Posts tagged parenting
Nathan and I had a fabulous conversation last night. Sometimes it’s really hard to connect with him- whenever he talks to me, he’s not all there per se. It’s like there’s a bunch of clutter in his sweet little head, and it’s sometimes hard for him to push through it and connect on a level to where he actually “gets” what I’m saying. At any rate, when he has one of those moments where he connects with me and can really hear what I’m saying, I try to take advantage of that.
So I was in the bedroom getting things in order and straightening up when Nathan came in. He asked what I was doing, and I told him I was just cleaning up a little. He asked if we could sit on the bed together, so I sat down with him. He gave me a big ole bear hug, so I grabbed him close and hugged him fiercly. I asked him how school went that day, and he told me he was very nice to the other kids and didn’t call anyone names. (We’ve been having issues with him calling other people “stinky” and “poopy.”) So I told him I was very proud of him for being so nice. His eyes lit up like diamonds.
“You’re proud of me?” he asked.
“Oh honey. Absolutely! You make me proud all the time!”
“You’re very welcome. You know I love you very, very much, right?”
“Yeah. Even when you’re not nice to me or other kids, I still love you. No matter what you do or what you say, I will never, ever stop loving you.”
“Even when I say shut up?” he asked.
“Yes. Even then.”
“Even when you say shut up? You said shut up last week.” Hmm. Shut up is a bad word in my house. I don’t like it and rarely, if ever, say it. At most, I say hush, be quiet, and when I’m super angry, I’ll say hush it or shut it or shoosh it. Much to my chagrin, sometimes it’s so hard to not lose my patience when he’s backtalking me and being defiant. I’ve been talking to him a lot about taking responsibility for things we say, so I wasn’t going to argue with him about it and lose the moment. He has an insane memory, and for all I know, maybe I did say shut up and just don’t remember it.
“Honey, sometimes people say things they don’t mean when they get frustrated. But that doesn’t make it okay. Sometimes Mommy makes mistakes, and I’m so very sorry.”
“Yeah,” he said. “It really, really, really hurt my feelings. It made me so sad.”
“Oh, my sweet boy,” I said as I put my hands on his face. My eyes started to water. “I am so sorry I hurt your feelings. I love you, Nathan.”
“But why?” he asked.
“Because you’re my boy. I grew you in my belly, and God helped you come out. I loved you from the moment you started growing in my belly, and even more the first time I ever held you in my arms. You’re so smart, beautiful, and sweet, and kind, and loving.”
“I love you too, Mom!”
“Oh yeah? Why do you love me?”
“Because you make lots and lots of good milk for baby brother so he can get bigger and bigger and BIGGER! And then he’ll be so big and then he’ll eat food and won’t need your milk and your milk will go away.”
I’m not even kidding! HE TOTALLY SAID THAT! It was hilarious and SO hard not to bust out laughing. I’ve never told him that my milk will eventually “go away” once John weans himself. He’s a smart kiddo, and he’s always saying things that completely crack me up. And who knew that me making milk for his baby brother would be a reason Nathan loves me? Ha ha. I so love that boy.
Nathan was sick earlier in the week last week, and guess what happened? Well I won’t keep you in suspense because I’m sure you’re just dying to know. Today, John, Paul, and I are all sick. Well, John and I are the sick ones and Paul hasn’t quite come down with it just yet- he can tell his body is trying to fight it off. Fingers crossed that he doesn’t get the full blown cold because let me tell you, it’s no fun!
Nathan definitely has a habit of spreading his sick germs around. Because of his sensory issues, he’s constantly walking around with his tongue hanging out of his mouth and he still drools often. Before he started preschool, he was really good about covering his coughs and sneezes with his elbow, but that’s all gone down the toilet after being around other kids at school. Apparently, he has class with a bunch of heathens because now not only does he not cover his mouth and nose, he’ll cough right in my face. Seriously, it’s worse now that it was when he was a toddler!
Speaking of the other kids in his class being heathens, he’s definitely picked up some bad habits from them. Like chewing with his mouth open. Oh my gosh, it’s so disgusting. Before he started school, he had excellent manners. Always chewed with his mouth closed, said his pleases and thank yous. But now? Now he has the nerve to look right at me and chew with his mouth WIDE OPEN. And the smacking makes me want to stab out my ears with a pumpkin carver. When that happens, this mama assumes he is no longer interested in actually eating rather than playing, so he’s dismissed from the table to his room.
What is WRONG with other parents out there? I can’t tell you how many kids I’ve seen (not counting at his preschool) who chew with their mouths wide open and smacking, the parents right there allowing it to happen. Kids throwing food on the floor, making demands, not saying please and thank you. It drives me batty because, well, I actually CARE about my child’s social graces. I tell him he’s not an animal and I expect him to act like a civilized human being. I also tell him that if he continues to act uncouth, he won’t have many friends in life.
So anyway, fingers crossed that this cold passes quickly because we’re a miserable bunch right now. I hate being sick on a weekend! Paul’s making some spicy ribs- maybe the salt and spiciness will help soothe my throat.
We had a scare with baby John the other day. I had him strapped into his bouncy and needed to tell Paul something. I walked from the living room, through the kitchen, and out onto the back deck. I wasn’t away from the baby for more than a minute when Nathan came running to the back door. Nathan didn’t even need to say anything; he opened the sliding glass door and the look of panic on his face said it all. We could hear the baby screaming through the open door, so I ran inside and Nathan kept crying that he was so sorry.
I darted into the living room and could hear the screaming. I saw the bouncy was unbuckled but John wasn’t in it! In my panic, I yelled to Paul that I couldn’t find him. And then I saw him on the other side of the cofee table, laying on his back, screaming while he flailed his little arms and legs in the air. I quickly scooped him up and brought him to my chest. He didn’t have a mark on him. No red marks, no bruises, nothing. Thankfully!
So here’s basically what happened: Since the baby was a little fussy, Nathan wanted to help him feel better. He’s seen me and Paul move John from the bouncy to the Bumbo seat, so Nathan thought he would do the same thing. Only before Nathan could get the baby to the Bumbo seat, John slowly slipped out of his arms and landed on his bottom. Then he fell backwards and his head hit the floor. Not hard enough to cause damage (thank God) but enough to piss him off and make him cry.
Nathan didn’t get into any trouble for this. Not only because did he not do this out of maliciousness, but he did the BEST thing by IMMEDIATELY coming to tell us. He didn’t shut down. He didn’t ingore the baby or try to cover up what he did. He didn’t try to quiet the baby to keep from gettting into trouble. He immediately ran to get me and Paul. The panic he felt at possibly hurting his brother completely overrode any fear of getting into trouble himself.
Nathan’s only four, and that’s HUGE. This shows me that Nathan has empathy and places other’s needs above his own.
So Paul took Nathan into his room, sat him down, and explained why he can never, ever pick up the baby unless Mommy and Daddy are there to help. Nathan bawled his little eyes out and then came into the living room to hug his brother and tell him how sorry he was. It took me a while for my legs to quit shaking and for the blood to travel back to my head. That scared me half to death. Hearing my baby cry, not seeing him, and imagining something awful like a broken bone or blood everywhere.
This all happened a few days ago, and Nathan still talks about how he’s sorry he dropped his baby brother. He’s trying to make up for it by giving John lots of love. He’s even been carrying John to bed- with my help, of course. I walk behind Nathan with my hands under John’s arms while Nathan holds the baby close to his chest.
I’m sure that in the forseeable future, there will be many more episodes of one of the boys getting hurt by the other. The life of brothers!
We’ve finally been getting back into the routine we used to have during the week. I’ve started going back to the gym (which is awesome. I’m so glad I worked out throughout my pregnancy because getting back into it is a cinch!) and now we’ve also resumed bible study. After starting back at the gym last week, we’ve already seen a change in Nathan’s behavior. Bringing home a new baby and then moving to a new house is a lot to ask of a four-year-old, so its no surprise he was getting an attitude with us.
He really missed going to the gym. So much so that the first two days back, trying to get him to leave when it was time to go home was like pulling teeth! He would scream, shout, tell me no, run away from me… I told him that we WILL be coming back and he doesn’t have to be afraid that we won’t. Poor fellow loves being there. After that, I had a long talk with him about how that kind of behavior is unacceptable. I explained to him that in order for me to keep bringing him back, I have to trust that he will behave himself and leave with me when it’s time to go. Apparently, my talk worked! So far so good, because now when I go pick him up, he shouts, “MOMMY! HI, MOMMY!” and he will come racing over to me and envelop me in one of his amazing bear hugs.
This week, our church has been doing Vacation Bible Study. Up until this point, he hasn’t been because of his sensory processing issues. When he’s somewhere that’s too loud, too bright, too busy, too many people, etc., his brain goes into sensory overload and he ends up having a meltdown. By meltdown, I don’t mean a temper tantrum. Those are two totally different things. A tantrum is used to manipulate an adult to get his way; a meltdown, however, is a complete and total loss of control. So at any rate, his meltdowns have gotten a lot better as he’s gotten older, so we went ahead and let him to go VBS.
One of my sweet friends is head of the Christian Education Department at our church, and she knows about Nathan’s needs. She put Nathan in a group with an adult who works VERY well with him because she just so happens to be quite familiar with children and sensory issues. He’s still hard for her to control, but she is so patient with him and can actually foresee a problem before they happen. For example, she anticipates he’ll go into sensory overload when he’s around other loud, boisterous children, so she’ll make sure to sit between him and the other child. I can tell when I go pick him up that he’s definitely overloaded, however. He starts screaming and running around the church, plowing into anyone and everything in his path. So for the last two remaining nights (tonight and tomorrow night) I’ll be picking him up 30 minutes early to hopefully help with that.
My sweet Nathan. We’ll get this under control sooner or later. It will definitely make his life so much easier once he can figure out how to control it.