Monday, December 21, 2009

Starting Over Again

My children love to stand over the furnace register on cold, winter mornings.  They crawl out of bed and head immediately to the inviting warmth of the side room register.  Often they wrap blankets around their necks and the forced air inflates the blankets into large cones.  The register always brightens their mood, brings them comfort, and puts a smile on their face.

This morning my 3-yr.-old daughter, Rose, woke up in a bright and lovely mood.   As I sat at the table reading, she came in and gave me one of her million dollar smiles.  After talking for a few moments about last night's dreams she went to sit on the couch with her 5-yr.-old brother Nathanael, who was reading a book.  I had no clue of the disaster that was about to suddenly strike our household.  Within seconds Rose was hyperventilating with dramatic tears.  She claimed that Nathanael had scratched her foot and wouldn't leave her alone (not unusual).  Nothing I did or said improved the situation, and she remained adamantly inconsolable (also not unusual).

Several minutes later I called the kids in for breakfast.  Rose sat on the couch and refused to come in and eat.  I looked at her and said, "Sweetheart.  Please come sit down with your brother and sister for breakfast."  "But my foot hurts!  Nathan scratched me!" she insisted.

I knew arguing with her when she was upset like this was fruitless.  So I suggested something I knew would make her feel better.  "Why don't you go stand on the register.  It's on right now."

"No!!!  I don't want to!"  She wailed.

"Are you sure?" I asked.  "If you stand on the register, I think it will make you feel better.  You'll see things a little differently if you do."

"No!!!  It's not even working!" she cried.

I glanced over toward the register.   The fronds of our spider plant above the register blew back and forth, clearly indicating the furnace had kicked on.  In the background I could hear the soft hum of the air blowing through the ducts.

"Rose, this will help you feel better," I said.  "Lift your arms."  I gently picked her and set her down on the register.  "No!  It's not working!  It's not working!" she yelled as the air from the register blew her hair up over her ears.  She was so angry at her brother that she refused to be comforted by the warmth of the furnace.  At that moment it didn't even exist.  Tears streamed down her face and spittle hung from the corner of her mouth. I bit my lip to keep from laughing.

After several seconds I said, "Okay.  Why don't we start over.  Do you think we could do that?"  Rose hesitated a moment and after a bit more encouraging headed back upstairs to her room. Sometimes when a day begins like this one did, the kids go back to bed and we start the day all over again.  Five minutes later I walked upstairs and went into her room.  "Good morning sweetheart!  Did you sleep okay?  How about some breakfast?"  The tears and the anger disappeared, and Rose soon sat at the table to eat her Honeycomb.  The sad, grumpy little Rose disappeared as well and a new Rose took her place.

Thank God we can start over.

More later. . .

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