“Do you like this wall, Mama? If you take a picture of it, can I knock it down?”
I have made it clear not to knock things down immediately after we finish building them (the better to appreciate our handiwork). Though apparently if I take a picture, that idea is moot. I understand that kids like to build and destroy. If he built it himself, he is more than welcome to smash it to smithereens. I am attempting to teach appreciation of calm moments and self-restraint in the midst of his natural desire to enjoy moments of chaos.
Sometimes I feel that we are making good headway, like the other night when he asked to do some yoga postures with me. He enjoyed child’s pose, and making his body into a crescent moon. Then it was bedtime, and he requested that I sing to him like I did each night until Little Brother came along. For the first several months, my husband took over bedtime with Big Brother while I was on 24/7 baby duty. Now that Little Brother has gotten into a pretty good sleep routine, I am able to do bedtime with my firstborn again most nights.
Other times…we have bad moments. Like when I ask him nicely to finish his lunch and he launches full-throttle into a tantrum. That kind of thing still takes me by surprise sometimes, because he never did anything like it until he was nearly three, when my pregnancy with Little Brother was nearing the end. I think it would have happened around then anyway, the timing has just been bad because we didn’t figure out the best way to cool his tantrums before the baby came, and now there’s another little person in the mix. Parenthood is tricky.
A large part of my desire to create habits of appreciating peace and calm comes from my own difficulty with taming frustration and its associated emotions. I don’t want the boys to have to work as hard as I have to figure out what to do with these feelings, so I am trying to give them good tools now that they can refine as they grow.
In addition to the techniques I’ve been working on personally (in particular, a handy pseudo-acronym I learned during my time working at Kripalu once upon a time, BRFWA: breathe, relax, feel, watch, allow), I have begun using my beloved Young Living essential oils to keep my emotions balanced. Here are just a few I’ve been enjoying lately (please keep in mind, this is my personal experience and I’m not a doctor so do your own research if you want to use essential oils to support yourself in any way): Stress Away, which contains Copaiba, Lime, Cedarwood, Vanilla, Ocotea, and Lavender. Release (Ylang Ylang, Olive Oil, Geranium, Lavandin, Royal Hawaiian Sandalwood, Grapefruit, Tangerine, Spearmint, Lemon, Blue Cypress, Davana, Kaffir Lime, Ocotea, Jasmine, Matricaria, Blue Tansy, Rose), which I love to pair with Surrender (Lavender, Roman Chamomile, German Chamomile, Angelica, Mountain Savory, Lemon, Spruce). Joy, which contains Bergamot, Ylang Ylang, Geranium, Lemon, Coriander, Tangerine, Jasmine, Roman Chamomile, Palmarosa, and Rose.
I have been applying those and some others to my body, but I also love to blend oils in my diffuser! A great blend I just started diffusing is three drops of Bergamot with two drops each of Lavender and Clary Sage. It’s wonderful. [I didn’t make that blend up, a friend of mine told me to try it.] During the evenings, we apply Tranquil, and I like to diffuse Lavender with Cedarwood in Big Brother’s room, and Peace & Calming or Gentle Baby where Little Brother sleeps. Diffusing essential oils is such a pleasant way to enjoy them, and it’s very beneficial. I’ll cover that in more depth next post!