Arrested

Had an arresting mini freak out yesterday about the Very Exciting Thing I’m working on this week.

The monsters and fairies were having it out:

No you can’t.

Yes you can.

No you can’t.

Yes you can.

They weren’t being very sophisticated about it all.

R (who I call My Bubby … like on the show Weeds… except Bubby was the hateful grandmother who Nancy suffocated with a pillow. Anyway…) came in and I took the Giant Leap of Faith of letting my Monster tell him how we were feeling.

Being a boy and all, sometimes he just wants to fix things instead of let them be. Hard, sad, uncomfortable, whatever.

zzzzib zib zzziizzzibbb <sound of rewind travel time machine to the day before yesterday>

The day before yesterday I was reading aloud to My Bubby from my new favorite book, How to talk so kids will listen & listen so kids will talk, (recommended by the fabulous Havi).

This is a book about communicating with anyone who has a heart and monsters.

It’s about listening in all its simple wonder. It’s the Yoga of listening.

I’m only on Chapter 2 and I’ve learned so much.

So I was reading to him in bite-sized pieces. Small enough that he wouldn’t be overwhelmed, big enough that he could get a taste. Like slathering broccoli with cheese whiz.

One of the deceptively simple themes of the book is accepting child’s/person’s feelings:

  • Listen quietly and attentively
  • Acknowledge a feeling with a word—mmmm, oh, I see
  • Give the feeling a name—that sounds frustrating!
  • Give the child’s wishes in fantasy—I wish I had a wand that could make that banana ripe for you right now!

This book has great examples of how we don’t do this; how we deny a person’s feelings, which can leave them confused, even enraged. It also teaches kids not to know what their feelings are, not to trust them.

An example:

Your kid gets weekly allergy shots. You know these shots are uncomfortable but sting for only a minute. After leaving the office today, the child is complaining incessantly.

Denying the child’s feelings:

  • Come on, be a big boy. It can’t hurt that much.
  • You’re making a big fuss over just a little shot.
  • Your brother never complains when he has a shot.
  • Well, you’d better get used to them, you have to have them every week.

Versus listening and accepting (referred to as “giving a name to the feeling”)

  • Sounds as if it really hurts.
  • Must have been painful.
  • Mmmm, that bad!
  • It’s not easy to get those shots week after week. I bet you’ll be glad when they’re over.

The authors concede that most of us grew up having our feelings denied. There’s no reason to be so upset.

***

Bubby was making slow, carefully planned movements toward the door, almost like a hostage whose guard had fallen asleep. I was sure he hadn’t heard a thing.

zzzzzum zum zum zum <fast forward back to yesterday>

Mini freak out. Tears. Monsters running amok.

Bubby opens his mouth but no sound comes out. He points at the book on the bed.

What that said.

Huh?

I can’t remember what the right thing is because what I want to say is, “That’s ridiculous, you’re great.”

Oh my God, he was listening. Sort of.

I can’t remember what to say, but I want you to know that I believe in you.

And there I was, arrested all over again.

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9 Responses to “Arrested”


  1. 1 Havi Brooks (and duck) February 9, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    awwwwwwwwwww. This made me cry. So so so sweet.

    I believe in you too. I love you and your fairies and your monsters and everything about you.

  2. 3 blogasana February 10, 2010 at 5:18 am

    @havi – ohooooo, my wings are a-fluttering. thank you thank you… so much to thank you for. hug from here to where ever you are.

    @tami – i know, huh?

  3. 4 elizabeth February 10, 2010 at 7:48 am

    Oh, this made me cry. It was just so very sweet. And I believe in you too. (So yes, what Havi said. :)

  4. 5 Andrew Lightheart @alightheart February 11, 2010 at 4:19 am

    Wow. Someone else I want to keep reading.

    Aiyah.

    Thanks – sending, you know, stuff. Good stuff.

    • 6 blogasana February 12, 2010 at 1:14 am

      Andrew!
      Hi. And thanks!
      I love your ‘be less certain’ and ‘half thought throughs’. Looking forward to continued sharing.
      Sending good stuff back.

  5. 7 Luke February 15, 2010 at 6:24 am

    Wow – that’s so great.

  6. 8 Silverlight July 1, 2010 at 9:47 am

    Wow.
    We should all have someone in our lives who listens to the important bits, even if they forget everything else.

    Thank you for sharing this.

  7. 9 www.simpletaxindia.net April 23, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    I have to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this site.
    I am hoping to check out the same high-grade content from you in the future as well.

    In fact, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my very own blog now ;)


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