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She Just Needed to Be Heard

We stayed too late at a friend's house this evening. It happens every time we visit with her.

All three of us are having such a great time eating and drinking and visiting and laughing that it's suddenly way past Grace's bedtime. A prominent rub of the eyes or a whine or a tantrum brings all of us back to reality, and we realize that we must be heading home.

Grace falls asleep in the car.

Grace wakes up as Joe unbuckles her and brings her in the house, and she is not happy.

It happens the same every single time.

Normally, we go through our normal bedtime routine, allowing Grace to watch a few minutes of tv, say her good nights, and then go to bed.

Tonight, however, it was nearly 9pm til we got home. That's well over an hour past her normal bedtime, and she was exhausted. Joe carried her from the car straight up to her bedroom.

We left the lights off, turning on only a nightlight in the hallway. We worked together to change her clothes and diaper quickly and get her tucked into her bed before she really woke up.

But she did wake up.

And she realized that she'd been tricked out of her nightly tv allowance.

And she was mad.

She yelled, kicked her feet, flailed her arms, and cried big tears down red cheeks. Go downstairs! My want to go downstairs!

Joe shushed her and tried to coax her to lie down, and that made the screaming intensify.


Really, she was so tired that I don't think she knew what she wanted.

I asked Joe to move over a little, and I sat with him down beside Grace's bed.

“You're mad, aren't you? You are really mad!”

The screaming turned into whining.

Downstairs. My want to go downstairs.

“Oh, honey. I know. You are mad because you want to go downstairs.”

Yeah. She sighed a long sigh. Downstairs.

“You can go downstairs tomorrow, Grace. I promise. Can I hold your hand while you go to sleep?”

Yeah. And that was that. She slipped her hand into mine, sighed again, and shut her eyes.

She just needed to be heard.

She was getting louder and more frantic because she thought we didn't understand.

In the heat of the moment, it's so easy to forget that kids are people, too. They need to be acknowledged before they can follow our instructions.

Grace needed to go to sleep, but she couldn't until she believed that we understood her request. She needed to be heard.

Photo by Robb North

© 2010 – 2018, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.

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10 thoughts on “She Just Needed to Be Heard”

  1. Poor sweet pea. Can you imagine how hard it is to be a toddler? I watch Dean get frustrated and half the time I know it's because he knows EXACTLY what he wants, he just doesn't know how to tell me what it is. Hope she gets her tv time today. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention She Just Needed to Be Heard | Feels Like Home --
  3. Has she ever! We were invited to a birthday party today at the worst possible hour – 1pm. So Grace had a half hour nap on the way to the party and a half hour nap on the way home. Since we got home, she's been watching tv, coloring, and playing. She's too tired to do much of anything else. Poor kid.

  4. Well done to you – great mom skills knowing when to stop and listen. I still remember the first major tantrum my oldest had, which was largely down to me not taking time to slow down and listen to her. It can make all the difference. Even if we can’t fix their problem, just acknowledging their feelings can help.

  5. Awesome job! That is so important to remember, sometimes we get caught up as parents telling them what to do or not to do that we just don't listen. I really try very hard to listen to Taylor still, even as a teenager.

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