I’ve heard over and over again that the best way to get a well-behaved child in public is to remove her from any situation in which she is causing a ruckus. Screaming at a restaurant. Back to the car, possibly to drive back home. Tossing and flopping on the beach, time to go back home, immediately. I’ve never quite been able to pull this off because usually when one twin is melting down, the other is completely fine. To take both twins outside of the area for a calm down period only serves to enrage the happy twin. To leave the happy twin in the area (when that’s possible, when my husband is around) calms neither twin down. The happy twin becomes distressed as her sister disappears. The unhappy twins whips herself into a frenzy as she’s separated from her sister. I simply usually do not have the manpower to pull this discipline method off.
Being at the beach this weekend with four adults to my two toddlers was eye-opening. With so many extra eyes, I was able to control the multiple toddler situations that arose as my kids got too hungry and overtired at different times.
I was actually able to take Natalina up the beach to a benched area and sit with her until she decided to calm down and return on her own time. Magical.
Shortly after that, she got herself worked up again. I was able to watch her closely as she stormed off, following her from a distance. We made quite a sight for the other beach goers. A little pink thing, stamping off, all on her own, with a mommy following conspicuously behind. Natalina needs to feel in control to calm down. She wants time to herself. She doesn’t want to be smothered, or even followed. But she does want to be followed, actually. It’s a delicate little game, sometimes.
She would stomp away a few steps, then turn back to see if I was in view. Then stomp some more. Then turn. At one point, I thought she was ready to talk about it and resume our beach day, but I was wrong.
“Look who I found!” I exclaimed happily, as I went to scoop my little prize up. Off she went again, stomping and storming.
Eventually, she sat down quite a ways from our blanket. I was able to interest her in a bit of seaweed and convinced her to bring it back to our blanket to show pop pop. The people who had seen our odd walk away from the blanket, witnessed us now, hand in hand, making our way back. I got a lot of knowing smiles from parents and grandparents, and a lot of confused looks from the so far childless.
Sometimes kids need individual attention. Sometimes they need to be left alone. Sometimes, that’s the same thing. I hope as my twins continue to grow, I will be able to fill that need better.
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