Lately, my six year old has been testing my patience.
There is almost a daily fit before we leave for school, and there is always a breakdown after coming home from school, and most nights there is a melt down before bed. I have confided with some special people in my life on the way these emotional outbursts are draining me. I have desperatly been trying to find ways to to help him through his emotional six year old year. So far we have tried to keep a better schedule, to make sure he doesnt go hungry for too long, to put him to bed earlier, to make sure he eats a bigger breakfast and to make sure he isnt feeling overwhemelmed with school.
We have had so many changes in the past six months that it is no wonder our kids feel as overwhelmed as we do at times.
We welcomed a new baby, and my son started full time school for the first time in the last few months. His little life is so different. He is now spending more time with his teachers and friends in a day than he is with me, bonding and creating memories.
My mother suggested these emotional times might just be his cry (literally) for more attention, and after thinking about it, I couldn’t agree more. At first I thought, Ofcource I give my child enough attention! I am his mother after all, and I adore him!
But, the more I thought about it, I knew my sweet boy wouldn’t be one that would purposefully act out; his heart is too pure for that. He has proven to be my little helper and the one that runs to his siblings aid. He is charming and funny, outgoing and loving. This new attitude we have been seeing has to be because of something, or lack of something in this case.
With a busy house there is rarely time to spend alone time with one child. I wish there was time for one on one attention for each of them every day, but with three, they are rarely without one of their siblings. I am like most parents with more then one child — I constantly feel pulled in different directions. But like all parents I love them each to the moon and back!
Last night I made an extra effort to spend some quality time with my son. We laid in his bed together, complete with super hero figurines poking me in my side, and the feeling on my toes that their could be some sand on his newly washed sheets, regardless, we lay there and just talked.
It was already two hours past his regular bedtime, but it was the weekend, and the other babies were already asleep so I knew I needed to embrace this time together. I wasn’t about to miss this rare opportunity for the sake of a schedule.
We lay side by side in bed and I began to tell him all about the times when he was my only baby. It was just a few short years ago, but of cource he doesn’t remember the details or any of the stories I began to tell him.
I told him about how attached to me he was as a baby; how every night he slept in my bed and played with my hair as I sang him to sleep. I talked about finally getting him to sleep by himself and how we both cried ourselves to sleep that night.
I could sense him smiling in the darkness.
I told him about trying to videotape his baby boy giggle — like it was my job. How I just had to have it recorded so I wouldn’t forget his sweet baby voice. He giggled his big boy giggle and my eyes filled with tears at the sound.
He asked for more stories.
I told him about seeing his face for the first time and how much love I immediately had for him. About being afraid to change his little clothes when he was small, because I didn’t want to bend his arms the wrong way and cause him any discomfort. I stroked his long lean arms and told him about the million skin rolls his little boy arms use to have. How he was so chubby and so cute that people would stop me on the street to rave about my gorgeous baby with the big bald head. I told him how proud I was that he walked at nine months and how funny he looked being so small running through the park.
I told him his first word was “daddy”, on my first mother’s day, and how I had cried. We both laughed at the irony of the situation. Then suddenly, the room grew still and through the darkness I could see my son’s smile fading.
He was finally getting it, how much I love him and always have. How it didn’t matter what he did, or how he acted, or how often he had an outburst, that I loved him more then he knew.
He hugged me tight with those six year old arms and told me he loved me so much and that I was his “favourite mommy he has ever had.” My smile couldn’t be contained.
I wished I had of set up the video camera, like I had done a few years ago to secretly capture the sound of his baby boy giggles. I wished I could freeze this moment in time; while we lay snuggling and bonding like we had done for those first few years of his life that are so special to me — but that he doesn’t have one memory of.
I wished to keep him small and all mine and to make all the little boy freak outs disappear from that moment on. I know they wont completely disappear, but I am going to try my hardest to give him the type of loving he needs. To help make him calm when he feels emotionally overwhelmed. I want to be a safe place for him.
And you know what? Laying there with him for only a half an hour, I heard more about his little life then I had in a few months. It was just us and the darkness and he confided in me like he never had. All those times before, when I had asked about his day, when we had walked home from school, or when we drove in the car, none of it compared to what he said there when it was just the two of us.
I wanted to stay there for a long time but knew there were groceries to put away and a baby to change. I sadly knew the second I got up from that warm bed that we might not get another moment like that for a while. It made my eyes well with tears.
The absolute truth is, I love my little six year old boy with his little fits and all!
I hope if I keep our chances for communicating and sharing more open, then perhaps these emotional times will be a perfect time for him to share his feelings instead of getting upset. I want him to know that I understand, and that if I don’t, I want to.
He made my biggest dream come true when I became his mother six years ago. I wouldn’t change a thing about him, he has the sweetest biggest heart, he is filled with empathy for others and is giving beyond description. I adore him more then I could ever try to explain.
It is decided, I am going to make it a point to create those little moments with him more often. It is true that the little moments are what make life big. They are good for me just like they are good for him. He needs his Mamas’ reassurance, and I need him to just be him and let me love him something fierce….like only a Mama can.
Wishing you a happy simple Sunday loving those in your life too.
The Remodeled LifeNovember 20, 2012 at 5:01 am
This just brought tears to my eyes. You are such a good mommy. My little boy has just turned two and I just don't want him to get any bigger. I love those snuggle moments and one on one time we have but I look forward to the moments of lying in bed when he is six and talking about these days with him. So, so precious. Thanks for sharing!
LaniNovember 20, 2012 at 7:28 am
While I don't have any kids to relate to what you're going through, I can relate to that little night time talk you had with your son. I was raised by a single mom who didn't have much time for me, but I certainly remember those little talks we had before bed time making a lot of difference when I had a bad day. 🙂 p.s. the part about poking action figures and sand in the bed was hilarious! Thanks for sharing.
bethanygierNovember 21, 2012 at 5:11 am
Thanks for sharing ladies.:)
Lani-I am from a big family and know all too well how it only does take a few minutes to make a child feel extra special. :)Your mom must have done a fabulous job to have you remembering those moments with her fondly, even as an adult. 🙂
Megan – Yes, I cant believe how quickly time flies…and the older they get the less they want to snuggle. Luckily, boys love their mamas deeply and I am sure you and your little one will have many loely momemts curled up together with superheros digging into your sides…xo
Doreen@househoneysNovember 22, 2012 at 3:49 am
That was beautifully written and very touching Bethany. You're a great mom. I remember putting my daughter to bed and after reading her a story or two, she would ask me to tell her stories of my childhood. It took me a week of stories to figure out I either have a terrible memory or had a boring childhood. I must have told the same story about a dozen times! I should have done what you have and made it more about her.
Thank you for stopping by my blog. I so appreciate it!
bethanygierNovember 23, 2012 at 3:28 am
Doreen, I am sure your daughter loved hearing your childhood stories! It might be a girl thing, but I never grow tired of hearing my very forgetful mother tell me about her tales over and over again(granted, she has six kids and forgets WHO she tells things too!)
My little girl LOVES hearing the same story of my siblings and I getting into mischief and begs me to tell her them again all of the time. lol
Thanks for dropping by. I just nominated you for a well deserved Liebster award, I left a comment on your blog! xo
Carissa @ the Fabulous Design FileNovember 26, 2012 at 2:50 am
I cried when I read this! My oldest boy is 7, and I can totally relate… to the meltdowns, the tears, the not-enough-time-for-everyone! You are so right about cherishing these moments with our big boys! Glad to find your blog!