For now, dinosaurs have become our permanent house guests…

Dinosaurs are the latest craze in our home. It started when they fell in love with the character named Littlefoot from the television series called The Land Before Time. Littlefoot is a courageous, helpful, and friendly child Apatasaurus dinosaur who lives in The Great Valley with his grandparents and friends. He’s a very lovable character.

Littlefoot has become a household name for us.

When they are happy they become Littlefoot; they crawl around nonchalantly and respond to questions by making a long “ahhhhhhhhhh” sound. This monotone and relaxing pitch convey their agreeableness or approval. When they are angry or frustrated, they turn into Sharptooth, the ferocious T-Rex character from the show. This mode usually presents itself with toothy roaring, curling fingers like claws, evil chuckling, hopping lightly on their feet, and nose scrunching.

It annoys me when their pretend play goes on longer than I would like, but I also empathize why they act the way they do. Even as a grown up, I find it hard to articulate what I’m thinking and feeling. How much more challenging for kids who are figuring out what emotions are and knowing what to do with them. It’s so much easier to show how we feel than to verbalize it.

I will be the first to admit that it’s much easier to act on impulse rather than to resist it. If I could have it my way, I’d much rather blurt or act however I feel at the moment.

If I feel content, I could chant and dance around. If I am peeved, I could roar and stomp. No words needed.

Last week I had the roar and stamp experience when both kids chose their stuffed Elmo doll to be the prey for their carnivorous dinosaurs. It was grotesque; fluffy and happy Elmo surrounded by plastic dinosaurs with large spikes and teeth. They didn’t agree with me; instead, they informed me as a matter of fact that Elmo was meat and a perfect meal choice for the dinos. But…but…why Elmo??

I asked them nicely to put the dinosaurs away. They refused. I persisted. This exchange continued a few times. As a last resort, I plucked Elmo out of the pile and threw him back into the doll bin.

Before Elmo made it into the bin, I heard a loud and slow enunciation of the words “SSSSTTTTOOOOOPPPPPP! PUT. IT. BACK!” Meltdown was imminent. Soon thereafter, two teary eyed T-Rex’s came after me with fingers clawed to attack.

The outcome of this skirmish could’ve been different if I stopped myself from acting impulsively. I could have just let it go or not intervened by rescuing Elmo. I need to learn how to deal with situations like this more effectively since a lot of my days are made up of random moments like these. Instead of dismissing it as an annoyance, I could use the experience to learn something new about myself and my kids.

First of all, now I am fully aware that I need to buy some plastic meat toys.

Second, I need to let them play as they like.

Third, do not arbitrarily disrupt their arrangement of toys strewn over the floor; it may seem like a mess to me, but to them it’s a purposeful mess.

Fourth, in their play room, it’s perfectly okay to express yourself through chants and roars.

Lastly, I need to chill out and not take things so seriously.