This is one of the best pieces of advice I can give you as a parent. Sleep training, potty training, discipline, manners, empathy, everything you need to teach your children basically, are so subjective that there is no one way to do them. But this little jewel never fails.
My day today started horribly. I was so tired last night that I fell asleep without turning the monitor handset on. I awoke to my three year old standing next to the bed telling me the toddler was crying. I immediately felt horrible. How long had she been crying? She needed something and I wasn’t there to help her. I got up and brought both kids in to ‘help’ me dress. When I went to get the girls dressed, I noticed that Josie (toddler) had pooped at some point in the night. I immediately panicked. She has super sensitive skin and if she wears a poop filled diaper for too long she gets diaper rash. Sometimes you can’t avoid it no matter how quickly you change her. I scooped her up and opened her diaper. Yep, super red and she was obviously in pain. How long had I laid blissfully asleep while my daughter cried for me and sat in her own poop?! The guilt increased exponentially. I started wiping her, which made her shriek and cry because her bottom was so sore. Swallowing tears myself, I got her clean, apologizing profusely the entire time, and slathered her with diaper ointment.
During this whole diaper thing, Elizabeth (the preschooler) was trying to get dressed but was upset by Josie’s crying. So she started crying. The crying didn’t stop, from either of them, a sign that they were hungry. Hangry really. They cried on the way downstairs. Elizabeth kept asking me for a hug and Josie didn’t want to be set down. I had to make breakfast with two crying children each needing my love but knowing that if I could just get food in their mouths they’d be fine. Elizabeth was “NOT HUNGRY!!” while simultaneously demanding bread and Josie had a sore diaper region and was starving.
It was one of those occasions you either laugh or cry. I tried to laugh, but I hadn’t had breakfast yet either and really needed some coffee.
My husband had taken his car in for maintenance so he took mine to work this morning, which left me no car. I was out of coffee, so I used a delivery service to bring me Starbucks. I know, I know, but I was desperate. They were late. Now my plans of the girls drinking a smoothie for snack and then going for a walk had to wait until they delivered the damn stuff. I tried to cancel it, but couldn’t. I asked for an update and got nothing. During all of this, Josie was crying on and off probably because of the diaper rash and Elizabeth was demanding I play with her or that I hold her. When I did hold her, Josie got jealous and would cry and try to push Elizabeth off. Everything was just going so GREAT.
FINALLY they delivered the goods. I turned on a movie (screen time!!!!!) and they drank their smoothies while I inhaled my coffee. And then, when Josie started crying for no reason, we went for a walk.
There is something about just getting outside that settles everyone, me included. Josie likes to walk now, so she toddled along with us, Elizabeth running ahead and then running back. The sun was shining and the breeze blowing and the crying stopped.
When you just can’t seem to make the day go right and you feel like all you want to do is run away, go for a walk. It will work, I promise. Even if you cry the whole time, the kids will calm down and work out some of their energy. It’s totally worth it.