Literally. I have a beautiful, smart, energetic, non-stop moving, super creative, INTENSE 4 year old boy who has managed to wear me down to almost nothing and I'm running out of ideas. He has always been this way. From the time he was born he was constantly moving and had to be in my arms. He has always had huge emotional outbursts and tantrums easily. He can be incredibly sensitive and when things start going downhill, they go downhill fast. He is a perfectionist and refuses to try things if he thinks he will fail. He prefers things be done for him to avoid this and when we encourage independence, a tantrum is sure to follow.... He is constantly bouncing off the walls and highly imaginative. He NEVER stops moving and NEVER stops talking.... well, most of the time it is just noise... random bursts of sound, usually sound effects from whatever pretend world is swirling around in his mind. Exercise doesn't seem to help. He often just gets overstimulated and loses his mind! Also, lack of patience is a huge problem. (His and mine, actually!!)
So, I felt I had most of this in check. He is intense and it's okay..... His dad and I had pretty much figured out the way in which to support him the best. I feel like things were going pretty well and his creativity and loving nature were shining. Then I had his baby sister 2 months ago and everything, as we expected, got more complicated. He has nothing but love for his sister and our biggest challenge concerning her has been keeping him from pouncing on her and smothering her with kisses! Nothing negative has been directed at her... but the hyperactive antics increased. He is literally a moving wall of noise. It is as if the fact that I have a baby on me to slow me down means he can run 5 circles around me instead of 2 on my way across the house! I know that this is an obvious reaction to the transition and we have worked hard to give him all the love and attention he needs to adjust. He seems, actually, to be the one that is adjusting better. It's me that is losing it! Before, it seemed like I had it all figured out (his dad and I both have backgrounds in child behavior management, so I never thought I'd feel so out of ideas...) and now I am too worn down to think... I feel like many days he is being left to his own devices because I don't have the mental energy to play pretend all day long, and was too far behind to plan things the day before!
I NEED NOVEL IDEAS!
So, I guess I am wondering.... For those mamas who have an intense, sensitive, incredibly active little one.... what are the tips and tricks you use to keep your child happy and engaged? Any of those ideas new-baby friendly?
I love my son and think that he is an amazing and vibrant little boy... who also happens to be currently driving me crazy because I can't get him to take a breath. How can I channel this into something that will make us both feel good? We try to let him know what he can do instead of what he can't ("If you need to make noises like that, you can do that in your room instead of at the dinner table in my ear....") but inevitably at the end of the day, when patience is in short supply, it deteriorates into "stop slamming your body into the sliding glass!". I feel like eventually the message is that he is always doing something wrong. What sorts of things have you found your similar child to love or be successful in? Did it help with the random, erratic surges of energy? (We are going to try tot soccer at the end of April... keeping our fingers crossed for no trauma!)
AND.... how do you do it??? How do you manage to keep a positive attitude and still go strong? All I want to do is sleep! Oh, and eat chocolate.
When my son was that age, I wished I knew some teenaged boys that I could hire to come play with ds! Things slooowly got better after age 4. Mainly, I just focused on ds eating as often as he needed (oral sensitivities so this was very hard) and getting enough sleep (he'd get really wound up if he was over tired).
Have you read Raising Your Spirited Child? http://www.amazon.com/Raising-Your-Spirited-Child-Perceptive/dp/0060923288