Tuesday, January 19, 2016


This morning my youngest son, who is 8 but thinks and acts like he is 35,  dropped a full, unopened gallon of milk on the floor. It exploded with quite a dramatic flair as the bottom of the jug split open, causing the liquid inside to gush onto the floor. He stood there with his bottom jaw slack, not moving...frozen and staring at the dam of milk breaking and flooding onto the dry, thirsty wooden planks that make up our kitchen floor.

I remember thinking the "gunk, gunk" sound of the milk being released from the jug onto the floor sounded strangely like a thirsty co-ed gulping swallows from a beer bong at a college frat party. I quickly jumped into action, scooping up the damaged jug and what very little was left in it and placed it into the sink where the remaining contents could safely empty down the drain. As rage was starting to rise in my throat, (I was not yet fully awake and had yet to have my morning coffee) I reminded myself that although he was careless and was in a rush, causing this terrible mess, he was still an 8 year old boy who didn't do this on purpose. My instinct was to scream, yell, and throw the roll of paper towels at him. The acid of unsaid curse words burned my mouth as I sighed, asked him what he could do to fix this situation, and carefully handed him the paper towels.

I then instructed him how to wipe up large amounts of liquid (NOT swishing the paper towel around spreading the milk even further, but let it slowly absorb into the towel), how to properly wipe up the remnants of the sticky mess (including the cabinets which received quite a splash of milk themselves) with a wet paper towel, and then how to mop the floor. It turned into quite a learning experience for us both. Me, a lesson in patience and grace...him, a lesson in slowing his roll, thinking before doing, and how to effectively clean up a royal mess.

I am happy to report there were none of the proverbial "tears over spilled milk" from either of us and we got through this mess building a better bond for me having controlled my temper and my mouth.

As we began school, about a half hour later, I still had a pit in my stomach formed from the heat of anger that was not released (thank goodness) into the air. Shortly after, I came across an article about a breathing technique called the 4-7-8. 4 counts of inhaling, holding it for 7 seconds, and then releasing it, exhaling, for 8 seconds. I did this 5 times, each time concentrating on releasing the knot in my stomach during the exhale and I felt so much better afterward. This technique has been tucked into my repertoire of how to control the flashes of anger, a side-effect from the neurotoxins that live in my brain.

Oddly enough, we are studying fables in reading right now and I am pretty sure we could turn this incident into a fable with a moral. Perhaps, "Think before you speak." or maybe "Think, plan, do instead of do, mess up, clean up."  ;)

Have a very Zen-like Tuesday.

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