What a weekend! I don’t think we have had such an amazing weekend as a family like this in about a month. Saturday’s beautiful fall sunshine weather just added to my joy, the joy of being with Michael outside in the park. I watched him play serenely on all the park equipment, and then play quietly on the grass with his Skylander figurines, a new interest.
“There are no more picnic tables Mommy. Did the city put them away?”
“Yes, winter is coming. Enjoy today. We are getting snow on Monday.”
A small smile plays on his lips. “I’m so excited. Will we be able to go sledding?”
I laugh. “There won’t be that much snow. But it’s good you have your new snow pants.”
He runs off to play. I sit down in the grass and feel lighter than I have in a long while. Michael’s challenging behaviors had started up again last week. I think I figured out what the problem was. He had another loose tooth that came out Friday afternoon. The beginning of the week had been so hard for both of us. Then I remembered a few weeks previously there had been pain with the other tooth too. He was feeling calm again. The pain was gone. I knew this was not the only reason. I had also been making sure to really be present for him. I had been turning off my phone and listening, and most importantly, feeling calm around Michael by practicing self-care. I had made sure to go back to my weekly exercise along with meditation and yoga. I had all that much more to give him even if I’d had a busy work day. It’s so important for parents to take care of themselves so they can be there for their kids.
I witnessed a calmer and more mature son this weekend. He was feeling good. He was rested. He knew his limits, and he asked calmly for what he wanted to do. I even had some extra beautiful surprises. He bonded with his Dad in a way I haven’t seen for quite a while. It’s been strained between them due to stress on both their parts. But as Dad has gotten back into his self-care, the two of them spent a beautiful Sunday. They went to shopping centers, out to lunch, a tennis lesson, and a holiday craft bazaar. The child that came home was not the son of the last few weeks who was stressed, anxious, fighting. He was clearly happy to have had time with his Dad and thrilled to tell me all about his day. It was so nice to see my little guy so happy.
Pain can do a lot to all of us. It can make us think and act crazy. I was reminded this weekend of something I read in a book a long while ago about children and behavior. It is important to always see if there is a physical cause for behaviors or outbursts. The child could be overtired or in physical discomfort in a way that we had not thought of. It works the same for us adults, though we usually can hold it together better. I had forgotten this life lesson, and was so happy that Michael reminded me of it by showing me the truly wonderful little boy he is when he too is feeling balanced and good inside.
Exceptional Parents, how many times have you missed the real culprit behind your child’s challenging behaviors? How many times have you been so stressed trying to help your child, that you forgot to be calm around them and not join their chaos? We’ve all made these mistakes. No one is perfect. The important thing is not only to be keen observers when we see our child on the right path, but also to be a keen observer when we see ourselves on that right path. Until next time.
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