One of those days... (and a surprise ending)

Here's how it went yesterday at my house...

1. Awesome morning, boys playing beautifully together and letting me sleep(!) waking me only to show me the matching Halloween costumes they got with their dad yesterday. I get out of bed, move toward the kitchen... small skirmishes and nudging begin between them...

2. Isaac immediately decides what he wants to eat and sits down at the table. Gabriel drags his feet, starts complaining and antagonizing his brother (who's eating). I request respectful communication, Gabriel's antagonizing escalates (ever have this experience?)

3. Isaac reacts to Gabriel, full-on warfare ensues. I mediate, and so become the focus of Gabriel's anger. He completely melts-down, lashing out at me. I cradle him to calm his body. Through a combination of calmly repeating my intention and inviting him to take some space, things de-esalate

4. I begin my yoga practice, putting on a meditation I know will help maintain a calm atmosphere. Both boys are drawn to my studio and sit quietly as I do my practice. We connect after I'm done, reading from my collection of mindfulness books for kids, and exploring my new goddess tarot.

5. Isaac discovers a Lego toy that Gabriel broke during his tantrum, Gabriel offers to fix it. Just as he's finishing, they get into an argument. Full-on warfare again, Gabriel lashing out. Isaac leaves the room, I go in to help Gabriel calm his body. He lashes out at me, I envelop him with my arms, he accuses me of attacking him but pushes his body into me...

At this point, I am divinely guided. Without thinking about what I'm going to do, I say "you know, Gabriel, you can snuggle with me any time." His body stills, he snuggles closer, murmuring "no I can't". So, we talk about that. I tell him that research shows we need at least 12 hugs every day, and I don't think we've been getting that. He adjusts his body to a monkey hug, arms and legs wrapped around me. We talk more, make a plan for snuggling every morning before he gets out of bed (mornings are notoriously challenging for him.) We agree that he'll try to remember to call 'snuggle' when he starts to feel angry, upset, frustrated... and I'll come find him, wherever he is. We agree to spontaneously hug and snuggle more during the day, every day.

We talk about a friend of his, a boy a few years older, who is constantly giving and receiving hugs. I'm so grateful for this role model in his life. I realize how much of his acting-out may be related to feeling disconnected... his brother is naturally more snuggly and seeks out touch throughout the day. But Gabriel is different, and I now realize how much he still needs it, even though he doesn't ask.

We spend the next hour snuggling, talking, and he ends up napping (tantrums take a lot of energy!)

~ I am so so grateful for this day, this awareness, this opportunity to connect with him. I am so grateful that my practice allowed that moment of divine guidance to come through and show me what he really needed ~

I am so grateful to be able to share this with you.