Things have been ten kinds of rough around here recently. Surviving the day has been our goal of late. I admit that I don’t much like the person I’ve let myself become lately. I’m grouchy, snippy, frayed at the edges, and generally unable to cope with much. Anybody screaming sends me over the edge, which both kids do well these days. But I’m a firm believer that nobody makes you feel anything; that’s your crap and you have to deal with it. Unfortunately, I’m not dealing with it well – or even minimally well – and I know it.
So, I’ve been grasping at anything that will make any part of our frazzled ‘routine’ easier. The J-Man has been a basket case at night, sometimes fussing not just with variations in the routine, but about parts of our nighttime ritual that are exactly the way they normally are, like I’m skipping a step except I don’t know what he thinks I’m skipping. Sometimes it’s like he’s trying to tell me verbally, but I have no idea what he’s saying, which just escalates both of our frustrations.
Getting his nighttime clothes on was turning into some variant of mixed martial arts, usually with me on the receiving end of the injuries… One night after he completely melted down half-dressed in the floor, I was past feeling desperate. The next night, without any pre-planning or understanding of where this idea even came from – other than perhaps the fact that the J-Man loves music – I just started narrating the process of getting him dressed to song. I tend to narrate half the day anyway, so why not.
And for whatever reason, the tune that came out was “The Hokey Pokey”.
Go figure. It worked.
It sounds completely ridiculous, and the ‘stanzas’ – such as they are – vary between some and a lot every time we go through the routine. But hey, it works – botched meter and rhyme or not.
“We put your left arm in,
we put your left arm in the sleeve,
we get your left arm in,
and your left hand stickin’ out,
your left arm is in, and your left hand’s stickin’ out,
that’s what it’s all about!”
Repeat as often as necessary with whatever words are necessary until kid is clothed. Sigh with relief, and give thanks that all your bodily digits are still attached.
This works for diaper changes too, by the way, though we can often get through those without much in the way of theatrics. But it works in a pinch.
Give thanks for little bits of inspiration.