Practice staying calm under pressure, with kids

by Mary Ann on April 8, 2011

sweet child pictures

Sweet Mary

I was sitting at the table watching Mary today. She had a small bowl of popcorn and was happily eating it. Every bite or so she would look up and give me a coy little smile. I would smile back and eat a piece of my popcorn. After a number of bites and coy smiles Mary got up, toddled over to me, and lifted her face for a kiss. I gave her one and she went back to the pop corn, took another bite, gave me that shy, coy smile and I returned it. Then she got up again, came over to me and lifted her face for another kiss. We repeated this a number of times.

What made this peaceful, joyous and gentle moment so remarkable was what had just transpired 20 minutes earlier.

In the kitchen is a large bucket of thick honey. It came from my own bees and has no water in it, so it was very thick and very sticky. I saw that bucket yesterday and thought to myself, “Hmmmm, that lid isn’t on there very tight.” Then like many busy men and women I went on my way and didn’t do anything about it.

Today my grandchildren came to spend the whole day. I was prepared with grandma school and all was going to be great. However, I was running behind and that made us late eating breakfast and getting dressed.

In fact, it was after 11:00 am when I was dressing the last one. Just as I tied the last shoe lace Mary came into the living room

child eating pics

Another “Mary” mess

dripping honey from head to foot! I let out a shriek, grabbed her up and ran for the tub. I put her in clothes and all as I fussed, “Mary, what did you do? Why were you in the kitchen? Just look at this mess!” and other things you would expect me to say.

As I was stripping off her clothes and washing off the VERY thick honey I made myself think about what was happening. I had a real mess in the kitchen I was sure. This was my last set of clothes for Mary. I had just gotten her dressed. She hadn’t been dressed for even 10 minutes. I was feeling pretty angry and it was my fault!!!

I forced myself to calm down and look at Mary. She was quite happy to be dowsed in the water and her knowledge of the big trouble she was in had evaporated in the joy of the water. She is just a baby really, only 16 months old. She is interested in everything and I mean everything. I had neglected to secure the perimeter, so to speak, and now I had a mess.

Even more than that I realized that ruining this precious relationship over her childish need to explore and my neglectful behavior would be a terrible thing to do. So I stopped fussing and I just washed her off; kissed her as I dried her and then steeled myself to face the kitchen. It really was a mess!

A couple of days ago I was talking with a mom about staying calm. She told me that she had decided to practice the skill of staying calm and that it was making a big difference. She said that the more she practices the better she gets at it. Amen to that.

sweet children pictures

Mary and Maggie

Staying calm, not losing your temper, not yelling, being present, seeing a child as a person with needs and not as a problem, these are all practiced behaviors. The more we practice the better we get. That was what I had to do today; practice some more.

I am imperfect in this just like most of you. I felt angry first, I fussed, but then I made myself STOP and make a better choice. I am sharing this story for a number of reasons.

1. The sweetness of family life only comes through to us when we remain as calm, kind and charitable as we can with our children.

2. Children are not small adults and will not think like we do, will not behave like we do and so will end up in potential trouble often as they grow and learn.

3. Living with children is fraught with possible frustration, mess and potential for anger.

4. Damaging a relationship over a mess is never worth it.

5. Maintaining our calm and nurturing relationships takes practice, practice, practice and we won’t be perfect at it.

6. The better we get at maintaining calm in the face of adversity the better we feel about ourselves.

7. As we learn to stay calm at home it will move into other areas of our lives making our lives more joyful and complete.

Here is what we did and learned in our mini-grandma school today with corn projects and ideas that work well in the Spark Station, except the frozen corn : )

1. We watched a video “ corn seeds growing“. We talked about roots and shoots.

2. We looked at pictures of different kinds of corn seeds, and how tall corn plants grow.

corn seeds picture

amazing corn seeds

3. We compared pop corn seeds to regular corn seeds. We ate pop corn and frozen corn. (I know, I know, it sounds yuck but kids like frozen peas and corn. Really!)

4. We made a corn cob of our own. See instructions below.

5. Maggie practiced writing her name and Jacks name on both corn cobs.

6. End by planting a corn seed or other fast growing seed in a cup of potting soil.





corn craft pictures

Corn grows in the spring





What You Need To Make Paper Corn Cob

  • Green Paper
  • Yellow Paper
  • Safety Scissors
  • Popcorn
  • Glue
  • Paper Plates

What To Do

Fill a paper plate with craft glue. Create a template by turning a piece of construction paper on it’s side and tracing one side of a paper plate vertically on the paper. Position the paper plate to form a point at the top of the template and trace the line down the paper. Cut out the corn husk shape with a flat line across the bottom.

Use the template to create green corn husks and yellow pieces of corn. Each child will need two green pieces and one yellow piece.

Have each child glue the green corn husks to the yellow piece of corn on a piece of construction paper. Talk about how dried corn kernels are heated to make popcorn. Have preschoolers dip the popcorn in the glue and place it on the yellow piece of corn. Let children fill the yellow corn with pieces of popcorn.

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