when the baby is screaming (teething), and the 2 year old is “getting herself water” (playing with the water dispenser on the fridge), it becomes, suddenly, unforgivable that the 4 year old is still not wearing pants, after repeated orders to “put on pants, for goodness sake.”
each incident, on its own, is not so bad–but when it is all at once, it is really easy to over-react with the one who “should know better.” as a firstborn, i cringe at that phrase–i heard it a lot, like all firstborns do–you can’t help if you were born a couple years before all the others–and you can’t help if your parents Have “all those others.”
so i’ve been thinking of strategies to better deal with this when it happens, those times when having 3 kids 4-and-under gets to be TooMuch.
i think, a big thing for me, being introverted and quiet, is that if i can somehow escape for even five minutes to a quiet place i can pray and breathe and dive back into it. retreating is not always an option, but, often, it is. Does it hurt to put the baby in her crib for a few minutes while i get things together? probably not–she’s clean an fed, just cranky. or to just ignore the water-park being created on the kitchen tile? it is just water, after all. or to let that 4 year old go pantless for another hour–no one is over, and we sure aren’t going out yet.
i find that with retreating for just a few minutes, praying, maybe reading some encouraging scripture, i can get it together and Not Yell at the kids just because my emotions are maxed out and all the kids are screaming.
as far as what to do when they go to pieces in public..my only strategy is to get them in the minivan and turn on some music. so, still working on this one (and on everything, really, goodness)
readers, any tips? am i the only one this happens to?