Sunday, May 30, 2010

Talking about our feelings

An inquisitive three year old turned his parents for a loop, making us loose our imaginary grip on reality with that little word, 'why?'  Then we realize that we don't really have a good reason for the things that we do and requests that we make. 
LittleMan has taken to explaining when he gets upset in terms of the trigger, "You made me feel bad" or, "You made me feel sad."  Mariano thinks that he got this from Ni Hao Kai-Lan, a silly cartoon that they watch sometimes at lunch time at daycare.  The characters discuss their feelings.  I think that it is a good for his development to be understanding and labeling his emotions and distinguishing the connections between actions and emotions.  I started to try to do it as well, and realized I couldn't, which is troubling.  Like, he woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning for some reason and was very upset that he could not find his Play-Do Thomas the Tank Engine.  He was so upset that he would cry at the drop of a hat.  This made me upset and I, unsuccessfully,  told him to stop crying.  I had to remove myself from the room and situation because his out of control and unfounded crying was making me very angry.  He kept repeating that I was making him sad for not finding his Thomas and, presumably, for not understanding the importance of the missing Thomas.  I left the room and went looking for the train, all the while thinking, Why do I get so angry when LM cries?  How can I explain it?  He is not hurting me, why does it make me angry?  I feel like there needs to be some way for me to explain my feelings or else they are not valid.  Does his crying make me feel inadequate or like a failure for not being able to satisfy him, and that makes me react angrily?   

I found his Thomas, but the poor guy was malformed.  When I tried to reshape him, LM got upset because the shape I made his engine was to circular, or not cylindrical enough, or who knows.  It just wasn't perfect and he started to cry and said that I was making him sad.  Which made me mad.  I tried to explain, "LM when you cry it makes me not want to play with you."

Eventually we ended up taking Thomas away and putting away the play do, because he kept having outbursts of crying when the wheels would get dirty or the funnel would fall off.  Yesterday he played so well with the play do and made the Thomas train all by himself.  But today he could not handle it.  His little world came to a halt if something went wrong.  I said, "I am putting the play do away because it makes you sad.  We only play with toys that make us happy."  I think that made sense at least.   Removing the Thomas from the picture seemed to help him move forward and he coped with life better for the rest of the day.

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