Calm your heart

By Sarah

For some reason, when my tinies are all wound up, I press my hand to their chest and quietly say “Calm your heart.”

I don’t know why I do it. I’ve never heard or seen anyone else do it. I don’t remember when it started. But whenever Anne (4) or Joseph (2) seem overwhelmed, whiny or just plain ornery, my words are always to calm their heart. I can’t get through to them when they are in a tizzy. So their panic needs to go.

It’s quite simply. I place my hand on their chest, right above their heart and give just the tiniest bit of pressure. I look in the eyes and the words are “Calm your heart.” It’s a call to pause, to slow down, to take a deep breath. And it always gets through.

One night, we had a houseful of people. There were presents for the tinies and it was getting late; both of them were falling into an abyss of over-stimulation and whining. Anne melted into a puddle of unmet preschooler expectations.

She looked up at me and said, with a sob-hiccup, “Mummy, would you tell me to calm my heart?”

I placed my hand on her skinny chest, feeling her heart thrumming beneath my palm and did just that. She took a shaky breath and said, “I need my heart to be calm.”

I am not excluded just because I am the grown-up, you know. I need my heart to be calm.

When I am late to drop them off at day care those two days a week or trying to get supper on the table or all of the fingernails clipped or finding the shirt that MUST be worn today. When I can’t figure out what to do for school and I worry about where I’m failing and I feel busy or unappreciated or just plain tired. When the heart starts to beat fast with my unmet expectations, with my over-stimulation, with my whining and my tears, I have said it so often, that I feel it now, too.

A gentle pressure on my heart, a nudge to slow down, to breathe, to be grateful, to be present, to pause. I take a deep breath and yes. Yes. Calm my heart.

Sarah blogs at Emerging Mummy.

7 Responses to Calm your heart
  1. Renee
    August 2, 2010 | 5:41 pm

    Love that thought!!

  2. Barbara Manatee
    August 4, 2010 | 12:07 pm

    Such a wonderful action/moment/idea. My 3 yr old twins sure could use something like that – a ‘magic wand’ to help calm their hearts. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Marcela Beatty
    August 11, 2010 | 10:15 am

    This is beautiful! And a reminder “to calm my heart”. Thank you.

  4. Stephanie
    August 14, 2010 | 2:00 am

    Sarah! I think I’m going to start using this “Calm Your Heart technique” with my girls! I love it for so many reasons.

    Thank you for sharing your brilliance and your beautiful way w/ words with us.

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