|This pic was taken in the summer.|
If the skies are blue and it’s not snowing it means I can go on a short bicycle ride with my two adventurers to our local grocery store. As we finished our shopping and began walking towards the exit to leave both children ages 4 and 19 months decided to have a meltdown at the same time for different reasons. There seems to be some kind of pattern or equation… shopping for over 1 hour = a meltdown as we are trying to leave the store.
As I was attempting to strap them into the bike trailer, both crying, both not wanting to leave, I just started to laugh. Laughing during this moment not only released tension, but it also allowed me sing out in my best Spanish accent, “Esta bien ninos”. During this moment I was able to step away from the emotional chaos and see this scene like the spectators who were giving me both pity looks and encouraging smiles. The 4-year-old was melting down because he found a $1 bill in my wallet and wanted to play the crane game because he saw the blinking $1 bill insert. The 19-month-old didn't want her jacket on and was trying with all her might to escape her jacket and the harness strap of the bike trailer becoming quite the contortionist.
During this approximate 5-10 minutes meltdown scene (time sort of just warps) I was able to keep my cool and laugh instead of scold. Since I was looking onto this scene as a spectator instead of the Mom, I realized how frustrating it would be for each of them to not be able to have what they wanted in that moment. A 19-month-old could care less if her jacket is on as she rides home in the bike trailer. A four-year-old doesn’t understand that his Mom is on a budget and can’t afford a crane game for $1 dollar, or the heartache she is saving him from once the prize is not won.
I wish I could say that I am always able to laugh during simultaneous meltdowns and see my children as individuals trying to understand the rules of their world. But the truth is I may scold, or become impatient, or have a really bad “Mama Meltdown”. However, if I can remember to laugh and try to act silly before getting tangled into the emotional chaos of the moment, the meltdowns seem to resolve smoother and we may all even have a smile on our face when it's over.