So, spring break is over. …The first two days, really, I thought I was going to be relieved when it was over. I had never heard the words “I’m bored” repeated so much in my life.
Now, I can’t believe it’s over, and I’m… honestly sad about it. In comparison to having him home for the past week (which has flown by!) sending him back to school is depressing.
My favorite part of this week has been the mornings. On the days The Husband had school, The Wizard climbed into bed with me and The Squid, and we watched movies, (though The Squid woke up part way through the movie each time, and I don’t think we saw the end of any of those movies, because each time we ended up we end up giggling and playing and distracted by super-cute baby attacks.
It made me dream of maybe a future where we could homeschool. With our current custody situation, it’d be impossible, but still, it’s a fantasy. In six years, The Squid will be six, the age when we’re going to have to start making the public school/homeschool/unschool decisions, and arguments. (As The Husband apparently is of the opinion that homeschooling makes kids poorly socialized weirdos with no self control… which is awesome, since I was homeschooled.) And The Wizard will be 12, the age when he gets to make his own decisions as far as custody goes. so, we’ll see.
Our last day of spring break was awesome. We packed a picnic lunch, and hiked down to the railroad tracks in the back woods. While The Wizard ate his sandwich and The Squid attempted to eat rocks, I read from Prince Caspian (one of my best friends gave us the boxed set for The Chronicles of Narnia, and we’ve been working our way through them. we’re now on to The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.), and we watched for faeries. When we got home The Husband joined us and we took The Wizards recently de-training wheeled bike out and he practiced until he started getting frustrated. Then he went and played with The Princess for a while, and then, towards the evening, and the rapidly encroaching return to school, he began emotionally disolving.
We wrote up a list of “How To Feel Better”.
“1. Breathe Deeply.
2. Squeeze – Relax.
3. Think Happy.
4. Blow Bad Away.
We stickered it and hung it on his wall, and he’s apparently been referring to it, because we haven’t had any major emotional crises this past week. …which is amazing. Maybe I should make one for myself.
Being there for our kids and supporting them emotionally is one of our most important jobs as parents. However, if we are the EXTENT of their emotional support, we’re taking away their ability to learn how to handle their own emotions. Not to mention, being another persons Emotional Coach becomes exhausting after a while. Our real responsibility as parents is to teach our children how to function individually on their own. By teaching our children what to do when they’re upset, we give them tools they’ll be able to use for the rest of their lives.
I’m looking for a toy tool box so The Wizard and I can work on building him a literal Emotional Tool Box. the Emotional Tool Box is a technique that I learned when I partook in a DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) group when my anxiety was getting seriously out of control a few years ago. It’s a method of getting us in touch with what is called ‘One Mindfulness’ in DBT. Getting us in touch with our senses, and back into our bodies, and focusing on something else, helps us get away from our emotional distress, and helps us accept the distressing event. It uses the senses to reconnect us with the physical, and tool boxes often contain things that stimulate our senses in a calming way. (For a kid: calming music, a picture book, lavender spray, play dough, and maybe something somewhat sweet to eat or drink, though that part you might want to keep in the kitchen as opposed to your kids room. Sugar ants are the devil.)
Like the old addage, “Give a kid a fish or teach a kid to fish”, giving our kids the tools to deal with their own emotions is something that no one can ever take away from them.