I don’t know about you, but my 5th grade daughter can be a roller coaster. We range between a set of emotions that feels something like “pretty please I’ll do my chores let’s go to Target” to “you’re ruining my life!”, “you’re so embarrassing!”, “don’t make that face!”.
I thought I’d be able to skip this. Like really I did. I thought I’d have a handle on these angsty little girl emotions. I was a little girl once. I’ve got this thing.
However, to my dismay, I found the two of us falling into patterns of mutual irritation. And in my mind, I could play it out over the next 5-8 years like a John Hughes movie.
And then it changed – unexpectedly. But I think I’ve made sense of it.
The answer was found in head gear. Just go ahead and raise your hand if you’ve had head gear. I don’t care if you are alone. Own it. It’s an elite sisterhood that brings ones self image to ones knees. But I’m convinced you’re all stronger, better people for it.
My daughter got head gear a couple of weeks ago. We’ve laughed at the lisp and spit sloshing, we’ve cried when she couldn’t figure out how to eat, I’ve installed it upside down, I’ve popped off the safety clip, I’ve screamed in panic because I thought I broke the key off in her mouth. We’ve spent some time dealing with the logistics of head gear.
We usually spend about 5 minutes each night handling head gear. Sometimes pinned on the couch with a flashlight in her mouth. But it’s just the two of us. And in a house of 3 kids all running different ways to different lessons, doing different homework assignments, church activities, and social gatherings, I haven’t stopped to consider that spending 5 minutes alone is a rare occasion with the kids. Don’t get me wrong – we eat dinner together, we run errands together, we spend time together all of the time. But this was a little different. It’s just us. Every night.
This was just enough different that I started to notice that she was happier. She was communicating with me better. She was stopping herself before she went over the “sassy cliff of no return”. The eye rolling got less and less. The tension seemed to disappear. And it was all about time. She was finally getting enough of what she needed from me.
I’m not saying the 5-minute fix is forever. But it’s certainly proof that every minute we spend counts. It doesn’t have to be shopping at Target or going on an outing, it can be the extra 5 minutes you spend putting on head gear. It was the 5 minutes that neither of us knew we needed.