She was napping. I was using that time to get things done. A common attempt in our house. I was crossing the room wondering how long she would sleep when I heard the first howl.
It was if the Banshee had entered my daughter’s body and was signaling the chariots that my glimpse of free time was dead. Over. Kaput. Yet not without an interesting lesson to learn.
I opened her door and called her name ever so sweetly. She wailed and kicked. I went to her bedside and told her I was there and that I love her. My little girl thrashed and yelled. I asked if she wanted me to pick her up and she said No. I tried to stroke her and she said go away. I left the door open and went out of the room. She continued to scream and wail. I called to her and said I am here, I love her and when she is ready I will come get her.
The yelling continued for some time, it is hard to tell how long. Any amount of time my child is in distress feels like an eternity to me. I went back into the room giving her space but letting her know I was there. She asked, Where’s Daddy?” I reminded her that he was working today and would be home soon. I asked if she wanted to get out and come in the other room. To which she screamed No and continued to sob.
I stayed and sat with her. I gave her soft soothing words, telling her of my love for her. I moved to the other room and got some cozy blankets together on the sofa and some grapes. I called to her again and said I would love so much to cuddle her. When I approached her bed she was sitting up clutching her purple blanket. She put her arms out for me.
I scooped her up still crying. I changed her diaper while she cried and yelled. I smiled and said I want to understand what she is feeling but I will wait. I bundled her back up and embraced this siren sounding girl in my arms. We sat on the sofa and snuggled into our blankets. Soon she saw the grapes and her crying slowed. She took one and put it in her mouth.
I rubbed her back as she let the tears and grape juice stream down her face. I kissed it all away as she calmed. I closed my eyes and breathed deep breaths. I continued this meditation until she sweetly said, “Mummy, I want more grapes, please.”
About two hours later we were playing and having a wonderful time. She stopped to say, ” Mummy, I was crying.”
“Yes, my love, you were.”
“I needed to scream Mummy. I needed a good cry.”
In that moment I was overwhelmed with love and astonishment. I was so proud of her for understanding this about herself and proud of me – for not making her feel that she had to be quiet or stifle this expression. We were at home, just us – sounds like a very good time for a good cry.
How is it that my two year old has a better awareness of herself and confidence in her needs and expression than I may ever have? I alter my thoughts and feelings so I won’t impose on others. I stifle, stuff and suffocate my feelings. I over think, over explain and let others over power my needs. Here is this little person so full of self awareness and self esteem. She is teaching me and I can only hope I will be her best student.