Aw, Man!

I use that expression a lot, and Aislyn has picked it up. She’s so funny when she says grownup things: “No worries, I’ve got this.”

So my numbers aren’t going up today, so I’m a little bummed out. But I think, it’s a holiday weekend, people are out and busy and maybe even on vacation and out of range, and probably aren’t thinking about Leah Taylor right now. No worries. I’ve got this.

I’m outside in the shady backyard with the kids. I didn’t go tanning this week, so I’m all bathed in bug spray, just like them. Ah, chemicals. Sorry, not sorry. I’ll take chemicals over Lyme disease any day.

My Uncle Bruce had Lyme disease, twice, I think, and it almost killed him. In the end, though, it was Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He and my Aunt Leenie were married 29 years, and they had a great marriage. They tried never to go to bed angry. We do the same thing.

I’ve been married 22 years this December. My God, we were kids when we tied the knot! 22.

The kids are doing “water play.” We brought out three containers of water. One of the containers, unbeknownst to me, has a crack in the bottom, so it leaked all over the house by the time I had it outside. Awesome.

It’s a reasonably nice day on the New Hampshire sea coast. Not too, hot, not humid. Nice breeze. It’s usually always much cooler in our backyard, anyway, though, because it’s almost entirely in the shade.

I love when they play nicely together. Sometimes, like any sibs, they fight, but not today. Not right now, I should say. They’re very good kids.

Desmond accidentally dumped the containers before he got outside. He was angry and crying when he came out the door.

Once he gets that way, how you proceed is critical. If you escalate, he escalates, too. And, obviously, it becomes much harder to calm him down. If you can manage to stay calm and find a solution, he will start to self-regulate and emulate your calm.

So I insisted in a very calm and quiet voice that it was okay, that we could fix it. “No, he screamed,” “It’s ruined!”

“No,” I said, “You didn’t even dump that much water, we just need to add a little.”

“No, we can’t do it now, it’s too late!” A “spirited firstborn Type-A,” is how my former boss, Bill (he was so awesome), described Desmond. And he was spot on. He is very black and white. If he makes even a small mistake, in his little mind, it’s over.

“No it isn’t too late,” I calmly insisted, “I’ll go add some water, but you need to take this towel and dry up the water on the floor.”

“AAAAAAAH!” he yelled. But I ignored it. And he did it. He was calm by the time he was done.

Now they’re having a blast. With two small Tupperware containers of water. Kids are the best.

I’m not a behaviorist. I’m not a parenting expert. Often enough, I get it wrong. I just know my son, and I know some deescalation strategies from my teaching background. That crying and yelling could’ve gone on much longer and gotten much worse than it did. But thanks to CPI (crisis prevention intervention) training, I feel like I was able to help him today.

So that’s something.

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