Although I don’t prescribe to the traditional “TIME OUT” that some folks use, there are times when it is absolutely necessary. Like last night.
We were sitting at dinner. A very average dinner of pasta and meatballs and veggies. Daniel was repeating “I need the butter… I need the butter… I need the butter” until it became a one word chant “INEEDTHEBUTTER”. Needless to say he was getting quite agitated with the fact that no one would pass the butter. Rob was trying to get Nic and Jason’s attention because the said butter was on their end of the table. Nic was telling … well anyone and everyone really… about Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and how far they are in the story and what happened so far. Jason was singing “AUGUSTUS GLOOP YOU NINCOMPOOP” at the top of his voice and I…. well, I felt my marbles all coming undone and my ears began to ring with the cacophony of sounds around me, and my impulse was to slam my hands down on the table and ask “Is this dinner or are we at a freaking circus?!”
Fortunately Rob noticed a stray marble – or perhaps it was the veins in my temple pulsing? – and he said “mommy, would you like to be excused?” at precisely the right time. He stopped my outburst, and I took a deep breath and looked at the table and realised that it wasn’t that bad after all. It was just the boys dumping about their day to us – mostly to dad who they hadn’t seen all day – and really it was quite a happy scene.
But I graciously accepted my out and went off to the sanctity of my room for a TIME OUT.
But as I sat there, I reflected on how lucky we are. The boys talk to us, and dinner is a happy time. We love that we all eat together and while it may sometimes look something like a scene from “Brothers & Sisters”, generally it is a happy scene.
I am doubly fortunate that Rob managed to stop my outburst. If it had happened, it would have put a damper on the whole dinner and everyone would have been upset – including me – and the whole atmosphere would have changed. It made me remember that I often tell parents to detach. If things are getting too much and the energy level is too high for you, walk away. It’s a great way to prevent you from losing your marbles just because you are irritable or have had a long day. There is no shame in walking away, and you won’t regret it afterwards either. And more importantly – it is a great thing to model to your kids so that they too learn to control their inappropriate outbursts or ‘tantrums’ and come back when they are calm and more in control and able to deal with a situation appropriately.
So tonight, I intend to enjoy dinner with my family, noisy as it may sometimes get, and perhaps even regale a few crazy stories of my own. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em… right?