Monday, May 11

In Need of Some Extra Love

Every now and then we go through a phase in our house where Ryan and I get busy, burnt out, or somehow become oblivious to the specific needs of each of the kids.  Lately, a combination of all three perhaps, has left one little boy feeling a little off.  How do I know he's off?  The usual sweet, chipper nature of this goofy little guy has disappeared, and a whining guy who has been the root of many arguments and "accidents" has appeared.

I might blame it on his age.  I might blame it on an upcoming growth spurt.  I could very easily blame it on him being a boy.  But when I start trouble-shooting bad tempers around here, I start with his basic needs and how I'm meeting them.

  1. Has he been eating well?  Well, this one has always had strong preferences for food.  He likes only a few things and I don't think I'm feeding him enough fats and proteins, so I'm going to try to let him have more control over his own diet.  (He's always been the kind of kid who needs to choose his own path in his own time- apparently he needs to fill up his own plate too.)  
  2. How has he been sleeping?  I don't think he was meant to be an early rise like his brother.  He's been sleeping in more lately (since Luke has not been waking him up!) and that seems to help.  So we need to positively encourage and remind Luke to honor his brother's sleeping habits.  (Luke's the kind of kid who responds 100x better to positive affirmation rather than correction.) 
  3. How is his health?  This I'm not positive about.  I need to get a weight on him and check his growth on the chart.  I feel like he's not as big as his brother was at this age, and that he'd a little pale and slim.  But it's been winter and he hasn't been eating well, so maybe some sun and ice cream will do him some good!
  4. What else is going on?  This year he's adjusted to having a baby sister.  Initially it wasn't a big deal, but I feel like as the first year went on I could tell he needed some extra Mommy time.  I'd try to fit in some extra cuddles, extra one-on-one reading time, and game time while the older kids are listening to an audio book.  He's still a little kid while Luke has moved up to the older kid realm in some senses.  I've pushed him through his toddlerhood and pre-k years, not intentionally, and he's probably just fine because he is a little precocious in my opinion. ;-)  But I can't push him into growing up.  He needs mama time, and I can't deny him of that.  He needs to know he's safe with me.  These past few months we've had a few incidents of him trying to be independent where he clearly still needs adult help, and it's not gone over well.  I still need to coddle him, baby him, and tell him I love him in a sappy voice- even if he giggles and says, "Mom, stop it!" with smiling eyes and his long lashes.
He's a kid who needs to forage his own path.  He has strong preferences about food, clothing, what books he likes, and when and how he will play or learn.  I really can't make him do anything- it's got to seem like it was his idea.  He likes to tuck in his shirts (even t-shirts into basketball shorts) and he likes to dip everything into mustard.  He REALLY wants a baseball-themed birthday party even though the kid has never played or really even seen a baseball game in his whole life!  He absolutely refused to ever go to Sunday School until one day he said, "I want to go today," and he's been every day since then.  I've known since the moment of his conception that God has great plans for him.  It's my job to take these traits and quirks of his and help mold and shape them into something for God's greater glory.  And right now, at 4 years and 10.5 months old, he needs to be a little boy for a bit longer.

I've re-committed myself to babying him.  To pay more attention to what he's feeling, how he's holding up when we're having long days, making sure he's getting the time and attention he needs, and making sure he's eating well and enough.  I can't put a time period on it but I think about a month of some intense Mommy attention will do this boy some good.  Then, the boy will be five years old, I'll probably cry some big fat "Where has my chunky baby gone?!" tears, we can have a fun summer, and we can start talking about kindergarten!

Swinging very high on park swings can turn anyone's day around.

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