How The Wild Things Feel: A Letter To My Preschooler When His Emotions Overhelm

Letter to My Tiny Wild Thing: When Emotions Overwhelm Our Children

To my tiny wild thing,

I feel lately that you’re on a boat at sea… you are going to dance with the wild things and you can’t hear me calling anymore.

You are still getting used to wearing that little crown … independence doesn’t quite fit you yet and you’re trying to find your way. You’re 3 years old next week, and rush furiously between wanting to be a baby in my arms again and longing to be a grown up.

You pushed your friend down the slide. I wasn’t there but I can only imagine the look of sadness and hurt in her eyes. You likely laughed because that’s what you seem to do lately after you hurt someone… generally it’s just throwing a spoon at your sister, spitting water at me over breakfast, or hitting your dad while he tries to change your diaper. This laugh reminds me that you are dancing with the wild things, in a nighttime rumpus round a fire.

But I know the rumpus makes you sad, too. You’re laughing, but you have so many other feelings beneath your wolf costume. You are hurt that I brought another being into our love- you don’t yet know that my love is big enough for both of you. You are angry that you can’t just do everything yourself, whether it’s tying your shoes or going to the park- you don’t yet understand that these things will come in time. You know that you scare people when you get angry- but you can’t yet control these impulses. And you are overwhelmed because these feelings are so much bigger than you. You are all dancing together but you’re not sure you like the dance. And you don’t yet know how to control your feelings… so they control you.

I want so very badly to make my own boat, to paddle across the sea, to steal you back from the wild things and to hold you until the scared goes away, and you’re my little boy again.

But I can’t fully go where you’ve gone. You’re right beside me but you’re far away, trying to grow into your little crooked crown, with a forest growing round you. I can only tell you I love you, and leave your dinner out: I will wait, and keep it hot, and be your home, and call you back. 

Letter to My Tiny Wild Thing: When Emotions Overwhelm Our Children
… and I will always be here to carry you close and keep you safe… even when you sail away…

(… although in this book the mum sends him to bed without his dinner, I will never do that to you… promise!)



  1. Meg
    December 12, 2017

    Ummmmm…I’m totally bawling while reading this to Scott….gorgeous writing my friend, we loved it 💛💚💙💜

  2. Cindy
    December 12, 2017

    I too am a teary mess. Are you sure you didn’t write this for me and my crew?

  3. Holly
    December 13, 2017

    I could change the “boy”s to “girl”s and the 3 year old to 9 year old… it would still fit (well. most of it, with creative license). hang on there mama. you’re doing great.


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