Parents and Nannies: Let’s talk about little wins.
About three weeks ago one of my 2-year-old twins started to do something new. And not something cute like counting to ten in a foreign language or singing a new song. No, at bedtime one of the boys began screaming uncontrollably. For 2.5 hours. It was bizarre and totally concerning. It had never happened before. On occasion, he’d cry after we said goodnight for about five minutes and then he’d zonk out…
We tried everything to calm him. Nothing worked. The following night an abbreviated version of this hysterical crying ensued. Nothing as heart-stopping as the first night, but he was quite distraught again and kept his brother up as well. Yet he would wake up cheery and at a normal time each morning. So, not sick. On night three of dealing with (and dreading) our new bedtime routine, I remembered the talk function on the monitor.
Instead of going back into his bedroom and starting the comforting cycle over again, I murmured “shhhhhhhhhhhhhh” through the monitor. Magic! He immediately stopped crying, looked up toward the monitor, and plopped down and was out cold. What mysterious force was at work? My husband and I looked at each other in disbelief. A beautiful fluke, I assumed. No way it would work again. But I “Shhhhshhd” through the monitor the next night. And the night after that, and now—three weeks in—I don’t have to do it every night, but when I do have to, it works. Every. Single. Time. I used to wait five minutes before shhhshing, but now I just get to the bottom of the stairs and grab the monitor. Same result. I better not be jinxing myself here, but I thought I’d share this little win. Try using the talk function on your monitors!
Another sleep-related win happened recently at nap time. Our nap routine has grown and grown and simply cannot grow anymore. But last week our standard final two hugs and kisses were no longer enough. Hysteria. I was not allowed to leave the room, and if I did I would need to come back. Eventually, I decided to say something like, “Ok, I really have to go now—I need to cook your dinner!” A calm swept over the room and my son looked at me and said, “Ok. Go cook pasta.” And that was it. I was released. Now at nap time the magic words are “Go cook pasta.” Sometimes I have to say it, and other times I am commanded to go do it. Either way, it’s the code-cracking phrase. And not particularly surprising, considering one of their favorite activities is eating.
Lastly, did you know that melon is a type of cookie? In my house it is. Just like an oreo is a type of cookie, my two-year-olds now believe melon is a type of cookie. And it’s their favorite kind. This is the little win I am currently most proud of. Before quarantine, my kids had never watched TV or for that matter eaten cookies. Now they watch Sesame Street every morning. Hello, Cookie Monster. Cookie became their favorite word—and most desired food. There’s nothing wrong with eating cookies, but I’m not trying to offer cookies with every meal. Giving melon-cookie equal weight as chocolate chip cookies is working for me. They still love cookies and have them, but are also now just as satisfied with melon being served. I don’t know if @kidseatincolor would approve, or how long this will last, but I am counting it as a W.
I share these examples with you because I think recognizing the little things you’re doing to right the ship and make a chaotic situation calm matters.
When your days seem to slip away, your world feels small, big decisions loom large, and you wonder if you’re doing enough, it helps to think about the little wins.
Be proud of yourself.