My babies are both crying. One is having a meltdown and one is crying in sympathy and hunger.
It seems trivial to me that coming inside from the deck could cause such a stir but here we are living the disappointment and emotion of it. My natural instinct would be to tell my toddler to calm down and just do as I ask while I go pick up my infant for a calming cuddle.
What I actually do is crouch down and offer my arms to my toddler. My embrace is refused. Okay then. I stay down and empathise, “Yes I know it’s hard to come inside with me when you want to be on the deck. It makes you upset hey”. I look into her eyes and see a little child having a big problem. “I love you bubba”. All attempts at nose wiping would be futile at this point so I stay still and wait. She runs around the kitchen. I wait, while offering words of reassurance. I go back onto the deck and retrieve three toys and deliver them. No? Alright then. After a fair bit of hoo ha, there is an opportunity for connection. I pick up my toddler and give a cuddle. There is a fair bit of wriggling involved, then my darling comes good. The little face is wiped. I put some music on, cuddle and breastfeed my infant. The storm is over and we are back on track. Phew.
If I had gone with my first reaction, I could have ended up rousing on an upset toddler who has to calm down by herself while she watches her mother rock and nurse her sibling. She would receive no understanding for her big feelings or problems. They would essentially be dismissed, even though they are big issues in her world. She would then be taken to play school where she has a big day, most likely without any sleep. She would come home tired, needing connection at a time when infants are renowned for needing a fair amount of mummy time and physical affection. You can picture the rest. Sure, my infant would have had her immediate needs met, but there are two babies in my house.
A soft heart creates a safety net for the people around me, especially the little ones. Being a gentle place to fall, having a ready embrace and offering tenderness is my key to a happy life. Oh, it’s not all beach balls and sunshine all the time at our place, but practice makes perfect. The more moments where we choose a soft heart builds a better way of being. A hard heart makes for a hard life, for everyone.
So this is my commitment to myself. Offer myself a soft heart. Then everyone else in this crazy web of life with me will feel the love and be better off for it.