Saturday, January 18, 2014

Learning to Breathe Deeply

They say that the human eye can only detect a small percentage of the colors of light that actually exist; that, evidently, there exists a whole array of colors that we just can’t see. I feel like emotions pre-children were like this. It was like our hospital “go bag” included a special pair of glasses that opened our eyes to all these new ranges of emotions. I thought I knew love before kids, but I didn’t. I thought I knew fear and anxiety, but I didn’t. I thought I knew awe and pride, but I didn’t.

Before I had two almost three-year-olds, I thought I knew frustration, but I didn’t. Recently, Chris and I watched a comedian talking about how life with children has changed and he mentioned the difficulty of leaving the house. If you have children or are thinking of having children, watch it here. It’s hilarious. At any rate, I couldn’t help but relate this morning.

Me: Okay, girls, breakfast is over and it’s time to get dressed. What would you like to do after we get dressed? Would you like to help me make muffins? (me thinking this would be a fun and special activity)

L#1: No, I want to go play outside.

L#2: Yeah! Outside! Let’s go play outside!

Me: Outside? (To self: In January? In Seoul? Checks temperature. -7° C. Bearable). Okay, we can go outside. Let’s get our clothes on. What do you want to wear?

L#1: This! (Holding out pants and a shirt).

Me: Great! Let’s put it on. What about you?

L#2. I want to wear a skirt.

Me: Okay, would you like to wear leggings with your skirt or tights?

L#2: I don't want to wear leggings or tights.

L#1: (Already dressed) I want to wear a skirt, too!

Me: (Deep breath) Okay, L#1, pick out a skirt and we’ll put it on. L#2, we need to cover our legs because it's cold outside.

L#2: But covering our legs makes my sad!

Me: I'm sorry that makes you sad. Would you like to choose pants or tights or should I?

L#2: You.

Me: Okay, let's wear these leggings.

L#2: No! I don't want those leggings. I want tights.

Me: (Deep breath) Okay. (Puts on tights)

L#2: I think these tights are too small. They are too tight.

Me: No, they aren’t too small. They are just tight, that is how they are supposed to be; that is why they are called tights.

L#2. No, they are too small.

Me: Okay, do you want to take them off?

L#2: Yes. (We take off tights)

Me: Okay, L#1, is this the skirt you want? Do you want leggings or tights?

L#1: Tights! (We put on tights). These feel weird on my toes.

Me: Okay, do you want to take them off?

L#1: No, they feel weird on my toes.

Me: (Deep breath) Okay, well, that is how the tights are made. Do you want to take them off?

L#1. No, they feel weird on my toes.

Me: Okay. (puts socks and leggings on L#2). Okay, girls, do you want to go outside now?

L#1: Yeah!

L#2: I just need to stay here with my princesses.

Me: (Deep breath) Well, we all need to do the same thing (Chris is out of town). Why don’t we go outside for a little while and then come back in to our princesses. (L#2 surprisingly easily concedes to this idea.)

Me: Okay, let’s put on our coats.

L#2: I don’t want my coat. My coat wants to stay here. I just want my jacket.

Me: Well, it is cold outside and we need coats. Do you want to wear a hat? (Attempting to distract from coat-wearing with a different choice)

L#2: No, I don’t want a hat. (Distraction successful! Coat goes on)

L#1: I want my mittens. (I pull mittens from the drawer). No, not those mittens. The purple ones. (We don’t own, nor ever have owned purple mittens).

Me: Sweetheart, we don’t have purple mittens. Do you want pink ones or blue ones.

L#1: Purple! Purple! Purple!

Me: (Deep breath) Okay, L#2, would you like pink mittens or blue mittens?

L#2: Pink! (We put on mittens)

Me: Okay, L#1, that leaves the blue ones for you. (We put these one with a pouty face but not a meltdown. This is good.)  Let’s put on our shoes!

Me: L#2, which shoes would you like?

L#2: The red ones!

Me: Well, I’m sorry sweetheart but those shoes are too small. What about these white ones? They have sparkles on them!

L#2: No! Just try it! They aren’t too small! Just try it! Just try it! Just try it!

Deep breath. I concede. We squeeze her feet into shoes that have been too small for her for some time now.

L#2: Owie, Mama! Owie! These are too small.

Me: (Inappropriate internal monologue) Okay, which shoes would you like? These white ones?

L#2: Yeah! (We put them on)

Me: Okay, L#1, which shoes would you like?

L#1: (No response)

Me: Okay, let’s put on these (We put them on and we start to leave.)

L#1: No! No! I don’t like these shoes. I want the ones with flowers on them! I want the flowers!

Me: (Deep breath) Well, honey, we already have these shoes on. Let’s go outside. (Move toward door without giving time to melt down) Where would you like to go?

L#1 & L#2: Let’s go to the trampoline!

Me: Okay! (This should get them nice and tired for a nap!)

We head to the trampoline and I take off their shoes and put the girls up on the trampoline to jump. I turn around to sit on a chair nearby. I have literally just sat down when…

L#1: Mom, it’s too cold. I’m too cold. Let’s go inside.

L#2: Me too. I’m cold. I don’t want to play outside anymore. Let’s go inside.

Deep breaths. Deep breaths.

Check watch. It's 9:30. Repeat these conversations, only slightly modified until bedtime. Wake up, lather, rinse, repeat.

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