"Oh, Grow Up!", exclaimed the frustrated mom to her two year old in Macy's department store last Tuesday. Clearly mom was at the end of her rope and I have to admit that her kid was behaving poorly. By 'behaving poorly' I mean that he was screaming at the top of his lungs for reasons unknown to me.
As a mom of 3, I remember what it's like to have your child melt down right in the middle of a department store and I truly did feel sorry for her at that moment. But I guess my sympathies rested more significantly with her child. His dragging footsteps, snotty nose and red cheeks suggested a cold, allergy attack or maybe just a very bad day. Sure he should not have been screaming in the store. But how was he to make sense of his mother's command to " Grow Up!" ?
When I returned home later that day, I remembered having purchased a children's book at the Huntington Library in Pasadena and sat down to read it. As I turned the book over and read the back cover I thought again of that mom and her child. The cover read, "Never forget that even the grandest of trees once had to grow up from the smallest of seeds."
Although, over the years I frequently yearned for my kids to gain the self control that comes with age, I would give anything now to have just one day to revisit them in their early childhood years. So I encourage you to take a deep breath and enjoy those exhausting, frustrating, perplexing, joy filled days with your children. And rather than wishing your kids to quickly sprout, give them the nurturing skills and time that they need to grow naturally towards their own potential.
And when the next melt down comes, and it just might, consider giving a clearer message, delivered on your knees and looking directly into your child's eyes like: I can't make it better if you don't stop screaming or I know that you are unhappy. When you stop screaming we can go and talk about it.
You might also want to check out this new young author, Eliza Wheeler. Sprouting from a family of teachers, Eliza has written and illustrated a beautiful children's book entitled: Miss Maples's Seeds. The story celebrates the