We ended up staying home today because one of the girls was sick last night with a fever and tummy ache. I blew up the air mattress so she could sleep in our room incase she woke up and needed us. My wife Jill took her to a local ER place this morning and found out she had strep — not fun. But she has some meds now and the fever subsided at least temporarily.
Our schedule was empty for the rest of the day so it has been relaxing. It’s sunny outside but up until now the girls have been playing inside. My wife Jill is getting some things organized in the house which makes her life better. I’m doing some reading and writing in the study. So far, our four girls have come to me a least two dozen times and it is still the afternoon. Let’s see: an argument about a sister wearing something of the other without asking, having to do a chore together but one sister is not doing her part, one yelling at the other and other being sassy back, “Can we stay in our pajamas all day?”, and more. Now, they’re playing from upstairs and down through the rest of the house. Shrieks of laughter, ribbing each other, running, slamming doors, sneaking around with some crying in there too. I usually have mixed success on how well I respond to these returns to me.
A child returning to their parent is an important attachment experience that repeats itself every day even into early adulthood. The parent is the secure base from which the child ventures out in their world to experience and then return to help them regulate — that is, get in order their emotions, thoughts, physical reactions, and develop a healthy identity and world view. How the parent responds influences several developmental factors for a child.
Isn’t it funny that our kids barge in when we’re naked? I’m getting ready this morning and it is “Dad…,” “Dad…,” “Dad…,”. And it is right there where kids learn about issues such as fairness and “are you going to take care of my needs when my sister has on my shirt without asking me?” It didn’t matter I was in my birthday suit, what matters is: do you care dad? That shirt is mine which is code for me. “Yes, Dad, as you’re naked please make this right and let me know life will be fair and I will always be treated with dignity.” Geez, and I was just focused on relieving razor burn with some aftershave lotion.
You know, life is like this. Children are like this. And the demand to respond often leaves me feeling pretty naked and vulnerable because I don’t have all the answers and I wish I could but I can’t make your sister treat you nice. But I can let you know I’m sorry that is happening and ask what you think the solution could be. Ok, now where is my aftershave lotion?