Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Win-Win with 3 year old M

Today I had let my wife head upstairs for a nap while I was playing with the other kids. I am so thankful when I can enable my wife to slow down and get the rest that she needs. It is a kind of grasping or attachment in Buddhist thinking.
So I was very alarmed when my youngest daughter (3) completed a picture for my wife and wanted to bring it to her.
"M, mommy is sleeping now. Please draw her another picture and we can show them to her when she wakes up"
"No! I want to show her now!"
She ran upstairs and began knocking on my wife's door.
"M, please, we can read this book."
"No! I want momma."
My anger continued to rise with each rapping on the door by M. I contemplated throwing the book that was in my hand, but I tried to connect with my breath and think of a win-win way out of this problem.
I had an idea. My 7 year old daughter L was home and she is good with distractions for M. I went for help. I hustled downstairs and looked around for L. She was not there. I called to her in the basement and all around the house. She did not answer.
This was just perfect. I had one daughter waking up my wife and the other one was lost. My wife was not going to enjoy waking up from this nap and would probably not be taking another one with my in charge.
Then another win-win idea presented itself. Quickly I ran upstairs.
"M, L is lost!" I proclaimed.
M looked skeptical.
"No Daddy, she is just hiding."
"Go see for yourself, I can't find her."
We ran downstairs and looked around. L jumped out at us from under a blanket 30 seconds later. We continued to play hide and seek until Mommy woke up.
The win-win scenarios were not complete for the afternoon, however. M was upstairs trying to hide and was getting angry that I was peeking at her.
"M, lets try the hiding spot that L was using. Let's hide in the bed."
"OK, said M."
We both lied down under the warm sheets in the bed that Mommy had just vacated. M was snoring in less than a minute. The nap that she needed, and would have fought tooth and nail was upon her. And Daddy was only 30 seconds behind:)