#calm #de-stress #angrykids

It’s only when you mother two children that you realize you were never meant to have it easy. The two are always poles apart. If one loves pizza cheese, the other loves the toasted crust. If one is a perfectionist, the other is certainly Queen Messy. If one is calm and centered, needless to mention the other erupts like a volcano at the drop of a hat. Bottom line, if you quite hated learning opposites at school, life gives you another chance. And the words ‘Opposite values are complementary’, that I first heard in the Art of Living suddenly begin to make sense. If forming groups were a part of family life, hubby and the 10-year-old would acquire the name “Team Perfection” without a doubt. The rest of us would fall under, “Yay! Whatever”.

So, some mornings we miss the school bus. “What’s the big deal; we are only human”, I tell myself. My girls have a mind of their own though.

10 year old – Wakes up with a start all upset, “What time is it? Whaaaat? We are late again. I don’t like being late. I hate people staring at me and asking me for a reason when I am the last one to walk in. I hate to miss assembly and I absolutely don’t like to miss reading and catching up with friends first thing in the morning. Why do we have to be late? It’s 6.30am…”

7 year old – Wakes up all smiles the minute she knows we are late. “Did we miss the bus? Are we late today? Have we missed the first period already? Because I hate to follow my class and read in the morning. And anyway, it was Hindi first thing today.”

Now you know what I mean? Being a mother is tough. As much as I enjoy being me, my older one is hell bent over doing everything right. The problem lies in her genes dominated by her father’s side, I’d say. And while the 10-year-old loves school and being a part of everything and playing by rules, her little sister loves to follow her, except for the perfection bit. She loves to eavesdrop on her sister’s group where the banter is juicy unlike Primary 2. She hates to tag along with her classmates that are still too young and lost. She loves to be babied around by the older girls that vie for her attention.

So this morning after the usual drama over getting late is in full swing, on our way to school, hubby and I suddenly realize it is the fault in our stars that traffic lights keep turning red. They ought to let us pass for Princess Number 1 is late. It’s an understatement my older one has this knack for dragging my soul out from my dreamy world into this day of mundane chores. Much as I value my slumber, my little role model of a daughter makes sure I act as the dutiful mother. While she turns into a talking clock increasing our palpitations by announcing the time every minute, our little wonder has stories to tell us. One look at her hysterical sister and the younger one is reminded of the Calm Down Zone in her classroom. It’s a new jargon and we demand an explanation.

Turns out, this Zone is a corner located at the back of the class and is meant for students on a roller coaster of emotions like feeling sad or mad or angry. The corner is equipped with a Calm Down Kit which is apparently a box filled with articles like slime and books and toys.

I am taken aback by this strategy. Being an old school that I am, I refuse to accept the idea of having such a corner. I mean really? Calming down at age 6 and 7? My little one explains further, it is the child that needs to understand this slurry of emotions he/she is going through and inform the teacher. The older one is quick to retort, “Nothing of the sort in my class. No wonder I can’t keep my eyes off the clock. Let’s hurry. And Monu, make sure you walk fast. ”

We laugh it out as we reach school and the girls disappear before I can say goodbye. I wonder, what a brilliant initiative. To empower the kids from very young to acknowledge and accept their emotions and teach them to calm down by engaging in positive outlets like playing and reading. If this practice were available during my school days, I am sure the Math period would see the teacher teaching herself. For most of us hated numbers. Or was it the teacher?

As for my older one, I am sure she would be stuck in the Calm Down Zone reading forever and pestering her Form teacher to replace books about thrice a day. I am glad her class doesn’t have that corner yet.

P.S. When kids are taught that staying calm is a matter of choice from as early as 6 years of age, we can expect far-reaching changes within them in the long run. After all, happy begins with calm. And aren’t we relentlessly in the pursuit of happiness? If only we took instructions with as much simplicity as the kids, life would certainly feel more calm and happy.