P's been, well, um..... okay he's been really p'ing me off lately. Bouncing off the walls, waking us up early, not listening, impulsive, loud, obnoxious, lots of attitude, outright mean, grumpy, etc.
Normal stuff, really. I mean, he's a 5 year old boy who's figuring out his world, and on top of it he's nervous about preschool ending and starting kindergarten this year. I can't blame him too much, but daaaaang if he didn't try his darnedest to ruin Mother's Day weekend for me! Having him help pick out flowers and plant a small garden around the mailbox was like pulling teeth, or yanking a donkey by the reins. I actually sent him away from me at a couple points, even though it was supposed to be our special alone time together, just because I couldn't handle his angry, whiny, self centered attitude anymore.
Looking back on it, I think I'll pick and choose from the memory of our alone time: Him picking out just the perfect flowers for me and him helping to lay them out then water them with a hose. We'll just ignore the other 95% of it. It's how I prefer to remember a lot of our times together :-)
But anyway, the thing is, he's been tough again lately. And this goes in spells, comes and goes, and we're used to it. But it's still frustrating.
This morning I was exhausted and Ambrose was exhausted after P woke us both up AGAIN long before he was allowed to get out of bed. We were so, so tired and both cranky and finally, since Nik was around longer today, I decided that we should all take a family walk around the block.
I use walks to talk to P, half because I'm calmer with him while out in public, and half because it keeps Ambrose quiet. Also we could all use the exercise.
We were talking about him waking us up and we got the normal "I don't know why I do it" and "I'm sorry" and "but I just wanted a cuddle!" (which he didn't ask for).
As we were walking P brought up another thing he's been talking about a lot lately, geese. Our neighborhood is a nesting ground but we've only seen one family with goslings so far. P launched into his standard question: what would happen if I stomped on the mommy and daddy goose?
I was annoyed.
I had answered this question a million times already, even with small variants trying to figure out how to make him stop asking.
Usually I'd throw in things like "that would kill them" and "the baby goslings would probably die without their parents around to care for them" and "that's mean" and "we don't talk about killing other living beings" and, well, other things.
It truly, honestly never occured to me....
In all those weeks he's been asking this question, over and over again, with that same, damn smile on his face, that disturbing smile, that disturbed smile...
I was huffing about it this morning, exasperated, "Why do you keep asking me about this? I've answered this question a dozen times already!"
Nik looked at me like I'm an idiot and proclaimed, "uh, honey, it's just another processing thing."
A processing thing? I wondered
"It happened to him."
He stated it flat out, but it took a minute to sink in. "It happened to him." "What would happen if I stomped on the mommy and daddy goose?" "It happened to him." "Would they die?" "It happened to him." "What would happen to the baby goose? Would it be scared?" "It happened to him." "Can we take the baby goose and take care of it?" "It happened to him."
How did I not see this???
For weeks, maybe months, my son has been asking me about the death of parents and the well being of an orphan and I never caught on, and certainly didn't answer it how I should have. And that smile! That dang obnoxious fake smile! How could I not remember it? It's his fake smile, that he layers on protectively when he's talking about something that frightens him.
So we talked. We dropped Nik off at the house, to deal with his vandalized car (sigh), and continued around the block. I didn't waste any time.
"Paxton, are you thinking about your Amaye and Abaye?"
"What are you thinking about?"
"They died and I miss them."
"Is that why you keep talking about the geese?"
Then, tying it into our big problem...
"Paxton, when you wake up in the morning.... do you think we died?"
"And you're waking us up to check on us?"
"Yeah, I don't want you to die and I'm scared so I go to see you."
Oh, wow.... wow....
We walked and talked and figured out a plan: He'd try cuddling with a stuffed animal when he was scared. We'll see how that works.
In the meantime, dang. How did I not catch on to this? I mean, seriously? With this kid, I didn't hear the subject of death and immediately connect the dots? He was willingly waking me up every morning without fail, just to see me wake up, and I thought it was either and accident or malicious in nature?
Well, at least we have it all figured out... this time around.
P was A LOT calmer once we started really talking and hitting on the actual issues. Hopefully that's the end of this saga.
On another note, maybe I should write a note to myself saying "Your kid has been to Hell and back and even though you might forget it, he never will." Just to remind myself that sometimes "normal" parenting won't do the trick with a kid who didn't have a normal start in life.
Okay, now to go join my boys, who are playing outside as I type this and having a blast together :)
Lily in a loafing barn
2 months ago