Five-Year-Old Wisdom

by Brooke Burke-Charvet

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It’s times when my 5-year-old daughter acts like a wise old granny that reminds me of the reality that sensitivity and awareness are present in people of many ages, and absent in others.  

Rain had a breakdown or normal 5-year-old tantrum before school yesterday.  She never has them, but I expect them and know she’s supposed to act her age sometimes, not the Dali Lama she poses to be. 

It was 7 a.m. and I was prepping to head to the ballroom for Tuesday’s dreaded elimination show.  I usually take Rain to school on Mondays on my way to work, but this day I chose to spend some time at home with my youngest son, give him some Mommy time and let Dad drive Rain in.

After seeing Shaya and I snuggle up on the couch, she flipped out and started screaming, “I want Mommy, Mommy take me, Mommy take me to school….I-need-Mommy!!!!!”  It was a crazy rage; especially since she LOOOOOVES her Daddy so much and their time together is precious too. 

I walked her to the car, told her I loved her, handed her lunch box and buckled her up, all the while she was giving me that I’m-really-pissed-at-ya, you-mean-awful-mommy look.

I had to let her drive off and deal with it so she wouldn’t be late, and I was not budging because Shaya deserved some Mommy time too.  David called 15 minutes later, said she was a wreck and they agreed she would be coming to see me later, after school, at Dancing With The Stars and we would have a special dinner together.

I have the best time hanging in my dressing room with the kids, they love being there, and I love having them.  It’s my usual chaos, but I’m so used to it.  They are so close with my Glam Squad too and always anxious to hop in my make-up chair, play with colors, get a haircut, and if Rain had her way, Steven Lake would be all hers!

(Getting ready for the ballroom)

After the show, David and I took them out to dinner and Rain paused outside before we went in... "I owe you an apology Mommy," she sweetly said.

“Really, what for baby?” I asked, getting down to her level, surprised by her mature words.

“For how I acted this morning. I was just jealous and I felt bad when I saw you with Shaya, sorry I treated you bad.  Could you do that with me soon?” Rain explained and asked.

I kinda wanted to cry, kinda wanted to know if they were studying feelings and how to say sorry in Kindergarten that day, but all I could do was grab her, squeeze her tight and say...

“Thank you so very much for saying you’re sorry.  I really understand.  I would love to snuggle you up on the couch. I really appreciate you sharing your feelings with me, that’s so important and I totally get it.  Thank you for apologizing and I love you soooooo much.”

She smiled my favorite smile and then laid the same confession on her Dad.  We exchanged that look that says what-the-heck-is going-on-and-why-does-our-5 year old-know-so much!

When I thought about the smile on her face after I praised her for sharing her thoughts, it reinforced my belief that our responses to our children are so important.  What if I had been too busy in that moment to hear Rain and hold her? What if I didn’t tell her how much I appreciated her feelings, what if I reacted in a negative way?She might have thought twice about saying sorry in the future. 

When I took in her feelings, held her, said I was sorry for her pain and praised her, she was so happy, so proud and totally content. 

Listening to our children, respecting their feelings (both good and bad) and being compassionate is invaluable for their core values.

Imagine if you did something wrong, or freaked out one day... thought about it, then apologized to that person, explained what you were feeling that triggered your outburst and then asked for what you need to make you feel better.

OMG! What a concept, LOL!  If only grown-ups knew that much.  Instead we brew, hold grudges and stay pissed.  We don't always talk about our feelings, we rarely ask for what we need to make us feel better and we don’t always take responsibility for our own mistakes.

Imagine if the other party said they understood you and gave you a big warm hug… Think, take responsibility, apologize, ask for what you need, make up and move on. Jeez, it’s so simple but not so easy to communicate effectively.

Boy, did I respect my 5-year-old that day, and I hope to have half her intuition. And clarity. It's amazing what offering an apology and genuinely accepting one can do.

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