With raising Hana, Ben and I have made a commitment to always respect her feelings and do what we can to offer her comfort and teach her how to handle them. That means no yelling, no leaving her to cry alone, no spanking and doing what we can to walk her through issues. We're not always so good at it - especially the no yelling part, that one is really hard for me some days.
A lot of this we've realized is absolutely essential for Hana - she has very big emotions for such a small little girl. We don't indulge her tantrums - part of helping her walk through things is teaching her how to deal with frustration and disappointment. There are times she ends up in her room to have a tantrum, but that's her choice and she's free to come for a hug whenever she wants. We're teaching her she doesn't get what she wants by screaming and yelling, and that using words is the most effective way to communicate. We name her feelings for her, letting her know it's ok to feel angry or frustrated or sad when she doesn't understand or can't communicate. It can make things more frustrating for me at times, but I keep telling myself that showing her this level of respect and empathy will be worth it, and will make her the kind of person I dream she will be.
Today, my little girl amazed me. After her nap she was very cranky. I needed to change her, which she didn't like at all (and I think was the reason she woke up, she definitely could have had more sleep!). She was crying and just needing some love, so we curled up int he rocking chair and I rocked and sang to her. After a few minutes, Eli woke up and I could hear him crying through the monitor. I felt myself tense - I figured I' have two crying kids on my hands and that's never an easy thing to handle.
To my surprise, Hana popped her head up and said "Eli cry, sad, go get!". I was amazed. She had my full attention, and she was upset, but she also knew Eli needed me and didn't want him to be sad. She wanted to make sure his needs were met too.
It always amazes me when she does things like that - she is so compassionate and loving towards others. Yes, it gets exhausting and the constant whining makes me scream, but it's worth it.
And now I have it written down to remind myself next time we have a day like today.