Lessons from a Toddler: It's Okay to Cry
"What's wrong?" I asked urgently.
You know that adrenaline that courses through your veins when a child cries? Your whole body needs you to fix the problem. [It's part of the mom instinct most animals are born with.]
She snuffled and gave some unintelligible answer, mixed with a desperate wail.
"What?" I asked again, no idea what she said.
We were washing her hands after going potty, something we'd done a million times before without trauma.
Finally I understood the words, "Why is the soap trying to leak off my hands?"
The foam soap. The same soap we always use, that is the same consistency it always is. But today it felt traumatic.
I wish I can say I was patient with her. I wasn't. I used a frustrated tone and told her it's the same soap as always and rushed her through washing and ushered her out of the bathroom.
I wish I had acknowledged that maybe the soap felt runnier today and that it's okay to cry. Or suggested she switch to the bar soap instead.
Because you know what? It's okay to cry.
Sometimes the same things seem harder than usual. It's okay to feel that way.
And if you need to, it's okay to switch to what fills your current needs better than the regular routine.