Thursday, June 16, 2011

Even a Toddler Can Compromise

I had a breath-through "aha!" moment with Munchkin.  It was particularly encouraging because it happened on one those days of incessant whining, clinging and the repetitive "Mamamamamamama!"

I was trying to cook dinner, an often frustrating endeavor that occurs during the toddler witching hour. Munchkin was fed but still uninterested in occupying himself. Babywearing while cooking had been useless for over a year. Screen time didn't work (yes, I finally gave in to the dreaded screen). Parallel play with his own cookware, no dice.  No, he needed me. NOW. I felt my muscles tighten and my jaw clenched shut. We'd been through this so many times before.  I took a deep breath and fought back the familiar frustration. Can't I do anything for just 5 minutes?!

At one point, he put his hand on my leg. Usually, that makes me nervous when I'm cooking because I'm afraid I'll knock him over when I turn around or reach for something.  Instead of anxiety, however, I got a surprise visit from the gentle acceptance idea fairy.

"Here, come over here and hug my leg," I said as I stirred my saute. Munchkin quickly embraced my thigh and rested his head against the side of my leg. He squeezed me.  I continued stirring with one hand, then reached down with the other to caress his head. The fog-horn wail subsided into a hum. My shoulders loosened and I felt my nerves let go just a bit. We stood that way for a few minutes while I listened to the sizzling garlic and Munchkin's meek drone.  When the saute was done, I turned off the burner and picked him up before he had to ask again.

Yes, my son, we can compromise.

What are your special moments of learning to compromise with your child? 


  1. Bless him, and you. I've had many of those compromise moments over the years. These days I get Mr Small to start prepping the salad for me. This means he gets busy shredding lettuce while I cook. But it keeps him busy (for at least 30 seconds or so)

  2. Thank you, Sarah. I'm looking forward to more of these moments!