Three year old kiddo looked so cute in her ballerina dress. It was the day of her final performance. She had been practicing her pirouettes with her teacher and was ready to perform for the audience. We never reward with food, so once the performance was over, we took her to a nearby park to celebrate.
Kiddo has always loved slides and swings at parks. She loves climbing to the top and just swoosh down with no care in the world. She was having so much fun. We were equally thrilled seeing a little ballerina with her pigtails flying madly in the air. As she made her final ascend, and patiently waited her turn to go down, a cherubic boy cut ahead of her and went down with a ‘yippee’!!
Rules had been broken in the preschooler’s world. Fat hot tears ran down her cheeks like cars racing the NASCAR field. Her chest heaved as she tried to suppress crying out aloud. She lost her zeal for the slide and just rode down heavily burdened with sorrow. Her pigtails had lost their bounce and were hanging on either sides like doggy ears.
As a mom, my first instinct was to rush to her side and scoop her up. I held her close to the chest as her sobs became full blown tears followed by blowing of the nose into the handkerchief. I stood by her side supporting her every emotion until we were calm enough to walk back to the car.
I gave it sometime and then asked her why she had not used her words, and asked the boy to not cut her in line. She remained silent for the rest of the ride. I used the opportunity to yell and scream at the kid who had crossed my daughter. I told myself here is how I would have dealt with him, yada yada yada.
And in that moment it struck me .. I ask kiddo to ‘use her words’ all the time. BUT, have I actually given her the words to use? Have I made a verbal flowchart for her on what to say when? The answer was a resounding ‘NO’. Well, in that case what words could the poor child use? I told myself ‘Can we put some thought into what we say next time?’