She had just bit me.
And screamed at me.
And did that thing where she makes an angry face and blocks me as I’m walking with every step I take.
The last thing I wanted to do was hug her.
But here I am, on the bathroom floor, engulfed in her embrace, her love, and the grace she was offering up to both herself and I at this moment.
You see, I’m not innocent in all this.
I had been distracted by a last-minute project.
I was half-ignoring her.
I had just returned from a weekend getaway without her, and here I was, not even home for two full hours, and my actions were shouting to her, ‘I don’t have time for you and this toddler nonsense.’
She whined. I yelled.
She took. I grabbed back.
She screamed. I screamed louder.
She wanted to be in control. So did I.
And so she lost it on me, and she bit me; not hard, but I sure overdramatized it to make a point.
I placed her in timeout and ventured a bit away from her to have my own.
It only took a few seconds, and I came to my senses.
Her behavior this afternoon was an age-appropriate semi-involuntarily, unthought-out, reactionary response to a newly-home mama who wasn’t giving her deserved attention or the gift of her time.
And, so, I grabbed a piece of humble pie from the kitchen and swallowed my pride on the way to her.
‘Do you need a hug?,’ I asked her. I sure did.
She obliged, and I hugged her tight.
And then tighter.
You see, when our little humans act up or out, they don’t need you to shame them, your judgment, a punishment, or an ineffective timeout.
What they need is you and your presence, your awareness, acceptance from you, understanding, your empathy, a plethora of grace, and a hug.
Not like that, but tighter.
A little bit tighter.
Yep — just like that.
Good job, mama.
Growing up is hard, and you’re both doing a really good job.”