What To Do When There's Nothing Left To Do
It started off with a simple request.
"Clean your room, please." They were even promised a "night off" after rooms were clean.
The typical look we get when the kids are told to clean their rooms. This photo was actually taken 15 minutes before we told her to clean...she was distraught about something completely unrelated.
Both kids whined, but my daughter actually got down to work.
It went from a simple "I don't want to" to a full-blown, all-out fit. He worked himself up nearly to the point of hyperventilation.
My husband and I had both tried varying techniques - asking him to breathe, letting him lie in his bed, preparing dinner (thinking he might just be hungry), frustratingly telling him to just CLEAN, ...and so on. Each technique was greeted with a refusal and seemed to bump up the anger level.
After nearly an hour, our son had wound up at the bar stool at the kitchen counter, growling and sobbing uncontrollably while ignoring the sandwich in front of him.
I'd gone back and forth - feeling gentle and sympathetic one minute, cursing and telling my husband to take care of him the next. As I watched him breaking down at the counter, I was simply out of ideas.
So I went over, picked him up, set him on the counter, and just hugged him.
I buried his face in my shoulder just in case his sister was casting glances his way (which inevitably pisses him off even more).
I'd given up on trying but was nowhere near done with loving him. So I did all I could do. I exhaustedly held him.
He fought, whined, and sobbed. The cries slowly became quieter and quieter, the sobs less of a forced gasp and more of a tired exhale. Eventually, he gave up on trying to fight as well. He did all he could do. He exhaustedly relaxed into my arms.
Together, instead of giving up, we gave in.
Sometimes, that's all it takes.