1. the combination of simultaneously sounded musical notes to produce chords and chord progressions having a pleasing effect.
2. agreement or concord: peace, cooperation, fellowship.
But like all families, we don’t always jive. Like all families, we are not always on the same page. Some days we have to work a little harder to find our harmony.
My kids, just like all kids, are unique. But trust me when I say they couldn't be more different from each other if they tried. Actually, sometimes I think they are trying. You know, just to keep us on our toes. Anyway, promoting harmony and understanding between them can be hard work. Work that I don’t always know how to do.
Pants needs to be alone for an extended period of time at least once a day. This happens when he becomes uncomfortable in his own skin and needs to find a quiet, dark and solitary space to limit all of the sensory input coming at him. His closet is usually his first choice.
As you can imagine, Plum sees this act of treason against their relationship and a reason to force him into her presence. It’s because she wants to be with him. And instead of using words beyond her developmental ability to explain her frustration, she often turns to one of her most powerful communication tools in her tool box to express her pain. Tears. The saddest kind. The real ones.
When we first encountered this challenge to the harmony in the house our first plan was to gently remove Plum and try distracting her from her mission of sitting right next to, if not right on top of, her big brother when he needed space. It worked once or twice. Maybe three times. But , it turns out that, even at 2 years-old, people do not like to be deceived. As she pushed back and became more angry, It occurred to me that my brilliant plan was actually deception. And as toddlers will do, she saw right through it.
So we started our new genius plan and it involves explaining personal boundaries and sensory processing needs to a toddler.
Oh it is so easy! Just kidding. It’s not even close to easy. In fact, we are still working on it and I suspect we will need to for a good long while. It’s important work, though. Work that I suspect we will appreciate when both of these kids are in high school.
For months and months and months I have taken all the opportunities I can to talk with Plum about how her brother ticks. How sometimes everybody needs some space and time alone to find peace. I talk to her about how nice it feels for her when she sits to read a book all by herself and wrapped in a blanket. I talk to her about how her skin feels when she is happy and how her body feels when she is angry.
We’ve been at it for just about forever now without a ton of success.
And then…a break through. Last week, I hollered from the kitchen that it was time to eat dinner. Racing down the hallway with an urgency and a finger to her lips, my little girl shhhh’ed me. “Mama, shhh! My brudder is peace-ing. Let’s give him da space, kay?”
I went to check on him. He told me the same.
And with that, she and I ate dinner together. No hard feelings. No sadness. Harmony.
Later that night I heard a familiar rustling and clanking coming from the utensil drawer. As the kids emerged from the kitchen in their finest costumes holding their microphones and drumsticks, a smile spread across my face.
It was time for band practice.