There are days in the week when it seems that each person has gotten out of the bed on the wrong side. Maybe its a change in the weather, a toss n’ turn-y night, a string of busy days that has finally caught up. There are days when for no apparent reason the big and small members of the house (or caravan) are struggling with…everything.
In our house, DSX has a ‘tell’. If he wakes up and a) is indecisive about breakfast or, b) just can’t seem to get dressed, my antennae spring to alert and I know, pay attention now. Because if I push my grown-up agenda and time frame on him, things could get messy, very quickly. The last thing anyone needs is a 4 year old pushed to the brink.
I have a ‘tell’ too. I have that feeling as I wake, that, ‘Oh dear, the night just wasn’t long enough’, heavy, soggy feeling in the head. In an ideal world I’d suspend adulting for long enough to complete a couple of Sun Salutation asanas and have a quiet cup of lemon and ginger tea as the sun goes about warming up but, this adulting thing gets in the way. Dang inconvenience.
Now recognising that I’m not feeling 100%, it’s up to me to be the grown-up and own up to my (potentially) cranky mood. I know I’m feeling crap. Nothing is wrong, I just don’t want to play at adulting/parenting/being responsible for anyone or anything.
It comes out as cranky. Cranky at DSX. You’re 4. I’m not feeding you. Put the weet-bix in the bowl, drown them in a milk or milk substitute, put spoon in the bowl, fish something out, put it in your mouth without it ending up on the floor or down your front, repeat. Cranky at DHB. Really dear? We’ve been married for how long? Do I have to give you a kiss good-morning right now? Cranky at DSS. Could I please, please go to the toilet without your company? Cranky at the J-dog. Could someone please tell me why the dog is in the house? and why is she so damned happy? I love you all but, please get out of my way.
Most often I am truly fortunate and DHB will intervene at this point and send me out the door so I can go for a walk, get some fresh air, find a better perspective and I can come in 45 minutes later with a different attitude.
Its also at this point that if I’m honest, I need to check myself. Is whatever we were going to do today that important? Sometimes I’m only loading the boys into the car for a change of scenery. So, letting go of the agenda and letting the day flow is the better, safer, path of least resistance. A day of saying yes to the little big blue eyes that I live with. Acknowledging that there comes a time when we all need to pitch in and find ways to ease each others Crankys’.
Top 5 ideas to ease the Cranky’s
Crank the tunes
We’re huge fans of Kinderling Kids Radio (https://www.kinderling.com.au/). If you haven’t streamed it or, downloaded some of their mixtapes…Get on it. Then, shake your tail feather, bop around the kitchen, wiggle your what, bust those old-school 1980s daggy dance moves out of the wardrobe and move your body. Remember the ‘box’? Or, the robot? Or even, get the robot out of the box? Do the impact sprinkler or, the ‘start a Victor lawnmower’ manoeuvre. You don’t have to be a prima ballerina, just boogie-ing will lighten the mood. Oh, and sing. Easy way to get oxygen in the lungs and therefore oxygen to the brain and release some much needed endorphins. And remember, any natural syncopation that you see in the children…they got that from their father!
Easy. Everyone go outside. Rug up, sunblock on, hats or beanies, shoes on and go outside. I’m the best at saying ‘Go outside’ but hovering inside. But what do I have to do inside that can’t wait? So instead, outside to go for a walk and find leaves, rocks, sticks, or bugs. Kick a ball, dodge DSX wild swings with the golf clubs. Easiest way to ensure hilarity is for all of us to bounce on the bouncey together. And when its time to wind down, lie on the grass and look at the clouds – find shapes, tell stories, see if the moon has forgotten to go to bed. Fresh air and a curiosity in the world just outside the door is sure fire Cranky busting.
An emergency Betty Crocker/White Wings box or shake n’make pancake mix did no one any harm (except the gluten intolerant amongst us). I’m a lazy cook. We don’t ‘bake’ much. I don’t have fine white sugar or, plain flour on hand. But I do keep a quickie box, just in case. Most of the time, we make rollie pollies or, a quickie raw slice. I’ll include some of my go-to’s on another page. Normally lots of dried fruit, some nuts or seeds, a bit of honey or coconut oil, a food processor and the fridge are all you need.
Make a cubby and grab some books
A quickie cubby in our house means draping a queen bed sized sheet over the back of the couch and then strategically stretched over a chair or two. Alternatively, its the 10-second pop-up tent. Note to self – keep the instructions for collapsing the 10-second pop-up tent because invariably it takes 10 minutes and a dislocated shoulder to wrestle back into some semblance of its original packing size. In either case, grab some books, a pillow or two, a snack or a torch and struggle in for reading time. Reading time, that could become cave time, which could become, lunch time which could become snuggle time. Either way, its not Cranky time.
Call it quits on adulting for the day and start over
Now this is a time consuming option but, if the day is so pear-shaped you need to start again, you might need time to go in a vacuum, so its not all bad. Everyone take turns to have a bath (or shower), bust out the bubbles, put on some fresh clothes (or fresh pjs if its one of those days…2pm is a totally suitable time of day to put pjs on), make a pot of tea for everyone, big and small, to share (black tea bag, liberal lemon juice and a sugar cube – judge me as you will) and start over. Taking the time out to just stop, freshen up and start again is a sure fire way to put everyone into a better place.
Now I’m not suggesting that every Cranky day needs all of the above strategies but, nor am I suggesting that a liberal pick and mix of the strategies doesn’t go astray. We use a combination of these when we’re away in the Cranky as well.
Really, this is just a typical day. But without me starting like a grumpy-bum.
I’m going to defend a cup of tea and ABC Kids television. That might be all it takes. Twenty minutes of a cuppa, with a side helping of wholesome ABC early years programming with a dash of ‘imaginative’ story and colour ( Read: mind bending. Where do some of the writers and creatives come up with the concepts? Iggle Piggle, I’m looking at you!). A sanity sized serving of ABC will not warp any ones mind so far that they will be addicted to a screen in their teenage years. Well, I hope not anyway.
Its about making a choice. A choice to be there. A choice to let the cranky’s go and find a lighter side to life. I remind myself, today might be the best day ever if I choose to be with, really with, the little big blue eyes that drive me around the bend but, come snuggling in at just the moment when I’m ready to throw the towel in.