This morning, as I took a break from work to grab an apple, I noticed you were doing artwork with Mama Franny. Your mom had run some errands, and without throwing her under the bus too much, she was pleased, and probably excited, to run errands without your dragging her down. Okay, that may be a bit harsh. Dragging her down is really not right. In the best of times, and given as deeply as your mother loves you, there are still moments when your mom wants…needs…begs to do anything by herself. It is not a slam against you; rather, look at it as an energy boost for your mother, like Popeye eating his spinach, or to equate it to something more in your time, like Pikachu getting a boost of electricity from her light ball.
Today was one of those days for your mother. She had built-in Lilo sitters, so she took a moment to run some errands. While your mother was away, you were creating art with Mama. At some point during the process, Mama Franny got up from the art table to use the bathroom and told you she would be right back. You turned to me and Mimi Cha Cha, who were both in the kitchen, and told us that Mama Franny would be right back. You waited patiently, and sure enough, in a few minutes, Mama Franny opened the door to her bedroom and walked out into the living room. Seeing her, you immediately smacked your hand on one of the chairs at the table and screamed, “Mama Franny, sit right here!”
When Mama didn’t pick up here pace, you repeated your demands. Now, Mimi and I try not to get too involved in discipline or corrective actions as your mom and dad do a tremendous job; however, given that neither of them was around, and you happen to be going through a phase where you can be very demanding and cranky when you don’t get your way, I felt it was appropriate to step in. I said very calmly, although Mimi would later say it was pretty authoritative for me, “Lilo, you have to be nice to Mama Franny. Ask her nicely to sit in the chair and work with you.”
After I asked you to be nice to Mama, you turned your back to all of us and stared down at the table; then, without saying a word, you walked slowly, head still down and shoulders drooped, all the way back to your bedroom. You shut the door behind you. Mama Franny started to walk to your room, but Mimi asked her not to. We knew your mother had Lilo-proofed the room, so we wanted to see what you would do next. How long you might stay in the room? I went back into my office to work. When I came out at the end of the day, a few hours after the incident, you were as happy and active as usual. I asked Mimi how long you stayed in the room, and she told me it was about 10 minutes. When your mother got home, we asked her about it, and she stated that she and your father sometimes send you to your room when they figure you need some time to chill and reflect. Maybe you’re being mean or throwing a tantrum, so they will tell you to go to your room. Without either of your parents present this morning to send you to your room, you sent yourself.
I reflected on that later that evening. How mature, I thought, for a two-year-old to send herself to her room when she’s a bit ill-tempered, hang for about 10 minutes, and then come out again, happy and ready for the next adventure. It was your version of meditation, and you don’t even know what that is yet. More of us need to mediate in this manner. Most two-year-olds, and many older than two, occasionally act aggressively and inappropriately. Two-year-olds get a pass because they’re two; adults shouldn’t get a pass because we know better. At any rate, hardly any two-year-olds and, again, probably most adults don’t know when to self-meditate (careful with the word choice there; I said meditate, not medicate, which is probably a topic for another letter). We should all know when to chill, reflect, and take time to regroup and get our act together. It was the perfect solution. Of course, being two years old, it won’t be long before you lash out again. It may be when you’re done with dinner and want down from the table before your parents are ready or when it’s time for bed, although you usually like that, especially when there is a bottle of milk involved, but whatever the case, those will be typical two-year-old behaviors and although a bit rough to go through as parents, grandparents, and great grandparents, it’s normal, expected, and in your case, short-lived. What isn’t so typical is the self-meditation as an attitude adjustment that I witnessed today. Well done.