“I am jello.”
That’s my newest mantra….in the scheme of constantly changing parenting mantras. Hey, at least I can temporarily find something to cling to.
This one has been working this week. I learned it from a saint of a friend who has 4 young boys – all within 6 months of the span of my boys’ ages. So whenever I think I have it bad or that I’m having a rough day, all I have to do is say “at least I only have THREE boys!”
The concept of “jello” is that it doesn’t stick to you. So when you start an “engagement” with a child (euphemism for an escalation of emotions), you remember that you have your own emotions and do not have to take on those of the child. Be jello – don’t let their emotions stick to you.
This is in stark contrast to my usual mode of engagement – volcanic eruption! So I thought the jello thing might be worth a try.
Monday was strawberry jello. Micah jumped right into one of his typical morning infractions – full-body slam of one of the younger crew – usually either Ryan or Noah. I suggested that he take a break on the stairs (or you could call it a “time out”). He took his cup of strawberry milk with him and for the next 3-4 minutes sat on the bottom step taking a swig of milk and spewing it happily across the hard wood floors. I stood one room away in the kitchen door frame saying to myself, “jello”….. “jello” …… “not volcano….jello.” I wet a few rags, walked over to Micah and suggested that whenever he was ready, he could clean up.
Score one for Mommy Jello Queen!
Tuesday was lime jello….as in the color of the “Micah broke the stained glass window” text that I received as he and I pulled into the driveway. Apparently, that morning after I left early for a meeting, he and his aunt got into an engagement – likely for a reason very similar to Monday morning = full body contact! So I sat him down on the couch and “jello,” suggested that he tell me what his punishment/consequence was going to be. I rejected the 100 push-ups idea (he can’t even do 2) and accepted the 6-weeks of no TV….begudgingly….because that really just means 6 weeks of punishing me!
Score two for Jello Queen!
The orange jello of the Cheez-it eruption was just not quite as successful. Probably because I was tired and grumpy and he was tired and grumpy and I didn’t feel like repeating “mushin” (the martial arts word for controlled mind) to him or “jello” to me! Instead we had Cheez-it lava spewing throughout the kitchen and hallway floors and eventually the dust-buster was pulled out for this “when you’re ready, clean up” mess.
So, I’m 2 for 1….which is very important to Micah’s competitive brain (even though he doesn’t know my jello trick so the competitive aspect is not quite so fun). Maybe we’ll have to keep seeing how many colors of the jello rainbow we can be!