This weekend I spent some time with a mom and her little guy not quite two years old. After an earlier than normal morning wake-up and a long hectic day, by 7:00 PM this little boy was revved up. He was having fun, being silly, showing all his “tricks”.
“Gentle touches” his mom told him as he ran up to her and swatted at her with his two little hands flapping.
“Remember, gentle touches” his mom reminded him the next time he approached, but …
“Do you need to sit in your chair and think about giving gentle touches?” his mom asked softly.
Yes, I guess he did, as he toddled right to his chair, just a few feet away and sat there proudly.
After a half minute, he was up and heading back toward his mom. “Are you ready to give gentle touches?”
Oops – gentle touches, not quite yet – so back he meandered again to his little chair and sat – for about twenty seconds.
And so the “game” went on – until the game and the little guy escalated to bigger swats and flailing. But this astute mom knew just intuitively how to bring him back, what he needed at that moment.
” Do you need a big squeeze? Do you want Mama to give you a big squeeze?”
Oh, yes he did, as he collapsed into her for a giant hug, the biggest squeeze ever – that playfully and emotionally connected both of them, and gave this tired little boy the best antidote possible to help him stop and regulate his emotions.
A squeeze – a very long and loving squeeze.