Thursday, January 29, 2015

baby steps

I swear the devilhisself must have been listening yesterday. Steve had just come home, and I was unloading the dishwasher. I had a pan of noodles and a pot of homemade chicken noodle soup (we're talking onions, celery, carrots, parsley, bay leaves... the works!) cooking on the stove. And the kitchen was clean! Which is so very rare. I was beside myself with gloriousness. So I let Steve in on all the finer details, before the pirates migrated indoors.

Squísh had thrown a pretty good fit - complete with land mines and toddler grenades - but I kept my wits about me and dodged them. Entirely. 

Em had only taken a short nap, but I'd still managed to keep on top of (not all) but a lot of work.

And even though Robs and Squísh had attempted World War Three at five thirty seven in the morning - I'd handled it without losing my temper! 

I've been trying so hard lately, to keep my temper curbed. We have been dealing with some honest-to-goodness-behavior that I don't know how to handle, so I've been analyzing my own behavior and trying to improve where I know I can. But I'd told Steve all of this, and I swear the devilhisself must have heard the giddiness in my voice. Because within ten minutes, I had noodle water boiling over, two screaming children, streams of crocodile tears, and a couple friends watching the whole debacle from a perch they must have figured was just out of eyesight. But it wasn't. 

So I practiced calm. I hugged the screamers. Dried some of the tears. And tried to listen as I closed the door to any outside ears.

But the tears kept coming. And the behavior kept spiraling. So I suggested we fix the problem - and stepped back outside. 

It turned out to be not such a good idea. But I did it, which meant I completely forgot about the noodles. It also meant we were in more of a public arena when certain pirates realized Steve had walked the friends home without anyone knowing. Which meant the original problem escalated to all new heights. Under normal circumstances it would have been a non-issue, but it wasn't normal. 

I took one angry pirate to fix the issue with the friend, and Steve took another angry pirate who trailed behind. It wasn't pretty, and when we all were back in the kitchen with the boiled over noodles. I lost my cool. 

I hissed. I said how upset I was. I spelled out clearly, what was okay and what was not okay, like a fire breathing dragon.

And within minutes I completely regretted it. 

Quite honestly, the screaming pirate display we'd given the neighborhood, paled in comparison to how frustrated I felt with myself. I'd been baby steps from being grump free for a whole day. I'd sidestepped almost all the toddler grenades! I'd creatively moved through so many situations... and then lost it at the very end. 

I emptied the noodles into a strainer. I poured them into the soup. I served up six bowls. I picked up a screaming toddler and put her on my lap. And when everything calmed down... I apologized.  

Luckily, my pirates are amazing, and the apology opened up a dialogue. We talked about things we normally have no reason to mention. It was honest, open, and by the end of dinner we were laughing. I hope I was able to smooth hurt feelings, and I hope at the very least I provided (yet) another example of what to do after you lose your temper. I was soooo close to making it the whole day.

Baby steps. 


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