angry, frustrated, or disappointed; to find a way to identify, acknowledge, and accept those feelings without letting them rule his actions.
I’ve re-implemented the Cry Zone at our house. It’s a space where I have a sign up that offers steps for calming down:
Take 3 deep breaths.
Count slowly to 5.
Say to yourself, “Calm Down.”
I reminded Benji that even adults need to use the Cry Zone sometimes. It’s not a little kid thing; it’s a way to help handle out of control feelings. I’m not sure what else we’ll do, but I feel like we have to figure something else out.
ANYWAY, the last big thing in the week was last Sunday, Palm Sunday. The kids sang a song they’ve been practicing for a while. It was… uh… clear that they’d worked hard, but nobody’s showing any signs of being the next Ginger Rogers yet.