Someone at the Griffith Park pony rides called the cops on my babysitter Jen.
Let me tell you about Jen. I’m convinced that Jen is actually some kind of Bodhisattva , who has put off her ascent into Nirvana in order to stick around and offer aid and compassion to the rest of us suffering souls. She is so gentle that I often have to give her my, “you need to be more assertive and learn to say no, just not to me” talk. She’s been taking care of T for years now and I consider her one of the family. I trust her implicitly. I often defer to her wisdom in difficult situations, in fact.
Apparently T was refusing to get into the car (daily occurrence) and was pitching an epic fit about it so she just sat down with him in the dirt until he could calm down. Which took a while. End of story.
An hour later the cops showed up at the door. Someone had witnessed his tantrum and had written down our license plate.
And do you know what the cop said?
Without my saying a word about T, he said, “I read the report and I didn’t even want to come here. I have a three-year-old with special needs and it sounded exactly like what goes on every day at my house.”
I get a little teary thinking about it. Because a moment that could have been shaming and scary turned into this surprising opportunity for understanding and connection.
I don’t know what to say. It gets loud around here. It gets really loud for a really long time. And the absolute best thing we can do sometimes is just sit down and be present with T. I consider it a victory when I can do that and don’t shut down or yell or cuss or cover my ears.
And it’s embarrassing when it happens in public. Yes, it is. But I try to remember that what other people think about my parenting of my screaming child isn’t my concern. My concern is how to give him tools to start learning to regulate his emotions. And while I’m at it to better learn to regulate my own.
But this cop knew all that already.