Playlistening on Thanksgiving

My husband and I were both feeling a little stressed this morning, trying to get the turkey, pie, cranberry relish, and salad ready to pack in the car and get over to grandma’s house for the big meal. We have two boys 4 and 10. My four-year-old asked me to play with him repeatedly and had already heard enough “just a minutes” to last a week and it was only 11:30 in the morning.

My husband was trying in vain to get our son to take a bath, but he was NOT going for it. He was digging his heels in and was not going to budge. I could tell my son needed a good cry, and I could tell neither my husband nor myself felt we had the time or good attention to listen to him.

I suddenly had an idea. He had been watching me focus most of my attention on this silly bird for the last 24+ hours. (I did a brining process that takes a whole day. It seemed like it would be simple until I got into it.) I asked him, “Will you be my little turkey? Can I wash you in the sink to get you ready for cooking?” He loved the idea. He climbed up in the kitchen sink and I poured water all over him using measuring cups, stirred the water around, and ‘basted him’ with the clean baster brush, with lots of talk about what a sweet little turkey he was, what spicing I was putting on him, etc. I kept talking about which parts of him might be the tastiest. He giggled and giggled while he soaked up all that good attention and the tension in both of us disolved away.

We were both more relaxed afterwards as I gathered my clean boy into the ‘oven’ (towel) to dry off. Such a good reminder to me that just ten minutes of play can change the whole day.

Kirsten Nottleson-Join Certified Instructor Kirsten Nottleson in her Building Emotional Understanding course. Starts March 27. Register now.

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