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Origami Really Is Calming

, , , , , , | Friendly | August 6, 2022

Last week, I took my four-year-old daughter to the park. For some reason, she has been experiencing a massive resurgence of the “terrible twos” stage, regularly throwing tantrums and being especially wilful. If she doesn’t want to do something, she’ll let you know about it.

At the park, she behaved beautifully. I thought maybe today was going to be a good day — the first in a long time. As always, when it was time to go, I gave her several warnings: we’re leaving in ten minutes, leaving in five, two more minutes, etc. She seemed fine with those, telling me, “Okay, Mummy!” each time.

Her perfect behaviour rapidly ended when I told her it was now time to go.

Daughter: “Five more minutes!”

When I told her no, she shrieked loudly and tried to run back to the climbing frame. I managed to grab her. She kicked, screamed, shouted, and scratched, all while doing “the toddler flop” — when kids collapse to the ground and make it as hard as possible for you to pick them up.

I managed to get her out of the park, and we started back home, but she flopped again and again, screaming and crying. We reached a very busy road. My daughter was wailing away and trying to break free. I was concerned about making it across the road safely, so I stopped and sat down and hoped she would scream herself out eventually.

The whole time this was happening, I received glares, disapproving head shakes, and people muttering about me. Everyone was judging me for the awful parent I must surely be.

Despite my best efforts to soothe my daughter, she just wasn’t having it. I had no idea what to do.

Then, a lady passed by and looked at my daughter. She smiled softly and then approached my daughter.

Lady: “Wow. I love your dress. Are you Elsa?”

My daughter stopped for a moment and then looked down at the “Frozen” dress-up outfit she had insisted on wearing.

The lady did a curtsey.

Lady: “Queen Elsa, your majesty.”

My daughter sniffed.

Lady: “Do you want to see a magic trick?”

My daughter sniffed again and nodded slowly.

The lady rummaged in her carrier bag and pulled out a box filled with what looked like paper.

Lady: “What’s your favourite colour?”

Daughter: “B-blue.”

The lady’s face lit up.

Lady: “That’s a great colour. Okay.”

She fished through the box and took out a blue piece of square paper.

Lady: “I’m going to turn this piece of paper into a bird.”

My daughter sat up, looking very sceptical, but the lady set the paper down on the wall and began folding the paper this way and that so quickly that even I lost track. My daughter was so mesmerised throughout the whole thing that she forgot she was supposed to be throwing a tantrum.

Eventually, the lady produced an origami crane, which she handed to my daughter.

Lady: “This is a paper crane. They’re very lucky. But they can also get very lonely. They like to have lots of friends. Will you be his friend?”

My daughter nodded.

Lady: “Paper cranes especially love being friends with toys. Do you have any toys who would be friends with him?”

My daughter shot to her feet and practically dragged me home. I barely had time to thank the lady before we were off down the road. As soon as we got home, my daughter raced into her bedroom to introduce her new “friend” to all her toys.

She was so enamoured with making sure the crane made friends with each and every one of her toys (including all the bath toys), that I got several hours of peace to enjoy a cup of tea.

I don’t know if you’ll ever know quite how much your help meant, but if you ever see this, thank you, kind stranger. My daughter loves her new friend.

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