The same week that Meatballs was born another calf was born just down the road. We drive by his home often often thought out loud that if they ever met they would be the best of friends. This little calf is all white; while Meatballs is all black.
Little white calf’s homestead is a juicy green slice of cattle heaven; lush pasture set up against the river, clusters of trees offering plenty of relief from the sun; and oodles of gaggles of Canadian geese hanging out seemingly all year long.
Lucky for Meatballs, he gets to live here until, well, you know, whenever.
We drive by quite often as this spot is enroute to our path to town so we get to see Meatballs and his brother from a different mother cow hanging out closely side to side. They’re best friends!
I shouldn’t be getting all moo-shee here because a big part of this plan to ship Meatballs off to Camp Ferdinand is for me to detach myself from him but even the owner of this pasture confesses he’s pretty smitten with him; never met such a friendly steer before. I couldn’t resist myself the other day. I had to pull over on the way home from swim class and say hi.
I pulled over to the side of the road and yelled “Meatballs!” And he came running when he heard my voice and started trying to kiss me through the barb wire fence! Gawd ~ trying to detach here!
And then there was that awkward moment like we were in Europe and he was trying to kiss both my cheeks so I turned my head and got nose smooched instead.
One of the reasons I felt compelled to pull over that day was because on the way to swim class I notice that Meatballs was standing all by himself just looking all day dreamy at the river instead of spooning his new best friend. I said to Edie as we whizzed past “Poor Meatballs, he’s all by himself. Why isn’t he hanging out with his buddy?”
Edie suggested he probably wants a time out and be alone for a while.
Hearing this come from a seven year old girl got me thinking about the roll time outs play in our family. We never used that term out loud (too sporty) but we do whisk any quickly melting child to their room, without saying much and close the door and let them have some time. Period.
The ‘time’ isn’t usually long and after a few minutes I or Craig will go in and sooth their soul fever just like we would if a physical fever had appeared out of nowhere. When we venture in they usually would have calmed down enough to be held close, have their leg rubbed, look at a book together, or come back to the dinner table. Feelings aren’t brought up unless I feel compelled to apologize for my own soul fever-induced actions that may have contributed to the episode in the first place.
In my Simplicity Parenting Workshops (memberships are open until September 25!) we explore and practice the tools to help deal with these eruptions of the soul. And, with some help from a meditation I introduce at the beginning of the series, the heart more easily expands to accommodate the room and grace needed to take her own self-impose time out and settle into the heart of her internal storm.
The first step to this practice is to tune in to what the first utterance in your heart is when you sense the impending tantrum is on the brink; stuff like ‘breathe’, ‘relax’ or “Sweet Baby Jesus”. My mantra is “this too shall pass”. Then I steady myself, with a breath, to hold that space for him. A space where he can take a time out and just be alone; gazing at the nearby raging river. Like a happy little Meatballs in a pristine field sprinkled with kindred spirits.
Leave in the comments below the first utterance in your heart when you see your babe is on the brink of Meltdown City!