Alone time

I have these moments with parenting that I feel are absolute triumphs, when I've figured something out with one of my kids, or when I know that I've made someone's day, they are glowing with it. And then I have moments when I feel like I'm living in parenting outtakes.

I've mentioned before that YaYa is in an interesting stage. Three seems to be an emotional age for her, and I'm trying to figure out which buttons make her work and which ones cause a crash. The other day she was on the verge of a meltdown, (or, in the process, really, she was melting down) and it was happening while I was trying to get the other kids some dinner. We eat together, as a community, for lunch and dinner a few days a week, and she was having a really hard time while I was gathering plates together for the three of them. It kind of sounds like someone is drilling into your skull when YaYa is having a meltdown, which adds a little extra pressure when I would like to spare other people from the strain of having their skulls drilled.

I took YaYa aside for a minute.

"What's going on?" I asked. "If you can't eat nicely, you should eat by yourself in the laundry room." (The laundry room has a desk in it that I use to have a kid eat at if they seem to be unable to focus with everyone else.)

"I want to eat in the laundry roommmmmmmmm," she wailed shrieked.

"You need some time to be alone?" I asked.


So I set her up, left the door open so she wouldn't feel totally alone, and rubbed her back before I left.

"Sometimes it's nice to be alone," I said.

A few minutes later Renee came into the room and found her there eating. "I'm having alone time," she chirped happily. And she ate every bit of her lunch, a phenomenon not to be understated. Problem solved.

And why not? There is nothing that I like better than alone time when I am having a hard day. The bliss of solitude is rare in my communal, family-oriented, busy-as-a-bee lifestyle. It is sweet, precious nectar to me. It appears that my little daughter feels the same way.

I love it when I can figure out a little piece of the puzzle.


On the road, we are on the second leg of our trip to Canada today, happy to be going, happy to have spent time with wonderful friends here in Eugene on our way up.