Monday, January 10, 2011

talking things out

Today, I picked up Luca from school during the lunch break. We were ready to sign him out and I asked him to wait our turn and, seemingly out of nowhere, he sat down on the floor and started bawling.

After a brief attempt to calm him down, ask him about what was wrong, and trying to soothe him, all without success, I announced to him that mommy wasn't going to respond to him until he calmed down and was ready to talk nicely.

The 15 minute drive from the school to our house seemed like an hour. He cried and complained the entire ride home. I turned up the radio and literally tuned him out. Not one word came out of my mouth. It was my way of letting him know that it was not OK to be like this with mommy.

Afterwards, I called my husband on the way back to the office and he told me about a show he'd just listened to. Researcher and child development specialist Betty Hart talks about her years-long study. Talking to children, especially before the age of 4, has an invaluable impact on their verbal skills and emotional development. Other studies show that verbal skills and emotional development are linked to later success in life...

I sat there back at the office feeling the pangs of mother's guilt. It's not like I didn't know better, or like I've never read those studies. I left my task list intact for the remainder of the afternoon and sat there thinking "I should have talked it out with him. Not engaged in the conflict, just talked him down, talked through the crying. Even if he didn't stop, he would have absorbed what I was saying. Maybe next time it would help him cry less...." I did pull myself together and saw things with perspective after a little bit. After all, most of my time with Luca is spent talking with him.

I got home after the office and found his feelings were a little hurt. We talked about it and made up. And then we talked some more about his day, and ended the evening ready a book in bed. It was lovely.


  1. good post. I am also a working mom. Glad to have found you!

  2. Hi Coolkids: Thanks for the feedback. It's good to connect with other working moms!

  3. Some reason while reading your post it just hit me how hard motherhood must be. Good thing your son is adorable!

  4. great post! It is wonderful that you realized what was going on and that you were willing to change your behavior! Being willing to learn and be taught is an absolutely essential trait to have!!!!!

  5. oh...and P.S...Thanks for stopping by and making my SITS day a wonderful one! I can't wait to meet my Compassion child...I liked your post so much I totally forgot to thank you!

  6. awwww poor Luca and poor you. Just one of those kind of days. Glad it ended up all right!

  7. Stopping by from SITS-
    I read through some other posts, but thought I would comment on this one, seeing as how I feel like I go through similar situations with my 2 year old. I don't know about your son, but mine is a high maintenance kind of kid, and he gets worked up so easily. Sometimes I would love to tune him out because even when I engage or try to talk him down he will still stay upset for long periods of time. He's only two so I don't even want to imagine what it will be like when he's older. (Insert heavy Sigh here :) ) I found what really works to get him to calm down is to get down to his eye level, and speak really calmly and tell him things like "You need to calm down, mommy is trying to talk to you, and when you're ready to listen/talk to mommy then you need to stop crying and talk to me, not yell." Most of the time it works to get him to calm down, but the times it doesn't...oye. Anyway, thanks for sharing over at SITS. Feel free to check out my blog if you have time.