We are looking forward to our first major family outing next month! But I’m not too excited about the 22-hour journey, with special-needs twins, a 3rd child and an absent father (for the first half of the trip). Thank goodness Grandma will be traveling with us.
The most challenging scenario I can imagine: Nathan will cry/tantrum, Amor will do her I’m-irritable-dance because of the cry, Nathan will then cry louder because of irritable Amor, Amor escalates her irritability…and the vicious cycle continues. This happens at home. Imagining it will happens in a 13-hour plane ride was giving me a headache.
So I’ve been preparing the twins for this trip. I’ve been telling Amor that when Nathan cries, I needed her to be the big sister. She is, after all, 3 minutes older than Nathan. I said that when Nathan cried I need her to help me settle Nathan by being quiet. She agrees…when she’s in a good mood 😜
I reinforce her commitment, whenever the scenario is about to happen at home. When Nathan begins to cry, I immediately look at Amor. If she is still in a good mood, usually second before she decides to become irritable, I praise her, “Thank you Amor for being a good big sister. It helps me settle Nathan.” She gives me that proud smile and happily carries on. This has happened a number of times already. Now I just take a look at her, signal a thumbs up, then move quickly to settle Nathan. Cutting down on one step, half the tantrum in the house, has helped tremendously! Amor is such an amazing big sister!
With Nathan, I use several Son-Rise strategies depending on what’s bothering him at the moment.
– I work on my attitude and how I feel (fear, anxiety, tiredness) when he is crying.
– I act as if only if his words, not tantrums, move me. I calmly tell him, “What? I don’t understand if you whine. If you use your words I can understand. All you have say is Mama, I want…?” Most of the time, Nathan will stop and tell me what he needs.
– I give Nathan the proprioceptive massages and squeeze hugs that he needs to help his body settle from over firing sensory connections.
– When he does not stop sooner that I hoped, I tell him, “Nathan, I’m doing my best to help your body calm down. You have to help too. You have to help settle your own body.” An yes, he has responded positively to that too.
We’re blessed with such amazing Son-Rise tools. I couldn’t have imagined a better way to get myself and my twins ready for this travel. Let’s hope the journey will be uneventful!
In the photo is big sister Amor giving Nathan a kiss.
I was also surprised when Amor drew a plane and explained to me that when we travel and she would be a good big sister and be quiet so I can settle Nathan’s crying. Awesome!