I planned for us to go to the park today, since our regular Thursday babysitter is sick and can't make it this week. I even put out the call on Facebook, so we will be joined by one of our friends. She called to let me know they are running late, and when we were done talking, Moira wanted to know who had called. I told her.
"I don't want them to play at the park with us," she screamed and immediately started crying. I tried to calm her down, but her immediate reaction combined with my current low emotional reserves meant my reaction was to tell her to suck it up.
Not so helpful.
So then I told her we both needed to calm down and we would talk before we went to the park. She told me when she was ready to go, and we sat down to talk and snuggle. She also untied the bow on my shirt, which I guess is why I stopped wearing it long enough ago that she doesn't remember it.
I told her we were going to the park to have fun, and that other kids would be there, also playing. She didn't have to play with them, but they would be there and that was okay. Then I asked what she could do if she started getting upset.
"You want to look at bees?"
"No Mommy! Bees!" (demonstrates breathing)
That's right. She even stopped doing the puppy breaths and does deep breaths like I do, when she remembers, or is willing to be reminded. I pointed out that her two favorite things to do at parks (swings and slides) are solo activities, so she can always do that if she doesn't want to play. And now she's happy and I'm calm and we are ready to go.