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#61 of 138 Old 10-23-2005, 09:59 AM
 
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Embee I'm really sorry to hear about your Tuesday night. Did you feel dissappointed that you lost your temper? I understand that feeling of "You should be in bed, and I should be on the couch enjoying me time." It is pretty hard to be calm about it especially when you haven't had a moment to yourself and you are tired after a long day.

I was amazed at the progress your ds and you made after it. Congrats to you

I just wanted to say something comforting because you were really helpful the last time I made my dramatic post about dd. We all lose our tempers sometime. I think keeping our cups filled is important especially when we do things that we don't like. We all have needs that have to be filled. It sounds like you work really hard to meet your son's needs don't forget to meet yours.

I'm worried that I sound judgemental. I guess I'm just trying to say be good to yourself .
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#62 of 138 Old 10-24-2005, 01:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MangoMamma
Did you feel dissappointed that you lost your temper?
And how. I think there is no more intense critic then ourselves, no?

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Originally Posted by MangoMamma
I just wanted to say something comforting because you were really helpful the last time I made my dramatic post about dd. We all lose our tempers sometime. I think keeping our cups filled is important especially when we do things that we don't like. We all have needs that have to be filled.
Thank you so much for this. Its the same thing I would say to anyone else, but somehow I'm harder on myself. Having someone else say it to me really does help and its a good and NECESSARY reminder.

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Originally Posted by MangoMamma
I'm worried that I sound judgemental. I guess I'm just trying to say be good to yourself .
Not at all. I appreciate your kind, supportive and reassuring words. In a place that is filled with super hard working mammas trying their darndist to be gentle all the time, I mostly very sheepish about admitting such a terrible offense to my own standards of parenting. When another mamma (s!) step up and to be supportive and understanding, it truly does help me to recover, treat myself better, be better with DS and move on.

Thank you,
Em

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#63 of 138 Old 10-25-2005, 01:10 PM
 
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Today I am grouch mama. Dh canceled DS's day with Grandma because Dh was able to stay home today. "I want to spend the day with Ds." Turns out that means Dh will make pickled peppers in the kitchen with the radio on, and I will try to get my "grandma day" agenda accomplished with Ds hanging on me and whining. Dh has no idea why I am upset about this.

OK, that was my vent that has nothing to do with playfulness...sorry. About PP, I am all burned out again--I play with ds, and then when I try to do something that is more satisfying to me he whines and clings and whines and clings. I get really fed up and snap at him and push him away. I am feeling drained and not replenished, everybody wanting something from me, and extremely resentful, especially when dh seems clueless. Especially when ds is whining mainly because he refuses to poop and feels bad. It is really hard to play anything silly when I am drained and resentful.... If it weren't for feminism I would think I am just insane.

So what was it I was JUST telling you, embee...? I guess the whole nurturing yourself part is actually in the PP book, so we don't always have to just talk about our kids' play, do we. I am really getting the guilt thing about time for myself, which is part of why I let DH decide this thing about no-grandma-today--it sounds so bad to say "well YOU may want to spend the day with ds, but I have had enough days with ds and I don't want another one right now." I mean, jeez. He's my kid, I'm his mom, I am supposed to want to be with him every adorable minute, right?

Grrr. Thanks for letting me carry on. Of course you can't exactly stop me....
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#64 of 138 Old 10-25-2005, 01:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Denise K
Today I am grouch mama. Dh canceled DS's day with Grandma because Dh was able to stay home today. "I want to spend the day with Ds." Turns out that means Dh will make pickled peppers in the kitchen with the radio on, and I will try to get my "grandma day" agenda accomplished with Ds hanging on me and whining. Dh has no idea why I am upset about this.
Oh, I've so been there, mama! My DH is usually pretty good but there have been times when I've actually had to say to him something along the lines of: "I don't think you understand. I'm walking a thin line. I was counting on having some down time. I'm going to be a much better mom to DS if I get some down time. I need a break." And then if he gives me the, "ok, ok" line, I just try hard to look past my own guilt and take what I need. While it might be a little inconvenient to DH up front, he'll realize just how important it is/was once I come back in the foor feeling like I can face the world again. My feeling is, if you were counting on a day to recharge and your DH changed the plan because HE wanted to be with DS, then that's great--let THEM have a day together. Its still perfectly acceptable for YOU to get out of the house, by yourself for a good long spell. This is when I pack the car with a book, some munchies and take off. Do whatever, go wherever... take a walk and not come back for several hours. The thing is, if I'd been honest and up front with DH about him leaving last Tuesday for the whole day, I could have avoided the horrible "scene." "Sucking it up" can only go so far for me. At some point I'm gonna blow.


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Originally Posted by Denise K
OK, that was my vent that has nothing to do with playfulness...sorry. About PP, I am all burned out again--I play with ds, and then when I try to do something that is more satisfying to me he whines and clings and whines and clings. I get really fed up and snap at him and push him away. I am feeling drained and not replenished, everybody wanting something from me, and extremely resentful, especially when dh seems clueless. Especially when ds is whining mainly because he refuses to poop and feels bad. It is really hard to play anything silly when I am drained and resentful.... If it weren't for feminism I would think I am just insane.
Well, we all know where *I'VE* been lately so suffice to say, I can totally relate.

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Originally Posted by Denise K
So what was it I was JUST telling you, embee...? I guess the whole nurturing yourself part is actually in the PP book, so we don't always have to just talk about our kids' play, do we. I am really getting the guilt thing about time for myself, which is part of why I let DH decide this thing about no-grandma-today--it sounds so bad to say "well YOU may want to spend the day with ds, but I have had enough days with ds and I don't want another one right now." I mean, jeez. He's my kid, I'm his mom, I am supposed to want to be with him every adorable minute, right?
Indeed! I think there is much discussion to be had for what makes a good PP atmosphere and let's face it, it starts with us, we make the weather. As MangoMamma told me not so very long ago, we have needs to and if they aren't met, we also have a tendency to meltdown. It's a predictable outcome, but somehow unavoidable at times. I wish I could offer you something here Denise, some great words of wisdom. The only thing I can say, is just to be very calmly up front about your needs with DH. If he's clueless, clue him in. Oh my DH's best days, he totally sees where I'm coming from. When I've perhaps inconvenience him with my needs, he always comes around later when he's had a chance to see things from my pov. A well repeated line for me is, "If I don't take care of myself, I can't take care of anyone else, period." Its not an attempt to manipulate, but a pure and simple fact.

Hang in there and I hope you find some time to relax today. That said, I've been known to lock myself in the bathroom avec EAR PLUGS and hop in the tub.

The best,
Em

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#65 of 138 Old 10-28-2005, 11:12 PM
 
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I am having technical problems with this thread, so please excuse the test post.
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#66 of 138 Old 11-11-2005, 11:29 AM
 
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I have a whole new computer, so hopefully this will work....

Just wanted to say PP has been a challenge and a blessing lately. Ds hit a friend with a stick in the face, narrowly missing her eye, and play helped then reconnect. I have been feeling tired and uncreative, and haivng a hard time even wanting to play. Today ds tried to kick his other buddy's baby sister in the head...by evening I had recovered my balance somewhat, and instead of lecturing him some more I got out the dolls and we played babies. Some of the babies got eaten by a sea turtle, and some got cared for sweetly, and one got loved and attacked alternately....it was a strange game, but it seemed to work for ds, who obviously is having some intense feelings.
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#67 of 138 Old 11-11-2005, 11:42 AM
 
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Thanks for posting DeniseK. Today I am losing the TV war with my dd and I started to let it take over. Reading your post has inspired me to turn off this machine and get off the computer and try and play regardless how I would like to surf on my own.
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#68 of 138 Old 11-11-2005, 11:43 AM
 
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Thanks for posting DeniseK. Today I am losing the TV war with my dd and I started to let it take over. Reading your post has inspired me to turn off this machine and get off the computer and try and play regardless how I would like to take care of things in the house by myself. I realize from your story playing with the dolls how important it is to play and connect. Thanks.
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#69 of 138 Old 11-12-2005, 05:38 PM
 
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Hey all,

Good to "connect" with you. In many ways, I regard this as my "home thread" and I'm happy to see if when someone has checked in.

Denise, I hear you. We've surely talked about it before, but it is definitely the thing I come up against the most: my inability to play. In fact, my sincere desire NOT to play. The hardest days are when things are rough and I have seemingly no ability to bring to the situation the right frame of mind, the willingness to sit down, play and forget about all else. My internal dialog is key here. I'm getting better (well, mostly) at convincing myself that not only is it the best thing to do, its the only way to truly right the situation. Indeed, what I want to do is hide in the kitchen, read my book, get some chores done, start dinner and then, will DS to play on his own. BUT... the more I try to fade into the woodwork, the longer the connection is severed, the more the relationship suffers, and the worse things get.

I applaud our continued efforts to see it through even on those days where we just don't "wanna." It helps to know there are people out there feeling the same things, and working through things and somedays, having the darnest time doing so! MangoMamma, I hope your day got better yesteday!

Things here are going well. The other day, DS and his buddy became doctors with a rather "ill" bedside manner. I was the "patient" but of course. Their delight in giving me nothing but shots and bad tasting "medicine" was incredibly symbolic and my overly-dramatic reactions and cries to be "released from the hospital" were met with so much delight and giggles, I could see right there how very empowering it was for the two of them. Nothing makes me happier as when I can see by simply playing at losing my dignity helps them to feel better about those times when everything they seemingly do is at odds with what the world wants for them to do. Seriously theraputic!

The best,
Em

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#70 of 138 Old 11-14-2005, 09:14 AM
 
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You know, those days when I am having trouble playing, often wht turns me around is just letting myself respond in a goofy way to ds--who is always offering me opportunities. So, maybe I haven't been willing to sit down on the floor and focus, and life is cranky, and I keep explaining to him why it would be good to just go poop instead of making himself miserable....(this is yesterday) and I am trying to get him to get up and run around because I know that will make him go, but he won't do it for the smae reason... This is our big challenge right now (along with aggression toward other kids and babies, which is fueled by this problem).

and then as I'm coming out of the bathroom he runs up and says ferociously "if you don't read me a book, I will squeak this frog at you!" squeak squeak. For a moment I thought of being boring, and then I ran away screaming oh no! And he chased me all over the house, giggling his head off. It was so much fun. And then of course he had to poop, and he also had that charged-up powerful connected feeling that gave him the courage he needed.

I love seeing that feeling in him. I keep forgetting that it's play that does it--because often play isn't what does it for ME. This time, though, it was good for me too. Sometimes I just can't stand to play cars. It's good to remember that running around squawking is also an option.
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#71 of 138 Old 11-15-2005, 10:26 PM
 
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DeniseK whenever I read stories like those I have tears in my eyes. I'm glad people keep posting with their successes or failures because they remind me to keep PP.

Yesterday, I had a similar example with my nephew. He's been having a hard time in grade 1. We started playing silly games with some toy bats and pokeman chips. It wasn't even a conscious decision to play. His brother just came up to me with a little bat and said"I'm a bat." and about 30 minutes of silly fun ensued. I couldn't believe it was me(because I hate playing) and I couldn't believe that there was no fighting with me and my two nephews who were playing. And for a bonus everyone was so happy afterward.
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#72 of 138 Old 11-16-2005, 12:01 AM
 
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I've posted before here just to thank everyone for this thread. I don't even own Playful Parenting yet, but I've learned so much from all of you. Denise-I love your post and you've reminded me again of all those opportunities I've missed to be as playful and loving as I can be. Thank you!
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#73 of 138 Old 11-16-2005, 11:24 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Denise K
You know, those days when I am having trouble playing, often wht turns me around is just letting myself respond in a goofy way to ds--who is always offering me opportunities.
This is good. Sometimes just how I verbalize a response can help...

When things are getting "on the edge" around here, just responding in a silly voice or accent can quickly reconnect our communication gap--though lately, DS and I both have fallen into this valley girl voice thing which drives DH nutz, "Um DS, Like Hello! I told you I would get you a snack AFTER I totally pee." (yelled from the bathroom while DS is DEMANDING something to eat for the third time from the living room) Of course, I had to point out that at a time when things could have hit the fan (i.e., when I really wanted to tell DS to get it his own d*mn self!), valley girl saved the day. He couldn't argue and now when DH wants to yell, he tends to respond with "karate guy" voice: "AI-YA!"

The funny thing is that DS can tell when I'm getting cranky, and he's taken to using valley girl voice on ME when I'm getting pushy, bossy and short. And you know what? It works in reverse as well.

The best,
Em

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#74 of 138 Old 11-17-2005, 12:15 AM
 
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That's a great idea...I'm going to try using the valley girl voice next time my dd does this with me. Thanks!

Since my dd turned 3.5 things have been difficult for her. She's had her first meltdown/tantrums. She knows how to talk...and I listen and give her plenty of attention...but sometimes she'll get so worked up there is no reasoning or comforting her. She's phasing out her naps even though she is tired. Also, she seems to be going through some transition. Some times she insists she is a baby and won't feed herself at all, won't even walk, talk, etc. And it goes on and on. Then she'll flip and want to do everything independently- again to the extreme.
All of a sudden, bedtime is a problem now too. She says she not tired and doesn't want to sleep. She is tired and very FUSSY. No matter what I do she wants more...sing songs, rub her back, etc. I think she's pushing me to see how far I'll let her push...but I don't want her crying to sleep either. Yikes.
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#75 of 138 Old 11-17-2005, 06:06 PM
 
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Do you find it difficult to switch gears? Sometimes I get so embroiled in these riduculous battles. We used to fight about getting ready for ballet class in the am, be late and stressed. Her crying, I don't want to go to ballet class. Yesterday, I tried making it a race to see who could get ready first. Then in a sly voice said "Oh, she's playing with barbies, she won't notice I'm getting ready, and I'm not going to help her get dressed no matter what she asks me." Dd smiled and asked me if I could help her get dressed. I said in a silly voice. "Oh, sure, dd." She got dressed before me. I had a huge, dramatic temper tantrum because I never can win this race. We were at ballet class early.

But my question is to myself I guess, is why don't I remember this more. Why do I keep trying to convince her to get dressed, or turn the TV off etc. Why is it so hard to remember to be playful. How do I remember to keep doing it?
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#76 of 138 Old 11-18-2005, 12:08 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Mary-Beth
Since my dd turned 3.5 things have been difficult for her. She's had her first meltdown/tantrums. She knows how to talk...and I listen and give her plenty of attention...but sometimes she'll get so worked up there is no reasoning or comforting her. She's phasing out her naps even though she is tired. Also, she seems to be going through some transition. Some times she insists she is a baby and won't feed herself at all, won't even walk, talk, etc. And it goes on and on. Then she'll flip and want to do everything independently- again to the extreme. All of a sudden, bedtime is a problem now too. She says she not tired and doesn't want to sleep. She is tired and very FUSSY. No matter what I do she wants more...sing songs, rub her back, etc. I think she's pushing me to see how far I'll let her push...but I don't want her crying to sleep either. Yikes.
Oh, this was DS to a tee at age 3. The baby thing in particular, had an incredible strong hold but hang in there, this too shall pass. I just went with it and tried very hard to let him be who he was in the moment. It was clear that he was making a huge transition from baby to kid and its really common for kids this age. He even used to have me swaddle him... um, NOT easy when their 30lbs!

Bedtime woes also kicked BACK in at this time. We had a rough first 2 - 2 1/2 years and then a year of bedtime/sleep bliss. And then, at 3 1/2, vague fears started to come on the scene, just something here and there. I do believe perhaps that I've posted about this on the other PP thread. Wow, have we been at it this long??? At any rate, we've changed a lot things about bedtime and we're still working through the muck, really. I have worked with him on it and that does seem to help/take the sting out anyway. Once, during the day while we were playing in his room, I jumped into his bed and said, it's bedtime! WAH! I don't want to go to bed and then proceeded to flip, flop, toss and turn and whine all the while, DS was the being ME, trying to calm me, etc., and he was admament that it WAS bedtime and I MUST get some rest. He had a good time being the one who didn't have to go to sleep. Indeed, it can feel like he's pushing me at bedtime, but I haven't sensed its because he's testing limits so much as the idea of going to bed just isn't one he likes. We were able finally talk about it when he got older and he simply said, "I don't like the day to end." And then again, we have the fears. The one thing that has really changed from about 3 1/2 to now, is just how sensitive DS is, about everything. He used to be much less so.

Hang in there! If I think of any more ideas, I let ya know!

The best,
Em

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#77 of 138 Old 11-18-2005, 12:15 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MangoMamma
Do you find it difficult to switch gears? Sometimes I get so embroiled in these riduculous battles. We used to fight about getting ready for ballet class in the am, be late and stressed. Her crying, I don't want to go to ballet class. Yesterday, I tried making it a race to see who could get ready first. Then in a sly voice said "Oh, she's playing with barbies, she won't notice I'm getting ready, and I'm not going to help her get dressed no matter what she asks me." Dd smiled and asked me if I could help her get dressed. I said in a silly voice. "Oh, sure, dd." She got dressed before me. I had a huge, dramatic temper tantrum because I never can win this race. We were at ballet class early.
I used to take this approach with getting jammies on... very helpful and fun too! Funny, once we've done something long enough, the issue just sort of melts away (to make way for new and improved ones! ), so hang in there and keep it up, mama!

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But my question is to myself I guess, is why don't I remember this more. Why do I keep trying to convince her to get dressed, or turn the TV off etc. Why is it so hard to remember to be playful. How do I remember to keep doing it?
OH OH OH! Yes... this is me! I bow at the alter of PP and yet, I forget all the time. It's funny when this happens to either DH or I and then we realized that its not just DS being a pain, its us forgetting to have a sense of humor... once we remember how to reconnect, things are much better but I think mainly, its just very easy to get caught up in my own stuff, ya know? And then also, in many ways playing can take more work at least initially. Of course, its usually much more effective and well worth the effort but indeed, somedays its *ME* who just wants DS to succumb to *MY* will. What can I say, want to be the kid!

Mostly, we are usually just in a groove or not. I do think its important to remind ourselves one way or another. For a long LONG time I had the book sitting out in the kitchen. I'd pick it up as I poured my coffee and just read a paragraph or two. Reading nurtures my mind and can keep me on the right path. I loaned the book our to a friend though and yikes, I hope she gives it back soon! Fortunately, I have a couple of others I keep around just for occasions like these.

The best,
Em

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#78 of 138 Old 11-18-2005, 12:46 AM
 
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Thanks for your support Embee.

Tonight I decided no matter what she said or did at bedtime I wasn't going to get upset. It worked much better! I still don't know how we are going to resolve all the issues...but in the process of figuring this out hopefully I can remeber not to take everything so seriously.

It's late here...I'm going to sleep now!
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#79 of 138 Old 11-18-2005, 12:30 PM
 
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Yeah, Mangomamma, it's hard to switch gears. Sometimes I jsut resent how difficult it is, and I want things to jsut be smooth. This is called fighting reality, which is rarely a good plan, since reality is way bigger than me. :LOL I wish I could always be great. This does not seem to be an option, but neither does giving up--so, being a perfectionist, I am really in a bind.

I've probably said this before, but I'll say it again--another awesome book that helps is Becky Bailey's Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline (ignore silly title). I am workign with it a lot, and it also makes it so clear how you can learn somethign and then it's still hard to do, and then you can do it once but it's still hard the next time.... I think the reason it's so hard to stay with it is that this is about learning and growing as a person, being the kind of human you want to be, and that that is just hard. Going contrary to habit, upbringing, unconscious beliefs, and culture--of course it's hard. I try to be gentle with myself, and often fail; but you know, if I can accept that growing is hard and awkward for me, it might help me accept that it's hard for ds too, and be gentler with both of us.

I am reading Pema Chodron (Buddhist nun, writer, teacher), and it's nice to hear from this extremely wise and evolved person, whose JOB is being spiritually awake, that, guess what? It's still hard.

Sometimes it helps to remember that this parenting is (at least as I am practicing it) a spirtiual path. Somebody said having a preschooler is like going to Buddhist boot camp. There isn't any time when you can just slouch around and take a break--if you fall apart and act crazy, you do it on the job.....and then get another opportunity to learn and grow, whether you deserve it or not.

I am going to try silly voices. Oh no, another way to have to let go of my dignity.....
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#80 of 138 Old 11-21-2005, 04:11 PM
 
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PP quote of the day, and I am not making this up, from my son:

"Mama, wake UP, and play attention to me!"

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#81 of 138 Old 01-15-2006, 05:57 PM
 
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Hi all! Still into this thread, or not? I'm wondering how it's going with you. I am reading "Real Boys," (large book, but ds was sick in bed). He talks about how boys express love through doing and working, and he gave the example: a typical boy will show his mom he loves her by saying "play with me!"

Which made me think. This book is intense hard stuff to read, about what our culture does to boys (yes, i know what it does to girls, too)--but there is a lot about how to respond to that and support boys in being whole people amidst all the pressures. And one of the main things he says really helps is to PLAY with them. Cars, dolls, dinosaurs, basketball, videogames, whatever they are into at their age. I like the research-based approach, and I like the added push to keep playing, keep playing, keep playing.... Even when it wears me out. People without kids say occasionally to me "What fun to be a sahm to a 4 year old, you must get to play all day." At which time I recite Thich Nhat Hanh's meditation, "Breathing in, I calm myself; breathing out, I smile." I'd been feeling kinda freaked out by the mounting weirdness of parenting a boy in this culture, and it helps to know that I am doing it right, that I can make a difference, and that all that time trying my best to sound like a diesel engine is important.

I loaned PP to my mom, and she really loves it. She is a wonderful play-er. Always has been. So much of my parenting makes her slap her forehead and say Oh Why Did I Do Everything So Wrong--it's nice to be able to show her some stuff she really did right. And still does, every Tuesday with DS.

So, if you still want to continue the ridiculously long life of this thread, tell me what's up with you.
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#82 of 138 Old 01-16-2006, 12:25 AM
 
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Hey Denise!

So good to *see* you. I just received my copy of PP back from a friend... she's borrowed it twice and still has yet to read it. At any rate, I'm glad to have it back in my posession and feeling newly inspired, was actually going to restart the thread myself. I was thrilled to see your post straight away!

I recently read "Real Boys" as well as "Raising Cain." Both similar in tone, but Real Boys does do an excellent job in discussing the benefits of playing with your son. Just one more inspiration to "keep on playing!"

Things here are pretty good. I'm noticing some changes in DS these days, and I feel at times that I'm one step behind. DS is again becoming another level up on the sensitivity meter. Sarcasm on my part is OUT OUT OUT. I can play angry/silly, but sarcatic comments (usually made when I want to rant but am trying not too ) are out. He's starting to weep at certain themes in books and stories, rubs his eyes and tells me he has something in them... I've been trying my hardest to let him know that its OK to cry. Interesting, he's never been told or shown otherwise, but society I suppose or some internal mechanism has somehow seeped into his consiousness here?!?!

I've noticed some real "themes" in his play and have found that largely, if Dinosaurs are being played, acted or drawn, DS is working through anxiety of one sort or another, not feeling quite right. Trains are a sign he's focused and wanting to plan and build, produce. Trucks signal that he's feeling relaxed and wanting to merge with the Earth--sensory. DIG THAT DIRT! One of our strongest themes lately is that of witches and fairies. DS since he was 2 1/2 - 3, has had a strong female side to him and it continues. Depending on the day, I have a daughter or a son or both. When he's a girl, he's darned serious about it and even when he's pursuing "boyish" things such as backhoe digging in the dirt, if he's decidely a girl, he's a girl doing just that. Yep, that's my guy, pig tails, dress, making motor sounds and digging at the same time. As to the witches and fairies, he seems at odds with magic being real or not. I've read that four is "fantasy" but 5 is "fact based" and I totally see his brain trying to make sense of the contrasting themes, what to believe, what stance to take. At times, he seems to really struggle with this so we've been having lots of conversations about facts, rules but also by magic is fun and ok too. In games, he wants to "play by the rules" but can't help changing things around so that he feels more in charge of what's going on... and so on.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this?! I'm just really trying to "notice" things about DS right now. Playing right now is fairly typical, I jump in when he wants me too and play zoo or farm or help him set up yet another configuration with his train. I feel I'm in a bit of a supporting role right now, but I'm thinking DS would like more from me. I've been strained (parents are getting old and sick and I've been distracted with that) which keeps me from engaging fully at times. There have also been moments when I'm joining in, focused but clearly "not getting" the direction DS wishes to take. My dialog during zoo today (I was the deer and he was the giraffe) was frustrating him and I wasn't at all sure what he wanted from me? *sigh* I never did get it right. OTOH, my greatest ally is still simply, being as silly as possible. The other night while he was in the tub, I put on some music and started doing strange dances and faces while running by the outside of the bathroom door. Back and forth I went for what seemed like ages. DS was laughing so hard! I haven't heard him bust a gut with me in ages (he does with DH all the time) so it was a lot of fun and giggles are still great for connecting.

In general, I am sensing 5 (he turned so last week), is going to be a big "mommy" age. Four seemed to create distance, but 5 feels like we're better connected somehow even when the going gets rough. He's even had some sep anxiety and its been ages since we've dealt with that. He himself figured out a way to deal with it though--he simply pretends I'm a robber, and chases me out of the house before I can steal anything. DS is definitely "taking the lead" in play in a very pointed way these days. He's very clear (usually with exception to the above zoo story) in what he wants me to do, say or what part he wants me to portray, "Ok, now pretend you don't see and go looking for me." It's as if he NEEDS me to take on a certain role so that he can experiement with different roles himself.

And last but not least (and probably not last but my brain is fading), the 'ol reversal game is still in play and working for us all, "DS, whatever you do DO NOT brush your teeth!" DON'T DO IT! DON'T! Oh, my gosh Dad, he's cleaning his teeth! Now they'll be healthy and clean and not brown and crusty." He's determined to defy us I tell you!"

So that's where we're at. DS and I started pulling up sod for our veggie garden today. HUGE project on the horizon and we're both very excited. It will be a great experience for us both, new for us both that's for sure. For connecting, playing, working and homeschooling, I feel it would be a good all around experience. YAHOO!

The best,
Em

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#83 of 138 Old 01-16-2006, 06:22 PM
 
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I don't have a boy but I was excited to see the thread revived. It motivated me to play again. Lately dd has been doing a lot of playing by herself. I do feel a sense of relief that I don't have to participate. However, after reading your posts I think I would like to start doing more playing with her.
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#84 of 138 Old 01-17-2006, 05:17 PM
 
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Oh, Embee, I am so inspired by your observations about what yoru ds is doing with what kinds of play--that's so interesting, it makes me want to watch ds closer. I have been feeling kinda baffled by his play since Xmas--the new train, new etc etc has led I think to more play that is about discovering the toys, and he hasn't gotten into branching out with his ideas yet. I have been doing some chase-wrestle play with him and his buddy together, though, and that works so well I don't know why I forget to do it. (Works well would mean that ds doesn't do as much assault and battery during the playdate...)


OK, here is a long story, which you can skip if you want--but I have to tell you, back in early Dec. I had a total freakout here because a friend of my dad's gave ds an O scale electric train--track oval about 5 feet by 3 feet, engine and 3 cars each about 10 inches long--without asking us. It was one of those big family messes, where I was trying to be perfect while flipping my lid. Not fun. I thought I was freaked because we were planning to give ds the wooden train set for xmas and felt like our gift was trashed (and his room was full), but even more than that it was feeling like my dad and this guy we hardly know were taking my imaginative *little* boy and giving him big boy toys...I hate electric trains. They bore me to tears. I was feeling like my little guy was being stolen by these men, and pulled too fast into the totally foreign world of boy-only play....I did not figure this out till later, but you can imagine where my intensity level was, given that this is what it was about for me.... Then my BIL gave ds more cars for the small electric train set dh has, so at one point after xmas we had 2 electric trains running in his room!!!! --BUT we ordered the wooden one anyway, and just before xmas he was saying "What I want for a present is a wooden train set like Keegan's, that you can PUSH, only with diesel engines, like the Santa Fe and CSX and Amtrak"--which is precisely what we and other (cooperative) relatives had ordered . And now, happy ending (ha--nothing is an ending), he loves his wooden trains, and he loves his electric trains but is happy keeping them in a box where they won't get stepped on or have to be shared. Shortly afterwards, I started reading Real Boys and have been feeling saner.

OK, done with long story. Mangomamma, I can relate to the relief about solitary play--and I have found that if I don't stay in the habit of regularly playing with ds even when he's being more independent, I get "spoiled" and it's really hard to start again when he needs my company more. I'm going to try to remember that, though independent play seems a foggy distant memory right now....

And embee, yes, I've seen that thing with the rubbing eyes and denying tears, too, and it makes me SO sad... I don't get it... He tries so hard never to cry. I've been encouraging the men in his life to talk to him about their fears and sadnesses and when they were kids and got hurt and cried, just so he's got more stories helping him out. Sometimes I'm surprised by what makes him "not cry"--usually disappointment, esp. when it has to do with people stuff. Not getting to spend the day with Grandpa because Grandpa is sick; me saying I'm going to a meeting. Yeah, sensitivity stuff, and if you weren't watching practically with a microscope, you would never know. Good thing they have moms, huh. And it's good to hear that 5 is closer for you--I have been feeling like there's a vacuum cleaner steadily pulling him away from me sometimes.
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#85 of 138 Old 01-18-2006, 11:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Denise K
Oh, Embee, I am so inspired by your observations about what yoru ds is doing with what kinds of play--that's so interesting, it makes me want to watch ds closer. I have been feeling kinda baffled by his play since Xmas--the new train, new etc etc has led I think to more play that is about discovering the toys, and he hasn't gotten into branching out with his ideas yet. I have been doing some chase-wrestle play with him and his buddy together, though, and that works so well I don't know why I forget to do it. (Works well would mean that ds doesn't do as much assault and battery during the playdate...)
Today, after breakfast, DS bundled up and went out to his sandbox, his universal sign for: I'm feeling rather independent today. I haven't been in the house alone for ages. It was very VERY strange. And nice.

Here, here on the wrestling with two... I've also had success with "putting them on the same side" against me when they're fighting a lot. Hide and tell them to come find me or act like a dolt, or stupid about something and have them jump in and correct me, etc. Very helpful.


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Originally Posted by Denise K
OK, here is a long story, which you can skip if you want--but I have to tell you, back in early Dec. I had a total freakout here because a friend of my dad's gave ds an O scale electric train--track oval about 5 feet by 3 feet, engine and 3 cars each about 10 inches long--without asking us. It was one of those big family messes, where I was trying to be perfect while flipping my lid. Not fun. I thought I was freaked because we were planning to give ds the wooden train set for xmas and felt like our gift was trashed (and his room was full), but even more than that it was feeling like my dad and this guy we hardly know were taking my imaginative *little* boy and giving him big boy toys...I hate electric trains. They bore me to tears. I was feeling like my little guy was being stolen by these men, and pulled too fast into the totally foreign world of boy-only play....I did not figure this out till later, but you can imagine where my intensity level was, given that this is what it was about for me.... Then my BIL gave ds more cars for the small electric train set dh has, so at one point after xmas we had 2 electric trains running in his room!!!! --BUT we ordered the wooden one anyway, and just before xmas he was saying "What I want for a present is a wooden train set like Keegan's, that you can PUSH, only with diesel engines, like the Santa Fe and CSX and Amtrak"--which is precisely what we and other (cooperative) relatives had ordered . And now, happy ending (ha--nothing is an ending), he loves his wooden trains, and he loves his electric trains but is happy keeping them in a box where they won't get stepped on or have to be shared. Shortly afterwards, I started reading Real Boys and have been feeling saner.
Whoah. I was reading your story and was amazed by the similarity of a situation that happened with us about a year and a half ago. Did I write about this maybe? At any rate, DH and I had been accumulating (on the sly) these beautiful old Thomas Trains that they no longer make (die-cast, metal engines with a special track). We'd gotten DS a starter kit and had been searching the internet for inexpensive engines to go with it, and perhaps some track. It was the most we'd spent on any toy so far, about 75-80 bucks so it was a big deal for us. He already had his wooden train, basic--just tracks and a little train, and loved them and we thought the Thomas train set would be fun for him as something a little different. We were excited because we knew DS would be OVER THE MOON about them. And then FIL, with the best of intentions found an O-Scale train, complete with track, same size you mentioned, engine, tender, cars, caboose, the works. The kicker was that he found it at a garage sale and "fixed it up." In other words, it only "mostly" worked. I. WAS. LIVID. LIVID! FIL didn't clear this with us. This thing was BIG (as you well know) and we have a TINY house. Not ok IMO. Plus, it was only "mostly working." DS was 3 1/2 at the time. Talk about frustration levels (his and mine everytime it jumped the not so perfect track), or failed to work at all. It was major eye candy for DS. He was "over the moon" about it and that made the frustration about the whole thing even worse. I was caught between being livid with FIL and heartbroken for DS. Add to that, DH has been planning for the longest time when DS was older, perhaps 7 or 8 to build an HO scale train, together. This felt over the top to say the least. This little "surprise" was popped on us on Fathers Day, a family gathering. What could I say? FIL was trying to be sweet and I love him for it, but but but... My SIL was so cute, she came out to greet me at our car to warn me about what was awaiting DS in the living room. She knew. FIL, clueless. At any rate, I let this get to me for days and days and days... and days. Turned into weeks, perhaps months. I was mad that he would get something so huge and age inappropriate, not to mention LOUD! And then that we had already been planning to surprise DS for Christmas with what now felt like the puny little trains we'd gotten him. I like electric trains, but only if DS is VERY interested when he's OLDER, and to be a joint project with DH. DS was already so happy to have trains to push and manipulate himself, I was angry he was given something to watch. It got so that when DS asked to put the big train up, my blood would boil. I had a very hard time keeping my cool about it. And the moment it jumped track and DS would get upset, I'd cringe and look at DH and say, he's YOUR father. You fix it! This is not my usual personality so this thing REALLY got to me. Needless to say by now, I feel your pain, Denise.

Fast forward. I got over it, albeit slowly. Over the next year, the train finally died completely and DH decided he wasn't going to take it apart again or fix the track one more time. The track was trashed, and we kept the train which is now part of the decor of DS's room. Sometime later, I did find a very small, battery operated train at the Goodwill for $5 in excellent condition which DS appreciated very much. DH made a train table for it and DS enjoys it, but mostly because he likes to build "scenes" around it. At Christmas time most of my ornaments, not to mention a string of lights, ceramic Christmas houses, snow, etc. were all in "train room." He doesn't even like to run it, prefers to "observe it." When people ask him to turn it on, he rarely obliges. When we first got it, it was on for several days on end, but once he was over it, it became mostly about viewing. OTOH, he still plays with his Thomas set (which he was thrilled about, whew!) and his Brio all the time. Sets them up over and over again on the living room floor, makes "scenes" and... also PLAYS with them for hours.

We never said anything to FIL, and even at the time, I tried hard NOT to be angry but it was work, I admit. FIL is lovely, but I prefer when he sticks to things like art supplies and gift certificates.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Denise K
Mangomamma, I can relate to the relief about solitary play--and I have found that if I don't stay in the habit of regularly playing with ds even when he's being more independent, I get "spoiled" and it's really hard to start again when he needs my company more. I'm going to try to remember that, though independent play seems a foggy distant memory right now....
Yes, I totally get this. Me too, meeeee tooo. With that, I am finally embracing the wisdom of a regularly sceduled daily "playtime" for DS and I. I didn't feel the "need" for it before, we played in and out all day, but I think having a time DS can count on is helpful, and even more, I feel like having it on the schedule helps me switch gears and "know my place" for that hour. In play on and off throughout the day, I allow myself to be distracted with anything and everything if I'm not careful. The scheduled hour keeps me honest, it really does. (Ahem, I did happen to schedule it however from 2-3pm, knowing the kitchen timer will go off at 3 when DS likes to watch his program on PBS. Figured it would make a decent segue and I could start prepping the dinner stuff, finish chores, etc.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Denise K
I've been encouraging the men in his life to talk to him about their fears and sadnesses and when they were kids and got hurt and cried, just so he's got more stories helping him out.
Excellent idea! I will do the same!

Sorry, talk about long. I've had A LOT on my mind about all of this lately. I guess because I've been re-reading the book again. I've taken to going through and highlighting all my favorite play ideas!

The best,
Em

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#86 of 138 Old 01-19-2006, 10:54 PM
 
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Embee, that is totally weird that you had the same train experience. Or do 47% of all families have this happen? I am kind of comforted to hear that you freaked out as bad as I did. Processing it with my primary processing-buddy later, I realized I actually had learned a huge amount of stuff about myself and others in this situation. For one thing, that the fact that I was utterly human about it (complete with mean remarks to Mom that I had to call back and apologize for in three minutes) did not trigger the end of the world... in fact, it was all ok. A bunch of people, including me, made various mistakes, and then life went on. Whoa. I am reading Pema Chodron, and spent this whole experience saying to myself (and dh) "I am freaking out. I am really freaking out. I don't know why I am so freaked out but I am really freaked. I am so disappointed. I really am disappointed..." in a fairly calm way, while I went on freaking out. It was kinda surreal and also very educational. I would say on the whole I wish the electric trainshad never appeared, but it sure was a great opportunity to practice a crisis when nobody was bleeding.

Oooh, daily playtime....I know that's what we need, but boy am I resisting it.

Tonight ds wanted to play "a whacking game" with the couch pillows, and I just fell over loudly every time he hit me, and he giggled so hard I thought he would fall down. I got to laughing too, because he was so funny. I need to remember that stuff--it's more fun for me than cars, and I think we need some aggression play. Ahem. Me being the primary model of aggression in ds's life....maybe we should get some violent videos and I can blame them instead... Naw, at least I don't hit people. Except with pillows.

Thanks for giving me more to think about. And those ideas about playing with 2 kids--I will be using them, probably tomorrow.
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#87 of 138 Old 01-19-2006, 11:56 PM
 
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I'm finding it hard to really play these days.....I've gotten more into leading activities than really playing. For example, I'll suggest we make muffins or paint where my role is to more of a faciliator than a true play partner. When I ask the kids to do something and they don't I've tried to get cooperation with being playful and silly. It's just one of those times where I feel like I don't have the energy to be as playful and creative as I could be...and since I'm basically confessing my playful parenting challenges right now let me say I'm resisting one particular play theme too...dd1 sometimes likes to pretend she's a baby and she does the baby talk, and wants to be carried everywhere...if I could just get down and do it with her it would probably be done with...but when I tried that a bit she did it so much more so I've pulled back from that game. She hasn't been inititaing that game so much lately and part of me is so glad but a part of me feels guilty. I guess I have some inner work to do!!
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#88 of 138 Old 01-20-2006, 06:42 PM
 
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Yeah. Sometimes it's way easier for me to play mommy than to play playmate, kwim? Which is all good stuff too, but I can see ds needs the kid-play too. Usually the way I get back into playing is to go all out and do some Rompus Walrus (wrestling) or something else that is impossible to be distracted from. It raises my energy level, and seems like a good dose of Play Concentrate to get us started again.

I am telling this to myself, because today I have not gotten there. I have been total Slugblob Mom. I think when there are cloudy days in winter I get really out of it--I feel drugged, like a "non-drowsy" cold medicine I took once. And I resent everyone for my inability to relate to them. I'm noticing that this is happening almost every cloudy day, unless I am actually outdoors at the time. I don't think chocolate is really the answer.... DH was a hero and wrestled with ds, and then I felt guilty because it made dh's post-surgery gums (wisdom teeth) start hurting again.... Guilt makes me even grouchier. *I* want to be the kid, and I want to spend all day in bed reading really good juvenile fantasy fiction, and ignore my mom.

And yes, mary beth, some kinds of play just push some kinds of buttons in us, and isn't it weird....

Ah, well. Awareness is the first step, right? I hope it's sunny tomorrow.
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#89 of 138 Old 01-20-2006, 11:54 PM
 
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I am kind of comforted to hear that you freaked out as bad as I did.
Likewise.

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I actually had learned a huge amount of stuff about myself and others in this situation. For one thing, that the fact that I was utterly human about it (complete with mean remarks to Mom that I had to call back and apologize for in three minutes) did not trigger the end of the world... in fact, it was all ok.
Yes. Indeed, yes. I'm a little embarrassed for how terribly I reacted to what was supposed to be a nice gesture, but the strong STRONG feelings I had at the time are in fact, still with me, and I can start making a case for myself in minutes, only to realize that I actually said some things to DS in that time that could have colored his relationship with Grandpa, and then I'm just making yet another case against myself. Bad mom. Bad bad bad mom! *sigh* Alas, I'm getting better at offering forgiveness to myself these days and it sounds like you had a great little mantra going there. Kudos for regaining your cool under fire. Breathe in... breathe out...

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Oooh, daily playtime....I know that's what we need, but boy am I resisting it.
Gotta tell ya, it's helping me loads. I totally get the "drugged out" feeling, and the weather does not help me either. It's 100 times muck and yuck around these parts. 24 days straight rain (it's getting better now). I just haven't been able to sit and play lately (so restless!) and I needed to do something, so I put it on the schedule like DH and I do for talks. At any rate, I'm wondering why I resisted 'playtime' for so long? Really helps me make that mental leap. At about 1:45 today, DS was all over me and then I brought him to the clock and said, when that big hand hits the 12, I'm all yours for one full hour. He let me go about finishing up chores and when the clock struck two, I tuned out the house, and tuned in DS. It's clear to see that by the mere formality of making playtime 'official,' it means a lot to him. Even given the fact that I play everday off and on throughout. And the time goes quickly. One thing that has surprised me however is that he hasn't taken me up on making rules and such. He usually just wants to play in his room, and is so delightful and polite, we play trains, puppets, pretend to be fairies--today I was "Cord, the telephone fairy." Very glamourous. I do have to be careful of blowing DS off at other times of the day however. Sometimes, because I know that he'll get "his time" at 2, I'm less sensitive to when he wants to connect earlier in the day. It's better to receive him with his cup at least 1/2 full at 2, rather than empty. Playtime doesn't have to be spent "making up."

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Originally Posted by Mary-Beth
and since I'm basically confessing my playful parenting challenges right now let me say I'm resisting one particular play theme too...dd1 sometimes likes to pretend she's a baby and she does the baby talk, and wants to be carried everywhere...if I could just get down and do it with her it would probably be done with...but when I tried that a bit she did it so much more so I've pulled back from that game. She hasn't been inititaing that game so much lately and part of me is so glad but a part of me feels guilty.
Oh, I hear ya. The whole year from 3 to 4 yrs old, DS was in BABY mode. Inside I knew that playing along was better, and while it might fuel it initially, in the end, it was easier and probably helpful for DS in some way. BUT... it. got. old. As in very VERY old. Somedays I would be saying to myself in my head, 'you're almost 4, just be 4. You're NOT a baby! You're not!' I never said this out loud, but I was tempted to a few times. I did have some fun with pretending to be the baby myself. DS got a kick out of it. His thing was to bring a blanket and want me to swaddle him, a 30 pound kid! It was sort of funny and we did get some giggles but was even funnier when I told him *I* wanted to be swaddled. Ever see a 30 pound kid try to swaddle his 120 pound mom? Now there's a giggle and more! Hang in there. I turn into facilitator too when I'm tapped out. One thing that helsp me loads, is getting out of the house with DS (park, errands, small road trip) for a few days and preferrably getting started early in the day, right after breakfast if possible. By the time we get home it's past noon and having had the time out and about, somehow the rest of the day seems easier, more relaxed, easier to connect and well, play.

The best and so good to have this thread up and running again. Um, sorry for all the long rambles though. I've been storing up this winter!

Em

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#90 of 138 Old 01-22-2006, 07:10 PM
 
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Ditto on sorriness for long rambles, Embee, but I must've been saving up too. Here is another long one, and you can read it if you have the energy. It's a happy story.

I want to tell you this awesome thing that happened yesterday. Well, it didn't begin awesome. First my BIL got hit by a car (he is alive and reasonably well), which stressed ds out pretty bad, and dh was gone at the hosp with him, leaving me with ds. And my fog brain had resolved into a migraine, which was kind of compromising. Then Ds fell down and hit his face on the floor.

When ds gets hurt he tries REALLY hard not to show it. And when he can't help crying, he gets so freaked out by that that he completely melts down into a raging tantrum, and won't let me touch him. He had busted his lip, and he started crying, and pretty soon he was screaming at me, throwing ice all over the kitchen, tearing papers off the fridge and ripping them, hitting me, just out of control. Sobbing and screaming "I FEEL GOOD! I'M HAPPY!" I kept breathing, and trying to stay connected to how he must feel--the pain and the shame and the embarrassment--and sending him the confidence and peace I wanted him to have.... When i would say I love you, or anything whatsoever, he would get more freaked out....

After some time, he went in the hall and yelled at me to stay away, come here, stay away, etc for a while. Then he opened 2 closet doors so that they blocked the hallway, and yelled "mama, come! But don't open the doors!" So I went and sat on my side of the barrier. And I thought, hey, there's somehtign in PP about kids behind doors, what is it anyway?

So I said "well, I guess ds can't hear me because he's behind the doors." He didn't scream at me, so this seemed good. I went on to say how I really hoped I could find a way to help ds, and how I want to hug him when he's hurt but he doesn't want me to, and how I want to find a way to let him know how much I love him, and even when he's really upset I think he is as cool as a person could ever possibly be..... I guess I was praying. With an audience. I felt like the girl in the fairy tale telling her secret to the stove.

DS stayed totally silent, but he was right there. So then I remembered what the pp thing was and I started passing stuff under the door and between the doors. I didn't have a lot handy....I would say "Maybe if I send ds this really special pretty rock he will know that I think he is really special." Or "I'll put this mama doll through, to show ds I will always be his mama and always love him." And he was silent, but he passed the things back and I would say "Oh, maybe ds means he thinks I am special too," or "look, ds must've gotten my message..." And then he started getting cars and stuff out of his room and passing them thru, and I would interpret them too, and this went on for a very long time...and then he opened up the doors and came out with a big teary smile and gave me a huge hug. And then we played it some more, only he was shipping me cars to build a car museum. And then I went to cook supper, and the whole evening ds was hugging me every 5 minutes and telling me he loved me....

Talk about connection. I started with oh help, and ended up closer to ds than we've been in weeks. I think being behind the doors let him accept my love while still being in control of the situation and having privacy. Usually these storms end with him getting so exhausted by his own emotion that he finally comes and cuddles on my lap and rests, but I still can't say anything without setting him off again. This felt like he kept his power and dignity, and I was able to help him, and I got to say all this stuff that usually he doesn't have time for. I'm still just dazed from this (and from the migraine, probably). It was awesome.

I am feeling so thankful for the guidance that has come my way--other parents, you included; good authors; spiritual guides (the breathing/meditation I was doing was from Pema Chodron); my own inner wisdom; and my amazing beautiful son. Blessings to you, and to us all.
Denise K is offline  
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