One of the last days of school, the kids came home hot and sweaty and wanted to put soap on the trampoline and turn on the sprinkler. This is one of the kids’ favorite things to do. They got on their bathing suits, got it all set up and started playing. Olivia loves it too but gets overwhelmed by the ice cold water and typically throws a fit after a while. That’s exactly what happened this day. She started crying and kicking and screaming because the water was cold. She only lasted about 15 minutes. I was inside observing but wanted to let them handle it.
Matthew got really upset and shouted “Olivia! You ruin everything!”
The boys brought Olivia inside and Matthew was crying. Gabe was furious. I got Olivia settled and then asked the boys what had happened.
Matthew didn’t want to tell me.
Gabe told me what Matthew said and that he had yelled at Matthew because of it and that made Matthew cry.
I told Gabe it was kind of him to stand up for Olivia, and I told Matthew that he shouldn’t have said that TO Olivia, but that it was totally OK for him to feel that way.
They both looked at me like I had two heads.
I said I feel that way sometimes. It’s totally normal to feel that way. She does mess things up sometimes. There are things we can’t do when she’s with us. She drives me crazy sometimes.
It’s OK to feel frustrated, angry, upset at times. It’s normal. And I want them to feel like they can share these feelings with each other and with me or Matt. They NEED to share these feelings with someone because it’s not healthy to hold them in. And there’s nothing, absolutely nothing, wrong with feeling this way. It would be abnormal if they never felt a little cheated. I told them that they are lucky to have each other because they know exactly what the other is going through. They should take advantage of that relationship. And they should always, always feel like they can share any of their feelings with me. Even if they’re ugly feelings.
That’s what I want them to know.