Just Chill


June 18, 2015 by Dadinator

It had taken a few minutes of negotiation, but he was in bed. “Negotiation” is a strong word for it. There was lots of “Daddy said get into bed, Lad. Come on, get into bed”. I can’t remember if there was any particularly witty rebuttal, bargaining or to-and-fro; but I certainly remember The Lad not being in bed. He had eventually climbed in and now he was sitting bolt upright, grinning at me.

I had started the process of asking him to lie down, because asking a 3-year-old to do anything can be a process, especially at meal-times and bed-time. It had been a long day, the details of which I no longer remember. I was nervous because I was going to be on Lass duty again overnight. We set ourselves a goal of night-weaning our little boob-monster who was still feeding intermittently at night-time. “Feeding” is a strong word for it. There was always lots of sucking and cute noises, but I don’t think that (at 20 months) there was much nutritional value to the habit she had developed.

Last night had taken me a while to settle her down without the aid of mammary glands, but I managed. 3 times, and had not gotten much sleep at all. I had then gotten up and run a normal Saturday with pancakes and everything. I was beat.

Inside the clunking cogs of my brain something started to give. Some little pin in there was dangerously close to cracking as I asked for the fourth time “Lie Down Lad!”. He picked up on the exasperation, he’s quite a sensitive soul, and looked at me with a perplexed crinkle of the eyebrows. After due consideration he responded:

“Just Chill, dad”.

Now it was my turn to be shocked. After a quick inhale filled my lungs with fresh oxygen, my mind processed what had just been said. And it changed my brain’s gear.

It was a high-risk strategy from the young man in front of me. Would it send me into apoplexy? It could be taken as a smart-arsed comment to a man who has already exhausted his energy and patience? Would I suddenly feel a surge of guilt at being so short with someone so, well, short and dissolve into a gibbering puddle of regret, sentimentality and emotion?

My mental clutch went on as my brain paused and shifted into a new gear. In that pause I remembered the number of time’s I’d asked him to “just chill” in the face of a threenager emotional tsunami. All those moments when I had looked at my son quixotically and wondered “what is he so worked up about?”. I recalled tantrums, stomping, collapsing to the ground. I recalled how hard it was for him to “just chill”. I recalled that I was supposed to be the older and wiser member of this team…..

My brain fired, the clutch came off, and out of my mouth came a resigned laugh. I shook my head at myself, wondered at what i was so worried about and gave my boy a cuddle, and I apologised, promising him that I would “chill” and that all would be well. I got over my tantrum – or should that be mantrum?

A 3-year-old had diffused the situation. He’d cut the right wire to make sure the bomb didn’t go off, this time. And since then, I’ve felt myself taking a few more measured deep breaths when I can feel myself drowning in my own exasperation. It helps.

Well it helps till the little buggers find the next button of mine to push. Should take them a week. They seem to manage it every time I think I’ve found parenting Zen.

But it’s important to remember that when a situation is getting out of control, sometimes it’s not the kids that are the issue….


8 thoughts on “Just Chill

  1. Rory Mouttet says:

    Parenting Zen. You sucker! Nah he’s a little charmer mate.

  2. Everytime I read one of your posts I am in awe at your talent with words. You are such an amazing storyteller! Bedtime sucks as does weaning. I think your little man has some very wise words for all of us x

  3. Mumma McD says:

    Ah they know don’t they, these little ones? Just chill indeed 🙂

  4. Cristin says:

    My husband shared a similar revelation with me yesterday. He had the 2-year old at the zoo and I’d asked them to be home at a certain time. He said he was starting to get snappy with her because she wasn’t moving fast enough. And then, he suddenly realized if he just calmed down (“just chilled!”), they’d both be so much better off. He said the whole day was so much better for it. Such a good reminder to choose “chill” whenever we can manage it!

  5. As you said, you gotta do what you gotta do!

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