Sunday, January 22, 2012

OH, What a Day It's Been!

Yesterday was a blissful day filled with peace. When Little Guy awoke, he sat up, stretched, and said, "A new day!" Made me smile to hear him say that because when I wake up, I usually say it to myself, in my mind. He must have made up his mind then and there to try his hardest to be "nice" to everyone. (We use "nice", "mean", "happy", etc. to describe how we're feeling and acting around here - I avoid "good" and "bad" as much a possible.) He was nice! He didn't whine or cry a split second after he realized we weren't going to do things his way. Instead, he would say, "Stop, stop, stop! I have to talk now. I want ____ because ___." And, we listened. Sometimes, he ended up getting what he wanted, other times we were able to explain calmly and rationally why he couldn't have what he wanted. He'd be sad or angry for a minute or two (and he told us this), so we'd try to help him cope with those feelings. Then, we'd move on.

There was no yelling, throwing toys, hitting, or deliberately doing the exact opposite of what we asked or what he knew to be one of our steadfast rules.All of those are things that usually occur on a daily, and sometimes hourly, basis around here. When I suggested that he might like to lay down to rest, he hopped into bed. At dinnertime, he told me how yummy the bread was. He kept his toys cleaned up without me even asking him. When he laid down in bed that night - ON HIS OWN - to go to sleep, I started to wonder what happened to my kid. Did he switch personalities with some other kid? Were there parents somewhere wondering why their normally easy-going and docile child had acted like a little nut all day?
Then today happened and I know that he didn't have a major shift in personalities. I woke up when he jabbed my closed eyes with his fingers. Before I could even sit up, he was jumping on the bed and demanding that I make him some tea, "NOW, MAMA!" Well, at least I knew better than to count on yesterday's behavior coming back again today, right?
But, you see, today has been quite awful and has put me to the test. I think that all of the orneriness that he didn't release yesterday built up and just popped a cork. It came pouring out today. Now, usually he drinks his tea and I drink my coffee first thing in the morning while we talk about our plans for the day. I'll make a list of what needs to be done and he'll come up with the fun ideas. My stuff consists of cleaning and cooking, his has things like "Do a project with paint" and "Go to the library". Well, today's list was a little different. His plans went like this:
  • I not goin' to listen to anybody
  • I goin' to make a mess
  • I not clean my toys
  • I throw cars
  • I goin' to be loud
  • I throw my food on floor and smash it
  • I goin' to head-bup [head-butt] and bite Brubber
It goes on and on - he pretty much listed everything that he could possibly think of that we do not like him doing.I diligently wrote his list out for him and then we went over it and I asked him why he wanted to do each thing. We really couldn't come up with answers. I thought maybe he'd had a bad dream and woke up angry or upset, but his dreams sounded like good ones to me.

Now, one of the things about our lists is we get to cross things off as we do them. And I really didn't know what to do with this list he had made. We weren't going to keep it! I asked him if maybe we could make a new list of fun things to do and he agreed. So we got rid of the old one and made a more normal list. Well, I might have thrown out the written list, but he had it in his head and crossed out every one of his plans before lunch. He's finally taking a nap and I am hoping he'll wake up in a much better mood. I don't know if I can stand an entire evening with this mess. Evenings are usually his worst behavioral times anyway, so I'm pretty creeped out by the thoughts of his determination to be a monster boy added to an already nasty time of the day...

I can't help but wonder if he's conducting an experiment. Maybe he's planned it all out: One day be nice, the next day be mean. Maybe he'll be an amazingly happy kid tomorrow? I can't see it happening in a child so young, but he's never been typical in his thinking. Only time will tell...

And, when he wakes from his nap, I'm filling him up with some chamomile and peppermint tea. It's worth a try to get him relaxed right away!


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