Case in point, I remember when mine were smaller two instances occurred near each other that provided the stark contrast between my two kids.
Part two of this revelation has to do with The Big Difference.
We played and laughed and screamed our hearts out like we hadn’t a care in the world. Why?
Because for two solid days he had given me attitude. He was surly and defiant.
After I hit my limit during those two days, I yelled and punished. (Knowing how to communicate, are two very different skills!) I wrung my hands in frustration.
I did some good things too. I inquired about what was bothering him. I said I noticed he seemed not himself and could I maybe help him figure out why. I tried to have quiet talks with him-to no avail.
Clearly, I knew he had some problem. His behavior was communicating that loud and clear. For him though, it wasn’t as easy as with my daughter. With him it took me a while and more than a few unsuccessful attempts before I remembered I had to just let the facts of the problem come to me. When he was ready.
So I stopped trying to figure it out and instead shifted to play. We played, and we had a blast. When I let go, a funny thing happened.
Mid-morning, as we laid on the floor catching our breath from our latest cage-match, The Middle One blurted out that he was worried about staying with a new babysitter. Days before, I had given him the heads up of some changes coming due to a new work schedule. He’d have a new sitter during the day because I’d be out of the house for a few hours of work.
That morning he asked if he could please go with me, or at least have Steph-his new “favorite” sitter-come over instead. At that moment I knew I had precious little time to say what I could to comfort him before he got uncomfortable withe conversation and moved on to the next.
So, I empathized with the newness, admitting I too was a littler nervous for all the changes. I assured him that I chose someone I really trusted and I thought that maybe he’d even have fun. I also assured him that when I got home he could weigh-in on the new sitter so I would know how it all worked out.
No sooner were the words out than he jumped on me and started giggling again. Problem solved. He was great with the sitter. He was in great spirits when I got home and he told me he really liked her and he won’t mind next time I go.
This is how it has worked with my kids almost from the beginning. The Girl is open and chatty. She is reasonable and thinks almost to a fault. The Middle One is just as reasonable and a deep, deep thinker.
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