Possibly one of the best things about our children is their innocence. They're both growing and learning so fast, and they just seem to soak up everything we teach them. Not only that, they seem to pick stuff up along the way that we don't teach them, and I'm not talking bad things either.
Breakdowns, meltdowns or whatever you want to call them, are not specific to young children. Being an adult does not make you less susceptible to such breakdowns. Call it a bad day, but I fell victim to one of these breakdowns yesterday, and in retrospect, I feel badly on how I handled it.
The kids look up to us adults as parents, role models, and guides. They look to us for understanding, strength, and overall comfort. When they have their so-called "meltdowns," they look to us for help to get through them. We are supposed to provide them the knowledge and understanding as to why something is happening, and how best to get over it. Whether it be a solid one to one talk, or even parental disciplinary actions, our children depend on us to help them get through these confusing times. Once all the dust settles and the emotions are back in check, the kids go about their merry way almost as if they've forgotten that they just had a tantrum a few minutes prior.
When one of us adults has an off day, it really shows, even to the untrained eye of the kids. Yesterday was my day, and I don't know how the kids got the best of me, but they did, and to make things worse, I let them get to me. I forgot that I'm the one that has the ability to rationalize and to sort through my thoughts before blowing up. I let the kids and their fussiness break me down, and I don't know why.
The beauty of the whole mess was that my kids were there for me. As I tried to get through my episode, I got quiet, and in doing so, it triggered something in Makenna. She followed me around the house and hugged me, and all along she kept asking me "okay dada?" as if she knew something wasn't right. Isaiah was also quick to follow his big sister and would keep calling out "dada?" as I struggled to get their dinner ready for them. But even their innocence wasn't enough to snap me out of my funk. Makenna noticed that I wasn't looking her in the eye when responding to her and she persisted by saying "sorry dada." It's almost as if she thought that I was angry with her and by apologizing to me, it would make the tension go away. Man, I look back and I realize that I was a jerk to my kids last night, plain and simple.
I don't want to be that kind of parent who takes his frustrations out on his kids. I mean sure, they can have their bad days and do things that can really work my last nerve. But sometimes I fail to realize that they're just babies, and in order for them to learn what's right, they also have to learn what's wrong. As an adult, I've had the experience of going through that learning process, so I have the advantage over these kids. In fact, being an adult doesn't mean you have all the answers. We're constantly in a state of learning, from the day we're born to the day we pass, so it's safe to say that, as a family, we're all learning together.
At the end of the night, after Enz put both kids down, I went in to see them right before they fell asleep. I apologized to both of them for "acting up." Isaiah responded with a big smile through his pacifier, and Makenna gave me a big hug and said "sorry dada, I love you, see you later!" After that it hit me, life is way too short to let the little things bring you down.
Sorry kids, for letting you down, I'll try harder next time. Thank you for being there for your Daddy!