I’ve always admired how my nieces can sit still and color.
My son’s coloring time limit is usually around three minutes.
Then he jumps up from the table with more energy than ever to resume a game of chase with make-believe monsters. I feel sure he could outrun any of those monsters.
But the girls! They are content to work at their coloring books, armed with crayons and stickers. I’ve watched in amazement as my older niece, Eve, enjoys quiet craft time. She particularly loves scissors, cutting out interesting shapes and pictures.
When Eve is good, my sister Karen rewards her with this special quiet time activity before her nap: scissors and construction paper.
In retrospect, even Karen questions why she let her little girl have scissors at nap time.
Last week, when Karen went to check on her daughter after her nap, Eve was wide awake and excited about her latest cutting project.
“Something was off,” Karen said. “But it took me a few seconds to realize it.”
My sweet and well-behaved niece got a little too rambunctious at quiet time.
She’d taken those scissors to her hair, chopping away at her beautiful curls.
Her bangs were half-an-inch long, if that.
“It’s pretty common. You don’t really think much about it, until it happens to you,” said Pat McLarney, a perinatal instructor with parent education at Hartford Hospital.
“We can beat ourselves up as parents trying to figure out the perfect response to this kind of thing, but the reality is that any honest response is a good one.”
McLarney cautions against getting angry, shaming the child, or making her feel worse about how she looks.
“The reality is, you want to try to turn it into something constructive and make sure that your child learns from it. It’s a good time to tell Eve that scissors – even safe toddler scissors – can hurt you. Say something like, you could have hurt yourself. You could have cut your eyes or your face. Scissors are for paper only.”
In all, it was a good lesson for mom and child. And we have some really funny pictures for posterity.
Quiet time might seem easier than running after monsters, but not if you add scissors to the mix.
Has this happened to you? We want to hear from you! Tell us about your adventures in mommyhood…