“Did you forget your mummy loves
you?” Reconnecting Using Playlistening
Sharon Ryder, Perth, Western Australia
We were away on holidays and my son was missing out on the day naps that would enable us to could spend the whole day out. Our son missed out on day naps sometimes at home – surely he’d be fine. What we hadn’t thought about was that we had to have dinner in a restaurant. It is so hard for a 3 year old to be ‘civilized’ when he’s tired!
About 5 or 10 minutes after starting to eat, our son really went off track, knocking cutlery off the table, yelling and grabbing wildly at anything within reach. He managed to reach the pepper and tip some into his mouth before I could stop him.
Leaving wasn’t really an option. There was no decent food in our room and he needed to eat enough so he wouldn’t get hungry later. Besides, we hadn’t had a chance to eat much either.
I took my son to a quiet corner of the restaurant and sat down on the floor with him facing me on my lap. He knew this wasn’t normal behaviour for a restaurant. “What are you doing?” he asked. I wasn’t sure myself. I just knew we needed to reconnect so that my son could feel secure in our love and attention again.
I started an old game that we often used to help with the nighttime separation. “Did you FORGET that your mummy LOVES you?” He nodded yes, and I showered him in kisses, “Oh no! I love you soooo much!” He kept the game going with, “I just forgot my mummy loves me!” I answered, “DID YOU?!! You forgot your mummy LOVES you?!! and tried to keep covering him with kisses, only landing a couple as he kept pushing me away.
This is a game that gets right to the heart of the matter, with lots of laughter and affection thrown in for good measure. It gave our son the reassurance he needed that he was safe and loved. We played for a short time; then he asked, “Where’s dad?” I pointed, “Just over there. Do you want to sneak up on him?” And, off my son went.
We all ended up having a lovely mealtime