23. “Mouse was Mad” by Linda Urban

Yesterday was the day when my son confirmed that he is a real man, indeed.  He loves pressing buttons. Luckily, not yet on the remote control, but on the elevator, traffic lights or door bells… anywhere, anytime.  He even pushed MY buttons a few times.

We were crossing the street and he wanted to turn the pedestrian crossing light. Somebody had done it before us, so I hurried across the street not to lose the signal, but my obsessive-compulsive son wanted to walk back and press the button HIMSELF. He walked home in tears, screaming hysterically, as I was quietly debating who should give in: me or him. I couldn’t decide. Ten minutes later  we walked back to press the unfortunate button.

Later, we read books and we opened “Mouse Was Mad”. I could not believe how relevant our random read turned out to be!

Mouse was mad. He was hopping, stomping, screaming, rolling… Nothing was helping. Actually he was getting more annoyed as he couldn’t do any of those actions perfectly. Hare laughed at him hop, Bear ridiculed his stomp, Bobcat did not approve of his scream and Hedgehog criticized his rolling technique. Suddenly the mouse stood still for a bit, took a big breath and… not only did he impress the other animals, but also felt much better. He was not mad anymore. 

I was happy that our screaming incident didn’t end up with time-out or yelling, but quietly. As if my son stopped believing in the power of his venting. Did my silence challenge him? He wanted me to talk. I felt in control. “What control?” you might think.  Did I let him do what he demanded? Yes and No. I view it more as a compromise. He calmed down, apologized for throwing a fit and promised not to do it again.  After all, it is not easy to reason with tired children (my son dropped his naps two weeks ago). Besides,  obsessive-compulsive runs in our family.

If your little mouse gets mad or drives you mad, don’t vent. Just give yourselves a minute to stand still and take a deep breath. Then read this book. They story and the pictures by Henry Cole will make both of you smile.