I'm a strong believer of having rhythm in our days. It gives us things to look forward to during the day. Times for stories, art, quiet, outdoors and snacks are cherished in our home. Despite our rhythm, I've noticed certain hours of the day to be particularly challenging. I'm sure every family has times of the day that are difficult.
Over the last week I have named our challenging time The Meltdown. It begins the moment the clock strikes three o'clock and continues until we begin supper. During The Meltdown, everything seems to fall apart all around me. Monkey is overtired but refuses to nap, Sweetpea thinks napping is overrated and Student arrives from school. In the next couple hours Monkey and Student chase each other around house while Sweetpea wails in protest at being left out. It's a time to sink or swim. I'm content if I can manage a doggie paddle. I kiss ouchies, cook supper and dish out discipline for behaviour that never seems to happen during the rest of the day. All the while I am fervently praying for patience, wisdom and more patience.
However, today I was sinking fast. My usual resources for The Meltdown were already exhausted and I was ready to hide. My thoughts skittered. Somewhere between needing calmness, craving chamomile and praying I put the kettle on. As the children were screaming I pulled out some herbal tea and announced, rather calmly I might add, that it was tea time. As soon as Monkey saw me bring down the fancy tea cups he sat at the table and I was doggie paddling again.
Monkey and Student sat quietly for over half-and-hour sipping their tea and eating dried apricots, almonds, banana and a cookie. I smiled, something I should do more often during this time of day. There is something simply magical about tea time with children. I know of families that have liturgical teas with their children as a way to teach them more about Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter. Today I am convinced that teas are a wonderful way to calm and collect the family. I will definitely be adding this activity to my Meltdown arsenal!