So far, I’ve used this blog to focus on moments or interactions that I simply find interesting. Today, it occurred to me that these moments are usually a result of observing a potential problem or concern and then responding to it. In my life and on the blogs, I usually focus less on the problem and more on the solution. I thought it would be interesting to go back and consider the questions or obstacles that precede the interactions.
Today for example, J and I stopped by a park after dropping Ry off at school. Why? Sometimes I get concerned that as the second child, he’s getting less time with us than Ry did. Intellectually, I can see he gets so much from his interactions with Ry that we could never give Ry. So I know it somehow balances out. But still, I make a conscious effort to find ways for us to have some one on one time. So even though I know it is going to be a haste to stop by a park before work, I try to tell myself these little moments add up over time. Moreover it is a way for me to remind myself that spending time doesn’t have to be a big day at Chuckee Cheese, it can be a short trip to the swings.
Once we got to the park, the challenge was how to negotiate with his emerging sense of 3 to 4 year old independence. It is my understanding that this is a healthy and appropriate stage of his development. The task is figuring out how to give him ways to be in charge, while I maintain ultimate control. In today’s case, the jockeying for power came in the form of “underdog” or “side dog.”
J currently feels strongly that an “underdog” push is vastly superior to a “side dog.” And he is experimenting with various ways to make his point. These include, ordering me to do it, trying to be polite, arguing that the way I push doesn’t qualify for an underdog, crying, and distracting; “I wana get off the swing.”
In my limited experience, I’ve come to believe that kids let us know when it is time for the family to shift. It usually starts with changes in behavior that I’m not ready for, so I initially try to get them to behave like they used to, followed up with me reading some books by Stanley Greenspan, and then realizing J or Ry is in a new place and ready to grow in new ways. The real work is letting go.