You gave me a scare.
About two weeks ago on a Saturday morning, we were all trying to get out the door to the farmer's market. You were pestering your brother and taking away any toy he tried to play with. Not very nice. I asked you to stop and find another activity while your Mom and I finished getting ready. A minute later, I heard yet another cry from Matteo and found you trying to pull a toy mop out of his hands. I picked you up and carried you to your bedroom to take a break.
You cried. I shut the door. You cried louder to surpass the volume of whatever the door muffled.
Your Mom and I noticed you continued to cry really loud. I walked in your room to check on you, and you cradled your arm like a broken little wing. You said it hurt between sobs. I replayed in my mind how I picked you up. I definitely grabbed your forearms to pull you away from the mop. Was I too strong? Why would you be holding your wrist? Your insistence and hysterics convinced me you were hurt despite my logic to explain how it happened.
I picked you up and hushed you for a few minutes. You calmed down only slightly. You still insisted your arm hurt and reacted strongly to the touch. Your Mom and I discussed if we should go to the doctor. I was getting upset myself to think that I could have accidentally hurt your arm. We finally managed to get you in the car -- unsure if we were going to the doctor or farmer's market -- when your Mom had a brilliant idea: Let's get a balloon.
The art of early parenting is distraction.
You can read books on books about how to deal with toddlers and the Terrible Twos, but it all comes down to constant entertainment and distractions when behavior goes sideways. You fancy balloons the way older women fancy fine wine, so getting a balloon is a real treat and ideally paid for by someone else.
We drove to Safeway. You went with your Mom into the store while Matteo and I waited in the car. The event was like an extreme makeover. You went into the store looking like the after effects of a tantrum. You came out with the look of a champion. Because you had won.
I gently lifted you into your car seat. You said your arm was feeling a lot better and even flexed it and swung it around to prove it had miraculously, instantly healed. Immaculate restoration! We went on to the farmer's market where you proudly walked your balloon down the row of vendors.
Now only one of us was hurt. I felt sore in my chest from the anxiety and the thought of hurting you physically. I stayed in the car while you were in the store to let those emotions run out of my eyeballs for a minute. I also laughed. This has happened before when your Mom leaves us all at home to run an errand. You will stand and cry for an hour (because I fail to distract you). In this case, I pissed you off when I punished you for taking toys from your brother. In return, you somewhat diabolically chose to carpe diem.
The whole event was a good lesson for me. I was reminded to be careful and gentle with you kids to avoid a real accident. But also that you've got these complex emotions like jealousy and anger that you can play out to cause strong reactions.
When you're old enough, we're sending you to theater camp to set ourselves up to cash out. You also have the inherit talent to win Best Actress in a Drama. Promise to reference this episode in your acceptance speech.