Nine Minutes and Spoiled Yogurt

I came across this a few months ago and committed it to our day plan almost immediately. Especially the last point…where we were failing miserably! Only I had never realized exactly why.

I do treat my kids differently in matters of physical touch. I have one who has *never* wanted affection that way from her parents past the basic hug or hand holding. Even from the time she was little. And, I have one who would ride on my shoulder all day or live under my shirt like a baby owl if I let her. So with some compromise, we navigate everyone’s needs where touch is concerned.

As for the second…I had to think about it. I mean, I really had to think about it and whether or not any of us actually commit to this. For the reasons it intends. My girls both love to scream at me through walls, from behind doors, from high on the stairs, through floors of the house…you name it. Because they know I can’t hear them. But they also know I am damn sure they *are* yelling at me. Lucky for them, a lot gets dismissed under these circumstances.

There are communication challenges in the house. It’s easiest, and clearest to be face to face to discuss anything. I have to read them in addition to other ways we communicate. We have it worked out. I feel like they have to have my full attention and that, in this, we were doing good. But I started to look at the other side of it. Yes, I was understanding them. Recieving their information. But I realized that my oldest, with all her transition-to-adulthood issues…was getting way more connection in these times where I was not distracted. Where I didn’t allow myself to be busy otherwise. I put more weight on giving this to her than I did with her little sister. Was that making her feel less important. Does she feel I don’t validate her the way I do her older sister. Were there times she hollered about things that weren’t really *things* just to be heard in that same way.

As is typical, the little one is prone to outbursts. She’s more prone to exaggerate an issue. She’s more apt to cry and show frustration than her level headed teenage sister. When our kids ways become typical, we begin to cater to what we feel we can’t change. We revert to damage control so we can all get by and end our days on a peaceful note. Putting out fires and managing situations to survive. It doesn’t take long for things to become routine or habit. So I started to wonder…if I took more time on the root of more of these fires, maybe I wouldn’t need to do all the “managing”. Seems intuitive, right. Well, not so much when a 7 year old is lecturing you about letting yogurt expire in the fridge making the execution of smoothies an impossibility. The last thing I want to do is sit down with her and hash out the meaning of life.

In these times, I may not be able to placate her anger about lack of smoothies, or figure out the root of her frustration is really getting yelled at by Fiona for talking in line then Fiona refusing to be quiet in line the next day when she was asked more than once by her friends. I can’t fix Fiona or the smoothies, but we started small. Making sure I was listening, undivided, to all the ‘little’ things. The news. The funny stories. The 2nd grade drama. The upsets. We started there, with my attention only on her, not being rushed or dismissive unintentionally. Truly listening. Which is how I found out about Fiona later that night as we were still not having smoothies.

But the last point. That Number Three gave me extreme pause. I’ll make it quick cause this has gone longer than I intended. This is where I’ve devoted most of my time to improvement of our days. And where it’s absolutely had the most impact. Those simple three minute sets. How often and how easy it was for a child waking up crabby to set the morning into an absolute tailspin. How many times we all went to bed on a negative vibe after having a stressful night or an all out shitstorm. What was that doing to our days, and our nights!? My answer is that I saw our cycles becoming unhealthy. Day to night. Carrying over, and then over again. And I started to feel like most of it was preventable. After giving this theory of these three minute sets a lot of thought, it made nothing but complete sense. How obvious it seemed, our need for our mornings and nights to be peaceful. And how obvious it was that those are the times we are at our most raw nerves. And that those times require the most care and tenderness. The most give. Not the least.

With the train wreckage decreasing steadily, I still get a lot of attitude in the morning. I still get a lot of attitude in the evenings. Lots of screaming through walls, letting food expire and not hugging my teenager too tight. But, we’re working through it in phases. Finding out what works best for us and what we need to change. What has been hurting us and what can help us heal. It is a slow but sure process of baby steps. And learning to kiss a whole lot of ass with a fantastic attitude first thing in the morning and at last thing at night!


28 thoughts on “Nine Minutes and Spoiled Yogurt

  1. I really like this – I am not really touchy, and like you, a couple of mine have limits on being touched. But I really like the nine minutes part and would like to make that more of my routine. With your thought in mind 🙂 “learning to kiss a whole lot of ass with a fantastic attitude first thing in the morning and at last thing at night!”

    1. It made me reconsider the little touch too, even when massive OR nonexistent hugs are concerned!

      Lolol! It has helped SO much! Plus, it confuses the hell out of them when they throw attitude obstacles at me and I duck 😂 They’re so stunned that they stop trying it.

      1. I’m still on! And dodging those bullets too. I got yelled at this morning and still was able to sing back “I still love you!” with smile – wasn’t easy but I’m getting it! I am hoping it stuns them too so they (she) stops – fingers crossed 🙂

  2. I’m right with you Sam. My oldest was born when I was 21. I had mny more over the shoulder (shouting matches) conversations with him than with my youngest who was born when I was thirty. Somewhere between #1 and #4 I came to understand that young does not mean lack of reasoning ability. Everything did not have to be a tug of war. As a Mom I always woke my boys up as gently as possible with arub, kiss on the head or hug and the night always included a songor story or back rub. I was raised with physical touch and wanted them to have it too. I miss that more than anything now that they are all gone from the house. Now and then one of them will ask for a back rub. Sadly, they were mostly latchkey kids after school due to me working but I tried to call when I knew they would be home or leave a note. And they all had one another. We do the best we can….

    1. So true 😣 We do the best with what we know and can do! Learning to pick battles is definitely a process that comes with age. Mine! I always thought I was supposed to be laying down the hammer when my oldest was young because thats what was modeled to me. The reality was that was not my personality or parenting style and times had changed. I dont think my dad ever put his pride aside when it came to us but, honestly it diffuses so much of their frustration and keeps a lot those snowballs from gathering! Concentrating on those mornings and bedtimes again like when they were little has made so much difference.

      1. The fact that you care enough to seek the best ways to parent put you ahead of the crowd Sam. Keep up the good work!

  3. Awesome. 😉

    My teenager refuses body contact. He just turned 14. But that eye to eye contact during a short but important conversation will get me a tiny wave as he walks out the door off to school. I’ll take it! 💕

    1. It really helps the connection and bond with the tricky teens! 😣

    2. I have a teen like that too – after the age of 14 (he’s 17 now) he has been really uncomfortable with hugs and tough. He is a lot taller than me now and I still ask for hugs but they are brief and unsatisfying. I still think it’s important to reach out and connect through touch, and I was not raised with any, so it feels even more important somehow.

      1. There wasn’t much touch in my childhood either. Funny bec my 11yo loves hugs more than anything. Maybe a girl thing? I’m not a touchy feely person but I am with her. 😊

        1. My other son (like chalk and cheese with his brother) is like that too. Thankfully I have still have one child who likes touch and reassurance through physical connection!

  4. Parenting is such a minefield to navigate at times. My oldest was virtually glued to me as a younglin, esp when sick. The other hates being touched,even as a toddler, esp when sick! Now THAT right there is so challenging when all you want to do is comfort them. Even now, as a grown up, he hates hugs.

    1. I’d never heard too many other toddlers who didn’t want touch! I always thought the worst when she would get hurt and run away from me! Not let me help at all in any way, it was so upsetting so it helps to hear that it happens in other families too!

  5. I really love this! So many ways I can improve on this myself. I know, from experience, how the first 3 of the day make ALL THE DAMN DIFFERENCE. I need to work on the others.

    I loved the expired yogurt part too. 🤣🤣

    1. Thank you so much 🤗 I realized with this how impatient and selfish I was at times in the morning and night. Like ‘i just want to go to sleep’ or ‘i don’t want to get up either, get moving’ in my head. Changing it really has made a huge difference!

      I know, I was like are you really lecturing me about why I, A. Let yogurt expire, and B. Why did I leave it in the fridge!!

  6. Like this very much, but couldn’t help thinking that the same applies too grown ups, we still need that kind of attention too… Sx 🙂

    1. Agreed! It makes perfect sense to give our kids exactly what we would need in these times!

  7. When I dropped boys to their dads tonight, I got four hugs. One front seat to front seat… a half hug. One from the back of the mini van… him crunched up and me twisting back. The other two one after the other at my drivers door.
    They are 18,16, 13, and 13 now and sometimes while I don’t know what I did right and how… I figure one thing for sure. I am one lucky mamma!

    1. Awe, that’s a lot of teenagers! 😣😣😣 I can barely handle the one! GG is growing into more of a sense of humor about hugs and stuff. Just so I don’t take things too seriously I guess 😂😂😂 But, I’ll take it!

      1. I think girls would get more awkward than boys. Maybe…
        and yes, every step of the way it has been a lot of something. A lot of toddlers and littles under 5 was the hardest. But I have seen signs and started to glimpse the pay back of four young men always there for me as I get older. That is such an amazing circle back. You will be amazed when you start to see that. Makes all of the love and hard work worthwhile.

        1. My 17 year old and I have a very mended relationship after some awfully rocky years. I let her down in many ways but I feel like this last year was a turning point in her being able to see adult struggle with flawed execution for what it was which is human. And I, hers. And it has been great 😢 Made me look at so much quite differently.

          1. I do believe our humanity is a great gift to show our kids. Being perfect sets a pretty high bar that cannot be great. Who would have thought the aim was not perfection?

            1. I knoow! With all my mistakes I’ve seen them be way less anxious about theirs.

  8. My daughters are now 40 and 42. (Gulp!) I can tell you we had some rocky times, but now I am being rewarded in the knowledge that they indeed remember those three minute segments. They even feel badly for thier friends who never had those moments. Great job Sam.

    1. Them being aware what they had truly is a reward! Sometimes I’d like to rush ahead to those moments in times I wonder what mine will even remember about growing up. I have to have faith that it’s all in there somewhere!

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