We recently went on vacation (see selfie above) and I had bought Emily (our Kindergartener) a giant Frozen coloring book. I had suggested that she color at the dining room table so Claire (our toddler) wouldn't disturb her but Emily insisted that the coffee table was the PERFECT size for her. Fast forward, Claire grabbed a crayon and stealthily got a scribbly line on Emily's giant page.
Emily's indignant response was epic: tears, kicking, finger pointing that Claire was a rotten sister (Claire is 14 months old), declarations that she didn't want a sister because she was mean to her, unforgiveness that Claire didn't even apologize (Claire is again, 14 months old and barely says mama and dada). No matter how we tried to empathize Emily's rightful feelings of disappointment and anger and rationalize through what nefarious intentions a baby can have, there was no calming her down. So we sent Emily firmly into our bedroom to get her emotions out and to calm down.
There is a new parenting direction of letting your kids emote and own their own feelings. I say YES, with parameters. I try and help Emily process her feelings to foster self-awareness that I think it is important as an adult to have. I'm trying to teach her that her feelings are always valid, but her responses to them are not always valid. There are appropriate ways to vocalize her feelings ("Claire! Look at what you did!") and inappropriate responses (pointing fingers to Claire and saying "I want her to go live with another family! I don't want a sister! ").
She's 6 years old now, but I'm trying to reinforce the seeds of emotional control that I sowed when she was a toddler and wouldn't leave the store without toy X, clutched in her little hands.
One day, she will be 16 and may feel betrayed by a friend who unwittingly did something to upset her. And then she'll be 36 and may feel passed up for a promotion that she felt she earned. In all of these life events, it will be important for her to have the emotional self-control to redirect her feelings of disappointment into productive thoughts and actions of determination to work harder towards her goals that don't always come easily. We all eventually learn our own heartbreaking lessons, that effort does not always equal the results we want. Our goals are sometimes elusive and sometimes take much longer than we wanted.
I certainly wished for more ease with formulations, investors, and co-packers for my goal of nutpods. But I've come to appreciate that the speed bumps in the journey are actually screens. They filter out the other people who may not want the goal as much as I do or are willing to work as hard. Or perhaps aren't as committed to their goals. I constantly tell myself that if it was easy, it would have been done by now. And while the process took much much longer and much more money than I anticipated to get a carrageenan-free formula that's rich and creamy and not thin and watery, it is all worth it.
Because it makes us different. It makes us better.
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