Off beat

This past year Maryam has been transitioning from a toddler to a preschooler. This past year I came to appreciate how easy toddlers are to deal with. With her opinion becoming more audible, our daily activities involve striking some deal or another.

“Maryam we need to brush your teeth, it’s almost bedtime.”

“No! I want yogurt!”

“Okay, we’ll eat yogurt first but then brush your teeth, deal?”


We are each practicing the art of negotiation, but it gets extremely frustrating when that doesn’t work or when the process takes too long for the time at hand. What to do when you’ve nearly run out of patience, and they feed off of it and begin to meltdown? Maybe you didn’t guess it, but…break out into song and dance of course! One thing I find helps me the most when my patience wears down or when she is completely unresponsive to my speech is singing my way through the situation. Sure my husband may flee to another room to escape my awful off beat tune, but it’s almost guaranteed to diffuse the situation, or at least put out my fuse. The worst that usually happens is that I realize I look like an idiot even to a 3 year old, and proceed to laugh hard enough at myself that I feel rejuvenated. The magic happens when she comes around and joins in with me.

♫ Oh the white moon rose over us ♪ from the valley of ♫…”

“…wada3 ♫”

♪ And we owe it to show gratefulness ♫ where the call is…”

“…to Allah! ♪”

I have even found that adding melody and rhythm to mundane commands improves the chances she will accept. Everything from washing out the soap in her hair, to brushing it, to cleaning up has a homemade phrase that we sing. Music soothes the savage toddler, and apparently also enhances intelligence, coordination, emotional expression, creativity, and socialization skills. So the next time you find yourself and your child equally frustrated at a situation, try lightening up the mood with a beat you can jive to. You might grab their attention, even if it’s just to laugh at you 😉

Dalal Kanan

Dalal is currently a chemistry graduate student who above all loves being mom to a precious 2 yr old.

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