When Boy was a baby, WB and I rarely needed a sitter (sitters require money...). When we would call on someone to come hang with him, we'd fill them in with all the deets, including bedtime. We quickly learned, however, that what they really needed to know was that Boy would just go to sleep when we left. Not immediately, but he'd play a bit, and have some dinner, and right after eating, he was done. For the night. The first few times the sitters were worried they'd done something wrong, but the best we could figure was he missed us, and knew if he went to sleep he would feel better. (I know, amazing coping skills for an 8 month old!)
As you all know, I've been dealing with a lot of Sunshine related drama, and one of the main themes is the distinct lack of coping skills. Either they don't know how to cope with the given situation, or don't have the energy to, or don't really care to, but the lack of coping causes as many problems as the issue at hand. But we debrief a lot about what they could have done, what they could do next time, and most importantly, how to avoid the situation in the future. I'm under no delusions that I wave my magic wand and *poof* everything is fixed, but it certainly won't get any worse by me trying.
I was chatting with my Little Big Sis this week, and I realized that I am running a national campaign that I didn't even know existed! Last year one of my girls came up with "Buckaroo on your shoulder". It even comes with hand movements: hold your thumb and forefinger about 2 inches apart, and then put it up on your shoulder. That's where I sit, all day, every day, ready to give you advice when you need it (kinda like WWJD? but without insinuating that I'm God-like). Should I get in the vehicle with this person I know has been drinking? Buckaroo on your shoulder thinks probably not. You might still choose to get in the truck, but you at least thought about it, for a minute, and owned the decision. Nationally, I guess it's called the Pause Campaign. Who knew?
Coping skills are huge. Without them, you feel out of control, often look out of control, and can end up looking less competent than you really are (I'll never forget the PET I left in hysterical tears when I got some bad infertility news. It was soon after that I resigned my teaching postion to focus on becoming a parent.) But when you've got the right skill for the right situation, you come out looking like a genius.
WB left for the Dominican Republic last night, and will be gone for a week or so. While I was making dinner tonight, I suddenly realized Boy was asleep on the couch. That kid knows how to cope.